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Different Types Of Pianos

Here is a quick rundown of all the different types of pianos and keyboards that you can buy.

I will describe the main characteristics, most popular piano makers and how much they cost, to help you decide which one best suits your needs.

Acoustic Pianos

Let's start with the traditional acoustic piano. Acoustic pianos make sound through hammers striking strings.

There are different types of acoustic pianos, too: they can be "upright", which looks like this:


Different Types of Pianos - Acoustic Upright

The most popular acoustic upright piano manufacturers include Yamaha, and Kawai, and Ritmuller.

To buy an acoustic brand new, you're looking at prices starting from around $2,500-3,000 (and these would be bottom of the range). A decent one will set you back around at least $4,000.

You can either buy them through a traditional street music store; sometimes you can find a good used upright piano as well for a much reduced price, either sold through music stores or private sale.

Digital Pianos

Digital pianos imitate the feel and sound of an acoustic piano.


Different Types Of Pianos - Digital Piano

They don't have hammers or strings like an acoustic piano does. They use digitally 'sampled' sounds, amplifiers and speakers instead.

You can find both 'upright' and 'baby grand' digital pianos (upright is most popular).

Digital pianos have many advantages over acoustic (read about them more here).

Cost: Digital pianos start from around $1,000 (although you can get them for almost half the cost through online music retailers like in the UK or (US)); the better models start around $3,000 going up to around $18,000.

The well known manufacturers of digital pianos are Roland, Yamaha, and Kawai.

Digital Pianos are perfect if you:

  • would like something that closely resembles the sound of an acoustic upright or grand piano, in feel and touch but can't afford the price of a good acoustic;

  • want something that is really easy to maintain (no tuning required);

  • have limited space but want something that is more than purely 'functional' ie nice to look at;

  • are taking piano lessons or wanting to learn to play the piano long term.

Good quality digital pianos start from around $3,000 and go up to around $20,000, and beyond for digital grand pianos.

Best Digital Piano - Editors Pick

Electronic Keyboards

An electronic keyboard has computer generated sounds and is popular with music bands.

The keys are usually not weighted like they are on digital pianos (although many are touch sensitive).

The main appeal of these are the different kinds of sound effects, and portability - most come with less than the standard 88 keys - they might have 61 or 76 so they are much smaller.


Yamaha Electronic Keyboard

There are different types of electronic keyboards, including synthesisers, workstations and midi keyboards.

Casio and Yamaha electronic keyboards are some of the most popular makes, and can start from as low as a few hundred dollars.

Grand Pianos

And now to the granddaddy of acoustic pianos - the grand piano.


Baby Grand Piano

Grand pianos range from baby grands to full concert grands.

The grand piano is the largest and is popular for concert halls; baby grands are more appealing for the home because they are smaller.

Yamaha and Kawai are a favourite with music schools and performance halls (although this is partly to do with their effective marketing strategy).

Other popular brands include Ronisch, Baldwin, Bechstein, Petrof, Weber, Sohmer, Mason & Hamlin, Knabe and Hardman.

Find out about grand piano prices here.

Digital Piano Reviews

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