Congratulations! Picking out your first piano is an exciting experience and a big milestone, but it can also be overwhelming – all those shiny keys, and so many different models to choose from! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry – we’ve got your back. Here’s a quick guide to help you purchase your first piano and get your musical journey off to a great start.
Set a budget. Before you start shopping, it’s important to decide how much you can afford to spend on a piano. A good quality digital piano for a beginner will generally cost about $600 and go all the way up to $10,000+. A good quality acoustic piano price can range from around $1,500 to $100,000+! If you can afford it, a very expensive acoustic piano is impossible to beat. If you don't have a spare 10-100 thousand dollars don't fret. You can buy a piano at the low end of the price ranges and they will allow you to learn to play piano just fine. Additionally, a low-priced quality instrument will still be very durable and last for many years to come.
Digital or Acoustic? Digital pianos offer the least hassle and best value for most people. Digital pianos never go out of tune, you can plug in headphones for privacy, and you can even plug them into your computer or iPad for recording. You can find a piano suitable for a beginner to late-intermediate player for around $600 such as the Yamaha P-45. A quality acoustic piano at a similar price point is difficult to find and comes with ongoing costs like tuning and transportation. A good quality used acoustic piano will usually cost $1500 at a minimum. There are many brands and models so it's best to ask a teacher, piano technician, or find a reputable piano dealer if you're going to make an investment into an acoustic piano.
88 Weighted Keys! - The standard full-size piano contains 88 keys. You'll also want to make sure they are weighted keys if you're looking at a digital piano. Weighted keys are an important feature to have because it mimics the feel of an acoustic piano and is necessary for beginners to learn proper technique. Without weighted keys, aspiring musicians will have difficulty learning to control dynamics (volume) and struggle to adapt to an acoustic piano for future recitals or other performance opportunities.
"FREE PIANO"!? Should I take the free acoustic piano from Craig's list?! IT'S FREE! - As tempting as it may be to get a free acoustic piano, make sure you're able to have a qualified piano technician test it out first before you make arrangements to take it. Hiring a moving company to move an acoustic piano is at least $200. Then, if the piano has not been properly maintained, it may not be able to be tuned or may require a pitch-raise which costs more than the typical piano tuning. In the end, you might end up paying more for a "free" piano than if you went to a reputable dealer in the first place.
Where should I purchase a piano? If you're located in Omaha, NE like us at SNJ, Then there are a few excellent local piano dealers you can go to. Try Keyboard Kastle or Schmidt Music. They both have been around for more than 20 years and have the largest selection of both digital and acoustic pianos you can find locally. Buying from a local dealer is especially important if you're going to get an acoustic piano. Every acoustic piano is unique and you'll want to play it before you making a purchase.
If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me, Luke Backhaus. I'd be happy to help provide additional guidance to help you find the perfect first piano! To reach me, fill out a contact form and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!