The final piece of this article will focus on the commitment level of the player or student. Buying a piano or digital piano can be a large investment, and you want to make sure you are going to be able to justify the expense based on the level of commitment of the player.
New students can be tricky. You want to believe that they will take a few lessons and become inspired to practice for an hour or more per day playing scales, Hannon and new pieces that they are working on, and in some cases, that is exactly what happens, but what if they quickly lose interest and decide that the piano is not for them? If you spent thousands on a piano or digital piano, you may find that you now have a nice looking piece of furniture, or that you have to sell for substantially less than you paid.
So you have to ask yourself, is this your idea for them to play, or is it theirs? Did you wake up today and decide that you are going to play piano, or have you played before and know the commitment level needed to improve?
If you are committed to having a piano in your house because you like the look, then go with something nice and that way you will still be happy if you or your child lose interest. If you are unsure, then go with a beginner digital piano or rent a digital piano and the money that you spend on the rental period will be much less than the loss you would take if you had to sell one you purchased. You will also be able to reassess and potentially upgrade to something that fits the style that the student has developed. You will be much more likely to make the right purchase if you have developed some playing skill and know what to look and listen for when you purchase the piano that you know you will keep.
Should you buy a Piano or Digital Piano? I will give you a high level overview of what to consider when making this decision. Usually people make this decision based on their budget, living arrangements, commitment/level of proficiency or some combination of all of these factors. This will be a three part blog focusing on each of these factors. This post will focus on the budget aspect.
Generally speaking, a digital piano is a less expensive option than an acoustic upright or grand piano, though you will often see free upright pianos being given away on craigslist. I would stay away from those unless you know what you are doing. They can easily be a bigger project than you might think when you consider moving expenses, tuning (can it even hold a pitch), brand, quality, etc. There are many digital pianos, however, that are more expensive than an acoustic piano, but for the purposes of this blog, I will use basic uprights and basic fully weighted 88-key digitals as the benchmarks.
Whichever you end up buying, I would suggest that you stick to a well known brand so that if you do need to sell in the future, your piano will experience less depreciation. If acoustic, Yamaha and Kawai hold their value the best. Yes you will spend more, but 30 years from now, people will still want that piano. Lesser known brands will be give-a-ways at that age. Always buy a black piano. Brown ones do not hold their value like black ones do. The majority of people shopping are looking for a black piano because it goes with everything.
If you are buying a digital piano, again, I would stick with the best brands. Yamaha Clavinova or YDP series, Roland, Kawai, and believe it or not, Casio has come up with a fantastic digital piano line with the Privia. There are so many brands like Williams, Suzuki and others that will fall apart quickly. Color is less important with digital pianos, but typically dark brown or black are the most desired.
If buying a used digital piano for sale, test the keys and make sure they all have an even consistent sound and feel. Listen for “press and release” noise. This should be very quiet so it is not distracting to the player. Make sure the pedals work. Turn it off and on again to make sure the electronics are working properly. Age is important, but anything post 1998 should be adequate because by then, almost all electronic pianos made the change from analog sounds to sampled grand piano sounds, and there has been somewhat of a plateau since then. Renting a digital piano for a beginner is not a bad idea to save money if the player loses interest, or if they have a high level of interest, you may want to purchase an acoustic piano or more advanced digital piano. Piano rental allows you to defer that decision to a later date.
If buying a used acoustic piano, check the age by serial number if you can find a source. Yamaha and Kawai post their serial numbers online so you can tell the age. Don’t be afraid of age if the piano is well maintained or rebuilt, particularly if it is a Yamaha or Kawai. Watch for “grey market” pianos. While there is nothing specifically wrong with these pianos, they were not built for the American market, so may have less value when you go to sell. Do not take on a free piano project unless you know what you are doing.
I am happy to answer specific questions about models and prices. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Singing Strings rents and leases pianos and digital pianos to Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland, including Baltimore.
In a down economy, you may be looking for ways to shave costs, especially large ticket purchases like a piano or digital piano. Renting a piano or digital piano can be a good idea in some cases, while it is a much better plan to purchase in others. We will take a look at some circumstances for both.
Renting makes the most sense if you have a child who you are not sure how interested that they will be in playing the piano after six months of lessons. If they stay interested, then it is clearly a better move to purchase at that point. We usually recommend going with a good upright or baby grand if your child shows sustained interest.
Many people do not know that they can rent a digital piano, but this is a very good option for college students, people who are in the country temporarily, or those who are hesitant to make a large scale purchase until they know they won't be moving for a while.
Renting also buys you time to make an informed purchase while your child's skills continue to bloom. We recommend Yamaha, Kawai, or Samick as a good brand to take you or your child to the next level.
Keywords Piano Rental, Digital Piano Rental, Keyboard Rental
This is a common question that we receive from parents who are unsure about what they should buy or rent. There are really three essential elements to a digital piano that are needed when learning to play: 88 keys, fully weighted keys, a real pedal.
88 keys: While you can get by with a 76 key piano, you would not want to get a 61 key keyboard since these are generally sampling instruments or toys. We recommend that all of our students have 88 keys to allow them to become accustomed to the size and spacial feel of the standard 88 key piano.
Fully Weighted keys: Watch out for Clavinova or YDP series with an "S' at the end of the model number. These are usually semi-weighted keys that do not offer the same experience as a traditional piano. Many people with semi-weighted key pianos think they have a fully weighted key piano, but there is a substantial difference. Touch sensitivity is very important, but nowadays, just about every digital piano with fully weighted keys has many levels of touch sensitivity to replicate the touch range similar to a real piano, so this is no longer an issue when selecting a piano.
A Real Pedal: Ideally, you want a two or three pedal board that is built-in to the digital piano, but really, only one pedal is needed for beginners, though we insist that a real pedal is used rather than a plastic "sewing machine" type pedal. These plastic pedals tend to slide around when playing and take away from the experience. You can have a free standing pedal, but it should be metal and operate like a lever.
Other than these three essential items, you will want a digital piano newer than the late 90's because by then, just about all digital pianos changed from wave sounds to stereo sampled piano sounds which are still used today. Some pianos, like the late model Kawai's, use real wood keys which shrinks the differences between the digital piano and the acoustic piano as far as the touch part of the experience goes. We particularly like the Kawai, Roland, Clavinova, and Privia series. The Casio Privia PX-130 is a favorite for our students and customers when it comes to getting an affordable rental piano that meets all the requirements for proper learning. Once your child advances, you will want to consider upgrading to a higher end digital piano, or an acoustic piano. Feel free to email us if you have a particular model that you are curious about.
Singing Strings Music Center is located in