One of the questions I get asked the most at Normans is a variation of “My son/daughter would like to start learning the piano” or “I’d like to buy my husband/wife a piano for them to start learning with” which invariably leads to “Which would you recommend?”
Digital pianos represent a great investment for the musically curious. They’re much smaller and portable than a real piano, they don’t require tuning and they don’t mind where you put them – hot, cold, humid or dry conditions make no difference to a digital piano where an acoustic would suffer, all of which has helped to spur the technology on in leaps and bounds over the last decade or so which now means there’s a huge market of different brands, styles and models at your fingertips, which can be a little overwhelming.
Generally the rule of thumb is that the more you spend, the better the piano will be – although I find some models will perform better than their more expensive counterparts, though some of this is also down to personal preference.
The most important things to look for in a piano for a beginner are, I believe, the following –
- A Good Feel – Full sized, weighted keys with a nice action.
- A Good Sound – How big are the speakers, and where are they placed? Speakers in a cabinet will have a better sound and resonance than those placed on the top of the instrument. The bigger the speaker, the louder it will be.
- A Good Price – A functional, durable instrument with both a good feel and a good sound will not cost more than £1,000
And it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that for a beginner. At the early stage of learning it’s important you get an instrument that’s suitable to take you through those early stages and helps rather than hinders you to do that.
At the very beginning of the scale, you’ll find pianos like our Axus D2.
Because it’s not a named brand, Axus and other pianos like it are often cheaper than the ‘Brand Name’ counterparts like Yamaha or Casio, but quite often have a similar quality of sound and feel. The D2 in particular offers great value for money, coming with 4 speakers generating 15w between them (30w in total) in the charming traditional cabinet, which makes for a very attractive item of furniture as well as a functional instrument. I regularly direct customers to this piano in our showroom, as it does compete with the other brands surprisingly well and could mean saving money on an initial investment if you’re not sure if the piano will be played regularly or at all in 6 months time.
Yamaha’s entry level pianos begin with the YDP series, known as “Arius” – these start with the 142 and move through the numbers 162 and 181 with the prices ranging from around £650 for the 142 to just over £1,000 for the 181. Simplicity is the key with this series, they have a basic, modern styled cabinet and a minimalist frontage – there’s no buttons or LCD screens to distract you, these really are Pianos first and toys second.
Between these two pianos you’ll also find the Casio Celviano range – these are very new designs and represent Casio’s urge to throw off the “Watches and Calculators” reputation they have in the keyboard market. Where before perhaps they were the butt of jokes within the industry the new range of pianos prices them quite nicely between the entry level pianos like the Axus and stops short of the professional level Yamaha Clavinovas. Well worth considering when researching your purchase.
Once you pass the £1,000 price mark, you stray into the territory of the Roland digital pianos and the Yamaha Clavinovas. These can go up towards £5,000 in price and do represent the leading edge of Digital Piano technology but this does come at a price! They are very nice instruments but, as I regularly say to customers, nobody learns to drive in an Aston Martin.
To take a look at the range of digital piano’s we have to offer, simply take a look at the Normans Website.