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Are digital pianos good for a beginner to learn on? (Ideas and gadgets)
Posted by: F : Moussaillon - E : Ship's Boy angle kite (IP Logged)
Date: 07/20/2011 05:23AM

My son has just started piano lessons and we want to get a piano for him to practice on at home. Would it be best to get a digital piano, or a more traditional piano? I know that the digital pianos do not need tuning, which sounds like a big advantage. Are they any major drawbacks with a digital piano?


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Re: Are digital pianos good for a beginner to learn on? (Ideas and gadgets)
Posted by: F : Matelot-chef (matc) | E: Master Seaman (MS) lamimartin (IP Logged)
Date: 07/21/2011 02:41PM

Learning piano is very different than playing keyboard. Keyboards often have only a spring effect on the keys, and expression is limited to the capacity to press faster on each key (velocity sensitive touch).

I learned on old fashion upright pianos, which produce naturally a weighted effect on the touch that is often reproduced up to a certain point by some models of digital piano manufacturers such as Korg and Yamaha for instance. The weighted touch effect of a piano is different from a keyboard touch and essential to develop full expression and emotion while playing. Of all musical instruments, the piano offers one of the widest dynamic range (capability to play very soft up to very loud). Digital pianos are a scaled down version of such dynamic range, so they are only targeted as practice, not concert instruments in general.

The best piano touch effect and dynamic range is found on concert grand piano, but very few people can afford to have a 9 feet long piano into their house, not to mention the cost of shipping and regular tuning. There are some smaller version (6 feet) that are about equivalent in terms of sound to the full height upright pianos. The smaller the strings and casing, the smaller is the capacity to play lowder and with full expression and subtil harmonics.

Digital pianos greatly improved on the past 20 years (mine is a 1988 Technics). The touch is improved and digital sampling is better quality, with less or no digital background noise. They are a better purchase than a low profile and limited sound quality upright piano, but they are a far cry from replacing any concert or even a full size upright piano. The main advantage is that someone can play and practice with headphones, or play along with the whole family. I would warn you that portable units are NOT as rugged, will not produce the same sound quality. Don't cheat and make sure to buy a full 88 notes piano with good quality piano touch and sound. You won't regret it.

Martin, Sandpiper 565 #925



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