You may have decided to buy a digital piano as opposed to an acoustic piano for a lot of reasons, such as accessibility of multiple tones, headphone playing capability, discounted price, etc. But before you get one, be sure you like the feel of the keyboard action. This is the way the keys feel when being played. It all has to do with what sort of weighted keys the keyboard uses.
If you want the feel of an acoustic piano, you are going to need a weighted keyboard. Many digital pianos will emulate the feel of digital piano price by using keyboard weighted keys. They can do this in multiple ways. Before we take a look at a number of the different keyboard weighted types, let’s get a quick understanding of how an acoustic piano gets its “feel”
An acoustic piano utilizes a hammer striking mechanism. Whenever you press the keyboard keys it presses a lever. The lever causes a hammer to strike the strings. The hammer then bounces from the string. The true secret returns to the resting position through the weight in the hammer and levers. It’s very natural feeling without any springs. It simply uses the load in the hammer as well as the momentum from bouncing off the string.
This type of feel is what digital pianos attempt to recreate. So let’s glance at the three types of keyboard actions.
Non-weighted keys are very light feeling. These are what organs and synthesizers use. Obviously, they do not have the heavy, weighted feel that you will get from an acoustic piano. As there is little weight with no hammers using momentum from bouncing off a string, these non-weighted keyboards must use springs to take the keys returning to the resting position. The upside to this would be that the keys are simpler to press allowing quick movement on the keyboard. The down-side is this feels nothing as an acoustic piano. Also, when keys so easily press down it is actually easier to your finger to barely graze an important you had no aim of playing, creating a noticeable mistake in your performance.
These keys use a weight in them to provide them some substance. The weight ensures they are harder to press down, the same as you’d expect with an acoustic piano. They come near feeling as an acoustic piano. However, they do not possess any type of hammer mechanism in them, so in this aspect they will likely not feel as if an acoustic piano. The great thing is that to get a cheaper price this sort of weighted keyboard comes close to approximating the feel of the acoustic piano. The negative news is that you simply will almost always be lacking that “momentum” feel on the keys of the acoustic when the momentum from the hammer bouncing off the string plays a part in bringing the keys to a resting position.
Weighted Hammer Action Keys
These types of weighted keys come the closest to emulating the feel of portable digital piano. Keyboards with this particular feature use a hammer simulating mechanism to give you the feel of any moving hammer. Some digital pianos make use of actual hammers, not simply a simulating mechanism. The big one you think of is Kawai’s AHAIV keyboard action. By using these weighted keys you do not only have the weight and resistance on the keys, but you get the feel of a hammer’s momentum. Both features you obtain with an acoustic piano keyboard.
Other Keyboard Descriptions
Before buying an electronic digital piano, you will come across other phrases that describe the keyboard action. The most common one will be Weighted Scaled Hammer Action. So what does the term “Scaled” mean? It means that qqkxic keys emulate the feel of your acoustic grand piano because they are heavier on the lower notes and lighter on the higher notes.
Upon an acoustic grand piano, the lower notes certainly are a little harder to press compared to higher notes. In order to emulate that feel, digital piano manufacturers can make their lower notes heavier. Other phrases you will see that describe this exact same thing are “Graded Hammer Action” and “Progressive Hammer Action.” Also, search for the saying “weight gradation” to indicate keys are heavier in the budget and lighter inside the top quality.
Each manufacturer of digital pianos seeks to create their keyboard feel as close with an acoustic piano as possible. They are going to each practice it in a different way according to their technologies and patents. Every piano player may have their opinion about which digital piano feels “the most effective.” If you wish the feel of the acoustic piano you know to narrow your list of Yamaha ypg 535 to those with weighted hammer action. But the only way to determine if you like the feel of a particular digital piano is to listen to it.
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