As well as providing an alternative to a conventional acoustic drum kit, electronic drums can be incorporated into an acoustic drum kit to supplement it. MIDI triggers can also be installed into acoustic drum and percussion instruments. Pads that can trigger a MIDI device can be homemade from a piezoelectric sensor and a practice pad or other piece of foam rubber.[22]
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.
In the very smallest kits, in jazz, and at very high volumes, ride cymbals may be played in with the technique and sound of a crash cymbal. Some hi-hats will also give a useful crash, particularly thinner hats or those with an unusually severe taper. At low volumes, producing a good crash from a cymbal not particularly suited to it is a highly skilled art. Alternatively, specialised crash/ride and ride/crash cymbals are specifically designed to combine both functions.
Like the electric guitar, the electric bass guitar is almost always connected to an amplifier and a speaker with a patch cord for live performances. Electric bassists use either a "combo" amplifier, which combines an amplifier and a speaker in a single cabinet, or an amplifier and one or more speaker cabinets (typically stacked, with the amplifier sitting on the speaker cabinets, leading to the term "half-stack" for one cabinet setups and "full stack" for two).
Fender's Bass Guitar is right at the top of the market, thanks to its robust, buzz-free sound and excellent playability. It features a classic light wood finish that looks great and a graphite-reinforced neck. It also comes with responsive, lightweight tuning pegs that won't slide out of tune easily, as well as a real high-quality bridge that doesn't buzz.
The bare minimum requirements for a budget digital piano are to have 88 keys (the same number found on traditional acoustic pianos) and internal speakers to facilitate practicing without an amplifier. Beyond that, some amount of weighted key action (either semi-weighted or hammer action, more on this in a moment) and an accurate piano sound were the primary deciding factors for our picks. An included stand and sustain pedal were not requirements, as aftermarket options are readily available and inexpensive. (We discuss some options below.)
A sizzler is a metal chain or combination of chains that is hung across a cymbal, creating a distinctive metallic sound when the cymbal is struck similar to that of a sizzle cymbal. Using a sizzler is the non-destructive alternative to drilling holes in a cymbal and putting metal rivets in the holes. Another benefit of using a "sizzler" chain is that the chain can be removed and the cymbal will return to its normal sound (in contrast, a cymbal with rivets would have to have the rivets removed). Some sizzlers feature pivoting arms that allow the chains to be quickly raised from the cymbal, or lowered onto it, allowing the effect to be used for some songs and removed for others.

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.


In 1971, Alembic established the template for what became known as "boutique" or "high-end" electric bass guitars. These expensive, custom-tailored instruments, as used by Phil Lesh, Jack Casady, and Stanley Clarke, featured unique designs, premium hand-finished wood bodies, and innovative construction techniques such as multi-laminate neck-through-body construction and graphite necks. Alembic also pioneered the use of onboard electronics for pre-amplification and equalization. Active electronics increase the output of the instrument, and allow more options for controlling tonal flexibility, giving the player the ability to amplify as well as to attenuate certain frequency ranges while improving the overall frequency response (including more low-register and high-register sounds). 1973 saw the UK company Wal begin production of a their own range of active basses, and In 1974 Music Man Instruments, founded by Tom Walker, Forrest White and Leo Fender, introduced the StingRay, the first widely produced bass with active (powered) electronics built into the instrument. Basses with active electronics can include a preamplifier and knobs for boosting and cutting the low and high frequencies.
In the 1950s, Leo Fender, with the help of his employee George Fullerton, developed the first mass-produced electric bass guitar.[10] Fender was the founder of Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, which made popular brands of electric guitars, basses and amplifiers. Fender's Fender Precision Bass, which began production in October 1951, became a widely copied industry standard for the instrument. The Precision Bass (or "P-bass") evolved from a simple, un-contoured "slab" body design and a single coil pickup similar to that of a Telecaster, to a contoured body design with beveled edges for comfort and a split single coil pickup.
Tapewound (double bass type) and flatwound strings are sometimes used with the fretless bass so the metal string windings do not wear down the fingerboard. Tapewound and flatwound strings have a distinctive tone and sound. Some fretless basses have epoxy-coated fingerboards, or fingerboards made of an epoxy composite like micarta, to increase the fingerboard's durability, enhance sustain, and give a brighter tone.

Fender's Bass Guitar is right at the top of the market, thanks to its robust, buzz-free sound and excellent playability. It features a classic light wood finish that looks great and a graphite-reinforced neck. It also comes with responsive, lightweight tuning pegs that won't slide out of tune easily, as well as a real high-quality bridge that doesn't buzz.
Over the decades, the possibilities of what a musician can do with a digital piano have grown tremendously. With technology advancing by the second, players are discovering new, innovative ways to manipulate their sound - even beyond the use of volume, expression and sustain pedals. MIDI (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was introduced in the early 1980s and allows digital pianists to connect their instrument to a computer so it can control (or be controlled by) other sequencers and instruments. MIDI digital pianos often have a disk drive to upload other MIDI data. Common effects and instruments that MIDI can offer are: tremolo, phasers, chorus, stringed instruments and drum sounds. Digital Pianos (including models with MIDI connection) are offered by many respected musical instrument brands, with Williams and Yamaha being among the most popular.
The late Bernard Edwards, bass player with the Disco group Chic, was known to use a technique called chucking to pluck the bass strings with the forefinger of his right hand, in a manner similar to how strings are plucked with a plectrum.[58][not in citation given] Chucking uses the soft part of the forefinger and the nail of the forefinger to alternately strike the string in an up-down manner. The thumb supports the forefinger at the first joint, as though using an invisible plectrum. With a flexible wrist action, chucking facilitates rapid rhythmic sequences of notes played on different strings, particular notes that are an octave apart. Chucking is distinguished from plucking in that the attack is softer with a sound closer to that produced by the use of fingers. Chucking allows a mix of plucking and finger techniques on a given song, without having to take up or put down a plectrum. Examples of Edwards’ use of chucking on his Music Man Stingray bass can be heard on the intro and solo section of "Everybody Dance" and the foundation bass line of "Dance Dance Dance".
Electronic drum pads are the second most widely used type of MIDI performance controllers, after electronic music keyboards.[19]:319–320 Drum controllers may be built into drum machines, they may be standalone control surfaces (e.g., rubber drum pads), or they may emulate the look and feel of acoustic percussion instruments. The pads built into drum machines are typically too small and fragile to be played with sticks, and they are usually played with fingers.[20]:88 Dedicated drum pads such as the Roland Octapad or the DrumKAT are playable with the hands or with sticks, and are often built to resemble the general form of a drum kit. There are also percussion controllers such as the vibraphone-style MalletKAT,[20]:88–91 and Don Buchla's Marimba Lumina.[21]
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 the 1980s, bass designers continued to explore new approaches. Ned Steinberger introduced a headless bass in 1979 and continued his innovations in the 1980s, using graphite and other new materials and (in 1984) introducing the TransTrem tremolo bar. In 1982, Hans-Peter Wilfer founded Warwick, to make a European bass, as the market at the time was dominated by Asian and American basses. Their first bass was the Streamer Bass, which is similar to the Spector NS. In 1987, the Guild Guitar Corporation launched the fretless Ashbory bass, which used silicone rubber strings and a piezoelectric pickup to achieve an "upright bass" sound with a short 18-inch (457 mm) scale length. In the late 1980s, MTV's "Unplugged" show, which featured bands performing with acoustic instruments, helped to popularize hollow-bodied acoustic bass guitars amplified with piezoelectric pickups built into the bridge of the instrument.
In the 2010s, some drummers use a variety of auxiliary percussion instruments, found objects, and electronics as part of their "drum" kits. Popular electronics include: electronic sound modules; laptop computers used to activate loops, sequences and samples; metronomes and tempo meters; recording devices; and personal sound reinforcement equipment (e.g., a small PA system to amplify electronic drums and provide a monitor).
Of course, for any student or beginner, Sam Ash carries a full assortment of sheet music and books specifically geared toward budding piano players. We recommend starting with a piano instructional book or piano instructional DVD to learn the basics of music theory, chord progressions, and techniques like which fingers to use on certain scales and the proper ready position. We also have manuscripts for tracking your progress. Once you master the essentials, you can move on to piano music books that will teach you how to play your favorite songs on piano. Here at Sam Ash, we have an incredible selection of music books ranging from books focused on specific albums to compilation books that offer guides to mastering the best hits from a certain decade or genre.
Torzal Natural Twist is a bass guitar body and neck style invented by luthier Jerome Little from Amherst, Massachusetts. It consists of a neck rotated by a total of 35 degrees, with (+)15 degrees at the bridge and (-)20 at the nut. The designer claims that the ergonomic design increases efficiency of the hands, wrists and arms, which reduces the risk of developing repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. This design is also beneficial to players who have already suffered from such injuries. This patented design differs from traditional bass guitar design by twisting the neck, and bringing the strings toward a more natural hand position at either end of the instrument. The rotation at either side of the instrument in the direction of the hand creates a neck plane that models the natural motion of the hand as it reaches outward. The fretboard also forms a straight line at the location of each string, which should improve the ease of performance.[52]
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