I Do Not Have a Piano, Which One Would Be the Best for Me?

Purchasing a piano is an interesting, big and crucial step when it comes to piano playing. As the variety of different instruments is huge it can be quite confusing what exactly to choose. In this article I will bring out the main parameters of instruments and give you an overview of what to search for.

First Step – Digital or Acoustic Piano?

Broadly taken pianos can be divided into acoustic and and digital pianos. This is the first and big choice you have to make. Both digital and acoustic have their advantages and disadvantages which I will bring out here.

Digital pianos

    – easy to transport
    – volume control
    – you can use earphones (possible to practice at night)
    – it always stays in tune
    – you can amplify without additional mic
    – some instruments can record your playing
    – some instruments enable to change several settings (weight of keys, different instruments, tunig etc.)
    – the sound can be quite good, nearly like the real piano when it comes to more expensive instruments
    – costs less, under $1000 it is already possible to get a solid instrument

Acoustic pianos

    – it has a real, alive sound
    – the touch of keys is natural, according to the playing mechanism
    – piano is a very beautiful object
    – it needs tuning (a tuner has to come which costs as well)
    – strings and other parts can break and need to be replaced
    – it is a big deal to transport a real piano
    – it is humidity and temperature sensitive
    – costs usually more than digital pianos*

*New (baby)grand pianos start from approx $8000 and can go over $100 000, new uprights start from approx $4000. It is very much OK to buy a used renovated one, when you go with a tuner who confirms its quality. When you buy a used one it is possible to find a very good deal.

I prefer acoustic pianos every possible time, when they are in tune and the touch of keys is OK. The variety between instruments is enormous. But in addition to a acoustic (Estonia concert grand) I have a digital piano at home too which is fine for practicing at night and taking it along when staying away from home.

Second Step – How to Choose an Instrument?

When you choose a digital instrument there are minimum requirements I suggest to follow.

    – it has to have 88 keys
    – the keys should be full weight (or at least the setting must be possible)
    – it must be touch sensitive
    – be sure it has a pedal

That is basically what you need. Everything else comes as a bonus. When you find instruments with suitable parameters narrow the choice down to your acceptable price range. Then choose your favorite piano. Among others I trust following digital piano brands: Roland, Yamaha, Casio, Kawai, Korg. You can find out more here.

When it comes to choosing a new acoustic instrument you very much have to follow your feeling for a particular instrument inside of your price range. Every acoustic instrument is different because they are all handicraft work. So there are never-ever two identical acoustic pianos. Fortunately most of the wellknown brands build good instruments. For shopping an acoustic instrument my advice would be:

    1) set your price range
    2) follow your instincts about the particular instruments
    3) be sure to shop with a piano tuner or a pianist who give expert advice (especially when buying a used or used and renovated instrument)

And be ready for:

    1) tuning the acoustic piano for at least twice soon after it has come into your home
    2) tuning it periodically
    3) replacing strings occasionally
    4) letting to control the dampers and setting necessary things by piano tuner (approx once in 3-5 years)
    5) holding it in an as constant humidity and temperature level as possible

As you can see acoustic piano is a bit like a pet because it needs to be taken care of, but it is just as that alive too when you play on it.

If any more piano related questions arise or you have additional ideas to share, I will be most glad to discuss them with you.

Tel: +372 55 690 850
Skype: jaak.sikk.jr
Email: jaak@playingpianoblog.com

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