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  • Writer's pictureJeremy See

10 Basic Requirements of A Piano

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

If you are a beginning, aspiring musician looking to buy a piano, you have clicked into the right page! When it comes to buying pianos, there are the 10 basic requirements that you should look out for to help you ensure you don't waste your money getting a beginner piano you will regret buying.

So before you swipe your card, look out for these 10 basic requirements of a good beginner piano.

1. Full 88 Keys

The first requirement to look for when buying a beginner digital piano is the presence of full 88 keys. Having full 88 keys is to ensure that you are able to play full classical piano repertoire pieces and songs that are usually arranged specifically for full key pianos.

2. Full-sized Keys

The next thing to make sure the piano has is full-sized keys. The full-sized keys allows you to be adaptable to any other kind of standard-sized piano out there. Therefore, do avoid mini keys as it is not suitable and you will have an issue adopting to a normal sized piano keys when you need to play outside.

3. Touch-sensitive Keys

You also need to make sure that your piano has touch-sensitive keys. Having touch-sensitive keys means that your piano sound will correspond to how hard or how soft you play the keys. This affects the expressiveness of your sound and it might hinder you from creating the mood of the music. Therefore, it is critical to have touch-sensitive keys to create the best sound.

4. Fully Weighted Keys

Fully weighted keys feels like those on an acoustic piano. It should also have graded weighting, which means keys on the lower left side of the piano is heavier and it gets lighter as you play the higher notes towards the right side of the piano. For those on a very tight budget and do not want to spend so much, semi-weighted keys are definitely a better choice than one that has no weight at all.

5. Realistic & Expressive Sound

The next thing you want to look out for in your digital piano is that it must come with realistic and expressive piano sound. It honestly does not cost a lot for manufacturers to use high-quality piano samples on entry-level digital pianos because of the advancement of sampling technology. The rest of the sounds in the piano may not be the most top-notch, but there is no excuse whatsoever, for the default piano voice not to be realistic and expressive.

6. Sustain Pedal

Although traditional acoustic pianos have 3 pedals, most piano players use mainly the sustain pedal 95% of the time. Moreover, most piano pieces require the use of a sustain pedal. Therefore, a sustained damper input is a minimum requirement of a good beginner piano.

7. Built-in Metronome

A metronome is a device that helps you to keep time by giving clicks and bells so that you can match your timing and tempo to how fast or how slow the music is. A metronome is thus, extremely important if you want to be good at piano playing as it helps you to improve quickly by helping you to play accurately and on time.

Some people reading this article might say that, “hey, that isn't a critical feature”, right? You can have an external metronome or you can even download a metronome on your smartphone these days as an app... No biggie! However, let me tell you, you will only use the metronome most often when it is convenient, and it's next to you. What can be more convenient than having the metronome built right into your digital piano? With a press of button, your metronome is turned on instantly and you can practice along with it. Therefore, I would still highly recommend getting a piano that has a built-in metronome feature.

8. Headphone Output Jack

As a beginning piano student, you are most likely not going to be playing your pieces very well and have to keep repeating the same piece of music many times over. So, in order to not disturb (and annoy) your family or roommates, a headphones output jack is of critical importance.

9. Scaled Hammer Action

The second last thing that you should be looking out for is the presence of scaled hammer action.

There are primarily three kinds of key actions the non-weighted key action (usually found in keyboards), the semi-weighted key action (found in more portable and beginner pianos), and the scaled hammer action (found in digital pianos). For your keys, you do not only want it to be weighted, because weighted just means that the keys are heavy. You would want it to have scale weighting.

What is scale weighting? It just means that the left side keys is heavier than the right side keys of the digital piano. As you play from the left side to the right side of the piano, the keys will just get lighter (like what was mentioned in point 4). That is exactly how it is on a real acoustic piano as the strings on the piano are thicker and have a heavier gauge on the lower registers of the piano. So, do make sure you look out for scaled hammer action.

10. Damper Pedal Function

Last but definitely not the least, you should look out for a damper pedal function. The damper pedal, also commonly referred to as the sustain pedal, is an integral part of playing piano music (similar to point 6).

In conclusion, these are the 10 basic requirements of a piano you should take note of when you're looking to purchase a piano full 88 keys, fully-sized keys, touch-sensitive keys, fully-weighted keys with scaled hammer action, the presence of a sustain/damper pedal function, a headphone output jack, a built-in metronome, and a beautiful, realistic and expressive sound. I hope you have found my opinions useful in your process of buying a new beginner piano.

Do check out my other articles to find the best and most suitable piano for you!

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