Digital Piano/Keyboard Buying Guide

Posted by Yoke Wong on 2/25/2011 to Learn To Play Piano

Have you thought about getting a digital piano or keyboard? What are the pros and cons of using a digital piano or keyboard? This article will give you some insights of what to look for when you are shopping for a digital piano or keyboard.

Features of a digital piano

The history of the digital piano dates to the 1980s. The Japanese and the U.S. manufacture the majority of digital pianos. The digital piano is different from the electronic keyboard in many ways. Its action is much like the traditional piano action, and the keys are weighted. The price of a digital piano can range from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. You can also find upright and grand-shaped digital pianos just like a regular acoustic piano. A few of the famous brands are Yamaha Clavinova, Suzuki, Roland, Kawai, Kurzweil, and more.

My favorite brand is the Yamaha Clavinova. I own a Clavinova CVP series; it not only provides many sound features with accompaniment as well as the capability to record onto a disc. Many of the newer digital pianos possess MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) capabilities that allow the digital piano to connect to a computer that has a sound card.

The advantages of using a digital piano or keyboard:

  • Less costly than an acoustic piano (although there are some that are quite costly)
  • Maintenance-free (You save money by not having to tune it.)
  • Light and handy (This feature is especially beneficial to those who live in an apartment.)
  • Comes with headphone plug-in (reduces the noise interference)

Provides many accompaniments and different features that can enhance learning abilities for younger generations (I start my younger students with a Clavinova because it comes with a built-in metronome as well as many attractive features such as recording abilities.)

The disadvantages of using a digital piano or keyboard:

  1. The major disadvantage is no doubt the inability to duplicate the touch and the tones of a regular acoustic piano. Even if the technology is advanced, none of the present digital pianos can imitate the real action of an acoustic piano. Note: Yamaha and Kawai now sell hybrid digital/acoustic pianos. These are regular acoustic pianos with real action that can disconnect from the acoustic sound and connect with the digital sound on demand. This type of piano may very well be the wave of the future.
  2. Digital pianos provide many wonderful features and are affordable for beginners. It is, however, an insufficient instrument to acquire advanced piano techniques and skills. The so-called weighted keys are not as responsive and therefore create a delay in playing that’s detrimental to virtuoso piano playing. The digital piano is not recommended for intermediate or advanced pianist who wants to build techniques.
What to look for?

If you're shopping for a digital piano, do not mainly look at price. Feel and touch the weighted keys as well as checking out its many features. MIDI ability with disc recording is essential in the modern world.


The digital piano has its strong and weak points. Depending on your purchasing criteria, it may very well be a worthy investment!



drew shaffer
Date: 4/24/2011 7:49:06 PM
Dear Sir, I'm confused. I am in the process of buying an electric piano. It seems several of the manufacturers describe their keyboard action differently. In one review I read "weighted keys", in another one I read hammer action, still another reads touch response, and another is graded soft action. You get the idea... What is the difference? Thank you for your time and assistance. Sincerely, Drew Shaffer North Liberty, IA.
Yoke Wong
Date: 4/25/2011 10:55:01 AM
Most keyboards have keys that are much lighter than acoustic piano. Nowadays, manufacturers are trying to improve on the weights of keys so that it can be much more like acoustic piano. My suggestions is for you to try out the electronic keyboard and see if you like the action of the keys. If you are used to playing acoustic piano - weighted keys action is preferred. Hammer action is usually for acoustic piano.
Maria Page
Date: 7/8/2011 3:06:14 PM
I have a question about selling a digital piano. I have a Technics SX-PR50V. It has only has about 2 hours of play. My grandmother had given me a Hammond Orgin but unfortunately it recied water damaged due to a burst pipe. The insurance company replace it this instument. I had hoped my children would have learned how to play but they did not choose this instrument. If I were to sell it, how much should I ask for it? A ball park price would be nice...
Date: 8/28/2011 5:32:42 PM
Miss Wong: The more i read your site i recognize the importance of a good sounding instrument to motivate the student on his learning. I have a Radio Shack 61 key keyboard with no touch sensivity.I bought it some years back between $99.00 and $110.00. I heard the Yamaha Clarinova CVP Models on You Tube and they sound amazing to me. Myfull desire is to get one of them to motivate my interest on learning to play the piano (even that i have the Radio Shack keyboard I do not know even a little about
Yoke Wong
Date: 8/29/2011 11:52:56 AM
Hi Oscar, It is quite crucial to have good sounding instrument - not only it gives you motivation to want to practice more, it is also enjoyable to listen to these great musical sounds. Most newer digital pianos has many features such as recording, rhythm accompaniment, etc.
john worthington
Date: 7/20/2014
Bought mine in 92. Haven't used for a long time. Can do my piano solo but can't get rhythm accompaniment. Got manual. but end up muting piano. Can you help me?
colic c
Date: 8/20/2014
right hand ok,left?
Date: 7/9/2015
bought mine in 92 .haven't used for along time.can do my piNO SOLO BUT CAN'T GET RHYTHM ACCOMPANIMENT.GOT MANUAL.BUT END UP MUTING PIANO.CAN YOU HELP ME?
Date: 7/10/2015
@SEEGODRA -> If you have the Piano Rhythm course just go over it lesson by lesson. Then practice, practice, practice. Begin your practice by playing the rhythm slowly and then increase your speed once you feel confident with the tempo. Also, a trick I use is to follow the tic-tac of the second hand of the clock. Each second is equal to 1 beat.

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