If you or your child is starting piano lessons, but you are unsure of the commitment level or you don’t want to break the bank with a piano purchase, you will probably start looking at digital pianos that have enough features to be an adequate alternative to an acoustic upright or grand piano. In this article, I will talk about the comparably priced, three most popular beginner digital pianos that we use for lessons or offer as rental or loaner pianos to our students, the Yamaha DGX 640, Privia PX-130, and Yamaha P95S.
The Yamaha DGX-640
The newest release of the DGX series (also known as YPG) is the DGX-640. These models look alike from the DGX-620 through the DGX-640, and there have been minor improvements along the way, though the most notable would be moving from 32 note polyphony in the 620 to 64 note polyphony in the 640. Higher polyphony, which is simply the number of notes that can be sustained at one time, becomes more important as the student progresses and plays more complicated passages where there is risk of sustained notes “falling off”. The newer DGX series also has the option of adding a three pedal board instead of a single free standing pedal. As far as the touch and feel, Yamaha is one of the best at quality hammer action and great stereo sampled grand piano sounds. Finally, there are a number of features and gadgets that the other pianos don’t have. The ability to layer multiple tracks for one, is something that a composer would want. The appearance is a bit keyboardy, but this digital piano is often the choice of universities and music lessons studios as the preferred practice model because of it’s durability
The Casio Privia PX-130
This piano has been the feather in the cap for Casio and this model is one of our most popular rental pianos. It boasts a sleek elegant black case with silver pedals (optional) and offers great sounds, touch and 128 note polyphony, which is more than anyone would ever need. Based on appearances, this would be the best choice of the three models reviewed in this article. The PX-130 is a major redesign from the previous models, the PX-120, PX-110, and PX-100. Casio cleverly uses the keys as feature controls rather than a litany of buttons. There is question as to how this piano will hold up in 5-10 years compared to the others. Casio pianos tend to get a bit of a plasticky touch to the keys when they get older, more so than the Yamahas.
Like the PX-130, the Yamaha P95S is a sleek, good looking digital piano that is great for beginners. If you like the touch of a Yamaha, then you will want to select this over the Privia, and if you just want piano features without a bunch of extra gadgets, then you will want to choose this over the DGX series. The max polyphony is 64 notes at one time, which is more than adequate for the beginner. I would have liked to see a solid colored music rest rather than the clear plastic one, but this is just my personal preference. The optional three pedal board has plastic pedals which don’t look as nice as the Privia’s pedals, but they work well and seem more durable.. I’d have to give a slight edge to the graded hammer touch of the P95S over the Privia. The shell of the piano also seems more durable.
In the world of beginner pianos, there are so many models to choose from. We think these three are the best and they are certainly our most requested models. I’m happy to answer any questions about these or other models if you’d like to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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