I’m a complete beginner – which digital piano is right for me?
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 at the lower price end of the market. 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. This piano regularly attracts attention in our showroom, due to its traditional looking cabinet, realistic sound and feel and affordable price. In comparison to some of the Yamaha and Casio models which are on the market, this is a good alternative for players who don’t want to spend too much, but don’t want a lack in quality.
Yamaha’s entry level pianos begin with the YDP series, known as “Arius” – these start with the 143 and moves up to the bigger 163. Simplicity is the key with this series, they have a basic, modern styled cabinet and a minimalist frontage – there’s no LCD screens to distract you and a very minimal amount of buttons. These really are designed to replicate a ‘proper piano’, and not have all the bells and whistles some other brands boast about.
Between these two pianos you’ll also find the Casio Celviano range. Over the last few years, these have very much grown in terms of popularity and quality. These are very modern designs and represent Casio’s urge to move aside the “Watches and Calculators” reputation many people associate them with. 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 will mainly be finding the Yamaha Clavinovas. These can go up towards £5,000 in price, but do very clearly show how technology has vastly improved in the digital piano industry. They are, and I imagine, always will be the leading range in this market. I say to any customer looking in this field, Clavinovas are an investment instrument. Get one of these, and you would realistically never have to buy another one. However, for a complete beginner, you may not notice the full benefits they have to offer whilst at such an early stage in your piano career.
To take a look at the range of digital pianos we have to offer, simply take a look at our website, or contact our Sales Team who will be able to advise further of different options to consider.