Musical Musings

Sharing musical thoughts and ideas.

How to choose a piano

Monday, March 15, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Uncategorized

Purchasing your Instrument for home practice

Purchasing your first piano can be confusing. Here I would like to share options and the pros and cons to each.

Upright Acoustic Piano

This is the standard traditional piano that sits against a wall and easily fits in most homes. They have 88 keys and inside the back box there are strings and hammer mechanisms that produce the sound.


  • Best Quality
  • Best Long term option
  • Authentic Sound
  • Can resell generally for your purchase price as acoustic pianos are made to last
  • Best to practice so when student plays for lessons, recitals, and auditions there is less shock on the differences


  • Upkeep, generally need to be tuned every 1-2 years (about $120)
  • Difficult to move, movers in our area cost around $150 to move a piano


You can pick up a used piano for anywhere from free to $1500. Generally the higher price will be a much better instrument and the free pianos may have further issues that need to be fixed. New pianos start around $2000.

Unweighted Keyboards:

Unweighted Keyboards are the instruments most people think of when they think of getting a piano keyboard at home. These I do NOT suggest spending money on. Unweighted keyboards generally do not have all 88 keys. Unweighted keyboards are not similar to pianos.


  • Lightweight and cheap to purchase


  • Will hold back a student's technical development
  • You will not be getting the best investment out of your piano lessons
  • more than likely will not have all 88 keys and a pedal

Digital Pianos

Digital pianos can be easily confused with Keyboards. Digital Pianos have the weighted keys and generally come complete with all 88 keys. The keys are more similar to playing a piano. Digital pianos are a good option if you need something that can move easily.


  • Realistic piano features
  • Moves easily
  • No tuning needed


  • Still not the full texture and sound and strength building of a piano
  • Can be more expensive than a used piano
  • Digital parts will break down and may not be able to resell

Hybrid Pianos

Hybrid Pianos combines electronic, mechanical, and/or acoustical aspects of both acoustic and digital pianos. They have real hammers inside and wooden keys just like an acoustic piano but they’re electric. This is the newest technology in piano building.


  • Can be used for silent practice with headphones
  • Will connect to computer and sound systems
  • Won't ever need tuning
  • Can imitate different types of pianos


  • Expensive