Are you looking to pick up piano but are not sure of whether your passion will last for long? Well, with the affordable range of digital pianos out in the market, there is no need for you to worry about spending a bomb on a traditional piano! In this article, we will talk about the different types of digital pianos and share advices on which piano to buy.
First of all, it is important to understand the difference between a traditional acoustic piano and a digital piano. The main difference lies in the mechanisms that are used to produce the different sound that the pianos produce. Traditional pianos produce sound when your fingers press the keys into the hammers, which will then strike the strings. The strings will produce vibrations that will then be transmitted to the soundboard which disperses and amplifies the sound. A unique sound is then created when the vibrations produced by a particular string resonates with the other strings that are not struck. Digital pianos, on the other hand, utilise switches to produce a specific note or sound instead of using strings. An electronic tone generator will then be utilised to produce the sound, which will then be amplified using an internal built-in speaker.
Portability is another major difference between a digital piano and a traditional one. Although there are digital pianos that focuses more on performance, most digital pianos are actually created with the purpose of being portable. In fact, there are many digital pianos that are extremely portable and can be brought from places to places!
Although there are certain individuals who do not classify digital pianos as real pianos due to how they work differently from traditional pianos, recent digital pianos are designed using the latest technological advancements to sound and feel exactly like a legitimate traditional piano. This is due to the fact that the keys have weights attached to them to make it feel as heavy and close as possible to the keys of a traditional piano. Some digital pianos even have the capability to connect to smart devices, which is great for individuals who create and record their creative works for review.
The best part of all? Digital pianos, for the most part, are very affordable! Hence, with its affordability and perks, the digital piano is definitely the recommended go-to-piano for people who are new to piano. This is especially so if they are fickle-minded individuals who are unsure of how long their motivation to learn the piano will last.
There are many variants of digital pianos to be talking about them all, hence, we will be talking about 4 types of digital pianos that we find is more relevant to our readers! Unlike traditional pianos which are always similar to other pianos from the same category (e.g. a baby grand piano looks like a concert grand piano), the different types of digital pianos prove otherwise.
1. Portable Keyboard Piano
The portable keyboard piano, as the name suggests, is a type of digital piano that focuses on portability. They usually cost below $1,000, with some exceptions from premium brands that cost more than the usual price.
There are two types of portable keyboard pianos, namely the weighted keyboard, and the unweighted keyboard. The difference between the two lies in the keys. The keys on a weighted keyboard have weights placed in them to replicate the feel of pressing the keys of a proper piano. The unweighted keyboard, on the other hand, is the opposite of a weighted keyboard and feels totally different from traditional pianos and people who started learning the piano with unweighted keyboards tend to pick up slower when they switch to traditional pianos.
Portable keyboards come in 3 sizes depending on the number of keys they possess, namely 61-keys, 76-keys, and 88-keys. Most 61-keys are unweighted and are highly recommended for young kids to explore their interest with the piano. The 76-keys are mostly weighted while all 88-keys are weighted. While unweighted 76-keys can be used by young kids to experience the piano, a weighted one will probably be a better choice as in the case that a kid is very keen in picking up piano, they will be used to how a legitimate piano feels and will have a good head start. Last but not least, the 88-keys portable keyboards. All 88-keys portable keyboards are weighted, and they are highly recommended for beginners who have recently found interest in piano and have the intention to experience and know more about how playing the piano feels.
Most portable keyboards also come with extra functions like recording or sound from other instruments. Hence, they are perfect for people who like to create new music or songs from scratch and record their work for entertainment purposes!
2. Stage Digital Piano
Stage digital pianos are similar to portable keyboard pianos in terms of portability and basic functions. However, what brings them apart is the fact that stage digital pianos have better sound quality than portable keyboard pianos and are able to connect to external speakers. They are also designed in such a way that they feel exactly like a traditional piano. These pianos are priced between the range of $500 to $2,000, with some exceptions from premium brands that cost more than the usual price.
The main purpose of a stage digital piano is performances. If you had been to concerts before, you will have probably realised that most of the performers use the stage digital piano. This is because the stage digital piano is designed to be even lighter and compact than the portable keyboard piano, which makes it easy to bring them from place to place. The stage digital piano is highly recommended for performers who perform frequently and require a piano that can be connected to external sound systems while being convenient to bring around.
3. Console Digital Piano
The console digital piano is the digital version of a traditional upright piano. They are usually 4'5" wide, 1'5" in depth, with the main difference being their heights, which usually range between 2'8" to 3' tall. They are often sold at the $1,000 to $2,000 price range, with some exceptions from premium brands that cost more than the usual price.
Despite the difference in the mechanism used to operate the two as well as the price, the console digital pianos are designed to feel and sound like traditional upright pianos. Although the unique point about most digital pianos is their portability, console digital pianos are not designed to be portable. Instead, console digital pianos possess the largest and highest quality built-in speakers to enhance the experience and feel of a real upright piano.
Hence, these pianos are commonly used by teachers who hold piano lessons at home. They are also very suitable for those who have the habit to practice the piano daily but do not perform because of the quality over portability factor. If you are looking to play the piano for fun but do not want to spend so much to buy a traditional piano, a console digital piano will do you proud when you perform a piece of music or two for fun to impress your friends and relatives when they visit for dinner.
4. Digital Baby Grand Piano
The digital baby grand piano, as the name suggests, is the digital version of the aesthetically pleasing traditional baby grand piano. Digital baby grand pianos are usually 3' to 4' long in depth, 4'6" wide in width and between 3' to 3'5" tall. Most digital baby grands are priced around $5,000 to $8,000, with some exceptions from premium brands that cost more than the usual price.
Similar to the console digital piano, the digital baby grand piano is designed to feel and sound exactly like a traditional baby grand piano. Some of these pianos also come with in-built music demonstrations and some other additional functions.
This makes the digital baby grand piano the perfect piano for those who are pursuing the grand piano route but do not have the budget to buy an actual grand piano. People who are new to piano and wants to experience the grand piano can also consider the digital baby grand due to the help of the built-in music demonstrations, which will act as a piano teacher and allow one to explore and experience the grand piano. Because of this function, digital baby grand pianos are also very popular among piano teachers who conduct grand piano lessons at home as these piano will allow them to be more flexible with their teaching styles.
With all that is shared above, you should have a clear understanding of the different types of digital piano and have more or less decided on which piano to buy. If you want to compare digital pianos with traditional pianos, you can read our previous articles on upright and grand pianos.
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Wen Feng is a passionate music aficionado. He is constantly on the search for new music to listen to, with a particular interest in classical music. Piano pieces have always been a great companion and kept him calm throughout his school and work life.