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.
The keyboard action of an acoustic grand piano is composed of black and white keys, graded hammers, and numerous other components working in harmony when each note is pressed. This beautifully designed mechanism allows gifted pianists to express a wealth of feeling and emotion in their music, as they appreciate and respond to the tactile nuances transmitted through the keyboard.
Picking from the huge variety of bass guitars available in the market can be a daunting task for any beginning bass guitar player. There are many factors that you need to take into account first, before making your first purchase. It is important that you spend some time to look at every factor carefully so you will be happy with the guitar you buy.
Much the same considerations apply to bass drum pedals and the stool, but these are not always considered breakables, particularly if changeover time between bands is very limited. Swapping the snare drum in a standard kit can be done very quickly. Replacing cymbals on stands takes longer, particularly if there are many of them, and cymbals are easily damaged by incorrect mounting, so many drummers prefer to bring their own cymbal stands.
Other design options include finishes, such as lacquer, wax and oil; flat and carved designs; luthier-produced custom-designed instruments; headless basses, which have tuning machines in the bridge of the instrument (e.g., Steinberger and Hohner designs) and several artificial materials such as luthite. The use of artificial materials (e.g., BassLab) allows for unique production techniques such as die-casting, to produce complex body shapes. While most basses have solid bodies, they can also include hollow chambers to increase the resonance or reduce the weight of the instrument. Some basses are built with entirely hollow bodies, which change the tone and resonance of the instrument. Acoustic bass guitars have a hollow wooden body constructed similarly to an acoustic guitar, and are typically equipped with piezoelectric or magnetic pickups and amplified.
Some bassists use other types of tuning to extend the range or get other benefits, such as providing multiple octaves of notes at any given position, or a larger tonal range. Instrument types or tunings used for this purpose include basses with fewer than four strings (one-string bass guitars, two-string bass guitars, three-string bass guitars [tuned to E–A–D]) and alternative tunings (e.g., tenor bass).
Sample-based digital pianos do have limitations on the faithfulness with which they reproduce the sound of an acoustic piano. These might include the lack of implementation of harmonic tones that result when certain combinations of notes are sounded, limited polyphony, and a lack of natural reverberation when the instrument is played percussively. They often lack the incidental acoustic noises associated with piano playing, such as the sounds of pedals being depressed and the associated machinery shifting within the piano, which some actually consider a benefit. These limitations apply to most acoustic instruments and their sampled counterparts, the difference often being described as "visceral". On an acoustic piano, the sustain pedal lifts the dampers for all strings, allowing them to resonate naturally with the notes played. Digital pianos all have a similar pedal switch to hold notes in suspension, but only high-end models can reproduce the sympathetic resonance effect.
Another design consideration for the bass is whether to use frets on the fingerboard. On a fretted bass, the metal frets divide the fingerboard into semitone divisions (as on an electric guitar or acoustic guitar). Fretless basses have a distinct sound, because the absence of frets means that the string must be pressed down directly onto the wood of the fingerboard with the fingers, as with the double bass. The string buzzes against the wood and is somewhat muted because the sounding portion of the string is in direct contact with the flesh of the player's finger. The fretless bass lets players use expressive approaches such as glissando (sliding up or down in pitch, with all of the pitches in between sounding), and vibrato (in which the player rocks a finger that is stopping a string to oscillate the pitch slightly). Fretless players can also play microtones, or temperaments other than equal temperament, such as just intonation.
If you’re trying to decide whether to get a digital piano or a keyboard, you should consider what you’re hoping to accomplish. As has been said, digital pianos are a great option for anyone who is just starting to learn to play the piano or for those who play a traditional piano but would like another option that is more convenient. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to play the keyboard and take full advantage of all of the various options that they have, then a digital piano would likely not be as useful for you.
Just like the acoustic instruments they're derived from, digital pianos come in different sizes. They also offer dozens of options for your perusal, so you can weigh all kinds of factors to find the right model for you. For instance, if you're looking to pack a lot of piano into as small a space as possible, consider instruments such as the Williams Allegro 88-Key Digital Piano or the Casio CDP-120. These are fairly compact pianos, but that doesn't limit the breadth of their samples and sound settings.