Tips for buying a digital piano
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Considering buying a new (or second hand) keyboard or digital piano? Here are some tips and things to look out for before making the investment.

  • Piano Action:
    At the very least, a touch sensitive keyboard is really a must have, even for beginners. You will also want to check out the piano action of the keyboard, that is, how the keys respond when played. There are some very nice digital pianos available today with excellent, fully weighted piano hammer action. Every keyboard is built a bit differently, so it helps of you can try different instruments before plunking down your hard earned dough.
     
     
  • Piano and Instrument Sounds:
    Obviously, the quality of the sound of the keyboard is very important. Many digital pianos offer other instrument sounds in addition to piano. While this can add great value to your instrument, don't base your decision on this factor alone. If you plan on playing mostly solo piano, the 'cool factor' of having a zillion sounds at your fingertips will wear off quickly.
     
     
  • Portability:
    Do you need something portable enough to take to gigs, or will your piano be staying mostly at home?
     
     
  • Sampling, Midi, Music Software
    Virtually every newer digital piano supports MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) which means you can connect to a sound module for more instrument sounds, or to your computer for using the plethora of music software available. If this is something that piques your interest, do a bit of research and read a book or two about MIDI and music software. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way.
     
     
  • Onboard Speakers
    If you're looking for an all-in-one digital piano with speakers built in, make sure the speakers sound good! If you can't try the instrument out before buying, read up on piano reviews and snoop out the scoop. A more expensive piano does not always mean it's better quality, but at the same time if a piano only costs a couple hundred bucks, it's probably not going to have million dollar speakers built into it (a bit of a no-brainer but sometimes a gentle reminder helps).
     
     
  • How much $ to invest?
    As the old adage goes, you usually get what you pay for, and investing a bit of extra cash into a good quality instrument will always pay itself back tenfold. This is especially true for beginners. Music teachers everywhere can tell the story about the parent who buys a cheap keyboard for their child to learn on, planning to invest in a better quality instrument if the child improves and continues to show an interest. Unfortunately most people, especially kids, will have a difficult time learning to play music on a poor quality instrument, and end up quitting before they give themselves a chance. A good quality instrument gives the student a decent chance at succeeding. This doesn't mean you need to buy top-of-the-line gear, but it might mean saving an extra few pennies or renting a digital or acoustic piano until you're ready to make the investment.
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