If our top pick isn’t available or you’re looking to save $50, the Yamaha P-45 is an excellent alternative. It was the favorite of one panelist, and the other three each ranked it second. It plays as well as our top pick, although I found the key weight to be a bit heavy for my tastes; it took a little more finger effort to play. Jack liked that heavier feel but could see it causing problems for beginners. Brent thought the action was about as good as it gets in this price range, and Liz thought it was easy to play.
I brought in several other pianists for our test panel. Liz Kinnon is a pianist/arranger/composer/educator from Los Angeles who has performed with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Andy Williams. She was an orchestrator on the animated shows Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Histeria. At the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, she teaches jazz piano and is the Director of Adult Jazz Combos. She was Ryan Gosling’s piano coach for La La Land and recently worked with Simon Pegg and Juno Temple for the film Lost Transmissions.
The drum head has the most effect on how a drum sounds. Each type of drum head serves its own musical purpose and has its own unique sound. Double-ply drumheads dampen high frequency harmonics because they are heavier and they are suited to heavy playing. Drum heads with a white, textured coating on them muffle the overtones of the drum head slightly, producing a less diverse pitch. Drum heads with central silver or black dots tend to muffle the overtones even more. And drum heads with perimeter sound rings mostly eliminate overtones (Howie 2005). Some jazz drummers avoid using thick drum heads, preferring single ply drum heads or drum heads with no muffling. Rock drummers often prefer the thicker or coated drum heads.
Microphones ("mics") are used with drums to pick up the sound of the drums and cymbals for a sound recording and/or to pick up the sound of the drum kit so that it can be amplified through a PA system or sound reinforcement system. While most drummers use microphones and amplification in live shows in the 2010s, so that the sound engineer can adjust and balance the levels of the drums and cymbals, some bands that play in quieter genres of music and that play in small venues such as coffeehouses play acoustically, without mics or PA amplification. Small jazz groups such as jazz quartets or organ trios that are playing in a small bar will often just use acoustic drums. Of course if the same small jazz groups play on the mainstage of a big jazz festival, the drums will be mic'ed so that they can be adjusted in the sound system mix. A middle-ground approach is used by some bands that play in small venues; they do not mic every drum and cymbal, but rather mic only the instruments that the sound engineer wants to be able to control in the mix, such as the bass drum and the snare.
The slap and pop method, or "thumbstyle", most associated with funk, uses tones and percussive sounds achieved by striking, thumping, or "slapping" a string with the thumb and snapping (or "popping") a string or strings with the index or middle fingers. Bassists often interpolate left hand-muted "ghost notes" between the slaps and pops to achieve a rapid percussive effect, and after a note is slapped or popped, the fretting hand may cause other notes to sound by using "hammer-ons", "pull-offs", or a left-hand glissando (slide). Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone and Graham Central Station was an early innovator of the slap style, and Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson is also credited as an early slap bass player.
In Canada, the Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning offers an Advanced Diploma (a three-year program) in jazz and commercial music. The program accepts performers who play bass, guitar, keyboard, drums, melody instruments (e.g., saxophone, flute, violin) and who sing. Students get private lessons and perform in 40 student ensembles.
These are a sub-type of traditional digital pianos that offers a more classical design which closely resemble an acoustic upright piano. Upright digital pianos are mainly intended for home use, and is usually more expensive than the other types. Some models, especially the higher-end ones, often feature an actual wooden keys as opposed to regular plastic keybed.
No matter which digital piano you choose, you're in for something special. The instruments found on these pages all offer different features, so take a few minutes to think about your needs as a musician and go from there. Whether you go with a higher-end stage piano like the top-selling KAWAI MP11 Professional Piano or a student model Yamaha's NP12 61-Key Entry-Level Piaggero Ultra-Portable Digital Piano, any digital pianos here will enhance your musical journey.