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What is a Digital Piano? Our ePianos Buying Guide

Digital Piano
Chris Hammond

Quick links: Different ranges Why a digital piano? Digital piano FAQ

What is a digital piano?

A digital piano is designed to replicate the sound, feel and design of a traditional acoustic piano, with none of the drawbacks.

Digital pianos require absolutely no maintenance or tuning, are (generally) easier to move and transport, and ultimately far more durable than their acoustic counterparts, as they are far less sensitive to environmental factors.

Digital pianos are remarkably easy to assemble, usually only requiring a dozen or so screws and a couple of people. Yamaha digital pianos are generally considered the finest on the market worldwide, and fall into five distinct ranges:

Different ranges of Yamaha digital pianos

Yamaha P Series

Yamaha P125

These are Yamaha’s ‘portable’ range of digital pianos, sometimes referred to as ‘stage pianos’, designed to accommodate smaller locations or to be easier to transport for the performing musician. They appear ostensibly as the ‘top-section’ of a digital piano, with stands and pedals available as separate accessories.

Yamaha YDP Arius

Yamaha YDP Arius

The basic elements of the perfect digital piano, featuring 88 keys, a small selection of voices (sounds) and three foot-pedals like a traditional acoustic piano – this range is very similar in concept to the more advanced CLP series digital pianos, and they are designed as full ‘furniture’ pianos, complete with base unit and stand.

Yamaha CLP Clavinova

Yamaha CLP Clavinova

The Clavinova CLP range is the flagship Yamaha series of digital pianos who’s primary service is to look, feel and sound like the worlds finest acoustic pianos. They are able to accurately model the sound and physical nuances of a number of classic pianos, and offer a number of controls for you to shape the sound as you like.

Yamaha CSP Clavinova

Yamaha CSP Clavinova

Designed to work primarily with the outstanding (free) ‘Smart Pianist’ Android and iOS app from Yamaha, the CSP offer a similar look and feel to the CLP series, but can be completely transformed using the app, which provides a vast array of additional voices, backings, learning material (such as a ‘follow-the-lights’-style tuition aid) and the ability to transform your iTunes library into a score of chords for you to play along with!

Yamaha CVP Clavinova

Yamaha CVP Clavinova

Clavinova CVP – The Clavinova CVP range is the flagship ‘performance’ range of digital pianos, representing a combination of CLP series technology and a huge variety of backing rhythms and songs. This series’ primary service is performance, with a number of controls for creating and storing your own songs and settings.

Other ranges available at ePianos.co.uk

We also stock an excellent choice of Korg digital pianos, another strong brand with a number of great-value alternatives to Yamaha pianos, and don’t forget to explore our ever-evolving range of used digital pianos.

Why buy a digital piano?

Yamaha Digital Pianos

Each range will offer varying key mechanisms and other innovations which will impact your playing experience greatly. 

Budget also plays a role too, and each of these digital or electric piano ranges will offer a more inexpensive ‘base’ model, featuring the core features of the range, all the way up to the premium flagship model featuring the very best technologies and design elements available.

Our advice is always to buy the best Yamaha digital piano you can afford – this gives you the best possible start and ensures you aren’t missing out on the best technology available to you.

Yamaha digital pianos are more popular than ever before, because using modern technology they so closely replicate the sound and feel of traditional pianos that most people cannot tell the difference anymore.

Then there are the practical reasons why digital pianos are proving more popular than ever today:

Digital pianos never go out of tune or need any maintenance (traditional pianos need tuning often and need regulated environments)

Digital pianos have volume control and can be used with headphones (traditional pianos cannot be ‘turned down’ so practice might disturb neighbours or family)

Digital pianos are easy to lift and transport (traditional pianos are very heavy and dangerous to move unless by experts)

Frequently asked questions

Clavinova, Arius, YDP, CVP, CLP and CSP

How does a digital piano work?

Most Yamaha digital pianos work by taking a recorded sample from a traditional piano and amplifying it through built in speakers.

But it’s not as simple as you might imagine. In order to accurately simulate the true sound of piano hundreds of samples must be taken, not just of the desired note being played but also the variations in strength and sympathetic vibrations of surrounding strings and the cabinet of the piano too.

Yamaha have a rich heritage in making world class grand pianos so they are experts at capturing the required sounds.

Are digital pianos as good as “real” pianos?

Most people cannot tell the difference between traditional pianos and Yamaha digital pianos today. This is because modern technology is so advanced that digital pianos can replicate the touch and feel of ‘real’ pianos so accurately.

Do the keys feel real?

Yes. The keys on digital pianos are ‘weighted’ so the way they feel to play and react to your input is just like the real thing. Don’t think that digital pianos feel and sound like that old Casio keyboard you got for Christmas in 1986.

Do they need tuning?

No. Yamaha digital pianos never go out tune, so never need tuning.

Do they have the right amount of keys?

Yes. Most digital pianos have the standard 88 keys.

Can I wear headphones to practice?

Yes. When you plug headphones into a digital piano the speakers are disabled so only you can hear the sound. This is ideal for practicing late at night or when you don’t want to disturb anyone. Note: The standard jack socket for headphones is 6.35mm. iPhone headphone plugs are 3.5mm so you would need an adaptor. Most of our digital pianos come with headphones and the adaptor anyway.

Why do digital piano prices vary so much?

The price of a digital piano depends on a number of factors, for example whether the keys are plastic or wooden, whether the speakers are big or small, the amount of extra features it has like rhythms and backings or multi track recordings. The cabinet design and finish is a factor too. Small portable pianos tend to be cheaper than the more traditional looking non-portable ones. This digital piano guide is designed to help you spend as much as you need on the right instrument.

Can I connect my iPhone/iPad?

Many of the Yamaha digital pianos and keyboards allow connection to an iPad/tablet now for various purposes. Yamaha have developed a lot of apps for their instruments, you can read more about them on the App Store.

What about other manufacturers of digital piano?

We are an independent shop but choose Yamaha digital pianos exclusively because they are regarded as the best in the world. You will find Yamaha digital pianos in most music schools, colleges and universities, and teachers nearly always recommend Yamaha because of how authentic the touch and sound is.

Will a digital piano help me pass exams?

Yes, Yamaha also manufacture some of the world’s finest concert grand pianos and have a rich heritage over 100 years making pianos. The technology they have developed is shared into the design of their digital pianos to make them the most authentic digital pianos in the world. Therefore when you practice on a Yamaha digital piano it will prepare your technique for passing exams.

Yamaha digital pianos are also endorsed by some of the most-established grading associations, such as Trinity Guildhall and the ABRSM.

Why not have a look at ourPiano Chooserto help you decide what’s best for you?

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Chris Hammond Manager
Chris is the manager of ePianos.co.uk and the driving force behind the demonstration, comparison and review videos that we feature on our website. He is responsible for overseeing all areas of the sales and marketing team, with extensive product knowledge and many years of experience as a musician and composer.
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What is a Digital Piano? Our ePianos Buying Guide

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