Choosing a piano: Acoustic or Electric?

by / Tuesday, 18 November 2014 / Published in Piano
Choosing a Piano

Buying an acoustic or electric piano? The increasing development of electronics makes this even harder. Your choice is largely based on your own personal preferences – what do you need? Weighing up the pros and cons is a good way to come to an informed decision.

Digital Pianos perform a number of functions that are not found on a traditional piano. When compared with traditional pianos, they are usually cheaper. They also house a wide variety of sounds including strings, flute, percussion and more. Their digital nature also means there is no need for tuning, so they are almost maintenance free. Another added benefit includes the ability to record and playback your performance with fantastic precision. You can also mitigate noise with headphones. Most models are also smaller and therefore lend themselves to portability. For those working with electronic music, there are models that support MIDI interfaces. This lets you control digital instruments using the black and white keys.

As digital technology improves sampling, the gap between the acoustic and digital continues to shrink. Nevertheless, digital sound is not quite as authentic as the real thing. A lot of electric pianos have restrictions on fidelity. This makes reproducing the sound of an acoustic piano very difficult. Nuances such as ‘touch sensitivity’ and ‘weighted action’ are not as advanced as they are with an acoustic piano. There are plenty of other technical aspects hard to emulate with electric pianos, too. Foot pedals come into play – they are separate items that have to be bought, whereas acoustic pianos have these as standard. Implementing harmonic tones and lack of polyphony can also prove to be a problem.

Conversely, traditional pianos require constant maintenance to keep them in check. Although the most talented musicians of capable of self-tuning, for the rest of us this will incur a heavy charge. As you would expect, acoustic pianos are incredibly difficult to move around. This is despite the fact that more recent models can be taken apart. Their vintage sound is attributed to their internal mechanisms, which are expensive as well as heavy.

It is also important to consider the area of application of the instrument in question. All of the above factors, whilst variable, also play an important part in the buying procedure. Having a desire to formally train with a teacher goes hand-in-hand with the procurement of an acoustic piano. A wide variety of musicians not only create music using electric pianos but using them live onstage. This is near impossible with an acoustic model! Digital piano reviews are a great way to narrow down your options when it comes to purchasing an electric piano.

Digital technologies may soon catch up with the authenticity of sound acoustic pianos possess. Until then, they are a more than satisfactory for big, heavy units solely designed for home use. Using a piano in a more traditional fashion can definitely assist in learning the instrument. This will most benefit those planning on being taught more. However, for all-round usage, the electric piano is a varied, portable instrument great for a variety of purposes.

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