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Music, while it remains beautiful to the ears, is continuously evolving thanks to new inventions and innovations. With regards to the piano, no more do you have to perform in a particular room as was the case with traditional pianos of old. With the advancement in technology, digital pianos are making music even more accessible to different players of different skill levels.
Why Choose a Digital Piano?
A growing number of people are looking to digital pianos because they are becoming affordable and come packed with a number of useful features that make playing a pleasant experience. Much as the digital piano is a modern electrical instrument, it is not to be confused with electronic keyboards or pianos.
That being said, while searching for the most appropriate digital piano to suit your needs, there are a number of factors you need to put into consideration.
Cost: You need to find a piano that fits your budget while at the same time providing you with a pleasant playing experience. Digital pianos unlike traditional pianos can go for as low as below $500. This makes digital pianos significantly cheaper that most other pianos. In addition, their maintenance costs are also relatively cheap.
Convenience: Thanks t their lightweight and compact nature, it is easy to transport a number of digital pianos. There is no more need to tweak strings and hammers in order to tune the piano like you would with a traditional piano. With the digital, sound is digitally recorded. This means that with digital pianos there is no worry of the piano going out of tune since the sounds are recorded digitally.
Versatility: There is no need to turn the volume down with the digital piano because you can simply make use of headphones to keep the sound contained. Manipulating or adjusting the sound level is also easy with digital pianos.
Numerous sound options: There are more sound options available with digital pianos. You get to choose from three types of octaves, four octave or even five and eight octaves. There more instrument sounds present in a digital piano than there are in a traditional one. With the numerous sounds present such as drum beats and flute sounds, playing the digital piano sounds much like playing with an entire orchestra.
Sound recording capability: The recording capability in digital pianos makes it possible to replay some of the sounds you have created so that you can discover where you may have gone wrong and where you need improvement. With plenty of practice, you will be able to keep track of where you need the most improvement as you track your progress.
Connectivity: You don’t need to wonder about transferring your recordings with digital pianos. Thanks to a number of connectivity capabilities, you can transfer your recordings to a computer, another musical instrument or music player. In addition, you are able to add new software or music to the piano. Some models do come with a USB slot for added convenience. The MIDI performance features facilitates the connection of the piano to a number of musical instruments, computers or music players.
In short, digital pianos are becoming affordable and making playing, recording and learning joyful. That being said though, with so many products on the market, sometimes picking the right digital piano may be a difficult task which is why it is good to compare different pianos to find the right fit for you.
The Best Digital Pianos For 2015
Although there are a number of pianos on the market, sometimes picking the right one may be hard. You need to find the right product quality, the right touch sensitivity, sound quality or price.
A look at the top 5 digital pianos for 2015:
1. Casio PX-850
The Casio Privia PX850 features ‘AiR’-Acoustic and intelligent Resonator which is a proprietary sound source from Casio. It comes with 88-note Tri-sensor Hammer action keyboard complete with Ebony and Ivory Feel keys for that natural feel. The pianos comes with 256 polyphony tones in addition to a split and layer capability and the duet mode that makes it possible to split into two equal ranges, this way two people are able to conveniently play with the keys at the same time. This is a great feture for teachers and students.
The Casio X850 comes at a good price and is ideal for the advanced piano player.
2. Yamaha DGX-650
The Yamaha DG X650 is not only versatile but comes with a number of useful features that make it an ideal digital piano for players of different skill levels. It is an 88-key piano that incorporates the Graded Hammer Standard Action keyboard. It comes with 128 polyphony notes, four built-in speakers, a USB Audio Recorder, an AUX line output and two amplifiers.
The Yamaha DG X650 is ideal for learning thanks to the XG song files that act as a guide and accompaniment. In addition, the Style Recommender feature provides players with suggestions on styles that are the most appropriate. Last but not least, with this piano, you get to utilize the Smart Chord, a feature that lets you create entire chords.
3. Yamaha P105
The Yamaha P105 which is from the Yamaha P-series is not only user-friendly but comes with a number of useful features that makes for fun playing. The piano comes with 10 built-in styles, built-in speakers, AUX line out, USB to host and 88-weighted keyboard. It is compact and makes use of Yamaha’s pure CF sound engine. In addition, it incorporates the Graded Hammer Standard technology for exceptional sensitivity and genuine touch. This piano’s sound quality is amazing to say the least. The pricing is great and the PC connectivity feature is a definite plus for many. While many find fault with its storage capacity and foot pedal quality, it still doesn’t take away from its being an ideal piano to have.
4. Casio PX150
The Casio PX150 makes it to this list thanks to its 18 built-in tones, Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard, Tri-Sensor and Duet Mode. The keyboard comes with 88 keys while the sound is enhanced thanks to Casio’s exclusive AiR sound source. It boasts of three times more memory compared to the previous Privia digital pianos. In addition, it comes with the maximum number of polyphony notes (128 notes) a wonderful feature for beginners.
Although the stand height is perceived as inconvenient for younger or shorter users, it doesn’t take away from the greatness of the piano.
5. Yamaha P35
The Yamaha P35 is not only portable but boats of great sound quality. It leads the way in Yamaha’s P-series and comes with a number of features. It boasts of a slim design, is lightweight and utilizes Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory (AWM). It is easy to adjust the keyboard to suite a player’s needs thanks to the Graded Hammer Standard technology it incorporates. In addition, the interface is user-friendly thanks to its one-button operation.
Unfortunately, this piano comes with only 32 polyphony notes and has no recording function. Other than that, it is a wonderful piano to own.
How to find the best Digital Piano
Buying the first piano that you come across may not be your best bet to producing great sounds. You need to educate yourself on tips to finding the best possible piano to suits your taste and budget. This takes away the regret that comes with purchasing the wrong product. Trying to find the best digital piano may not be easy as it seems which is why the tips provided will help you make the best possible decision. These tips will help save you a lot of time and money as you search for the most appropriate piano to buy.
Know your skill and Experience level: You need to know you skill and experience levels before buying a digital piano. This helps you find the right piano for your skill level. This is because different pianos come with different features that are great for different skill levels. In case you have played other pianos before, you need to know the types to make an informed decision on what you need to buy.
How much are you looking to spend? You need to know how much you need to spend in order to find the best possible piano for your needs. You don’t want to end up with a cheap piano that doesn’t meet your needs and yet you were capable of buying a good one.
Where will you be storing the piano? You need to know where you will place or store your piano. There is no point in buying the piano and having no where to place it!
What sound quality are you looking for? You need to check out the piano’s sound quality before purchasing it. You don’t want to end up with a piano that doesn’t provide you with your desired sound quality.
What is your desired key grip? Take a look at the keyboard and ensure that the keys provide you with your desired grip. You don’t want to end up with keys that make your fingers slip as you play.
What dimensions are you the most comfortable with? The dimensions are great for storage and portability purposes. You don’t want to end up with a piano that is just too tall for example when you could have used one with a lesser height. There is no point in buying a tall piano that you will find difficulty reaching.
What pedal pressure would work well for you? The pedal response on the piano you wish to purchase has to be to your desired touch responsiveness. You don’t want to end up with a piano that requires you to use a lot of pressure.
What additional features would you like on your piano? You need to check for add-ons that come with the piano. You need to check for little things such as a headphone jack, amplifier, or USB port depending on which add-ons would really improve your playing experience.
Check for a warranty In order to protect yourself, you need to check the warranty coverage of the piano you wish to purchase. The bigger the coverage period, the better for you. In addition, in case your warranty covers parts, then that is even better.
In case you are still not sure of which piano to buy, don’t be shy to ask around. Make use of your piano teacher for example to get pointers on the best piano to use. You can also talk to anyone that knows their way around digital pianos for example the salesperson at the piano shop. You can also take a look over the internet for different digital piano reviews to find the most appropriate one for you.
The ABC to learning a piano
Aside from passion, you need to have a lot of concentration to seriously learn the piano. In order to effectively learn how to play the piano, the tips and tricks listed below work together to provide you with the ABCs you need to learn how to play.
- Although boring, you need to learn the basic fundamental theory of playing the piano before rushing into the real thing. The knowledge acquired not only adds to your skills but it also expands on your ability to effectively learn and play the instrument. You can add to your basic fundamental theory through private lessons, a good music book or from a number of online resources.
- You should have clear goals and objectives if you wish to effectively learn how to play. When you have set goal, you tend to work towards achieving them. Have a daily practice planner for what you need to focus on and why. With the achievement of daily set goals, you will be able to boast your confidence thus work that much harder to really learn how to play.
- Remember to warm up before going for your practice session. Try out different notes and skills to determine which areas to need to further work on.
- Slow down even when you feel the need of going fast. With so much to learn and practice, you may wish to swallow it all without chewing. That may not be good for you. You need to take the time out to steadily learn different aspects of playing the piano as opposed to trying to do everything at once.
- Don’t lose focus on your practice with life’s daily occurrences. You need a lot of passion and dedication if you wish to effectively learn how to play the piano. Try as much as possible not to bring your daily happening to your lessons as they tend to divert your much needed concentration.
- Enjoy small bits of information from each session instead of trying to take it all in. Go slow but steady with your practice instead of trying to overwhelm yourself with so many lessons.
- Ensure that you have a practice session schedule and try as much as possible to stick to it. With all that calls for your attention during the day, it may be easy to lose focus on your sessions if you don’t strive to go by a schedule.
- As you learn, don’t leave your enjoyment out the door. Much as you are taking lessons, you need not forego your enjoyment of the musical instrument because it will take its toll on your studies. You need to keep your interest and motivation at a good high if you wish to effectively learn how to play the piano.
- Technology is your friend. Gone are the days when the piano was a more or less stationery thing on one part of the house of facility. These days, with the advancement of technology, the piano can be easily moved and information from it can be shared through the computer or Ipod. In addition to the ease of information transfer, technology, more so in digital pianos makes it possible to self-evaluate yourself as you play
Strive to play with both hands through training
It may be easy to train yourself on a particular note with one of your hands; however, it is a good idea to strive to train yourself on using both your hands. Sure, it is difficult to use both but with practice it is possible. With practice, the seemingly hard hands co-ordination as you practice will soon be a thing of the past. This is because your brain will become accustomed to both hands working on the keyboard.
Tips to training yourself on using both hands
The following tips will help you play the piano using both your hands:
- Follow various difficult notes in order to improve on your reading skills for notes: When you learn how to differentiate the different notes, you will be able to improve upon your reading skills thereby improving upon your ability to play with both hands.
- Try to practice using one hand followed by the other hand then try to practice with both: Try to practice and memorize a phase with one hand then do the same with the other. Following this, try to practice the phase with both hands. It may not be easy, but with practice it becomes possible.
Important Tips to follow:
- Endeavor to concentrate and be patient with yourself
- Before playing with both hands, ensure that you have carefully read the notes
- Practice a given passage with one hand before moving onto practice with the other hand. This will boast your confidence when it comes down to using both hands.
- Learn to take advice and suggestions from however is listening to you and strive to work upon improving your play.
FAQs in Piano Playing
How many keys should an average piano have?
On average, a piano comes with 88 keys although there are those that do come with more or less keys. Generally speaking though, 88 keys should be the standard set of keys, of which 36 are black in color while the rest are white.
Which is better, a digital keyboard or an acoustic piano?
There is a world of difference between an acoustic piano and a digital one and with experience, you will learn the difference. Although it is possible to learn playing on either one of them, the choice of purchase boils down to your budget, maintenance and space. That in addition to which suits your preferences or style.
What is the use of the Piano pedals?
Normally, a piano comes with two pedals, with the soft pedal being the left pedal and the sustain pedal being the right one. The soft pedal facilitates the striking of the hammers of two strings out of three thus producing soft sounds. The sustain pedal on the other hand lifts the dampers thereby sustaining the notes until the pedal is released by the player. Some pianos do come with an additional middle pedal that performs a number of other functions depending on the model of the piano.
Do you need to tune the piano?
You need to tune an acoustic piano at least twice every year, following the initial recommended tuning of four times a year as recommended by a number of manufacturers. It is important that you keep a piano tuned for wonderful performance.
How often do I need to clean my piano keys?
Cleaning piano keys depends on your usage. You need to take care of the keys as you go about cleaning the piano in order not to cause damage to them.
How to tune a piano?
The following are tips you may find useful in tuning your piano. Your piano needs to be well tuned in order for you to get the best performance from it. In the event that you are unable to make use of the tips and tricks provided below, it is better to make use of a professional piano tuner to help tune your piano.
- Be sure to learn of the piano’s internal structure before you proceed with the tuning. This helps ensure that you do away with mistakes such as breaking a string if not worse.
- You need to open the piano cover and proceed to remove dust by blowing air over it
- Before tackling hammer strings, you should be aware of the middle C of your piano. In case you have no idea what this is then you need to seek the help of a professional. Once you know the middle C of your piano then you need to which strings are being bit by hammers 1,2 or 3. You will then have to locate the string’s pin by way of the hammer.
- You will have to tackle each string at a go and then proceed to place tuning rubber or wedges against the strings that do vibrate. This is done by first hitting the piano key to ascertain the hammer actuation before proceeding with placing the rubber or wedge.
- You will need to slightly loosen the string that you are tuning with the use of a tuning wedge.
- Next, you will then need to carefully set the turner at C and proceed to tighten it, while taking care not to over tighten as this could cause the string to break.
- Once that is done, you will need to check the strings are doing okay by removing the tuning wedge from one of them and proceeding to hit the key to check that it is working well.
- Proceed with tuning the second string until it matches the first one’s sound. The same should be applied to the other strings until you reach the middle octave.
- When you have finished tuning the middle action, you will then have to move onto the lower and higher octaves as well.
Important tips to remember
- Turn the wrench slightly as a slow pace since with over stretching, the string may break.
- Gently twist pins as being hard on them may result in permanent damage when they become loose.
- A broken string tends to bring with it injury and so you need to be careful.
- Try to acquire as much information as possible on piano tuning before tackling the job. To be on a safe side, it is better to have a professional do the job.
- Go for reliable tuning sets as opposed to just anything that you find as they get the job done right and can be used with no fear over the years.
Much as finding the best digital piano may not be as easy going as you first thought, with a bit of research and patience, it can be done. When you are equipped with the basic knowledge in searching for the piano, you will be one step in the right direction. On this site, you will find a number of useful information regarding digital pianos, make use of it for a better musical journey.