How to buy a piano.

Note: We do require that you at least own a piano or a 61 key (or more) keyboard before taking piano lessons. It should also be touch sensitive. In other words; when you press on the keys lightly it should play soft and when you press harder it should play louder. You don't need to bring it with you; you just need to own one.


How to buy a piano is perhaps the number one question we get from customers wanting to start piano lessons.

First off; allot of the answer depends on you, your preferences and your budget.


Upright or "Vertical" Pianos

  • *Good to excellent sound
  • *Medium budget
  • *Small space needed
  • *No loudness restrictions

Upright pianos offer an affordable way to have a very beautiful instrument to play on. You can get into a used piano often for under $1000.00. If you are buying from a private party its always a good idea to have a professional technician take a look at the one you finally decide on before you buy it. Here are some common types of "upright" pianos;

  • *Spinets are the shortest common type and usually the most affordable
  • Console Pianos are extremely common. They're a little taller and can produce some surprisingly beautiful tones.
  • Studio pianos will run a little more and can rival the sound of some grand pianos.

Grand/Baby Grand piano

  • *Usually Amazing, beautiful pure sound, (when properly maintained and tuned)
  • *Large budget
  • *Plenty of space needed
  • *No loudness restrictions

We’ve found some parents/students wanting to buy a grand or baby grand piano for the beauty of the sound it produces. The reasoning is this: if the student hears amazing sound, he/she will become even more encompassed. This will lead to more desire to learn and practice piano lessons. If the student is loving that sound; he or she will spend more time practicing. We do believe this to be true, but please also see the notes on electric/digital piano.
To purchase a grand or baby grand you will need a fairly large budget and plenty of space, and if you have both it may well be your best decision.

A piano is often a very large investment, especially if you are looking for a grand or baby grand. These can be quite pricy new, and you may save a few bucks buying used. However; if you are going to purchased a used piano you should plan on finding another trustworthy expert such as a professional piano tuner. Bring this person with you when you have found a piano you think you would like to own and have that expert give you his evaluation of that instrument. Now you can feel more confident spending those thousands of dollars.


Electric/digital piano

  • *Lower budget
  • *Good quality sounds
  • *Built in features
  • *Less needed space

Here's the short answer; The best choice for a digital piano is one that has these features:


  • -Touch sensitive(an absolute Must)
  • -Weighted keys
  • -full size (88 keys)

That said; We've had customers tell us that they've had success finding 88 weighted key pianos at Costco.


There are often many interesting sounds to be discovered on a digital piano. On some you can spend hours looking through; (listening through) the many sounds and then find just the right one to fit the composition at hand(s). Usually these instruments have a built in metronome and many have cool drum patterns that can really get a student grooving!


A little More about the Keys:

Many piano instructors will insist that you begin or start your child off on an instrument with weighted keys. The lessons are taught on weighted keys, there are often playing and recital opportunities on instruments that will have weighted keys. These pianos feel very different from an electric keyboard with un-weighted plastic keys. So; it should be noted that if a student wishes to ever play on a real piano, then they should go with weighted keys.


However; I have had students that are learning just for their own personal enjoyment and have no immediate intention of playing on anything other than their own instrument. In a case such as this; whatever will be will be. I started with this same intention, although it took extra work, it wasn’t the worst thing to switch over to weighted keys when I had to.
OK; with all that said, I recommend you start off with a keyboard that has weighted keys and a full 88 key range. Honestly; I teach 4 year olds from books that make use of all 88 keys.

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Phoenix Music Lessons

13832 N. 32nd St suite 158

Phoenix, AZ 85032


(602) 955-2702



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