There are generally two types of piano to consider when purchasing a new piano: acoustic and digital.
In my opinion, both acoustic and digital pianos can be great if they are of good quality. What type of piano to buy will all depend on what you're looking for and what your price point is. I've gathered below some ideas on acoustic and digital pianos and what to look for. It is always best to go to the music stores and check out other pianos in order to compare the timbre (sound), touch (feel), comfort, and overall quality of the piano. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and to also look into buying second hand pianos or rent to own pianos. I suggest you ask the piano salesperson to play songs on all the types of pianos that you're interested in as they usually are skilled pianists. Remember, not all pianos are equal and for those who are serious about learning to play it is important to choose the best-fit keyboard when starting lessons.
There are so many options so good luck!
Here is a short compilation of what to look for in an acoustic piano:
* Uses the sounds purely from the natural acoustics of felt covered hammers hitting steel wire strings
* A piano is generally considered an investment, like a car.
* The larger the piano the better the tone which is equal to a small grand piano.
* Consider a top quality used piano, no longer than 50 years.
* The average lifetime of a piano is about 40 years, and you will probably have it long after you have sold your present furniture, house and car. Pianos depreciate very little. A used piano built 10 years ago and maintained well will cost almost as much as a comparable new piano.
* Buy the most expensive piano you can afford. Saving money by buying cheaper musical instruments usually produces dissatisfaction. Making good music on a quality instrument is the best way to keep a young pianist interested.
* Buy a piano made by a reputable company, one which has a good production volume, and offers a manufacturer-backed warranty.
* Buy a piano favored by most music institutions (conservatories and universities). They know by experiences which are the best, most trouble-free pianos.
* If you're buying it from a music store, ask the salesperson if it's possible to know the name of its previous owner, how long it's been in the store, etc to determine the condition of the piano.
Specifics to look for:
* Tone: Look for a piano that possess pleasing mid-tones with good balance in the higher and lower registers. Avoid a piano that has a metallic sharp edged bite to it.
* Pedals: it is not necessary to have three pedals, most pianists only use two (damper pedal and una corda)
* Keys: test the feel and resistance of the keys, see if you like the sensitivity of the keys and whether or not you can play the keys loudly and softly without difficulty. Avoid a piano that sounds very out of tune as this may be a sign that it falls out of tune very quickly.
*Tuning Stability: Realize that no piano will stay in tune indefinitely, no matter who manufactured it or whether it is a grand piano or upright. But a well made piano will stay in tune for a fair length of time.
* Touch: Look for a piano that has an even action (piano notes pushed down) throughout the entire keyboard.
* Avoid pianos that have uneven tone or touch, you or your teacher-tuner should be able to determine if the piano has a consistent and even quality touch throughout. The touch is a vital and critical area to assess before you make the final decision.
* Frame: Overstrung pianos have the bass strings crossing diagonally to the treble strings. You really want to find an overstrung piano if you can. The sound produced is better because the strings are longer. Also check that none of the strings are rusted, clogged or, of course, missing! You'll either get a 'thunk' noise or...nothing.
* Some piano brands to look for: Baldwin, Steinways, Kawai, Boston, Yamaha
Here's a small compilation of what to look for in a digital electronic piano:
* Digital Pianos: uses tone generating technology to make a sound
* Great for saving space if you do not have space for a full size acoustic piano!
* Significantly cheaper than acoustic pianos, a great alternative for beginners!
* Does not require tuning or maintenance and can be placed in most rooms regardless of the humidity.
* Built in metronome, songs, and different sounds. Built in features of record and playback which will allow you to review your playing and identify any mistakes you have made.
* A good digital piano can actually have a better tone and touch than poor quality new acoustic pianos, or a used piano. Watch out for an expensive musical toy with no good key action, sensitivity, tone, and touch!
* Easily transported or connected to a sound system, and used with headphones for private practice.
Specifics to look for:
*Weighted Key Action: Should not feel light and like they're made of plastic and should have a weight to them. Basically, when the keys are depressed, they feel a bit harder by the added weight which will produce an effect more similarly to an acoustic piano. Make sure you try to play it with your eyes closed and see if it feels like an acoustic piano. Even if you consider buying it visit a piano store and try their range of pianos so you have an idea of what's good and what's not.
*Touch Sensitive Keys: A Must! For example, if you lightly depress on the keys then there should be a soft sound and if you depress the keys hard then there should be a loud sound. Without this feature, keyboards will produce the same volume throughout regardless of how soft or hard you depress the piano keys.
*Speakers: Make sure it is built in or otherwise you will have to purchase a separate amp.
*Dynamic Steps: Make sure it is not controlled by a button and can be controlled by the fingers
*New and up to date! Digital pianos become outdated after 5+ years. Keep in mind that the value of a digital piano depreciates over time.
*Full Size Keys: Try to get a piano with 88 keys!
*Other things to have: AC Adapter, stand (make sure it is sturdy, adjustable, and try to get one with a triangular shape), stool (choose a comfy one!), and a sustain pedal.
*Try to get the best Yamaha Clavinova Digital Piano from the CVP range if possible...
* Suggested electronic pianos for beginners: Yamaha (P35, P105), Roland, Cassio (PX150)
Places to begin looking for a piano:
1. Online: Craigslist.org: A good place to find second hand pianos that are sometimes still new. Make sure you see the piano in person before committing and inquire about the specifics and the quality of the instrument
2. Visit Stores: Pacey's Piano, Tom Lee, Long & McQuade
Pacey's Pianos on Broadway offers a great rental program for those who would like to rent monthly or rent to own with acoustic and digital pianos under $100 a month.
Article Source: Piano Teachers Federation, Piano Technicians Guild