In the forty years I have been playing the piano, I have played and owned upright pianos, a digital piano, keyboards, and a baby grand. There are pros and cons to each. But when my husband and I were young marrieds, he gave me a used upright for Christmas. I was super grateful, but it was obviously a well-used, not necessarily well-cared-for piece. And very large and dark, taking up more than its share of our small trailer. If you have played many pianos you understand the twangy sound of a badly aged piano.
When we moved, Frankenstein came with us. He wasn’t that bad, but he could be mistaken for a close twin to the oversize green beast I had learned on in my parents’ basement as a child. The piano that broke a man’s toe when it was being hefted into my parents’ house by several grown men. Yes, moving these things is a major event.
Then my husband and I attended a Home and Garden show. A music store was one of the vendors. The digital pianos on display called out to me, and it was love at first sight. I caressed the light-colored faux-wood casing of a Samick, and before we knew what had happened, we were financing Frankenstein’s small, pretty sister.
Shortly after this I loaned Frank to a friend since I didn’t need two pianos, and it still bothers my husband twenty some years later that I never asked for him back! I feel like he went on to a good life, and he was a big boy, he could handle himself out in the world.
The smaller digital piano held the prominent place in our home as my only piano for nearly twenty years before she was joined by a baby grand.
One of the main reasons I had so badly wanted my little Samick girl (besides the fact that we could move her on our own without breaking anyone’s toes) was because I knew that digital pianos stay tuned. Since there are no strings, there is no stretching, no changes due to time or weather. Not only would this save me upwards of $100 per year, it would ensure that my children’s untrained musical ears were not tainted by out-of-tune notes. That was a big deal to me.
I also loved that I could transpose a tune into a range I could sing without changing the music I was reading. Another feature I enjoyed was the ability to change the sound from upright to grand piano, or into some totally different instrument or even group of instruments as well as add beats and background drums. And over the years I recorded music for fun.
So I have stayed a big fan of the digital piano all these years, even as seven children later Samick now says S mic. However, whenever the power went out, which is a great time to play piano, I didn’t have one to play. Which is why the baby grand joined our household. And I do love the feel of those vibrating strings, it gives a whole different dimension to the experience.
What I don’t love is the this:
Those folded pieces of paper jammed between strings are how I persuade some keys back into tune. A piano tuner worked his magic on the baby grand within the last six months, but he warned me that the age of the piano’s wood and its recent relocation into our home would push some of the notes to wander, and he showed me this trick to hold them over until he comes back for his annual appointment.
I love both of my pianos for sure. But you can see that there is a definite benefit to a digital piano that holds its tune through all conditions.