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.
There's no question about the importance of drums and percussion in music. If you're playing energetic songs for a live audience, it's the rhythm that'll get them moving and the drums have to create that rhythm. Even in more subtle, softer genres and styles, the right application of percussion sounds and effects goes an incredibly long way to setting mood and atmosphere. This isn't just the oldest instrument family on the stage: it just might be the most crucial one as well. Some of our top brands in this category are: Zildjian, Paiste, Meinl Percussion, Pearl, Remo,

Some cymbals may be considered effects in some kits but "basic" in another set of components. A swish cymbal may, for example serve, as the main ride in some styles of music, but in a larger kit, which includes a conventional ride cymbal as well, it may well be considered an effects cymbal per se. Likewise, Ozone crashes have the same purpose as a standard crash cymbal, but are considered to be effects cymbals due to their rarity, and the holes cut into them, which provide a darker, more resonant attack.


Heavy metal bass players such as Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse), Cliff Burton (Metallica), and Les Claypool (Primus, Blind Illusion) have used chime-like harmonics and rapid plucking techniques in their bass solos. Geddy Lee of Rush has made frequent use of bass solos, such as on the instrumental "YYZ". In both published Van Halen concert videos, Michael Anthony performs unique maneuvers and actions during his solos. Funk bassists such as Larry Graham began using slapping and popping techniques for their solos, which coupled a percussive thumb-slapping technique of the lower strings with an aggressive finger-snap of the higher strings, often in rhythmic alternation. The slapping and popping technique incorporates a large number of muted (or 'ghost' tones) to normal notes to add to the rhythmic effect. Slapping and popping solos were prominent in 1980s pop and R&B, and they are still used by some modern funk and Latin bands.
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The Alesis Recital Pro is $100 less expensive than our runner-up, but it doesn’t sound that way. The built-in sounds are good, and with its touch buttons and LCD readout, the keyboard is the easiest and most intuitive to use of our picks. It doesn’t come with a sustain pedal, so it will require an extra purchase of about $20 to make it fully functional. Although it doesn’t sound quite as good or play quite as well as our main pick, it’s clearly the standout value.
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.
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