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The real truth about Acoustic Pianos Vs. Keyboards

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

“Jessica is so excited to start piano lessons! Should I purchase a piano or keyboard? I mean they’re basically the same right???”

This is a common question for parents whose children are just starting piano lessons or considering moving into an

Ashvita playing in Spring 2016 Recital at Steinway Hall at Dallas

acoustic piano from a keyboard. Making a decision between these two options can be stressful for parents because it raises a lot of questions. Don’t fret, you can find all of those answers here.

What’s the difference between an acoustic piano and a keyboard?

An acoustic piano produces vibrations with strings, hammers and other moving parts to make a sound whereas a keyboard requires an electric power source to produce sound. Acoustic pianos provide a slightly heavier and pure response when the keys are played than that of a keyboard and not all keyboards have a full set of 88 keys. Acoustic pianos can be played when the power is out and keyboards allow you to play with headphones, have different sounds, effects and built-in metronomes.

Does it really even matter which one I buy?

Beginners who start on an acoustic piano typically progress twice as fast in the first year as compared to students who start on a keyboard. This is because from day one, they are learning inherent movements that can only come from the response of an acoustic piano.

Although some keyboards have weighted keys, they will never have quite the same response that an acoustic piano does when you press the keys with your fingers so it can dramatically affect how a student learns to attack the notes with proper technique.

So if you can afford the initial investment of an acoustic piano, that is the better option because it will outlast the life of a keyboard. If you can only afford a keyboard to start, this will get you going and you can keep it when you upgrade into an acoustic piano.

How much is the price difference and how much should I be prepared to spend?

You can find both acoustic pianos and keyboards at an extremely low cost or high cost. Because prices vary so vastly among each category, it is almost impossible to compare them. You will need to pay for an acoustic piano to be professionally moved ($350 approx.) and then tuned about once a year ($250 approx.). If you’re purchasing a keyboard, make sure to get a full size with 88 keys that are weighted and a sustain pedal.

Regardless of which option you choose, set a budget of no less than $500 to account for the necessary items listed above. However, the size of your budget will help you to retain the initial investment you make so if you’re budget is $2,000 then finding the best keyboard is probably you're best option but if you’re budget is $10,000 then be prepared to spend that on a real acoustic piano. Be careful of buying a cheap and has some ‘character’ it likely ends up costing them more money to repair, refinish, move and constantly tune than it would have to purchase a new piano.

If you still need additional guidance or would like recommendations of where to buy, feel free to email us at



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