Today I made a visit to Tom Lee Music to get more information about what to look for when purchasing a piano. Mainly I wanted to know what to suggest to my students when they complain that their piano is too quiet or light to the touch. There is also the issue of getting a smaller piano without compromising sound quality. Having the right piano is not only nice to listen to but also motivates the student to play more often. Having the right instrument makes a world of difference.

I must admit that I have at one time been guilty of suggesting to my students to check on *gasp* Craigslist. I was told that a lot of the time, the pianos posted on Craigslist pianos are actually MORE than those sold at their store. They are more costly at Costco as well, and that’s without the ability to try out the piano before buying it. With the technology advancing as fast as it does, buying a piano on Craigslist might mean you end up getting an older digital/hybrid piano without the same dynamic range.

So what should you look for when buying a digital or hybrid piano? Weighted keys for that real acoustic piano sound and feel. In this way you can develop the muscles needed to develop your technique and strength. For the younger student (ages 4-6) the digital or hybrid piano with weighted keys is a great way to start.

Transitioning from a hybrid piano to a grand acoustic piano is therefore similar in feel and sound. The need for a traditional acoustic piano vs. a hybrid or digital piano depends on where you live. In a house, acoustic pianos are good because the sound carries and that’s okay.

For those of you who live in a condo, every sound you make may result in a complaint. This is where the hybrid pianos are ideal. You can practice late at night as the option to turn down the volume is there. Your neighbours will be less likely to hear you and will continue to say hi to you.

The Yamaha N1, N2 and N3 hybrid pianos are a great option for someone who wants that same acoustic piano sound. It has the same hammers as an acoustic piano but instead of hitting the strings it hits a soundboard that gives you the same beautiful sound. For those of you who like the feeling and sound of a grand acoustic piano the N3 is comparable to a 9ft concert grand piano!

More and more professional musicians and music schools are choosing these pianos as a comparable option to the grand acoustic piano. The N3 also has the same vibration you get from playing an acoustic grand piano. You really can have it all with today’s hybrid pianos.

Another benefit is that there is no need to tune it. It can also be used as a teaching tool where you can record part of a piece and have the student play along with the accompaniment.

What kind of piano would you choose? Or a better question, would you be able to tell the difference?

What to look for when purchasing a piano?