Electronic and digital pianos are not bad when you are playing music that is somewhat percussive, such as rock, pop, jazz, and blues. But if you want to play classical music that is chockful of melody, such a keyboard is not as satisfying. You can certainly start out on a digital keyboard as you learn the basics of music, but as you progress technically, a flesh-and-blood acoustic piano will become your instrument of choice.
We recommend the Yamaha P70 ($599.95 at zzounds, our preferred vendor)
Joan played it and liked it very much. Peter Dembski, Anna's brother, jazz pianist, and composer of "The One-Note Melody" in Piano, Body and Soul recommended it to us. They were both somewhat amazed at the quality of both the sound and the action (the weighted keys).
When we began our reseach for this page we thought that a decent digital piano would have to cost over $1000. Happily, the Yamaha P70 is an uncompromising choice for a digital piano at a very reasonable price.
Featuring Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard piano action, this instrument is a close facsimile to a flesh-and-blood piano. The sounds are basic (two grand piano sounds, electric piano, organ, harpsichord, vibraphone, strings) but true-to-life, having been sampled in stereo.
Yamahas are well-known for their durability. This particular model is popular with pianists who need a second instrument to travel with or for silent practice. You won’t need an amplifier—the built-in speakers are adequate, and perhaps you will use headphones more often anyway.
The P70 comes with a one-year warranty from Yamaha, a power adapter, a music rack (they call it a “music rest”), and the FC5 foot switch (This is not really a pedal—it doesn’t look like one and doesn’t behave like one either. You can use it for a few months of study, but upgrade to the FC4 when you can.)
You will need several additional items in order to sit down and play:
Yes, you can put it on a table, but a stand will give you yet more portability and the advantage of height adjustment. We recommend two “double X” style stands:
If you find that your legs or feet bump into this style, return it within 30 days and get a table top-style stand:
You can use a chair you already have, but an adjustable bench is helpful as you get acquainted with the physical in-and-outs of playing piano. Three models by QuikLok are good:
Always fun to have around the house, a metronome can support your efforts at keeping good time. Zzounds.com carries several brands. The Quiktime models give you the beat with a light and with sound. We recommend:
Of course, we hope you will freely Slap/Clap/Tap to establish your own personal sense of pulse!
Anna has been buying music equipment from Zzounds for over five years and uses them whenever she's buying online. They are friendly, fast, guarantee the lowest price, with inexpensive or free shipping, have a very good selection of music equipment, and a 30-day return policy. What more could you ask for?
Here’s a link to a web page with more advice about electronic pianos. It's old but still has a lot of good information.
http://www.goodcans.com/ Headphone reviews for audiophiles and sound engineers.