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.
All cymbals other than rides, hi-hats and crashes/splashes are usually called effects cymbals when used in a drum kit, though this is a non-classical or colloquial designation that has become a standardized label. Most extended kits include one or more splash cymbals and at least one china cymbal. Major cymbal makers produce cymbal extension packs consisting of one splash and one china, or more rarely a second crash, a splash and a china, to match some of their starter packs of ride, crash and hi-hats. However any combination of options can be found in the marketplace.
Although we might take some flak from guitarists, we bassists know the truth: a band just wouldn't be the same without the deep, rumbling tones of the bass laying the foundation for everyone else. Any instrument can play a memorable tune, but it's up to the bass guitar to really put in the heartbeat and soul that separates a great song from an average one. Naturally, giving a great performance is all about being in touch with your instrument, and for that, you'll want to take a careful look at the basses here to find the one that fits you best.

In contrast to the upright bass (also called "double bass"), the electric bass guitar is played horizontally across the body, like an electric guitar. When the strings are plucked with the fingers (pizzicato), the index and middle fingers (and sometimes the thumb, ring, and little fingers as well) are used. James Jamerson, an influential bassist from the Motown era, played intricate bass lines using only his index finger, which he called "The Hook." There are also variations in how a bassist chooses to rest the right-hand thumb (or left thumb in the case of left-handed players). A player may rest his or her thumb on the top edge of one of the pickups or on the side of the fretboard, which is especially common among bassists who have an upright bass influence. Some bassists anchor their thumbs on the lowest string and move it off the lowest string when they need to play on the low string. Alternatively, the thumb can be rested loosely on the strings to mute the unused strings.


Most bass players stand while playing, using a strap over the shoulder to hold the instrument, although sitting is also accepted, particularly in large ensemble settings, such as jazz big bands or in acoustic genres such as folk music. Some bassists, such as Jah Wobble, alternate between standing or seated playing. It is a matter of the player's preference as to which position gives the greatest ease of playing and what a bandleader expects. When sitting, right-handed players can balance the instrument on the right thigh or like classical guitar players, the left. When sitting, no strap is required. Balancing the bass on the left thigh usually positions it in such a way that it mimics the standing position, allowing for less difference between the standing and sitting positions. Balancing the bass on the right thigh provides better access to the neck and fretboard in its entirety, especially the lower-pitched frets.
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An LCD readout and a few more buttons on the control panel would go a long way toward making the keyboard’s options easier to use. The metronome function especially could be more user friendly. It has 10 speed presets, labeled 0-9, with a + and – for adjustment. These are selectable with the Function button and a key press. While practicing and deciding on tempo, most students find it more beneficial to know the exact BPM (beats per minute), which is impossible here using the built-in metronome.

Drum kit music is either written down in music notation (called "drum parts"), learned and played "by ear", improvised or some combination of some or all three of these methods. Professional session musician drummers and Big Band jazz drummers are often required to read drum parts. Drum parts are most commonly written on a standard five-line staff. In 2016, a special percussion clef is used, while previously the bass clef was used. However, even if the bass or no clef is used, each line and space is assigned an instrument of the kit, rather than to a pitch. In jazz, traditional music, folk music, rock music and pop music, drummers are expected to be able to learn songs by ear (from a recording or from another musician who is playing or singing the song) and improvise. The degree of improvisation differs in different styles. Jazz and jazz fusion drummers may have lengthy improvised solos in every song. In rock music and blues, there are also drum solos in some songs, although they tend to be shorter than those in jazz. Drummers in all popular music and traditional music styles are expected to be able to improvise accompaniment parts to songs, once they are told the genre or style (e.g., shuffle, ballad, slow blues, etc.).


If you’re looking for something that better mimics an acoustic piano and can serve as the focal point of a room, check out our digital console piano recommendations, which are better at emulating the action and sound of a traditional piano than the keyboards in this guide. However, they are also much heavier and cost three to four times more than our most expensive pick here.

Like the Casio, the Yamaha has a duet mode that allows two people to play in the same register at the same time. However, the P-45 has only one headphone output, so you’ll need a splitter for both players to use headphones while playing together. The headphone jack is located on the back panel of the keyboard, making access a bit more difficult than with the Casio’s front-mounted jacks. The console controls are minimal, and while Jack liked the simplicity, Brent and I found them unintuitive.
Drum sets are the backbone of your band. Keeping the pace and driving the rhythm section, the drummer makes sure that everything clicks. With that in mind, it's important that every drummer have a quality drum kit to keep them sounding their absolute best. The real benefit to purchasing a complete kit as opposed to individual components is convenience. You won't have to take the time to pore over separate drums, searching for just the right complementary sounds. These kits are made up of drums that are designed to sound great together from day one, allowing you to focus on your playing.
The introduction of the electric bass in jazz fusion, as in the rock world, helped bassists play in high-volume stadium concerts with powerful amplifiers, because it is easier to amplify the electric bass than the double bass (the latter is prone to feedback in high-volume settings). The electric bass has both an accompaniment and a soloing role in jazz. In accompaniment, the bassist may perform walking basslines for traditional tunes and jazz standards, playing smooth quarter note lines that imitate the double bass. It is called a walking bass line because of the way it rises and falls using scale notes and passing notes.
The fretting hand can add vibrato to a plucked or picked note, either a gentle, narrow vibrato or a more exaggerated, wide vibrato with bigger pitch variations. For fretted basses, vibrato is always an alternation between the pitch of the note and a slightly higher pitch. For fretless basses, the player can use this style of vibrato, or they can alternate between the note and a slightly lower pitch, as is done with the double bass and on other unfretted stringed instruments. While vibrato is mostly done on "stopped" notes—that is, notes that are pressed down on the fingerboard—open strings can also be vibratoed by pressing down on the string behind the nut. As well, the fretting hand can be used to "bend" a plucked or picked note up in pitch, by pushing or pulling the string so that the note sounds at a higher pitch. To create the opposite effect, a "bend down", the string is pushed to a higher pitch before being plucked or picked and then allowed to fall to the lower, regular pitch after it is sounded. Though rare, some bassists may use a tremolo bar-equipped bass to produce the same effect.
On the other hand, perhaps you've worked hard to build your abilities and are finally ready to upgrade your kit to something a little more suitable to your skills. If that's the case, you may be interested in something like the PDP Concept Maple by DW 7-Piece Shell Pack. This pack is fueled by seriously warm depth and range, making it perfect for nearly any musical style. With its versatility, gorgeous looks, and punchy attack, this is a great option for a regularly gigging drummer.
The keyboards all came in to our Los Angeles office. After unboxing them and setting them up, I invited Liz, Jack, and Brent to come in and try them out. I asked them to rate the key action and the sound of the piano and to evaluate features from the perspective of a beginner. After playing through all of them over a couple hours, we talked through the pros and cons of each keyboard, and they gave me their top three choices.
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