Piano Buyers Guide
Learning to play the piano can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding hobbies to take up. The only problem is that if you are learning for the first time, you probably won’t know what to look for when you are purchasing your first piano. You may be asking yourself questions like: What is the difference between an acoustic and a digital piano? What are the pros and cons of each type? Should I go with a full size keyboard or a smaller one? These are all very good questions, and are very important in the decision making process.
First thing you will want to decide is how much you want to invest in your new hobby. You will want to consider your dedication level before making your purchase. Pianos can get very expensive, and even more difficult to learn. Many people do not stick with it and end up having expensive pianos that collect dust. When I first started playing, I bought a cheap $100 keyboard and played with that for about 6 months, before I decided to spend a little more money on a quality piano. If you are positive you are going to stick with playing, you may also consider buying a quality piano the first time to avoid the extra cost.
Higher quality pianos can produce richer sounds, and can ultimately help you learn the instrument quicker. In the past acoustic pianos were by far better sounding than digital pianos, but recently the digital pianos have gotten very advanced, and can often times play the pitch better than an acoustic. Acoustic pianos really need to be tuned at least once a year, and sometime up to twice a year depending on how much they are played. If you do not do this yearly maintenance it can cause your piano to fall out of tune, and at around $120 a tuning session, this can get expensive. Acoustics even require you to have them tuned after you move them.
You will also want to consider feel of the keys when you are making your buying decision. If you are looking at a digital keyboard, the more expensive models will have weighted keys that emulate the authentic feel of a real piano. This is great if your ultimate goal is to be able to play on an acoustic piano like a pro. Some of the keyboards also feature non weighted keys, which a lot of musicians who play for long hours like, because of the reduced fatigue on their fingers.
Another important factor to consider is whether to get the full 88 keys, or a reduced size keyboard. I personally like the full keyboard, but it can be bulky, and a smaller size may be ideal for someone who likes to take their keyboard with them. With the reduced size keyboard you will lose out on a little bit of range.
Playing the piano was one of the greatest hobbies that I have every picked up. At 30 years old I knew I was a little late in the game, but it is never too late to start and I sure am glad I did. It can be a difficult decision which type of piano to select, but I personally recommend a digital piano because of its versatility over an acoustic piano. But everyone is different, and I would suggest looking at what factors are important to you, and basing your decision on that.