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Question #89834 posted on 06/05/2017 2:38 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm interested in learning to play the piano, but I don't have access to one. Can you recommend any electronic keyboards that emulate the piano "sound" with high fidelity, or is that an oxymoron?

-One-Winged Angle


Dear you,

More important than the sound is the touch (how the keys respond), and good touch is really, really hard to come by on an electronic keyboard. Even the Yamaha Arius, which is quite expensive, is only decent when it comes to touch.

Touch really starts to matter after about a year or so of lessons. However, before that, you're focused on learning the notes, so touch doesn't matter so much. To get started, you could probably make do with something quite affordable, and then upgrade later if you're really getting into it. Any modern keyboard around the $100 or $200 price point should have quality sound. The sounds are all sampled from real pianos these days rather than the synthesized electronic sound of 20 years ago, so it's hard to go too wrong if the keyboard is fairly new. I own the Yamaha NP-30, which is quite portable and functional. It has good sound quality and acceptable touch, although with very little bells and whistles and it's not quite full size. It's nice to have in my apartment when I have to try out a piece of music, but I go find a real piano if I'm going to do some actual practicing.

By Googling "Best Digital Keyboards," I found this guide (among others). In addition to the keyboards they list, you could try looking up the Yamaha NP-31 or NP-32, which are upgraded versions of the discontinued NP-30 and might be easier to find.