A Bit of Digital Piano Jargon
Finding the best electric piano weighted keys or do I need 88 keys? All important questions when choosing a piano or keyboard.
If you’re still unsure which model or make is right for you, maybe we can make things easier by explaining a few of the terms used in the reviews.
• Fully Weighted Key – fully weighed keys on a digital keyboard try to replicate for the player how keys feel and act on a traditional acoustic piano. Practicing a digital keyboard with weighted keys becomes important if you intend to play an acoustic piano. It will be a challenge to develop technique and have control of dynamics otherwise. Without practicing on weighted keys you might have a hard time executing a passage that moves through pianissimo to forte, etc.
• Semi-Weighted Keys – These keep the weight of a digital piano at a minimum. My digital piano with semi-weighted keys is 30 lbs; fully weighted digitals can be double that. In that sense, semi-weighted keys afford greater portability, which is important if you’re lugging your setup to a venue. While semi-weighted keys enhance portability, they subtract from authentic feel and touch. In the end, you’ll have to think about your piano/keyboard goals.
• 88 Keys – Although you may find concert grands with a few more keys, 88 keys is the standard. If you intend to play classical repertoire and you choose a keyboard with fewer than 88 keys, you’ll be limited regarding your repertoire. 88 keys are essential for serious pianists.
• Sustain Pedal – A plug-in sustain pedal typically comes with the digital piano. Being able to pull off proper pedaling is more challenging on a digital. In fact, pedaling is a separate skill every pianist needs to develop. You might say that marginally, the sustain pedal is better than nothing at all, but it moves around on the floor, and can’t really be counted on to reliably spring back up again after it’s depressed. Maybe consider upgrading to a 3-pedal system, if possible.