One of the great things about living in the 21st century is all the technological advancements and the way that this technology allows for easier access to affordable tools. For example: if you wanted to play piano a hundred years ago, you had to own a huge, cumbersome piano that cost an arm and a leg. These days, if you want to pick up the piano or start teaching your kid, you can buy a cheap digital piano for a couple hundred dollars (less if you’re thrifty). If you decide piano is not for you or your kids are more interested in sports, you can donate your gear or resell it to a neighbour or online – better yet, wrap it up and give the gift of music this holiday season, you’re sure to make a music lover very happy! Maybe even throw in a couple music lessons if it’s someone you really care about.
Additionally, in the 21st century you don’t need a massive drum kit that will get you evicted from your home to play along to beats, heck, you don’t even need a drummer. You can just pick up a digital drum machine or program beats in Logic Pro or Garage Band and jam along to that.
If you find yourself completely smitten with the piano, you can upgrade to something a little fancier, maybe a Yamaha or a Roland stage piano. Below we’ll look at some of the features of these two brands.
The Roland RD-63 is an awesome, compact stage piano that it easy to carry around – much lighter than a piano. It comes loaded with classic grand piano, electric piano and organ tones. The RD-63 has weighted keys for great feel and can easily be used as a MIDI trigger if you’re working in a computer program. These pianos retail for about $900, but if you’re patient you can probably find one on Kijiji or Craigslist for $700.
Yamaha’s P-25 stage piano offers incredible value for what you get. First off, it has a full-on set of 88 keys, so if you want to get a little crazy with octave jumps and harmonies, you’re good to go. The keys are weighted more heavily the lower you go for incredibly realistic feel (relative to a real piano), and it is incredibly light for how big it is. It also serves as a MIDI controller and although it only has a few sounds, they are extremely high quality tones.
Once you’ve picked out a keyboard, you may want to look into buying something to make beats with; something to accompany your prowess on the piano. While vintage drum machines like 808s and 909s are insanely expensive, Roland offers digital re-issues at affordable price points. The same principal follows with stage pianos: original Rhodes pianos and similar vintage electric pianos sell for thousands of dollars and take up a lot more space, but unless you’re a connoisseur, there’s not much difference between the sound of a Rhodes and the sound of a digital piano.
The TR-8 from Roland offers the combined tones of the 808 and 909 for $700 – small price to pay for the luxury of jamming along to sick beats!