Choosing the Right Electric Piano

When choosing an electric piano, it’s important to think about what level of fidelity you’d prefer compared to an acoustic piano, as well as how easy it is to use and transport.

One of the key issues when deciding on an electric piano is how well you can move it from place to place, and whether a more portable piano is suitable for your needs. At the same time, it’s worth considering the cost effectiveness of individual pianos, and whether or not you’ll need extra features.

Fidelity and Style

In terms of fidelity, you need to decide if you want one that can effectively reproduce the sounds and the effects of an acoustic piano - this generally means testing out different electric pianos for changes in pitch and volume, and if you can achieve the same style as an acoustic. Electrics work on many of the same string and wire principles as an acoustic, but also use amplification via pickups, and can produce longer notes and greater sustain. If you’re used to playing an acoustic, then it may take time to adjust to an electric sound - always check for key sensitivity, and whether you’ll have to make changes to your playing to get the same effects.

You’ll also have to decide between plucked reed, struck reed, struck string, and struck wire types, which produce slightly different effects. Plucked and struck reed pianos use plastic hooks and metal reeds; struck wire electrics have an acoustic piano hammer, which is connected to a wire and metal bar - this creates a better sustain. Struck string models are closest to an acoustic in terms of the sound you produce, with hammers hitting strings and using pick ups to produce an electric effect.

Ease of Use

Another important factor to decide on is how easy it is to transport it from place to place. Electric pianos are more portable than acoustics, and don’t require tuning up or regular maintenance. They are also lighter, and can be moved into different spaces without the same difficulty as larger pianos. You can also make decisions over whether or not an electric piano is compact enough to work well as a child’s practice piano. Moreover, a smaller electric can be a good idea if you have a small home, and can’t afford to fill space with an acoustic.

Cost Effectiveness

If spending money on an electric, you have to weigh up whether you’re going to make an investment in a high quality model for the future, or if you need one for a particular reason - for recording or touring. Electric pianos can decrease in value quite rapidly, and you’ll have to know how much equipment you’ll need for performing, whether that includes amplifiers or additional software. You can find high quality electric pianos online, and can tailor their specifications to your needs, whether you want a basic Yamaha, a higher end Kawai, or a mid range Roland.

Get Expert Advice

As with many substantial instrument purchase, it’s always good idea to go into a music store and practice if you can, while seeking expert advice in store. Don’t rush to buy a piano before testing high and low notes, and seeing whether you can comfortably play one. A good electric has to be tailored to specific needs, and should be compared as much as possible to find the right fit.

Thanks to Mann's Music for this advice - they have over 150 year experience.

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