When it comes to instruments, cheap is not an option. Always try to buy the best instrument you can afford. A digital piano is supposed to be your companion, as were the horses to warriors, or your ax, so there is not much room to bargain. The better is your instrument, the faster you become a good player and you also get gigs.
There was a time when every single venue had an upright or a baby grand piano, but as the music turned more and more electronic, the venues got more comfortable with paying less for music and the art of the piano bar went down.
However, sometimes pianists are requested to play some gigs in venues that have no instrument. That is the exact moment when you need a digital piano. If you are a classical or jazz piano player and you seek to buy a digital piano, stick with us.
The big brands-Casio, Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Korg have many digital pianos that would lift your spirit. Of course, different piano players have different tastes and it would be best not to judge a book by its cover. These brands have different models and they are not necessarily to be avoided but to seek the model that suits your own standards.
Casio was a brand that produces until a few years ago low-price pianos with poor sound and poor touch, but nowadays even the cheap models sound ok. Their low budget Casio Privia PX-160 is a good digital piano, with a reasonable feel. But the Casio CDP-130 was a big disappointment, despite the enthusiastic commercial. Here is a demo.
Small dynamic range, few piano tones that would work-actually only one, but very affordable. At the same price, Yamaha did a better job. Actually…most of the brands did at that time. But things seem to get better.
Do you know what multi-tasking means? Doing many things poorly at the same time. This is the exact situation of the giant Europe seller Thomann. Their piano is cheap, looks nice, but it has a horrible sound and a totally unartistic touch. It is a frustrating piano, and you haven’t got a chance to be expressive on it. It is affordable, but is it worth it?
3. Kurzweil Sp4-8
Again a brand that has lots of models that bring joy to players. The Kurzweil company tried a cheap hybrid-a digital piano and a synthesizer. Although the synth part is awesome, the digital piano part is very inappropriate for piano playing. It has a rough keyboard-Fatar, which is known to be close to the piano touch, but…we could only guess they bought the cheaper versions of mechanisms for this piano, leaving the PC3 to shine, as the flagship launched at the same time. With a 64 polyphony, poor sounding piano tones and hard touch that is very hard to control(you have many options in the keyboard’s menus, but there’s not much of a difference between the settings), it is not a piano to buy for a classical musician. Even for a rock musician, it is very hard to carry around the instrument. But the truth is that the extra-soundbanks with organs and synths are great, although who would want to play organ on an extra-heavy-weighted keyboard?
You can check out a live demo of this piano here.
Bad tones, bad touch, but cheap. Here is a demo. It looks so good, but it is so frustrating. With this piano, any expression marking is useless. Everything is metallic and at least mezzo-forte. Its touch can be activated, but it is not enough.
1. No name brands & roll-up pianos
NEVER buy pianos from brands you don’t have the chance to hear or read about. It is not about encouraging the monopoly of the most famous digital piano producers, but it is something that will keep you from getting disappointed.
As for roll-up keyboards, the technology is not yet that developed. Not a great tool to practice on, more like a toy.
Avoid pianos that don’t respond to your gestures, no matter what the brand is. They get you the wrong idea about the way you are playing and you end up being frustrated.
Korg used to have four years ago a piano, LP-180, middle budget at that time, that was very close to the previous mentioned Casio. So don’t be fooled by the brand! Try the instrument. Maybe your true love is a rubber piano. Who are we to judge?