Pianos add more class and quirk to the style and décor of your home. If you or your children are into music, having a digital piano at home is must. Or if you are running a music academy, you must need a number of pianos. Choosing a piano depends on the purpose you are getting a piano for.
Choices and options vary if you are a beginner or a high-end piano player. Also, you are getting a piano for yourself or your children. Moreover, you might be getting it to just add a Hollywood touch to your home décor. Each situation comes with a number of different options in pianos.
When you go out to get a piano, you might get confused looking at the variety of pianos. They offer hundreds of features and characteristics you have never heard about. You might be confused and might end up buying a piano that is not really for you. In order to save yourself from this, it is better to go through a piano buying guide. A helpful buying guide will let you know the important factors to consider when buying a piano.
Following are the most significant factors you must remember:
Which type of piano do you want?
As the world has progressed, different types of pianos have been produced. Before getting a piano, you need to choose whether you want to get a traditional piano or a modern technological one?
Following are the few choices you can choose one from, keeping in view your taste and requirements:
Acoustic pianos are the traditional pianos and so, they are the original pianos. They have the best sound and acoustics you can never get with the newer modern pianos. They are very beautiful. This is due to the different styles and finishes acoustic pianos come in. If you really want to add an aesthetic look to your home, acoustic pianos are the answer.
Acoustic pianos give off a rich feel with their smooth keys. Their tone is so rich and pleasing that no modern piano can ever replace it.
However, acoustic pianos do not come with modern aspects such as faster recording options, headphone jack, USB or tablet connectivity etc. You need to transpose the songs manually which acts as a major drawback once you are a regular player.
Also, acoustic pianos are heavier and difficult to move around. They need regular maintenance and tuning and are difficult to record. Acoustic pianos are quite sensitive towards humidity and temperature. If not tuned, you will not get the desired sound and action. At times, professional tuning is required, and it can be time consuming and expensive. If you are careless about the tunings, your ears are going to be really unhappy about that!
Despite of these cons, its pros are on the higher end. If you are really passionate about music, maintenance won’t be a matter for you. You would prefer having high quality sounds and only acoustic pianos can produce that.
So go for an acoustic piano if you love traditional ways of playing a piano and have great love for not-so-modern music instruments.
Digital pianos are the modern replacements for acoustic pianos. These come in a variety of styles and sizes like that of acoustic pianos. The thing that is the cause of all the differences between a digital piano and acoustic piano is technology.
Due to technology integrated in digital pianos, they give off more of a modern outlook. They must be plugged in order to start playing and so, need an electric power source nearby.
Digital pianos cannot produce the rich and alluring sound like that of an acoustic piano. Even though its keys are smooth, the sound and action do not have the same effects as that of an acoustic piano. You need to give up a little on the quality of sound. But if you get a high quality digital piano, the sound can be relatively great.
However, if you are a teenager or a man of the modern age, the sound effects might not matter a lot for you. Digital pianos come with several technological features that are a need of the time. They come with no need of tuning and maintenance. You do not have to worry or schedule tuning your piano in your routine. Their keys remain soft forever.
It is easier to record with digital pianos. Without a lot of effort, you can add your transpose. Moreover, you are free to move your piano anywhere in your home as these are very lightweight. It makes them highly portable and flexible.
When it comes to modern technology, digital pianos have a number of technological characteristics. They can be connected with your PC, laptop, or tablet with great ease. It makes learning and practicing easy. The headphone jack is of great help and you can practice and play even if there is a lot of noise around. Also, if you are not allowed to make noise in the home, you can put on your headphones and keep the sound confined to your ears.
So in this digital world, a digital piano is a good option to consider. If you are not a great admirer of traditional musical instruments, go for a digital piano.
If you are always on the go, you need your piano with you. This makes practicing and performing easier. That’s where keyboards came in!
Keyboards are the type of piano you can pack in your bag and take with you anywhere. Also, if you do not have a lot of space in your home to set up a piano, keyboards are a great option. You can easily keep them in your closet or even under your bed.
Keyboards come in a lot of quality options and choices. If you are an enthusiast, you must not compromise on quality. Better the quality, better will be the sound.
Moreover, keyboards come in smaller as well as big sizes. You can choose the one as per your preference. Like digital pianos, keyboards come with a number of modern features. It is easier to maintain and tune them. You can choose the accessories on your own such as bench, stand, and sustain pedals.
The only thing you need to worry about keyboards is the sound feel. The keys do not give off a rich sound. In order to get a more authentic feel, weighted keys must be preferred. Therefore, choose keyboard only if you are a traveler or have tight living space. Quality of keys and sound can be chosen according to your requirements.
MIDI Controller is the option you might least consider when getting a piano. However, as it is an important type of a piano, you need to know about it. You might change your mind and get a MIDI Controller out of all the different types of pianos.
MIDI Controllers are highly portable, even more than that of keyboards. These are slimmer and have a lighter weight as compared to keyboards. Also, these are inexpensive. So if you are low on budget and are a beginner, you can put your hands on a MIDI Controller.
One great advantage of a MIDI Controller is that you can directly incorporate it into your recording setup. It removes the hassle of attaching acoustic piano using a mic or a digital piano or keyboard with their special interfaces.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that MIDI Controller produce low quality sound. You cannot get the same feel as you do while playing an acoustic piano, a digital piano, or a keyboard. So when it comes to the quality and effects of sounds and keys, MIDI Controller lies at the bottom.
Also, the MIDI Controller does not come with built-in speakers. You need to attach it with your computer to listen to the sound. Now the sound depends on the quality of speakers in your computer. In order to integrate it with your computer, you need some specific software and accessories.
Therefore, MIDI controller is an option to consider if you are a lot into recording system. If not, other three options are better.
– What type of tone do you prefer?
Different pianos come with different tones. An acoustic piano and a digital piano come with both a brighter tone as well as a mellower tone. If you like brighter tones, go for a piano that has brighter keys. However, if you love a slow and easygoing tone, a mellower tone is perfect for you.
Examining the tone of a piano is an important factor. This is because the sound must be round and full. If you are a beginner, you can ask for an opinion from a piano technician or a professional piano teacher. If you are a regular piano player, you will get to know in an instant whether the tones are consistent or if there is any deviation in the loudness.
– Is the quality of sound consistent?
The quality of piano can be determined from the quality of sound. While you are judging the quality of sound, it is important to look at consistency of sound. If the quality of the sound is consistent, your hands are on a good quality piano.
Checking the quality of sound and its consistency is highly important. If you observe some ups and downs in the sound, the sound is not consistent. Or if you experience loudness in the sound with same key in one touch and lower sound in the next touch, the quality is not appreciable. Therefore, make sure you check the consistency in the quality of sound by playing some keys before getting a piano.
– Are keys smooth?
The quality of sound also depends on the keys. To produce a good quality sound, the keys must be smooth. If the keys have some damage or cracks, the sound is not going to be good and consistent.
These damages and cracks lead to higher resistance. When you are playing the piano, there should be adequate resistance between the keys. A little strength must be used when playing the keys of a piano. If no effort at all is required, the keys have no resistance. This cannot produce the desired sounds and all the keys might feel like producing the same sound.
Also, there must be sufficient cushioning when you strike the keys. This avoids the shock from transmitting to your finger joints. In order to have shock-free performance, the keys need to be cushioned yet smooth.
– Are keys touch sensitive?
Now, an important factor to consider if you are getting the piano for your children is the sensitivity of keys. A piano must be touch sensitive so that children do not have to put extra strength to play the piano. Children strike the keys with their normal strength. If the key need to be strike hard in order to produce the sound, that piano is not suitable for your children.
Piano produces the sound according to the velocity of touch. This means if you press the key with higher velocity, a louder sound is produced and vice versa. Make sure you get a piano for your children if it senses the touch even when half key is pressed and so, produces a full sound. This makes learning the piano easier for children.
Not only children but adult beginners also need touch sensitive keys as they are not pro at hitting the keys. They need time and practice to get the sensitivity of keys. So touch sensitivity of the keys are a significant determinant if you are getting piano for the very first time. They help you exert better control over the sound and action of a piano.
– How many number of keys a piano has?
A full sized piano has 88 keys. There are several small sized pianos that come with 61 keys or lesser than that. The regular performers require 81 keys. Also, if you are new into learning how to play a piano and are very serious about it, do not settle for lesser than 88 keys.
A full-sized piano is what helps you in learning the piano professionally. Almost all professional teachers recommend getting a full-sized piano.
– What polyphony do you prefer?
Polyphony is the greatest number of sounds that can be produced with a piano at any time. There are different number of notes a piano comes with. For example, there is a 32 note polyphony for pianists who are beginners. For piano players at intermediate levels, it is best to get a 64 note polyphony piano. However, if you are an advanced level earner and performer, 128-note polyphony or higher makes perfect sense.
A full-sized piano with 88 keys can produce 128 notes if you are using a sustained pedal. As you learn playing a piano, you learn the ways and tricks to utilize the polyphony to its best extent gradually. Therefore, if you are investing your money into a piano, make sure you get the one that is going to fulfill all your future needs and demands.
– Do you need a piano with other instrumental sounds?
If you are choosing a digital piano for yourself, here is an important factor you should keep in mind. It helps you in becoming an all-rounder musician and not just the pianist. A high end digital piano can produce the sounds of various instruments such as a saxophone and a choir.
So if you want your piano to help you in learning different musical instruments and sounds, a digital piano with different instrumental sounds is the best option.
– What size of piano do you need?
The size of piano is another important factor to consider. If you have enough space in your room or living space, you are good to go with a bigger piano. A bigger pianos adds a lot to the beauty and elegance of your home. We have never seen a single classy house that does not have piano. So if it’s more about adding beauty to your house when you are not an avid piano player, choose a bigger sized piano.
However, choose a small size if you have restricted space. This goes best for the people who love to learn and play piano regularly. So if you are an enthusiast and want to get a piano, make sure you are not comprising on the number of keys and polyphony. Enough number of keys and polyphony in a small sized piano makes a great option.
– Where will you place the piano?
A lot of pianos are sensitive to temperature and humidity. This can significantly affect the quality of sound. Usually, acoustic pianos are more weather sensitive than other types of pianos. Therefore, if you live in an area that is very humid or often has a high temperature, getting an acoustic piano will not be a good investment.
In this scenario, it is better to get a digital piano or a keyboard so that you do not have to worry about regular tuning and maintenance.
– Does the piano come with warranty?
Here is the factor that matters the most when you are making an investment: Warranty. If you are paying a high price for your piano, it is important to get a warranty card as well. Many pianos come with a 3 year or a 5 year warranty. If you are purchasing a piano from a private retailor, he might not offer you any warranty.
As this is a big investment, make sure you are getting a warranty for it. In this way, you can be satisfied and know where to go if you come across some little or big issue with your piano. A warranty covers all the minor and bigger problems at a lesser cost or even free. You will not need to pay a lot.
– Where are you getting the piano from?
The place you are getting a piano from matters a lot. Do not settle for some local retailor who does not have a good reputation. There are several high quality brands that have been producing reliable and high-end products over the years. If you want the best piano, choose the best retailer or a manufacturer. Getting a high quality product is worth spending your money.
Some of the best piano manufacturers are Baldwin, Kawai, and Steinway & Sons. You can always rely on any of these companies to get a best quality piano.
– What is your budget?
Last but not the least, budget is the most important factor to consider. You can get a piano for as low as $100 and as high as several thousand dollars. If you are getting a piano for the first time, investing on an expensive piano is not a great idea. You can buy an average piano at an average cost. As you practice and gain experience, you can move towards a better one.
As long as you are getting a high quality piano that adds beauty to your home and doubles you music experience, investing on an expensive piano is worth it. However, in the end, choose the one that has a good sound and style and falls within your budget.
– Are you going to get a secondhand piano?
Here is another important thing to be clear about. If you are going to get a secondhand piano, this section is for you.
A secondhand piano is good to go if you are low on budget and am experienced pianist. In this way, you will be able to judge the performance of a piano by playing a few notes. If they sound right to you, buy that secondhand piano. If you are not experienced, get help from a piano tech.
Secondhand pianos need more maintenance than newer ones. So if you are fine with tuning your piano regularly, a second hand piano is a good option for you.
So this is the ultimate buying guide when you think of getting a piano. Make sure you go through it and keep all the important factors in mind so that you can end up buying the best piano for you.