Acoustic Pianos vs. Digital Pianos


There is just no substitute for an acoustic piano when learning how to play the piano.  I’m sorry to say this, but it’s true.  Even full-sized, 88 key, weighted-key keyboards are not the same animal as an acoustic piano.  The touch, sound, and feel of an acoustic piano are still very different from that of a digital piano.  If you are serious about learning how to play the piano, the short answer is that you need to practice on a piano.  A piano and a keyboard are not the same thing. If space is a consideration, an 88-key digital piano will not take up much more room than an actual acoustic piano.

Before you consider buying a digital piano, please consider renting an acoustic piano first. Please check out the FAQ page for places that rent pianos in Brooklyn.

That being said, living in Brooklyn as I do, I understand considerations such as cost and volume when most of us live in small apartments in apartment buildings with others in close proximity.  Students need to start developing finger strength immediately, and pedal skills later down the line – skills that they cannot develop on a small, plastic keyboard.  Please be aware, these skills are still difficult to develop on a digital piano.  I have never met a pianist who did not learn how to play on a real piano.  I have never met a pianist who does not practice on a real piano.  However, if you absolutely cannot rent or buy an acoustic piano, you might want to consider a digital piano.

If you do any searching on your own, you may notice the Williams, Lagrima, Alesis, Rock Jam, and The ONE brands of pianos are much cheaper and claim to offer fully-weighted keys.  In my opinion, these are souped up toys that don’t feel or sound very good at all.  Please don’t be duped by the cheaper price – they are cheaper for a reason.  You are better off spending your money on a quality digital piano.  You or your child will be more willing to practice on an instrument that doesn’t feel and sound cheap. They are also better quality overall and aren’t likely to break down in year.  Yamaha, Casio, Korg, Roland, Kawai, and Nord are quality brands – with the majority of affordable keyboards coming from Yamaha and Casio.

The digital piano you buy should have 88 fully weighted keys (not semi-weighted).  You will also need a stand and a sustain pedal.  Here are the best and most affordable options (around $500), in my opinion, that are out there:

Casio Privia PX-160 88-Key Digital Stage Piano:

Probably the best bang for your buck. It has built-in speakers, educational accessories, an uncluttered interface, and a USB port.

Yamaha YPG-535 88-key Portable Grand:

Also a decent choice. Yamaha makes very good quality digital pianos and this is piano is on the lower price end, so it has less bells and whistles.

yamahap45bYamaha p71 88 Key Digital Piano:

Yamaha makes a great product.  The action (the way the keys touch and feel when played) is similar to a real piano, and the sounds are sampled from real pianos for the best sound quality possible.  The above links to a package that includes a stand and a bench.

korgsp170Korg SP170:

Korg always has a solid feeling and a solid build.  With 88 weighted, hammer action keys you’re getting as close as you can to the feeling of a real piano.  The sounds are directly sampled from real pianos so you’ll get pretty close to the real sound of a piano as well.

Please feel free to contact the studio with any other questions you might have.  Happy hunting!