What Piano Should I Start Learning On? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re asking yourself “what piano should I start learning on?”, you’re not alone. The decision is crucial but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. This step-by-step guide will simplify your decision-making process.

What Piano Should I Start Learning On
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Types of Pianos

Here are the different types of pianos…

Acoustic Pianos

For those aspiring to achieve a classical touch in their piano playing, acoustic pianos are often the preferred choice. Let’s examine the pros and cons of the two main types:

Upright Piano

Space Requirement

Upright pianos are compact, designed to fit neatly against a wall, making them a practical choice for those with limited space like apartments and smaller homes.


An upright piano is generally more budget-friendly, especially when compared to grand pianos. New models from reputable brands can start around $3,000, while used models may be available for less.


Although they offer a rich sound, upright pianos typically can’t match the sonic depth of a grand piano. They are, however, more than sufficient for most types of music and for learners at all stages.


Maintaining an upright piano includes regular tuning, which you’ll generally need to schedule at least twice a year. Depending on your location and the specific tuner, this can cost between $100 and $200 per session.

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Grand Piano

Space Requirement

Grand pianos demand a lot of room, not just for the instrument but also for the sound to resonate properly. They are better suited for spacious homes or concert halls.


The price tag for a new grand piano can be steep, starting at around $10,000 and going up to $100,000 or more for high-end models.


The sound quality is unmatched, offering a richness and depth that upright pianos typically can’t replicate. The key action is also usually superior, providing a better dynamic range.


Like upright pianos, grand pianos require regular tuning. Additionally, due to their more intricate mechanism, they may require more frequent and specialized maintenance, which could add to your long-term costs.

Digital Pianos

Digital pianos have become increasingly popular due to advancements in technology that make them more akin to acoustic pianos in both sound and feel.


One of the major advantages of digital pianos is their portability. They can be easily moved and require far less space than acoustic pianos, making them ideal for smaller living conditions or for those on the go.


Digital pianos are often a more economical choice, with some models available for just a few hundred dollars. However, for a higher-quality sound and feel, expect to pay upwards of $1,000.


Modern digital pianos come equipped with advanced sound technologies that do an excellent job mimicking the acoustic piano sounds. Some even offer a range of different sounds like organs, synthesizers, and more.


Digital pianos win in the maintenance category. They are essentially “plug and play” and don’t require regular tuning. However, it’s a good idea to keep them clean and to check for software updates if your model supports it.

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Setting Your Budget

Determining your budget is a critical step because the cost of pianos varies widely. Keep in mind the following:

New vs. Used: Consider whether a used piano could meet your needs; they are often more affordable.

Additional Costs: Remember to include costs for accessories like a piano bench, sheet music, and potentially a metronome.

Essential Features to Consider

As you narrow down your choices of what piano to start learning on, you’ll want to pay close attention to some essential features that can significantly impact your playing experience. Here’s a closer look:

88 Keys

While not a strict requirement for beginners, having a piano with 88 keys will allow you to play a wide range of compositions as you progress. Pianos with fewer keys might be more portable or cost-effective but could limit you when you’re ready to take on more complex pieces.

Touch Sensitivity

A quality piano should be sensitive to the pressure you apply to the keys. This is what allows you to produce variations in sound volume and expressiveness. For instance, pressing a key softly should produce a quieter sound, while hitting it harder should result in a louder, more robust tone.

Quality of Sound

Don’t just play a few notes; play many, across a variety of octaves. Listen to how the piano sounds in both the higher and lower registers. A well-balanced sound across the entire keyboard is a sign of a quality instrument.

Location and Space

Before you even head to the store or browse online, measure the space where your piano will reside. If you’re considering an upright piano, don’t forget to factor in its height along with its width and depth. Remember to leave some room for the piano bench and for you to move around comfortably.

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The room’s acoustics can greatly affect how your piano sounds. While digital pianos are less sensitive to room acoustics, an acoustic piano, especially a grand piano, needs a room that enhances its sound rather than dampens it. Investing in some acoustic treatments can make a significant difference.

Final Steps and Purchase

Before making your final decision, spend some time playing the piano. This will give you a sense of its key action (how the keys respond when pressed) and the overall sound quality, both of which are crucial for an enjoyable playing experience.

Always read the fine print. Understanding the warranty or return policy can provide you with peace of mind and protect you from potential issues down the line.

Your investment in a piano isn’t just the upfront cost of the instrument. Acoustic pianos need periodic tuning, which can cost between $100 and $200 per session. If you’re buying a new or used acoustic piano, also take into account the delivery charges.

These can vary widely depending on the size and weight of the piano, as well as the distance it needs to be transported.

For more articles on piano questions, click here: Piano Questions: Your Ultimate Guide to Understanding All About Pianos

Conclusion: What Piano Should I Start Learning On?

In summary, the question “what piano should I start learning on?” has multiple answers, depending on your needs and constraints. This guide will help you make an informed decision.

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