So here's a quick introduction: I started playing trumpet in school when I was in 5th grade, moved on to baritone/euphonium in 7th grade, taught myself acoustic guitar in 8th grade, and now I'm starting to learn piano (9th grade). Yeah, it's pretty late, but eh, who cares.

Anyway, I got a digital piano for Christmas (yesterday). We decided that a digital piano would be suitable for now, since we don't know for sure how casually I'll be playing, but at the same time purchasing a piano with good sound quality. I think we did pretty well in that area:

http://www.casio-music.com/euro/instruments/digital-pianos/compact/cdp-230r/

I know many people have said the polyphony isn't that great, and the piano doesn't really have that many "flashy buttons," but again, these weren't part of my main concern - sound quality and preparation for potential upgrade to an acoustic piano.

I've been playing on it all of yesterday, and I've really enjoyed it. I was able to play a few simple tunes like "Silent Night" and "Heart and Soul" since I fortunately had the experience of reading music from my other instruments, and since I had somewhat "prepared" for the piano with some studying of piano key notes.

Onto my question: The piano does have Casio's "Scaled Hammer Action," making the lower octave notes weightier than than higher ones. But I'm not sure if the keys in general are as "hard" to play as an acoustic piano would be. Would it be difficult if I were to upgrade to a regular piano? If I stayed with this one, how far off would the difference be? Lastly, is there a way to actually see how "weighted" these digital piano's keys are compared to a regular one other than physically testing them?

Thank you!

-Chris

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've found that generally these sorts of keyboards, while weighted, are not as heavy as a real piano, but that's not always a bad thing. As long as they're weighted enough that you can feel the difference between playing piano and forte then you should be fine when switching to a real piano. One important thing to do while learning is using a variety of dynamics by varying the pressure you put on the keys. As long as you can do that on this keyboard you'll be fine, I personally learnt on a keyboard a bit like this and the transition to a real piano was easy enough.

  • Thank you for your answer. I wanted to add, though, that I've been looking at this piano: goo.gl/9FLxWt , the Casio PX150, which seems to have a phenominal (ebony/ivory) key feel based on its reviews. It also has a much better polyphony (128vs48) than mine, the CDP-230R. The keys being weighted as far as far as lower notes being harder seems to be the same on both, except for the PX 150's having "Tri-Sensor, Scaled Hammer Action." Being just $130 more, I'm tempted to go for it, but I don't want to lose sight of my budget when I need to buy a stand, bench, etc. What do you think? – cbarkachi Dec 30 '14 at 7:44
  • I think that ideally you would go to a music shop and try out both to see which has action that you prefer, however if that is not possible the PX150 does have extremely good reviews. Note that it weighs 3kg more than the one you originally mentioned, just something to bear in mind if you need to carry it anywhere. Don't worry about the stand/bench blowing your budget, they can usually be bought second hand very cheaply. I think that since this keyboard will probably stay with you for a long time, it is better to go for the higher quality one. – Keir Lewis Dec 30 '14 at 12:02
  • Yeah, I'm actually really considering it at this point. Just one last thing - I'm seeing a lot of bundles for REALLY cheap (only 520-530 range; originally piano by itself is 499). But what's bothering me is that if I want a bundle with the three pedal system, it would cost me around $650. I know some people are saying the three pedals are very necessary later down the line while others are saying they aren't used much on a daily basis. What do you think? – cbarkachi Dec 31 '14 at 3:29
  • I got a distinction in my grade 8 piano using only the sustain pedal, I think that it's really important to have a good sustain pedal as it's extremely useful later on, but I personally don't use the other two pedals much. Don't worry about getting a sustain pedal right away, you could get the piano first and the pedal a couple of months later when you have the money, as it's not crucial to have in the early stages. – Keir Lewis Jan 1 '15 at 20:03

Yes, you can learn on that instrument. No, it is not exactly the same as a real piano.

Besides the weight that we can define as the amount of pressure needed, a real piano has a very large linear and angular momentum of its keys and inner mechanism. This is very hard to replicate without using material having the same weight as the original (which would make digital pianos very big and heavy).

Digital pianos mostly replicate the pressure force by using some spring and friction mechanisms. They are sufficient for most practicing and learning purposes.

You may need a real piano when you really progress a lot on expression techniques because of the lacking body and string resonance of a digital piano. Also you may need to practice on a real piano when you need to develop condition for playing quite long pieces.

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