You could have chose to buy a digital piano as opposed to an acoustic piano for most reasons, like accessibility to multiple tones, headphone playing capability, lower price, etc. But before you get one, make sure you just like the feel of the keyboard action. This is how 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 best portable digital piano by making use of keyboard weighted keys. They could do this in multiple ways. Before we take a look at a number of the different keyboard weighted types, let’s obtain 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 creates a hammer to strike the strings. The hammer then bounces off the string. The true secret returns to the resting position by the weight from the hammer and levers. It’s very natural feeling without springs. It just uses the load of the hammer as well as the momentum from bouncing from the string.
This kind of feel is exactly what digital pianos attempt to recreate. So let’s consider the three varieties of keyboard actions.
Non-weighted keys are very light feeling. These are what organs and synthesizers use. Obviously, they do not possess the heavy, weighted feel that you will get from an acoustic piano. Since there is little weight with no hammers using momentum from bouncing off a string, these non-weighted keyboards must use springs to bring the keys returning to the resting position. The upside to this is that the keys are easier to press allowing quick movement on the keyboard. The down-side is it feels nothing like an acoustic piano. Also, when keys so easily press down it is actually easier for your finger to barely graze a key you had no aim of playing, making a noticeable mistake in your performance.
These keys have a weight inside them to provide them some substance. The body weight means they are harder to press down, just like you’d expect on an acoustic piano. They are available near feeling as an acoustic piano. However, they do not have any kind of hammer mechanism within them, so in that aspect they will not feel like an acoustic piano. The good thing is that for a cheaper price this type of weighted keyboard comes near approximating the feel of your acoustic piano. The negative news is that you will almost always be lacking that “momentum” feel on the keys of the acoustic once the momentum of the hammer bouncing off of the string plays a part in bringing the keys to a resting position.
Weighted Hammer Action Keys
These types of weighted keys come the nearest to emulating the feel of electric baby grand piano. Keyboards with this feature make use of a hammer simulating mechanism to give you the feel of any moving hammer. Some digital pianos even use actual hammers, not just a simulating mechanism. The major one you think of is Kawai’s AHAIV keyboard action. With these weighted keys you not only obtain the weight and resistance on the keys, however you also get the feel of any hammer’s momentum. Both features you obtain on an acoustic piano keyboard.
Other Keyboard Descriptions
Before you purchase a 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 word “Scaled” mean? It indicates that qqkxic keys emulate the feel of your acoustic grand piano when you are heavier on the lower notes and lighter on the higher notes.
On an acoustic grand piano, the lower notes really are a little harder to press than the higher notes. To emulate that feel, digital piano manufacturers can make their lower notes heavier. Other phrases you will notice that describe this same task are “Graded Hammer Action” and “Progressive Hammer Action.” Also, search for the phrase “weight gradation” to indicate keys are heavier in the lower end and lighter inside the high end.
Each manufacturer of digital pianos seeks to create their keyboard feel as close to an acoustic piano as you can. They will each practice it in a different way based upon their technologies and patents. Every piano player may have their opinion about which digital piano feels “the best.” If you want the feel of your acoustic piano you now know to narrow your listing of digital baby grand piano to the people with weighted hammer action. But the only way to find out if you prefer the feel of a particular digital piano is to play it.