Difference Between Digital Piano and Digital Keyboard

So what’s the difference between a digital piano a digital keyboard? Quite simply a digital piano has weighted keys which means that the keys are designed for the practicing musician or pianist. Weighted keys help the classical pianist or any musician to strengthen their fingers while they play the piano.

A digital keyboard on the other hand is quite simply a keyboard that is not weighted. The keyboard itself tends to feel very light to the touch and typically the keys are made of plastic. Although some synthesizers use these types of keys it is becoming less common as the demand for weighted keys continues.

If you’re considering taking classical piano lessons then I would suggest that you look for a weighted key digital piano or an acoustic piano. This is especially important if you are a beginning pianist and are taking classical piano lessons.

How does weighted keys help strengthen fingers you ask? Essentially classical pianists must develop dexterity in their fingers which is accomplished by practicing scales. When you learn to play scales you essentially exercise your fingers by raising each finger before you play a note. I guess you could call it push-ups for the fingers.

If you were to practice scales on the digital keyboard rather than a digital piano, in other words a keyboard that is not weighted, then scales will not help to strengthen your fingers and improve dexterity, accuracy and speed.

Many of the major brand of digital piano manufacturers offer their own unique weighted key action. These tend to vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer and the mechanics that create the weighted key response varies amongst the major manufacturers.

Some of the top digital piano models come very close to replicating the touch of a high end acoustic piano.

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  1. Chezhiyan says:

    Informative article, Dan. Thanks.

    Dan Reply:

    Thank you. Your comments are much appreciated and I am glad the article helped.

  2. macias says:

    Thank you for interesting info. Is this the only difference? Let’s say you have piano and keyboard at the same price tag — what can be told about sound quality and available voices? Can new voices can be uploaded to keyboard/piano?

    Dan Reply:

    Typically in the past there would be no comparison in terms of sound quality. When you create a sample from an acoustic piano to be digitally reproduced, you always get some inherit noise. However there are new technologies that are changing that. In effect some sounds are reproduced algorithmically, meaning that each element that makes up a note is reproduced. For instance, if a note is struck, the hammer sound, each string, the damper and sound board is reproduced separately and then combined to make the actual sound. So each component of a sound is created from its essential elements thereby creating a true replica of the acoustic piano sound. Isn’t technology marvelous! Have a look at the Roland V review @ http://www.piano-keyboard-reviews.com/913/roland-v-piano.html

  3. Cris says:

    My daughter is only seven. She just started piano lessons. What should I buy? I don’t want to spend a lot of money but she loves it so far, so I want to buy something that she can use as she grows, what do you suggest?

    Dan Reply:

    Hello Cris,

    I recomment the Yamaha keyboard in the link. It will be a good keyboard as your daughter progresses and is not too expensive. see it at Amazon

    Stephanie Reply:

    How about Korg sp250?

  4. Santhosh says:

    My son is in the age of 6.He learns and sings at the singing class in School.
    He shows much interest in using a keyboard.
    So i bought a “Piano 5407″ through on-line shopping.
    Kindly tell is this a good move of buying piano for a beginner or should i go for a musical keyboard for the beginner.

    Dan Reply:

    This keyboard is not designed to teach piano. It is merely a toy piano. If you are serious about getting a piano for your child to learn on then consider Yamaha P95B as a starter piano.

  5. Irene says:

    Hey Dan,

    My name is Irene and I’m 17 years old. I know, too old to play the piano, but I really want to learn it! I’m a little bit above beginner’s level, so I want to know whether I should get a acoustic piano or a weighted/hammer digital piano? Though, I doubt an acoustic piano will fit in my home, not to mention the price is going to suck my wallet dry. And some said that the digital piano gives off a “fake” piano sound, so I’m not sure if I should get one at all. If I were to get one, do you think I should get a Yamaha P95B or a Yamaha P95? Weighted or Hammer? None of the above? I want to know that I’m buying the right piano/digital piano and not stick with a bad one. Thanks! :)