I frequently get asked questions about where to purchase keyboards and pianos and what type of instrument would be best for the student. With the upcoming holidays rapidly approaching, I wanted to share some shopping information.
Keyboard or Piano;
- Keyboards come in three basic sizes: 61-key; 76-key; & 88-key. The 88-key represents a full size instrument. Weighted keys more closely approximate the mechanism, touch and sound of an acoustic piano. When using a keyboard it is important to have the instrument on a stable stand or table. This is especially important if young children have access to the keyboard. Young children can be very active and test the limits of the stability of the stand. They also tend to apply more pressure than necessary when playing and can “pound the keys”. Hence the need for a solid and sturdy stand. Keyboards are excellent for beginners as they are less expensive than pianos. Once it is evident that your child is committed and interested, a Piano or 88-key digital piano may then be the better choice. It is important to consider that the 61-key and 76-key instruments will usually need to be replaced within a year. The 88-key instruments are generally better quality, and they will last several years, especially if you buy a weighted key instrument. Often times these 88-key higher quality keyboards or digital pianos will serve your child until he is at an intermediate or advanced level.
- Pianos and digital pianos come in the following basic sizes, and vary greatly in cost depending on the quality and size of the instrument.
- Spinet – A spinet piano is the smallest version of a piano because the furniture that houses the keyboard is the smallest in dimension. The term “spinet” is actually used to refer to any smaller version of a larger instrument. The quality, size, usually 38″ to 44″, and the price are all smaller with a spinet piano.
- Vertical – A vertical piano vs. the traditional horizontal design. Vertical pianos are usually 48″ to 52″ tall, and have the musical power of a small grand. However, they are much less expensive and occupy a smaller space. They are called a vertical piano because they have the same string mechanism as a small grand piano but the strings are strung vertically instead of horizontally. High quality verticals last a long time and are a very efficient purchase in terms of quality of sound, price and space.
- Baby Grand – A smaller version of the Grand Piano, usually between 4’7″ and 6′ long. A horizontal piano and considerably less expensive than a grand piano.
- Grand – The full size horizontal piano, usually with three legs. This size is usually between 6′ and 9′ long, and powerful enough for the sound to fill an auditorium. Quality controls the price which can be from $10,000 to $150,000. They hold their value extremely well if maintained and taken care of.
Digital – The digital piano combines modern electronic technology with the sound and performance of the traditional acoustic piano. Lightweight and sophisticated with a full range of customization.
Refer to my Resource page for recommended businesses for your piano or keyboard purchase. Costco is an excellent source for pianos, digital pianos and keyboards during the holiday season both in terms of selection and pricing. Yamaha is an excellent brand for pianos, digital pianos and keyboards. Costco carries the Yamaha brand and Fort Bend Music is the local Yamaha dealer in the Houston market. Yamahas are in the middle to upper-middle range. Steinways and Bosendorfers are at the upper end, comparable to Mercedes and Rolls Royce if you were comparing a piano to a car. Forshey Piano and the Steinway Piano Gallery are the local Steinway dealers in Houston, Texas.