Have you ever wanted to learn the piano, but you don’t have room to own an acoustic piano? Have you ever thought about learning on a keyboard/digital piano? Now obviously there are many great reasons why you should buy an acoustic piano but this blog is about why you should buy a keyboard and can it really compare to an acoustic one.
When it comes to keyboards, it really depends on what specifics you're looking for as you really do get what you pay for. There are some fantastic keyboards for beginners if you're looking to take the early grades as well as some models which have more advanced features for the more experienced players. If you pay £400 for a digital piano then it won't feel or sound exactly like an acoustic piano, however, it’ll still be perfect to learn the basics. For example, the Yamaha P-45b, which comes in at £413, has a full 88 key range with a weighted key-bed. The benefits of having a weighted key-bed means that you can get full dynamic expression. In layman's terms, it’s easier to create dynamics, louder and softer. But let’s say you were looking to spend up to £5000 on a digital piano and we use Yamaha as our basis. I would be inclined to show you the CLP-685 which is part of Yamaha’s Clavinova range. It comes in at £3783 which is a similar price to an entry level upright piano but with a few more benefits. The CLP-685 comes with individually wooden weighted keys, the wood replacing the previously plastic keys on the lower models. Having wooden keys gives the player a more organic feel like you would have on an acoustic piano. On an acoustic piano you have hammers that strike a string when a key is pressed down. As you go from the lower keys to the higher end, the hammers slowly get smaller and smaller which also means that they get lighter. Basically, every key is a slightly different weight to the last one, which the CLP-685 accurately replicates. This digital piano also comes with something called an escape action which, without going into too much detail, makes the digital piano feel like an acoustic Grand.
We discussed that a digital piano can feel like an acoustic piano so are there any other benefits to owning one? Firstly, because they’re digital, they allow for volume control - perfect if you live in a terraced or semi-detached house and you don’t want to disturb the neighbours! They come with a range of different sounds for you to fully explore your own creativity. In the higher end of the spectrum, they even come with Bluetooth technology allowing you to connect your smart phone, Tablet or Mac to the piano itself. This allows you to play along with other musicians or you can even use it to teach you how to play the instrument with virtual lessons.
Let’s say your child is taking lessons and maybe you and your partner would like to learn but obviously time is precious. Your child goes off to bed and you and your partner are sitting downstairs maybe having a glass of wine and you decide, ‘let’s have a go at the new piano we’ve just bought.’ The Bluetooth technology means that you don’t need to be an expert to play the piano, the technology available will guide you through the process of making music. Don’t believe me? Come in to the store and ask one of the sales staff to show you!
So, here’s the only catch with a keyboard, technology is improving at an exponential rate so year by year keyboards and digital pianos are getting better and better. The one you may buy now may not be anything in comparison to a later model that comes out in 5 years’ time. I will say though; do you really need it to be any better than they already are? Unless you’re a gigging musician where you want the most updated and best tech all the time, you’re not going to need to buy one every time a new model comes out. If this IS the case, then maybe you’d want to buy every couple of years.
Okay so if you’re a gigging musician and you want something that’s going to give you everything you need without being too overly complex, there are a few different options you can take depending on the type of music you’re playing. If you’re playing as a duo or the music is based more around the piano, then I would recommend the Roland RD-2000 which now comes in at £1799; unfortunately we do not sell this make however it is not hard to get your hands on. Although it is now a few years old, it’s sounds are far more diverse than anything else on the market currently. It has a full 88 wooden weighted key-bed with a fast array of sounds and synthesisers.
The Nord Stage 3 is arguably the best all round Stage keyboard. It comes in at roughly £2400 and has 3 separate sound engines, Piano, Organ and Synthesiser, all of which can be used simultaneously. It’s array of sounds can cover almost anything you’d require it to do. Another benefit to this keyboard is that it has been specifically EQ’d to sit nicely in amongst the rest of the band. What this means is that it won’t or shouldn’t interfere with any of the other parts in the band giving the listener a crystal-clear sound.
Next on our list is the Yamaha CP88 which comes in at just shy of £2000 and is the next big name on our list! This is Yamaha’s flagship Stage Piano and encompasses a wide range of sounds. It sits in the middle of the Nord and the Roland with great piano sounds and great synthesiser replications.
Hopefully this gives you a greater understanding of keyboards/digital pianos and why you should buy one. If you are looking to purchase and if you liked the sound of anything in this blog, then feel free to pop into the store for further details. Alternatively, have a browse through our keyboard selection!