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Buying a piano. Acoustic or digital?

When the piano is a part of your life, having a piano or keyboard for home practice is essential In the olden days, the acoustic piano was the best and the only choice; this meant that one's options were based on the price-quality rate. Of course, we still choose it based on the price-quality rate, but today we can consider a digital keyboard alternative to acoustic pianos.

There are thousands of different acoustic and digital pianos from all over Asia, Europe, and America. The product range is huge now, compared to what it used to be.


I’m not mentioning synthesizers due to their crucial differences from pianos.


The most frequently asked questions are: “Which one should I choose?” or “Where/how to get a good one?”

It’s very easy to get confused. However, it becomes much easier when you understand that your choice should be based on 3 things only:


  1. Your goals or situations for playing piano

  2. Your understanding of the similarities and differences of acoustic and digital pianos

  3. Your conditions


YOUR GOAL OR SITUATION: YOUR CHOICE:

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* You want to "try” piano lessons for Digital Keyboard

yourself or your child.


There is no need to get an acoustic piano if you’re not sure it will be in use for some years.


* You take/your child already takes music Acoustic piano

lessons and enjoys it. You think that Digital 88-key keyboard

it will continue for some time.


Often both types work fine, but if you determine your music preferences, it will be more specific for you.


Classical music Acoustic piano


Good digital keyboards also can be considered for playing classical music, but acoustic pianos are better. Especially if you/your children participate in recitals, concerts, competitions, take music exams, evaluations.


Pop music, rock, jazz, blues Digital keyboard

Other modern music Synthesizer


Again, you can play these stiles on either, but a digital piano will give you choices of different sound effects and beats, which can be helpful in modern music.


If you don't actually plan to play Fur Elise by Beethoven or Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and you’re interested in writing songs and composing your own masterpiece, more knowledge in digital keyboards, synthesizers, and MIDI Stations should be the first step. Today composing music is not the same as 100 years ago - with the help of a computer, some specific programs, and a keyboard that can interact with your device, investing in a MIDI keyboard/station and synthesizer can make anything is possible. These 2 choices also will be good for ear training and music theory.

Of course, some acoustic pianos have some hi-tech stuff in them and can be connected to a computer, but you can consider them only if your budget is healthy - they can be a luxury item


Similarities and differences between acoustic pianos and digital keyboards


Acoustic Pianos Digital Pianos


- Have 88 keys - Have a different number of keys

- Heavy, not easy to move/transport - Easier to move

- No electricity needed - Need power

- Need tuning from time to time - Don’t need tuning

- Take up space - Are more versatile

- Can be pricey. Can be free (used pianos) - Prices vary from

inexpensive to very expensive

- Will last decades - Electronics have an unpredictable life span

- Old pianos can be as good as new - Old keyboards are never as good as new

- Don’t interact with electronic devices - Interact with computers and

other devices

- Weighted keys - Can have weighted keys (Make

sure that it has! It’s essential)


As mentioned earlier, some brands offer possibilities to install special equipment inside an acoustic piano, allowing some digital advantages like controlling volume, changing the sound, or interacting with devices.



Your conditions

Space

This part is simple. If your space is small, you probably need to think about a digital keyboard. If it's big, you can easily consider an upright piano or a grand piano. It's up to you and your budget.

Budget


A simple yet quite decent keyboard can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. One can check on websites like craigslist and visit yard sales to test their luck that one will be given away for free or click a few of these links below to get an idea of prices (CA).






Neighbors




Wait, what? Neighbors? Yes, but only about acoustic pianos. Personally, I know two neighbor-wars over a loud musical instrument. If there is only a wall between you and your neighbors, make sure they are not too sensitive. Some neighbors can be compassionate about any sound. If they are, you have 2 choices:

Any digital piano has a volume control button/slider and headphones.

You may install a system inside your acoustic piano which allows controlling volume just like on digital pianos. Of course, it is an extra cost, but it is worth it.



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