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Piano/Keyboard Buyers Guide
from the MMF! Music Library

There are three different groups of instruments to choose from if you are a keyboard player:

1) Electronic Keyboard
2) Digital Piano
3) Acoustic Piano

Electronic Keyboards
If you are considering a portable electronic keyboard, Yamaha and Casio make a wide variety of models that would work well for the beginning student. Most keyboards are built with both tone banks and rhythm banks. The tone banks reproduce a wide variety of instrumental sounds while the rhythm banks keep your kids rockin' out for hours. Only two features, however, are of any importance when you are shopping for a keyboard on which to study music. The first, and most important feature, is that the electronic keyboard has full size keys. The second, though less important feature, is that is able to accept a foot pedal. While it is not necessary that the keyboard come with a pedal, it is preferable to have one when your child is ready for it. A keyboard stand and bench also should be purchased in order to place you child in the correct playing position.

Digital Pianos
If your budget is a little bigger, you can consider a digital piano with weighted keys. Weighted keys will more closely simulate the action of an acoustic piano, providing the opportunity for a more expressive musical performance. While some inexpensive keyboards are designed with touch-sensitive functions, they do not allow young musicians to play expressively and, as a result, keeping the musician from experiencing the rich variation that makes music so interesting to listen to and play. Finding a keyboard with a built-in metronome would be a wonderful though not necessary option.

Acoustic Pianos
If your budget allows for the purchase of an acoustic piano, a spinet or upright piano would be an ideal choice. If you are also looking for a nice piece of furniture, a baby grand or grand piano would make a wonderful addition to your home while providing a richer overall sound as a result of the extended string length. Pianos built in the USA are generally of high-quality design and construction and are more expensive than imports. Recommended USA brands include Steinway and Baldwin. Asian pianos are highly regarded. The two most popular and recommended brands from Japan are Yamaha and Kawai. While German and Austrian made pianos, including Bosendorer and Perzina, are considered some of the world's finest, the Czech Republic, France, and the U.K. also produce a fine range of pianos. If you are considering buying a used acoustic piano, remember that while a piano may look good on the outside, many problems may be lurking inside. The best choice you can make is to search only within your area and then contact the seller to set up a time to evaluate the piano with your piano teacher or local piano technician. There are many great used pianos out there, you just have to sift through the weeds to find the flowers.

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