The electric or digital piano has come so far in the last 10-15 years with the increase of technology. I still have an older Yamaha digital piano that I purchased 15 years ago and it is crazy to compare them to what is coming out now. These keyboards are used all over music from studio musicians all the way to live performers. The good thing about these instruments is that they come in at all different price ranges. You can find a keyboard that is fairly cheap that still will get the job done for you depending on what you’re trying to do.
Electric pianos allow the musician to access thousands of different sounds all the click of a button and most of them are geared towards musicians needing to be able to do this fairly quickly now a days. Most keyboards give the musician the ability to create live set modes so they can add and change sounds for each song accordingly. The more in depth you can get here with an instrument, the better. This is a huge plus for a keyboard for a player of any skill level just because all musicians want the ability so seamlessly change throughout different patches.
The Keyboard Workstation In Digital Pianos
Some digital pianos are keyboard workstations now a days. These are keyboards that are essentially full on recording studios built in to keyboards. They have a computer built into them so you can record directly into it. These types of digital pianos have usually thousands of pre-set sounds along with many different drum patches. You can track vocals into some of these keyboards and also automatically track drums by using the pads located on them.
Workstations are being used in studios, but also being used by live performers. You can pre-program your entire set into a workstation and a lot of musicians will do this and also sample in any sounds they want as well. Keys on digital pianos in general vary, but some of them can be very high-end and feel just like the real thing.
Why Do People Use Digital Pianos Over Acoustic Pianos?
Musicians are using digital pianos over acoustic pianos for many reason, but one big reason is convenience and weight. Real pianos weigh an insane amount and it’s not very practical for most bands to lug around an instrument weighing over 500 pounds every night. The electric piano has made some good advancements over the years so that their sound is sounding closer and closer to that over a real piano.
I am a firm believer that digital pianos can sound better than acoustic pianos. A lot of musicians prefer a real piano as do I, but there’s no denying the sound on some of the high-end digital pianos. Not only do these keyboards have great piano sounds, they also tend to have really high-quality sounding string patches as well.
For musicians who are just beginning, the digital piano is nice because they are cheaper than normal pianos and they all the musician to try it out before spending a lot of money on a real piano. There are entry level keyboards that are relatively cheap, yet still pack a good sound when it comes to replicating a piano sound or string patch.
Musicians Touring With Digital Pianos
Most bands who tour bring a digital piano with them if they have a decent amount of keyboards. Yes, there is a huge rise of MIDI controllers, but most digital pianos and workstations are also MIDI controllers now a days as well. Meaning, you can use your digital piano as a MIDI controller and have access to thousands of more sounds. This means the musician can play on their own and just use the normal stock sounds or they can plug in their keyboard with a computer or laptop and access more sounds from a DAW.
The Digital Piano Will Never Fully Replace Acoustic Pianos
Although the electric piano is far more portable than the acoustic piano, they will never full replace the acoustic piano in my opinion. Acoustic pianos will always have that organic feel to them that I don’t think anything synthetic will replace. Being able to slam on the keys of a Steinway or high-end piano is a great feeling that instantly brings out many emotions.
Classical pianists almost always will prefer a piano over a digital piano for this reason as well. Yes, the digital piano has made some huge advancements, but it would take something incredibly groundbreaking for them to become more popular than an acoustic piano. They might even become more popular than the acoustic piano, however this would take time and something crazy.
When I say more popular I get that there are hundreds and thosands sold, I am talking in a sense of higher level musicians preferring the digital piano over the acoustic piano. It will be fun to see how this changes over the years and I will be watching on!