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AZ PIANO REVIEWS – The #1 Most Trusted Digital Piano Review & News Blog in the world! LOWER PRICES than Amazon and internet music stores! Free ship, no tax on most items. Don’t order anywhere until you check with Tim & Erik Praskins 1st! Email us at or call 602-571-1864



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AZ PIANO REVIEWS – The #1 Most Trusted Digital Piano Review & News Blog in the world! LOWER PRICES than Amazon and internet music stores! Free ship, no tax on most items. Don’t order anywhere until you check with Tim & Erik Praskins 1st! Email us at or call 602-571-1864

Top 10 digital piano issues 2023

Oct 1, 2023 REPORTWARNING! Top 10 Digital Piano Issues & Shopping Tips | Read This Before You Buy! | Special Report 2023 | Top 10 Shopping TipsMy name is Tim Praskins and I am a well known national and international digital piano expert and digital piano consultant along with being a long time experienced musician, composer, arranger, keyboard player, guitar player, and organ player. I have played on and worked with digital pianos and keyboards for over 40 years and played on virtually every brand and model out there along with having played thousands of acoustic upright and grand pianos…so I know a lot about the subject.

My son, Erik, is also an expert with digital pianos and we both know that shopping for digital pianos can be like shopping for cars. There are many brands and models and every one of brands/companies says “theirs is the best” and that they have the “best prices.” But…in reality that is just not true. With regard to digital pianos, there may be brands you have heard of before and there may also be brands you have never heard of and it can be difficult to wade through all the info out there. 

initial thoughts - intro

Unlike cars where just about everyone in the USA can drive one by a certain age and after passing a test to get a drivers license, when it comes to playing a piano, most people comparatively do not play the piano. It can take a lot of time (for some people) to be able to play the piano well, and not everyone wants to play piano or wants to take the time to learn that instrument, even though the lifelong benefits are so great. Playing piano is not “rocket science,” but it does take a certain amount of time and practice to play music and enjoy it. Some people are more inclined towards music and being able to play it. 

Confusion in making the right piano buying decision

If you do learn to play piano, even in just a recreational way to entertain yourself musically for personal enjoyment, that does not mean you will know or understand which digital piano will be the best for your musical needs and budget. It’s even more difficult for the parent of a child to make a good digital piano buying decision because perhaps the parent does not play piano at all and they are just trying to make the right buying decision for their child (or children) and to spend an appropriate amount of money on the purchase and get something that will work properly.

Lower prices

There are many brands of digital pianos out there advertising all over the place. They all say glowing things about their products…but what else would you expect them to say?! Regardless of what the digital piano actually plays like, the manufacturer will never say anything negative about their products.
So then you look for user reviews of people who own specific digital pianos and see what they have to say. But many of those people could likely be beginners and they really don’t know what they are talking about. So then you look for YouTube video demos or reviews to see if you can figure it out that way. But many of those reviewers get “paid” for their presentations and or they have or work for a music store of some type and get paid by the manufacturer for selling their pianos.
warning about digital pianos

What I am saying is that you may be able to get some good info out there on new digital pianos, and there may be a few brands that are more well known than others. But that does not mean you have made the right buying decision. This is because there are certain things that you DO NOT WANT in a digital piano if you can avoid it, regardless of the price. 

With this in mind, here are the Top 10 Digital Piano Issues & Shopping Tips that you need to know about to make the best digital piano buying decision within your price range!

Heavy & stiff key actions


Getting a famous piano brand does not necessarily mean they will have the best digital piano in your price range or for your musical needs.  For instance, Yamaha is a very well known and respected brand of pianos, both digital and acoustic pianos. But within the Yamaha lines of digital pianos, They have a few models that unfortunately have very stiff keys when you press the keys down. This is not a good thing. 
Good new acoustic pianos, especially grand pianos such as what Yamaha, Kawai, Fazioli, and others produce do not have stiff keys. Stiff keys can cause hand, finger, and wrist fatigue after playing for a short while. This situation is not good for kids and not good for adults. You will want the key action to be comfortable to play and not a hard thing to play. DO NOT get a digital piano with a stiff, heavy key action. 
Key action down weight

But how would you know if the piano has this type of stiff key action if you don’t know anything about pianos, or you don’t play, or you take an uneducated reviewer’s word for how great this stiff key piano is? Key action weight is measurable using devices that measure the down-eight and up-weight movement of the keys. Once you get a down-weight (aka: touch-weight) of more than 80 grams on middle C, then that weight is much too heavy and stiff  for most people when pressing down the keys. Yamaha, for instance, has this problem on a couple of their Arius series digital pianos with down-eight measurement on middle C is close to 90 grams, based on my measurement of those keys.

key action up-weight

Then there is the “up-weight” which is the measurement of the force a key against your fingers as the key is coming back up after being pressed down. If the key coming back up is way too strong, then that’s not good either. Also, if the key is coming up much too slowly then the key becomes sluggish and does not respond well. So key action weight and movement is critically important to good good playing habits and comfort level. 

You do not want to get stuck with a “stiff key action response on the digital piano because there is no way to change or alter the physical weight or resistance of the keys. This includes both black and white keys. Both black and white keys need to be comfortable to play.
piano key action movement

The Donner brand of cheaply priced digital pianos available on Amazon is another brand with stiff keys. However, the black keys on their pianos are noticeably heavier and stiffer than the white keys. This is a very negative situation because not only are stiff keys not comfortable to play, but if the black keys are much stiffer and heavier than the white keys then that situation puts the black & white keys out of balance with each other.

It’s actually better for the black keys to be lighter than the white keys, but not the other way around. I do not recommend the Donner brand of digital pianos because of their key actions. It’s not that you can’t play piano on those Donner digital pianos because you can, But it is definitely not comfortable to play and your technique in the way you use your fingers and wrists will be way out of balance and that can create bad playing habits, especially if your musical goal is to play classical music or other forms of more regular music.

out of tune pianos


All digital pianos are supposed to be permanently “in tune.” That is one of the advantages of digital pianos over acoustic pianos. They are supposed to be “in tune” and that also saves you a lot of money over having to tune an acoustic piano constantly. But…if the digital piano did not initially get set up by the manufacturer to have good tuning, then that digital piano will stay permanently “out of tune.” Fortunately this situation happens very seldom to digital pianos. But when it does happen it can be irritating and a big distraction to your music.. 
In real acoustic pianos a person who tunes pianos normally uses a method called “stretch tuning.” This method takes into consideration the more than 200 strings in an acoustic piano and trying to get all those strings to play and resonate “in tune” with each other. It’s not an easy thing for a tuner to do but it needs to be done and done well. 
However, if that tuner person “over-tunes” the piano, “under-tunes” the piano, or “stretches the string too tight or too lose, then you can have stings that sound out of tune with each other when playing certain notes together. In most, but not all digital pianos, the “stretch tuning method” is used to try to emulate a real piano being in good tune. In many digital pianos you can turn off the “stretch tuning” feature if  it seems like the piano is “out of tune” to your ears.
Piano tuning

Once you turn off the stretch tuning feature then the piano is “in tune” with a more simple and clear tuning and cannot have these “out-of-tune” anomalies that stretch tuning can sometimes have. In other words and to make it simpler to understand, if the digital piano does not have the ability to turn off the “stretch tuning mode” that is being used by default in that digital piano, then your ears may not like what they are hearing.

The well known Kawai brand, for instance, uses stretch tuning for the piano sounds in their digital pianos by default. It does sound good that way because they do it well, but that type of tuning could bother other people because of the inconsistencies of “stretch tuning.” Roland, for example, also uses stretch tuning in their digital pianos. But in a number of their models under $2000 and all the way down to about $500, a few models sound out of tune to me.
out of tune piano

It happens when I play them using various notes together such as chords or notes in different octaves. In that case when it sounds “out of tune” to me then I would just normally turn off the stretch tuning mode and then all would be good. But in those specific Roland models I cannot do that because there is no way to shut off that mode. It is permanently set up that way to be on all the time. That’s why I would never personally buy a Roland digital piano where the stretch tuning mode could not be shut off. Same is true with the other brands too when it comes to the stretch tuning mode and not being able to shut it off.

Musical expression


A piano sound does two things in a piano. It can be quieter or louder, and it can be mellower or brighter in tone as you play the keys softer and then harder. These two events happen simultaneously when playing real acoustic pianos and these piano sounds that you hear make a piano come alive and you hear different “musical colors” of sound that few instruments can recreate like that. Basically it is volume changes and tonal changes (PIANO SOUND DYNAMICS) while you play that makes the piano such a beautiful sounding instrument.
But, in some digital pianos, there may be good volume changes as you press the keys lightly or with more force, but some of those same pianos have very poor tonal changes. In other words, in a real piano if you play key lightly, the piano sound should be noticeably more mellow. As you increase the velocity and force of play the keys, the sound becomes brighter and somewhat more metallic because the strings in real pianos vibrate faster.
Piano sound dynamics and tonal changes

In a digital piano the dynamic tonal changes need to be there just like in a real piano so that you can have “musical expression” which is what music is all about. A player wants to “express themselves” musically and not have the same tone all the time. If you just have volume changes and no tone changes then you basically have 1/2 a piano with regard to piano sound. A good digital pianos needs to have the ability to produce tonal expression and dynamic tone changes when playing the keys lightly or playing harder with more force. 

You should be able to distinctly hear those piano tone changes along along with volume changes in the digital piano. Some digital pianos cannot do this at all or cannot do it very well. Those brands and models use cheap electronics and sell for cheaper prices, especially in the “off-brands.” So “BEWARE” of digital pianos like this because you are not doing yourself any favors by saving money on these types of digital pianos and not getting the necessary piano sound for a satisfying playing experience.
piano teacher & student

Certainly “something is better than nothing” when it comes to a owning a digital piano. But sometimes if you just spend a bit more money then that digital piano will take you much further into the future instead of you (or that child) growing out of that cheap digital piano much too quickly. Piano teachers don’t like when the student cannot practice “dynamics & tonal changes” at home because the student’s piano cannot do that. The student (or piano player) needs their digital piano to be able to handle playing with “expression,” so be sure the digital piano you get can do it well.

keyboard with spring key action


Keyboards is a category of  keyboard instruments. Typically a “keyboard” by definition has 88 or less keys that are “spring loaded” and not weighted keys like a real piano. A digital piano by definition typically has 88 “fully weighted” keys that are more like a real piano. “Keyboards” typically have 76 keys or 61 keys but a few models have 88 keys. 
Spring loaded keys have springs underneath them and don’t have actually “weights” or metal hammers like you would find in digital pianos. Because of the spring loaded keys, the touch and movement of those spring keys is substantially different than a real piano or digital piano. Spring loaded keys are OK and good for having fun and learning basics about playing piano. But spring loaded keys will definitely get you into bad playing habits if your goal is to learn to play piano.
spring loaded keys

Playing piano is not just having the “sound of a piano,” but more importantly having the correct feel of weighted piano keys and not spring keys. With piano weighted keys your playing will be better and the piano touch along with the piano sound will have more expression and greater responsiveness when the keys go down and then come back up. “Spring keys” are also typically much heavier and stiffer to press down with your fingers and that situation is not good to have and will definitely get in the way of improving in your piano playing skills.

Keyboards that have 61, 76, or 88 spring keys in them come from many different keyboard companies such as Yamaha, Casio, Korg, Roland, Donner, Williams, Kurzweil, Artesia, and others. Just because the keyboard comes from a “brand name” does not mean it is good for playing pianos. Some professional players use keyboards to play their music because of a few reasons. Keyboards are easier to carry around, they have lots of other instrument sounds and special effects and many professionals care more about the other sounds than they do the piano sound.
Keyboards can also be a lot less money to purchase and many are between $100 to $300 and the professional models can go from $1000 to well over $5000. Cost is a reason why some people will choose a “keyboard.” But those keys in the keyboards are springy to press down, stiffer to press down, and also harder to control when it comes to dynamics when playing the piano sounds in the keyboards because the keys can “pop back up.”. 
weighted keys in digital pianos

The bottom line is…if you want to focus mainly on piano playing, do not get a keyboard for long term lessons or playing. Get a fully weighted key portable of furniture cabinet digital piano. If your kids are taking lessons and trying to learn to play music on a keyboard and you want them to focus mainly on piano playing, then get them off the keyboard as soon as possible and get them some type of good digital piano with weighted piano style keys. The longer you wait to get them a good digital piano and get them off the keyboard, the worse their bad playing habits will likely be.

electronic key sensors


One of the big issues in purchasing a new (or used) digital piano has to do with key action sensors (aka: key contacts) under each key. These sensors are housed in rubber, plastic or other material parts that you cannot see but they are there. The job of electronic key sensors that are under each of the 88 keys is to “sense” the key movement of the keys as you are playing them. If you play the key lightly then the key sensors sense the velocity of that key and send a message to the piano sound engine so that you can hear the piano sound, or any other sound in the digital piano. 
There are typically anywhere from 2-3 key sensors under each key. This is because you need sensors under the each key at different physical levels so that the piano sound will be triggered regardless of how lightly or hard you press the key and also how far down you press the key. Another aspect of key sensors is to measure the speed and repetition of the keys being pressed down. With inadequate key sensors then sometimes when you are playing the keys repetitively in a fast way, those key sensors will not be able to trigger the piano sound that you are supposed to be hearing. In other words, the key won’t trigger the piano sound…and that’s not good.
key sensors

With bad or cheap key sensors (aka: key contacts) and/or bad rubber or plastic around the sensors, the sound transition in volume when you are playing the keys lightly and then playing the keys harder will be abrupt and choppy. In other words, piano sound should be even and have seamless changes between softer and louder. Piano sound should be gradual as you press the keys harder and harder. But with cheap inadequate key sensors or the parts that hold them, the piano sound will be noticeably choppy and have abrupt changes in volume.

Abrupt changes in volume would be like using a remote control on your TV and when you want to increase or decrease the volume of the TV, the volume change would abruptly get louder or abruptly get softer when you were changing volume. It wouldn’t be a smooth and even volume change, and most people would not like that to happen….and it makes it hard to control. There are a number of new digital pianos out there like that, especially in the “off brands.”
Another common problem with cheap and inadequate key sensors is that the sensors simply don’t work right. On digital pianos with cheap key sensors, when pressing down the keys while playing the piano, the piano sound and volume can be different from one key to the next rather than being even. Even if you play keys one after another in exactly the same way with the same amount of force you should expect the volume to be the same. 
But on digital pianos with “cheap” key sensors, the notes will sound different from each other and come out at different volume levels even while playing each of those keys in the exact same way. This is a bad thing and will lead to bad playing habits as well.
key contact issues

Bad playing habits is something you definitely want to avoid as you try to learn to playing piano. A faulty digital piano with bad key contact sensors can cause big headaches. On certain digital pianos, sometimes you can play the keys softly and get a lower volume which is normal but sometimes the volume just immediately comes in loud! Then you start playing the keys with more force expecting a louder volume, but instead the volume remains quieter and won’t increase in volume normally. 

This is a very bad thing and takes away from the enjoyment of playing piano and it’s also bad for students learning how to play piano. I have played digital pianos with these faulty and poorly made key contacts and I would never recommend these brands or models to my students…even if they got that digital piano for free!
key contacts

There are certain brands that are known to have this issue, usually more so in the cheaper off-brands. Imagine wanting to turn up the volume of your TV or music but the volume will hardly move up to become louder. You might think something is wrong with your device, but unfortunately this is how some digital pianos are made…with very poorly made key contact sensors.

Just because a digital piano has black & white keys does not mean the keys work correctly or the piano sound will come out correctly. You need to be careful of “tricky advertising” by some of these digital piano companies that say they have great key actions. It’s not only about what you can see on the outside of the keys of a digital piano, but it is also about what you “cannot see” under the keys and inside of the piano that can really count!

factory warranty


There are a few digital piano companies that only have 1 year parts & labor warranties. Some have 2 year parts warranty and 1 year labor. Our advice is get at least a 2 year parts & labor factory warranty on your new piano purchase. Many digital pianos have 2 years P&L, 3 years, and 5 year factory warranties. 
Generally speaking, the more money you spend on a new digital piano, the longer and better the warranty becomes. That’s not always the case but that’s the way it usually works out. The top name brands have a much better track record for reliability in their products than the off-brands do, so stick to the name brands whenever possible. Also, make sure the warranty is a factory warranty and not an “after-market” warranty. After-market warranties generally are not worth the extra cost with all the hassle it takes to try to use them should it be necessary. 

piano foot pedals


Foot pedals, especially on cabinet digital pianos can be mechanically noisy, stiff to press down, or much too easy and light to press down. Pedals are important for a digital piano, especially the right side sustain pedal. Some of the digital pianos out there have badly constructed foot pedals that can break easily over time or start making a lot of noise when you press down on them or when the pedals come back up. You definitely will not want “noisy pedals.”
sustain pedal for portable digital piano

The most important foot pedal in a digital piano is the sustain pedal, otherwise known as the “damper” pedal.”. Most portable digital pianos comes with one sustain pedal and those sustain pedals are normally the small, square, plastic type. Some of those sustain pedals are better than others as far as the quality goes and they can work quite well just like real piano piano pedals. The furniture cabinet digital pianos usually have all 3 pedals on them. 

The right side pedal is for the momentary (when it’s needed) sustain function, the middle pedal is called sostenuto for specialty music that requires specific keys to continually sustain, and the left pedal is called the “soft pedal” which momentarily reduces the volume of the notes you are playing when you hold down that soft pedal.
pedal sustain-decay time

However, the sustain pedal is most important. On a regular acoustic piano, the sustain pedal holds out the piano sound to sustain and decay out over a longer amount of time. This gives the piano music more resonance and beauty to the tone. However, in real acoustic pianos, you can also control the amount of sustain by how far you press down that sustain pedal. The further you press down the sustain pedal, the more sustain you will get. 

With some digital pianos including name brands but especially the off brands, the sustain pedal you get with the piano can only trigger sustain on, and sustain off. There is no variable amount of sustain time that you can get. To emulate a real acoustic piano you need to have variable sustain (aka: half-damper or continuous pedal in digital pianos).
Piano pedals

It is much better and more realistic for your piano playing experience if the digital piano has the half-damper or continuous sustain pedal feature so that you can more closely play your digital piano like a real piano. So stay away from furniture cabinet digital pianos that don’t have good, solid pedals that will last and that are quiet, and be sure to try to get the better variable sustain function for the sustain pedal.

Fortunately for portable digital pianos that don’t come with a variable sustain pedal or a well made pedal, on some of them you can upgrade to a better pedal for an additional cost. On many “off brand” portable digital pianos you cannot do this. But on most name brand digital pianos on the portable models, you can upgrade the pedal. Just be sure you pay attention to the pedals and to their functionality because it is important, particularly as you grow in your piano playing skills.

speaker system


The quality and performance of the piano sound has to do in large part with the internal speaker system. All normal digital pianos have a speaker system built in. Some are good and some are bad, some are better than others, some use higher quality parts, and some brands use cheap speaker system parts. 

Unfortunately you cannot actually see the size and quality of the internal speakers, power amplifiers, or the way they are installed. Nevertheless, the internal speaker system is very important to a more realistic and less artificial piano sound. The better the internal speaker system, the more you will like your digital piano. 

Typically the more money you spend on a digital piano, the better the speaker system will be. That’s not always the case as some lower priced digital pianos can have very good internal speaker systems in them. But generally speaking, in the higher price ranges the internal speaker systems are of higher quality with more power, more speakers and better sound dispersion and positioning. 

internal speaker system

It can be difficult to know what the digital piano sounds like until you get it into your home and start playing it. So my advice is to stay away from the off brands, especially in the lower price ranges, and pay particular attention to the amount of speakers in the piano, the type of speakers, the amount and power of the amplifiers, the and way the sound comes out of the piano.

On some portable digital pianos you can connect an external speaker to them if necessary. Doing that can help quite a bit and make that portable digital piano sound really good if that digital piano does not sound good through its own internal speaker system. But getting an external speaker system (typically powered monitors) does require an extra cost of $300 or more. 

used digital pianos


Used, previously opened digital pianos, refurbished digital pianos, and old digital pianos come with a “risk.”. You never know what you’re going to get when you buy anything other than a new digital piano. A person or company can say whatever they want to about a used or otherwise previously played digital piano and make you feel like it must be in perfect shape. But I have seen enough used digital pianos like that (including refurb’s) that have intermittent issues that only happen occasionally and you won’t know until you get it and start playing it…and then it’s too late. 

digital piano circuit board

There could be a cracked circuit board on the inside, interior water damage, electrical damage, or faulty keys that don’t work right, and unseen cracks in the cabinet that you later discover. There could be bad pedal response or internal speakers not working right. There could also be shipping damage once you receive that used digital piano and maybe certain functions don’t work because of that. Buying “used” is risky regardless of what the seller tells you. 

My advice is, it is not worth the “extra discount” on previously used digital pianos (including open box, refurb, demo model, etc) unless the extra discount is massive and you are willing to take a chance, because it’s still a risk. So just beware of all that!

do not buy a pso



A piano shaped object ( as I call it) is a digital piano that looks like a piano on the outside, but does not play like a piano with regard to key action, piano sound, and/or the pedals. These pianos are definitely out there are they are easily disguised because they have 88 piano style keys and can fool you into thinking they will reproduce the actual piano playing experience because they look convincing “on the outside” and the manufacturer/seller says all kinds of great things about them in their marketing and promotional ads.
Many, but certainly not all of these PSO’s are being sold on Amazon under “names” no one has heard of before and that are not sold in music or piano stores. So be on the lookout for these “off-brands” that you may see on Amazon and also on eBay. They may appear to be digital pianos, but in reality are just very cheaply made facsimiles of the real thing. There is an old saying that says “never judge a book by its cover.” That is…what seems to be good on the outside may not be what is really on the inside.
name brand digital pianos

It is easy to make a new digital piano look good on the outside, but then use cheap, inadequate and unreliable parts on the inside which will likely cause big problems for you if you buy that model. With this situation in mind, I highly recommend you only consider the better mainstream brands of digital pianos which include Casio, Kawai, Yamaha, Korg, and Roland. 

These better name brands may sometimes cost a bit more than the PSO brands, but that’s OK because you definitely get what you pay for. You should always try to get something that will give you a satisfying piano playing experience for you and/or your children now and into the future.
Don’t “short-change” yourself by believing the “hype” that these PSO brands put out there. Talk is “cheap” and reality in trying to build a “good” digital piano costs money…at least some money and that’s why the name brands typically cost more money than the “off-brands” or “the off-brands selling on Amazon exclusively. My strong advice is…stay with the name brands! They will play better, sound better, be vastly more realistic as compared to a piano, and they will usually last much longer.
Final thoughts

It definitely is not easy shopping for a new digital piano because there are so many brands out there all trying to get your attention. They want your business and they want your money. Some of them say things that are just not true because they want you to believe that they make the best digital piano and that their pianos will play better than anyone elses digital pianos.

But as it is with other consumer goods like appliances, computers, electronics, cards, boats, furniture and other items, you need to be careful because what a manufacturer says about their products may not match up with reality, and I have seen this many times over the years when it comes to digital pianos. Whether it comes to name brands like Yamaha, Roland, etc or the off brands that are not sold in piano stores such as Williams, Suzuki, Donner, Artesia, and others, there are a lot of things in digital pianos that you will need to have a good piano playing experience.
Key action, piano sound realism, pedaling response, internal speaker systems, durability, reliability, are all very important aspects of a digital piano and they are not all the same when it comes to comparing one digital piano (electronic piano) against another. So BE CAREFUL when doing your shopping and get good advice. When it comes to getting good, experienced advice, I have been giving out that kind of reliable and experienced advice for well over 40 years. After having played nearly every digital piano and keyboard out there, including all the acoustic grand & upright pianos, I definitely know what I am talking about.

Tim & Erik Praskins

Along with my son, Erik, who also is also very experienced with digital pianos (but obviously for not as long as me – but he’s definitely better looking than I am:), we can both help you with your piano questions at no charge because music and digital pianos is our passion and we want to share our knowledge with you. So PLEASE contact us first before you buy anything from anyone. We will also help you save money on the digital piano that you decide you want to purchase including free shipping and NO sales tax, brand new. Please reach out to us with your questions and we will be happy to help you. ???

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts or Amazon, please email me at or call direct at 602-571-1864.

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