Digital Keyboard Vs Piano – Differences – What To Choose

Electronic keyboard vs piano! What should I buy? Which is best? What is the difference?

Budget is an important factor when deciding between buying a digital keyboard versus buying a piano. Pianos can cost over $10,000 dollars and even as much as $100,000. Are you willing to spend so much on an instrument? If not, you should definitely consider buying a keyboard.

Your best compromise, if you want the important features of an acoustic piano, would be a . Digital pianos come with weighted keys. They usually have a feature called Graded Hammer Effect or Graded Hammer Standard in which the keyboard emulates that of a real acoustic piano. In addition to other characteristics, the keys are lighter in the higher registers and heavier in the lower registers. A keyboard can cost as little as $100 to a few thousand dollars. If you’re taking piano lessons, a digital piano would be the keyboard alternative. It has the feel of a real piano but for much less.

An Acoustic PianoAn acoustic piano.

When deciding between electric keyboard vs piano, sound is an important factor. Perhaps you want the real authentic piano sound. Nothing beats the real sound of an acoustic piano. But as we’ve seen it comes with a hefty price tag. In that case you would have to buy one of the more expensive digital pianos. Some of the cheaper models leave a lot to be desired when it comes to replicating the piano sound. In most cases, when it comes to musical instruments the more you spend the better it gets.

One advantage  have over pianos is a wide variety of sounds or voices. You can often get over a thousand voices on a keyboard including organs, various pianos, flutes, saxophones, guitars, trumpets, organs, accordion, vibraphone and the list goes on and on. But with a piano all you have is one voice, the piano voice. Digital pianos usually come with very few voices but it’s clearly more than a piano.

In this digital keyboard vs piano debate another important consideration is the use of headphones. With a keyboard you can simply plug in some headphones and practice quietly. You won’t have to disturb anyone at home or the neighbours. With a piano there’s no mute button or headphone capabilities. You can control the volume on your keyboard, but there are no volume controls on a piano.

A Digital PianoA digital piano.

Space should also be taken into account when deciding between electronic keyboard versus piano. A portable keyboard is very small and weighs just a few pounds unlike a cumbersome piano. If portability is a factor, you can forget about buying a piano. A piano can’t be moved around easily whereas you can take your keyboard along with you hassle free.

Piano maintenance can become pretty expensive. A piano has to be tuned periodically whereas a keyboard never needs to be tuned. You would need to pay for the services of a professional tuner to have your piano tuned. If this is too much of a headache, go the keyboard route.

Number of keys is another factor in this electric keyboard vs piano debate. A piano comes with 88 keys while keyboards come with 49, 61, 76 and thankfully, 88 keys. If number of keys is important to you, there is a wide range of 88 key keyboards and digital pianos on the market. You don’t necessarily have to buy a piano.

If you’re buying an instrument for a child, I’d recommend buying a keyboard first. It is a gamble to put out so much money for a piano not knowing whether the child will remained interested in the instrument.

Today’s electronic keyboards come with so many features like sequencers, accompaniments, USB/computer compatibility, pitch bend, dual voice, split voice, effects, to name a few. Pianos really can’t compare. In this technological age, it seems like one would be missing out by simply buying an acoustic piano.

A Digital (electric) keyboardA digital (electronic) keyboard.

Learning keyboard vs piano

Should you learn to play on a keyboard or piano? Pianos and keyboards have the same keyboard layout so there’s no problem transfering what you learn on a piano to a keyboard and vice versa. The greatest problem lies with the weight of the keys. A piano comes with heavier keys. If you learn on a cheap light-weight keyboard you will have difficulty playing the piano. If you can’t afford a piano or have no access to one, your best bet is a weighted-key keyboard or , preferably one that has 88 keys.

I believe that in the long run nothing can really replace the old faithful piano. If money is no barrier why not spend it? But as we’ve seen there are many factors to consider in this electric keyboard vs piano debate. Piano teachers and players continue to be split on which is the best one to buy. Be sure to choose the instrument that meets your needs. 

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