Acoustic or Digital?

TUESDAY, March 3, 2020

“What kind of instrument should I buy?”

This is most frequent question I am asked by beginners. If you live in a mansion and are rich, the answer is easy. Buy a grand piano. Money is no problem, privacy is no problem, space is no problem. You won’t bother your neighbors if you practice all night.

But what do you do if you are not so fortunate?

Let’s be practical. Most people do not have unlimited funds. Adults who start piano lessons do not know if they will continue for one month, one year, or many years. Parents who start lessons for their children face the same problem. So money is a huge factor.

Starting with something inexpensive…

For a relatively small amount of money you can buy a 61 key electronic keyboard that will give you time to make big decisions later. The cost is not huge, and it gives you time to think about what you want to upgrade to if you get serious.

Also if you have limited space where you live, a basic electronic keyboard fits into a small area.

Privacy is a huge issue…

Most people have limited privacy. If they find time to practice while others are trying to sleep or at times when they would disturb neighbors, there is no way to turn down the volume of an acoustic instrument. But if you use a digital instrument, you can cut sound off simply by using earphones. This also gives you complete privacy while playing.

What kind of digital should you start with?

This depends on how much money you have and how much you want to spend. Essentially a 61 key keyboard is a way to get started. If you are serious and progress well, you will want to upgrade to a digital with 88 keys, and you want a weighted keyboard. Always check with a teacher before shopping for a new keyboard.

When is it time to upgrade?

Basically you will know when you start running out of keys, or when the sound of the less expensive digital starts to sound inferior. At that point you want to move to a weighted keyboard with 88 keys.

Can you have a digital and an acoustic piano?

Absolutely. If you become very serious and like the sound of an acoustic, you will want to play on such an instrument. However, there will be times when you need privacy, and at such times you will still use the digital.

Are acoustic pianos better than digitals?

The simple answer is that they have different purposes, so making a decision is rather complicated.

Is an upright as good as a grand?

A thousand times – NO! There are many things a good grand will do that the best upright will not do, so if you have enough money to invest in a fine piano, get a grand. The most important thing to remember is that a very good digital is way better than a poor piano, which many students have found out the hard way.

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2 thoughts on “Acoustic or Digital?

  1. I looked back to when I started with you and I prefer the idea of starting with an inexpensive one and feel the progress; then, pay for a better sound. I’m on my third upgrade; I wish could have space for a grand piano to jump to my fourth upgrade.

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  2. I have a digital, a good one. When I used to visit family, they had an acoustic in the basement and when I visited I’d play it. This could be material for a comedy sketch. It had never been tuned. Two one key stuck so after playing it, you’d pull it up with two fingers as soon as possible. Fuer Elise had a “unique sound” since the E was “E F”. The damper pedal? No, there was a little man banging a hollow drum with a giant anvil, which gave an interesting sound effect, but barely any sustain. Yes, I could “feel the keys under my fingers, the let-off of the hammers” (and the stuck key) … but when I got home, I could actually produce music that sounded as it should. Though sometimes I missed the little man with the anvil and his sound effects. 😉

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