I would really love to take this opportunity to share with you the importance of getting a good piano, especially if you really intend to learn or have your kids, learn how to play by ear. This is equivalent to getting by the day with a simple snack in comparison to appreciating every single moment of the day with a wholesome full of nutrition meal. It is that important!
Let me share with you about
Electric piano / keyboards:
1. Small ones are portable
2. Lots of different instruments playable
3. Workstations can even record your music directly into a CD, SACD, mp3, or DVD-A
4. If you intend to video shoot for YouTube, it gives you full stereo sound without any external interference using a direct analog or digital connection to your camera
5. You can connect it to whatever speakers you wish, I connect mine to the THX Certified Logitech Z-5500 via a Toslink Fiber Optics Monster Digital Cable
6. Never needs to be tuned
1. Sound will never be natural no matter how expensive your speakers are, they are simply pre-recorded or synthesized sound (Imagine recording a song with a pre-recorded voice of yours, or to make things simple, just listen to your own recorded voice) Simply, reproduced!
2. Sustain effects will never be natural (if you know what I mean)
3. Touch will never be the same, please do not expect the natural hammer touch even though the keyboard companies claims that it gives the same natural touch with "weighted action" and "touch sensitivity". From my experience, the closests to an acoustic piano is the digital piano from Roland, year 2009 onwards
1. Sounds from digital piano are no match for the actual ones. The notes are actually produced with complex harmonics mixing and resonating flexible wooden soundboard. Upper notes are produced with 2 to 3 strings sounding together, while lower notes are from 1 or 2 high quality thick strings, really, really natural. Well, it's real
2. Sustain / Damper pedal allows all notes to resonate after the keys have been lifted, forcing all notes to echo and overlap, for as long as the pedal is depressed. It is the most used pedal on the piano. Digital piano can never produce the same effect
3. Touch, the unique touch of the acoustic piano is actually produced from the hammer hitting the piano strings, you can actually feel it when you play
1. Requires tuning, pretty often if you play pretty often
2. A good digital piano will sound a lot better than a bad acoustic piano
3. Not very portable, unless you own a truck. Every time you move your piano, there is a 50% probability of it going out of tune, quite severely, if you are pitch perfect
4. The Acoustic Piano is like a glass, once you drop it, it will never be the same anymore. Once damaged, it will never be the same
Well, I always mention about good piano. What do I actually mean by that? Do you notice that on the cons of Acoustic Piano above, I wrote that "A good digital piano will sound a lot better than a bad acoustic piano"?
Piano, is an investment. Albeit, not necessary the higher the price the better, the better the piano, the higher your "ROI", Return on Investment. I am really sad with the fact that many people nowadays actually owns really, really, bad piano. Most parents, when it comes to providing music education to their kids, will say things like "I'll just buy a cheap piano or a small digital keyboard for now, and when they get better, I'll get them a slightly better piano, let me just get them a second hand piano, let's go to a piano shop and simply pick a cheap one". As a result, most kids give up halfway from really bad sounding piano, out of tune piano, piano with poor quality sound, and they are blamed and punished for being lazy. And the parents say "sigh, my kids are not interested, so I stopped them". Isn't that a negative ROI? Sunk Cost? The damage : Your kids will never wanna touch the piano again and you've just lost a few square foot of your house.
If you really want your kids to excel in music, get them a good piano. If you really want them to excel in studies, get them a good book, a good school, etc. Like I mentioned above "This is equivalent to getting by the day with a simple snack in comparison to appreciating every single moment of the day with a wholesome full of nutrition meal. It is that important!" Never say things like "I cannot afford". Instead, you can tweak your mindset a little to saying things like "How can I afford it?" - Ask Robert Kiyosaki
There are many ways to find out if a piano is good. An in-tune piano is not necessary a good piano. Most piano in piano stores are a little out of tune because it is not cost effective for the sellers to keep tuning their piano every now and then. Make sure you try the piano before you buy. If you're buying a piano in a really noisy shopping mall, forget it.
First of all, the touch. Try and see if the touch fits you, some prefer a stronger touch, some would like the touch to be soft. Secondly, play the middle C note, hold it right there, listen whether the sound is clear or really mellow. The sound should make you feel really comfortable. Third, step of the sustain / damper pedal and play the lower F major chord with your left hand followed by the upper F major chord with your right hand and continuously going upwards all play the same F major chords all the way to the highest F major chords you can play, still holding the sustain pedal. For a good piano, the sound will flow really clearly from left, to the back of your hears, to your right, in circles, enveloping and caressing your ears, you'll feel really comfortable. For a bad piano, the sound will be right in front of you, produced from the sound board in front of you, dies in front of you, really uncomfortable. It will take some time before you truly understand what I mean. Go try it!
Note : A good Upright Piano will sound a lot better than a bad Grand Piano. Most piano out there are made for PROFITS, not PASSION. Choose really carefully.