There are many reasons to purchase a digital piano. Maybe you’ve wanted to learn your entire life, but have only recently had the opportunity to do so. Maybe you have a family and your children want to learn how to play piano. Or maybe you’re just curious and you want to see why so many people have fallen in love with this great instrument. Whatever your reason, you’ve come to the decision that you’d like to bring one into your home. Now you’re faced with one very important question: which is the best beginner digital piano?
Let’s Define Beginner
It’s first important to understand the term “beginner” in this context, as this can mean a number of things to different people. For the purposes of this guide, we will be referring to a “beginner” as someone with little to no background in piano that wishes to learn from scratch. Beginners could be brand new to piano, but can also include those who took basic lessons during their childhood, or those that play another instrument with transferable skills. For example, playing saxophone does give you some advantages when learning piano, but knowing how to play the saxophone does not mean you are automatically an intermediate piano player – this is a common myth and is often untrue.
Learning the piano is not an easy process, and it’s important that beginners not fall into the trap of purchasing an instrument that is too advanced for their skill level. Beginners can be distracted by the thousands of options they have available to them, which could be a problem if they begin to take away from the main focus of learning. In fact, some options available on advanced models are so complex, beginners would get little to no use out of the instrument without proper training. Because of this, most beginner models found on this list will include fewer sound and voice options that their more advanced counterparts, so beginners can enjoy the experience more thoroughly.
Entry Level Instruments, Not Toys
It’s important to note that “beginner” does not equate “toy” in this context. There are entry-level digital pianos and there are toy pianos, and it’s important to understand which is which. Many parents are tempted by black Friday deals on tiny toy grand pianos, not understanding that this greatly differs from a baby grand in terms of learning experience. In addition, most models targeted at beginners alone are simply not suitable models for traditional piano play, as they are often equipped with cheap keys, unbearable speakers, and far less than realistic sound. These models do nothing for the player and will provide an experience entirely unlike that of playing the piano. Instead, it’s always best to pay the extra cost to ensure a long lasting quality. Remember, a piano is a musical instrument, and should be respected as such. If you aren’t willing to invest in a quality piano, you may want to consider another instrument entirely.
Choices You’ll Make
Some players may find digital pianos with full sets of 88-keys intimidating. Don’t be afraid to purchase a 66-key piano instead if that’s the case. This will cover every note you need for the majority of new players and will make the piano smaller and somewhat easier to learn. Keep in mind that the keys on a piano are simply sets of twelve repeated throughout the keyboard and having more keys does not mean you’ll need to learn more notes – these are simply lower and higher variations of the same notes you’ll learn as a beginner.
Another decision you’ll face when choosing your first digital piano will be between weighted and unweighted keys, as these two options provide two entirely different playing and learning experiences. Unweighted keys hold very few advantages over fully-weighted keys, and are not typically recommended for those looking to play traditional piano. However, they can make excellent synthesizers, and are ideal for electronic music production. If that’s the focus of your learning experience, you’ll want to consider different factors than those seeking a traditional piano experience.
Finally, you’ll want to have an understanding of how long you’ll expect to own the instrument. If you are planning on learning the basics on one instrument, only to upgrade to a more professionally equipped model within a few months or years, you’ll want to consider a different model then someone looking to use the same model for many years. If you are looking to own an instrument for the short-term, you’ll want to consider a less expensive model with fewer features, while a prospective long-term owner will want to invest in more features and a more durable build.
Most piano manufacturers offer an entry-level model of some kind, with some selling more than others. Typically, Yamaha and Casio dominate the beginner digital piano market, as they seem to have hit the mark with necessary features, realistic sounds, and overall playing experience for the beginning pianist. However, most brands offer a beginner model that will perform well, but not necessarily up to the standards of those models listed here. It’s understandable to want a model like your favorite musician uses, but in many cases this is absolutely unnecessary, and can be a costly experience in the long run.
If you’re looking to make a solid choice for the best beginner digital piano for you, we think the following are a fantastic choice for your first step. Click the links or images below to check current pricing on Amazon:
As previously mentioned, Yamaha virtually dominates the digital piano market, and musicians of all skill levels can attest to the sheer quality of the instruments produced by this manufacturer. Yamaha produces not only fantastic professional models suitable for touring musicians and professions, but they also produce top-of-the-line beginner models that players of any age will love.
The Yamaha P-45 is an absolutely stunning entry-level digital piano, and was designed with musicians and teachers alike in mind. This model is suitable for beginners, indeed, but also delivers the traditional piano sound found only in the best of digital pianos.
The P-45 comes with enough features to support an intermediate player, but the controls are confusing or distracting. In fact, utilizes a very simple single-button operation to allow changes between voices, play sources, configurations, metronome, and other options. There are 10 voices and it comes with 64 polyphony (max), along with four types of reverb and Layers and Duo functionality.
It also comes equipped with 88 fully-weighted keys and plays much like an acoustic piano, building proper finger technique as you learn to play. And all of this in a small footprint and very light weight. About 25 pounds and just under 53” wide and 12” deep.
Those looking to learn on a budget-friendly beginner model should look no further than the Yamaha P-45, thanks to this model’s excellent playing experience and sound, making it an excellent choice for any beginner pianist.
Casio has continued to improve craftsmanship and performance, and they’ve built a reputation of quality now that rivals the best manufacturers in the market. In fact, Casio currently produces some of the best digital pianos available and competes with Yamaha for popularity among beginners and professionals alike.
Anyone who’s owned a Casio PX-160 knows that this beginner model is absolutely as good as it gets. It comes equipped with 88-key fully weighted keys, but still remains lightweight enough for one person to carry – about 26 pounds without stand – making it an excellent choice for students or musicians on the road. This model is essentially a base model of the company’s more advanced PX-860 model. It takes the specifications of the more advanced instrument into account, but sheds some of the more complex features for which beginners would have little use.
The Casio PX-160 delivers 128 polyphony and offers a beautiful and bright tone. It has 18 different instruments to choose from when playing. One of the instrument’s best features is its built in speakers, which are some of the finest found in any digital piano.
The PX-160 brings a little more to the table than the Yamaha P-45 above in the way of additional technical specs and options. The decision belongs to the consumer whether these would enhance their learning experience or prove to be a distraction. Cost differences between the P-45 above and the PX-160 are negligible, although reviews indicate the Yamaha may fare a little better.
The P-115 isn’t Yamaha’s entry level digital piano, rather it’s one step up in their lineup and about $100 more than the competing Casio PX-160 mentioned above. It’s being added to this short list as a great option for someone who wants to get the most value for their money in the long run. It’s a low-to-mid tier price point, but for the few extra dollars spent you get a host of options that will let a player extend the instrument’s lifespan past just the initial stages of learning.
Like the P-45 listed above – it’s younger brother, so to speak – it comes with a fully-weighted 88-key keyboard in a package of just about the same size (26lbs without stand, about 53” wide and 12” deep).
But it rises above the entry-level P-45 with the addition of additional technical specs. It offers a max polyphony of 192 for more versatility as well as an upgraded tone generation system – the “Pure CF Sound Engine”. Additionally, the number of voices stock on this model is 14 versus 10 on the P-45. That small difference doesn’t sound like a major upgrade, but it does allow more flexibility with your play.
The P-115 also ads more effects to the tools list. Four types of Reverb, Damper Resonance – a tool that adds more realism to the sound generated by your digital piano by mirroring more aspects of analog piano sound – and Dual/Layer, Split, and Duo functions.
To be honest, any of these 3 models would be a great starting point for a consumer looking for the best beginner digital piano. Price conscious buyers may opt to go with the Yamaha P-45 to get great sound and basic functionality that come in a lower price range.
If you’re looking for a small step up the Casio PX-160 is solid choice and would give you a little more value for your money with regards to functionality.
Looking for a model that will give you a solid instrument to learn on, then offer more advanced specs so you can keep using it well into your intermediate and light-advanced play? Then the Yamaha P-115 would be a great choice for a modest increase in cost.
The decision is yours, but no matter which of these units you choose it’ll be hard to be disappointed with the value you’ll get for your money.
All three of the above digital pianos would be a perfect choice for a beginner. Play and test each one for your own personal taste as to which is the right one for you.
More details about Casio Digital Pianos here: http://digitalpianoreviewssite.com/casio/
For Yamaha Digital Pianos, visit: http://digitalpianoreviewssite.com/yamaha/