Among digital pianos, there are several differences. The three main types of digital pianos are standard digital pianos, upright digital pianos, and stage pianos. Upright vertical pianos are built with a large cabinet, not unlike a real upright piano. They are often fitted with the best hammer action key systems and tone generation engines so that they are comparable to real upright pianos. Obviously, they still take up as much space as a real one, but there is less maintenance required. Stage pianos are digital pianos designed to be used in live performances, or on stage. They are much more portable than traditional pianos, and much sturdier than standard digital pianos. Standard digital pianos are intended more for practice and play at home. They are not as large or fully featured but offer an excellent balance of sound and portability.
Once upon a time, the only piano you could buy was a large and ridiculously expensive acoustic grand piano. Thanks to advances in flash memory, sampling, and other digital technology, we now have more compact and affordable options known as digital pianos. As time goes on, these digital options continue to get closer to genuine acoustic pianos in terms of sound and feel. In fact, many traditional piano brands have sampled their most famous grand pianos to make the signature tone available in portable digital models. The keyboards on digital pianos are designed with special weighted actions and textured finishes to simulate the ebony and ivory keys on acoustic instruments.
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Five strings usually tuned B0–E1–A1–D2–G2, providing extended lower range. Another common tuning on early 1970s five-string basses added a high note instead of a low note: E–A–D–G–C, known as tenor tuning. This tuning is still popular among jazz and solo bassists. Other tunings, such as C–E–A–D–G are rare. Some bassists like C as the lowest pitch because that's the lowest note on an upright bass with a C, and C is a common note in a few popular keys C (e.g., C major, G major, F major). Some players may detune the lowest string to B♭ or A. B♭ is common for bassists who play in brass bands, as B♭ is an important and common key for this type of ensemble. Relative to a four-string bass, the fifth string provides a greater lower range (with a low B, C, or A) or a greater upper range (with a high C or B is added) and provides more notes for any single hand position. The earliest five string was created by Fender in 1965. The Fender Bass V used the E–A–D–G–C tuning, but was unpopular and discontinued in 1970. The type of low B five-string was created by Jimmy Johnson as a custom instrument in 1975. He bought an E–A–D–G–C 5-string Alembic bass, replaced the nut, and used a new, thick low B string from GHS. Steinberger made a 5-string headless instrument called the L-2/5 in 1982, and later Yamaha offered the first production model as the BB5000 in 1984.
Many students that are interested in learning to play the piano don’t start by playing a large grand piano. Because of the high cost and amount of space required, most people who are just starting to learn the piano will buy a digital piano or a keyboard. It’s not uncommon for people to erroneously use the terms “digital piano” and “keyboard” interchangeably. What these people don’t know is that there are many significant differences between digital or electronic pianos and keyboards. In this article, we’ll go into some of the differences as well as what they mean for the music that each instrument is able to produce.
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