Ok, you want to buy a digital piano. You have visited lots of music shops and tried lots of digital pianos out. You have been given lots of conflicting advice and don’t know what to do!
This is sadly what many shoppers experience when they want to buy a digital piano and they go to their
local piano shop armed with a few print outs from the internet but not enough knowledge or the right advice to make an informed decision.
Go Shopping for digital pianos
You enter your local piano shop and are confronted with lots of digital pianos, different styles, colours, shapes. Some digital pianos have a few buttons, some hundreds of buttons and flashing lights – HELP!!!
You want some advice but unfortunately the advice you will get from the salesman will always favour the shops’ profit over yourself.
You visit one piano shop and they recommend the Roland digital piano – “it is the best digital piano around by far, amazing sounds and it plays and feels just like a real piano” they say.
You say “What about the Yamaha, I have heard that it is a very good piano as well?”
They say “No, the Roland digital piano is far better than the Yamaha”. They then sit down and play
the Yamaha and then the Roland and convince you that the Roland digital piano is definitely far better than the Yamaha.
Why do piano shops always try to push a particular model or a particular brand?
Well the reason behind this is that they are either eager to get rid of a model or they are
simply making more money on one brand than they are the other.
You trot off to another piano shop to get some more advice and to compare prices. Again you walk in
and you are confronted by a similar set up. The salesman, like before, shows you the different digital pianos
and advises you that the Casio is the best digital piano and not the Yamaha, and certainly not the Roland. The Roland digital piano is way over priced!
You explain that you have just been to another piano shop and were told that the Roland digital piano is better than the Yamaha, and the Casio is nowhere near as good. “They don’t know what they are talking about” the salesman says. Now you are utterly confused and walk out of the shop a little angry.
If you have experienced the above and are at the end of your tether, I am here to help and offer you unbiased advice on which digital piano you should consider, the merits of each one and the strengths and weaknesses. Read on…
Yamaha digital pianos
The Yamaha digital piano is the most popular digital piano today. More Yamahas are sold than any other digital piano by a long way.
Yamaha have got where they are today by superior branding, advertising and product development.
Yamaha put in so much effort to make their digital pianos (known as Clavinova) sound and feel as close to a real piano as possible, the sound sample they use for their digital pianos is taken from their own concert grand piano.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
Advice: Go ahead and buy any Yamaha digital piano from the range.
Price: Basic models start from RRP £989. You should be able to buy a Yamaha digital piano on the web for about 20% off.
Casio digital pianos
The Casio digital piano has improved vastly over the previous few years. The Casio digital pianos were considered mediocre a few years ago, but now their improvements have been so great they are considered to be one of the best digital pianos on the market today.
Casio digital pianos are, and have always been, the best value for money. The Casio digital pianos are not quite as good as the Roland or the Yamaha but they are generally cheap digital pianos, between half and two thirds the price of the Yamaha and Roland digital pianos.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Advice: Fantastic value for money! Go ahead and buy any Casio digital piano from the Celviano range (Casio AP). You might want to consider the Casio Privia digital piano range if you are short of space.
Price: Basic models start from RRP £799.99. You should be able to find some great deals on the web.
Casio digital pianos generally sell for around 28-30% off RRP.
Roland digital pianos
The Roland digital piano is built with quality and produces nice piano tones, especially around the centre of the keyboard. The sound is a little thin and false around the middle to high treble though.
Roland has always been known to value their brand extremely highly and will not reduce their prices if it means the quality of their digital pianos would be compromised.
The sound sampling for the Roland digital piano is taken from a Steinway concert grand piano.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Advice: Go ahead and buy any Roland digital piano from the HP, F or KR range.
Price: Basic modesl start from RRP £899. Prices seem to be fixed on the internet so you won’t be able to get much more than 5% off RRP. You will probably get a better deal on a Roland digital piano from your local music shop.
Korg digital pianos
Korg are perhaps better known for their high end keyboards and stage pianos. They do produce a limited range of digital pianos that offer functions similar to the Casio digital piano.
Korg digital pianos are quite reasonably priced but their performance falls short of the Yamaha, Roland and Casio digital pianos.
Rating: 4 out of 10.
Advice: Wouldn’t really consider a Korg digital piano, but some people like their sound.
Price: Basic models start from RRP £999. You should be able to buy a Korg digital piano on the web at around 30-35% off.
Kawai digital pianos
Hugely hyped up digital pianos! Kawai proclaim to have produced the perfect piano action and piano sound by some wizardry potion that no other company can obtain – complete hogwash!
I have tried and tested these digital pianos out and find that the keys are too light and spongy and the sound is very bright, harsh and electronic.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
Advice: Wouldn’t really consider a Kawai digital piano, unless you are fond of the Kawai piano sound.
Price: Basic model starts from RRP £999. You should be able to buy a basic Kawai digital piano on the web at around 20-25% off RRP.
Gem digital pianos
Gem digital pianos look very nice indeed and have a great name behind them. They do lack in quality though, the sound is very poor and they offer a limited range of digital pianos. The lid tends to make a squeaking sound and the keys are quite noisy. They proclaim to use ‘Drake Technology’ in their pianos – sounds impressive doesn’t it? But what is it? Well, It really is just a feature to help them sell, but I don’t
personally see much of an improvement in their digital pianos.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
Advice: Probably wouldn’t consider a Gem digital piano, but if you like the polished ebony look, it is the cheapest digital piano in that particular colour on the market.
Price: Basic models start from RRP £999. You probably won’t be able to get much of a discount on Gem digital pianos, as these pianos are not very popular and there is not much competition online.
Ketron digital pianos
Ketron make good digital pianos but they are very expensive, especially the digital grand pianos.
If you have money to burn then consider these pianos, otherwise go for one of the big three – Yamaha, Roland or Casio.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
Advice: Probably wouldn’t consider a Ketron digital piano unless I had lots of money to throw away, but if you really like the sound – some people do – then go ahead!
Price: Basic models stars from RRP £1299. You probably won’t be able to get much of a discount on a Ketron digital piano, as these pianos are not very popular and there is not much competition online.
Suzuki digital pianos
Suzuki make fantastic motorbikes, but digital pianos??
Yes Suzuki is very famous for their motorbikes but also Suzuki is hugely famous in the world
of musical instruments. They are famous for the ‘Suzuki teaching method, they make great violins and bows, recorders, harmonicas, guitars and reasonable acoustic pianos.
Suzuki digital pianos, however, unfortunately don’t quite make the grade. The Suzuki’s sound is poor, the build quality is appalling and the touch is rather dreadful. They are very cheap digital pianos. Sorry Suzuki, but I have to tell the truth.
Rating: 2 out of 10.
Advice: Don’t buy a Suzuki digital piano. Pease don’t buy a Suzuki digital piano. Never buy a Suzuki digital piano! There are so many other good digital pianos out there, why would you want to throw your money away buying a Suzuki digital piano?
Price: Basic model starts from RRP £799. You can pick up generous discounts on Suzuki digital pianos (20-25%). Beware of your local piano shop if they are trying to sell you a Suzuki digital piano. Ask them how it compares to a Yamaha digital piano or a Roland.
Kurzweil digital pianos
Kurzweil are well known for their keyboards and pro audio products but not so much for their digital pianos. Kurzweil digital pianos have been around for a long time, they have been mainly distributed in America up until recently. The Kurzweil digital piano is very robust and produces a good sound.
Rating: 5 out of 10.
Advice: Might be worth trying one out if you can find a Kurzweil digital piano stockist. I have seen of these pianos on Ebay.
Price: Check Ebay, as this is probably the only place you will find them on the web.
More digital pianos (not in the same league as above)
Alesis, Bohemia, Bohm, Daewoo, Ensonio, Farfisa, Hammond, Orla, Samick, Solton, Technics, Viscount Allegro, Wersi.
These digital pianos are much worse than any of the above digital pianos I have reviewed and should definitely not be considered.
I can recommend and good website that offers comprehensive information, unbiased advice, reviews and a range of most of the digital pianos mentioned above:
Digital Pianos: Yamaha, Roland, Casio, Korg and more – Soundsmusical.com
I hope that armed with the above information you can now go out and buy a digital piano.
Don’t take too much notice if you feel you are being pushed towards any particular digital piano.
Ask the piano salesman to demonstrate a few different piano brands and then make the decision yourself
based on the above information and what you feel is right for your needs.
Best of luck and I hope you enjoy your new digital piano!
By Henry Genry
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