digital pianoIn the first part of How to Buy a Digital Piano, , I talked about the importance of trying out a digital piano before buying it. I also talked about the value of learning how to evaluate the sound of a digital piano.

In the second part, I will give you more tips on how to buy the perfect digital piano.

You will discover what to look for in the action of a digital piano keyboard. I will explain why it is essential to determine who the end user is, and finally, I will reveal why it is vital to know exactly where the digital piano will play after purchase.

The action of the digital piano is important

It is essential to find a piano with the right action, because what the keyboard feels ultimately determines how the piano will sound when expressed through the keyboard. You want something that is comfortable for you, not too heavy but not too light either. The keys should be light enough to respond, but heavy enough to be a little difficult to play. Find a good balance between the two ends of the spectrum by avoiding the extremes of being too easy to play and too hard to play.

The feel of a real piano is influenced by the mechanism of the hammers, which, when pressed hard enough, strike the piano strings and produce a sound. Digital piano companies have tried to simulate this with varying degrees of success. Cheaper digital pianos have what is called a "semi-heavy" action. They are very easy to play but are not very authentic.

You should look for a keyboard action that mimics that of a real piano, with a heavier action in the lower registers and a lighter action in the upper registers. In most cases, the quality of the keyboard action improves as you pay.

Beware of digital pianos that have a noisy keyboard. If you play the piano late at night, you don't want the sound of the keys to wake people up or cause excessive noise. When you try the piano, be sure to listen to the sound of the keys with the volume turned down completely. More expensive digital pianos have quieter operation, so you may have to pay a little more for a quiet keyboard.

Determine who the end user is

It is very important to determine exactly who will use the digital piano. A numerical keypad for a child who is taking classical piano lessons and rehearsals at home may have different requirements than a teenager or an adult who enjoys playing popular music.

You should also consider whether you will use this keyboard for music production. If so, make sure it has modulation and sound wheels and is fully MIDI compatible. Of course, someone who just wants to play the piano won't need all those bells and whistles. Knowing what a digital piano is used for will greatly help you determine the right model to buy.

Where are you going to play?

People who play the digital piano do so in all sorts of places. Where you play will determine the type of digital piano that best suits your needs. For many pianists, home is where they will play, so portability is not a major concern.

However, if you make a living playing in a church or club, you need to make sure your digital piano is portable. If you plan to take your piano with you, be sure to invest in a good portable case.

In the third part of How to Buy a Digital Piano, I'll tell you why it's important to know what kind of music you're going to play and give you some tips on buying like a pro.

-Bob Bloomberg