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Digital or Acoustic? What piano do I buy and how do I know what's a good deal?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 by Sharon Hale | Uncategorized

I often get asked, "should I buy digital or acoustic (aka a 'real piano')?" As I am currently going through the process of selecting a new acoustic piano myself, I feel the pain of trying to select THE ONE from THE MANY, MANY options!! It can be overwhelming! And it's possible to make a horrible mistake if you purchase or get a 'free' piano from an individual without a technician advising you on the condition of that particular piano (been there, done that!). Ultimately, it comes down to sound (does is SOUND good??) and feel (can you really express yourself on that piano?). 

If you don't know what you want a piano to sound or feel like, I'd like to share a website and some articles that I've found to be invaluable in giving what seems to be relatively unbiased information on all those options, to help you make a decision that is right for you and your family: https://www.pianobuyer.com.  


If you're trying to decide between acoustic or digital: https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/acoustic-or-digital-whats-best-for-me/

If you've decided on acoustic:https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/piano-buying-basics-introduction/

If you've decided on digital:https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/how-to-buy-a-digital-piano/

Pricing Guide:Pricing Guide


A plug for acoustic: "The advantages of the acoustic piano start with the fact that it’s the “real thing,” inherently capable of nuances that are difficult for the digital piano to emulate. The experience of playing an acoustic piano — the harmonics, the vibrations, the touch, the visual appeal, the interaction with the room, the connection with tradition — is so complex that digitals cannot reproduce it all. And, provided that it’s a decent instrument and properly maintained, the acoustic will continue to serve you or a subsequent owner for several generations, after which it might be rebuilt and continue to make music." -taken from this article: Acoustic or Digital?


A note on if you've decided you absolutely must go digital: Please ensure any practice instrument has the following:

  • weighted keys - there needs to be some resistance to the key so fingers develop the strength needed to play expressively on various instruments. Think of the difference between typing on a computer keyboard versus an old manual typewriter. 
  • touch sensitivity - the ability to press a key softly to get a soft sound, then press it harder to get a louder sound. Without the ability to create variations in tone, the pianist will be playing 'monotone.' Boring, and not musical at all!
  • 88 keys - a full size keyboard is essential
  • a pedal - make sure any keyboard in use has a pedal attachment


Good luck in your piano purchasing journey. Persevere to find the one that makes you happy that you'll enjoy having in your home for years to come. It's worth the investment of your time and money!


Sharon