How to Pick the Best Instrument for You


Opus 38 Studio Blog written by Lisa Maresch

The most frequently asked question when students are starting piano lessons. There are so many options to consider! Consider your musical goals and dreams, your budget, and your living situation. Take time to find the best instrument for you. I took a long time to find mine! 

What type of instrument would you like in your home?

Acoustic Piano ($3,000-$190,000):

Always the first consideration if you are serious about learning piano.

  • There are upright pianos, spinets or “consoles”, and grand pianos.
  • There have 88 black and white keys and two or three pedals.
  • Maintenance is involved like an oil change on a car. Get it tuned twice a year. 
  • Acoustic instruments are best for developing real artistry and your technique.
  • A quality instrument is an excellent investment and could become a family heirloom. 
  • City living may not be optimal for an acoustic (both in size/weight and volume of sound). 
  • A professional piano mover must be hired to move your instrument. 

Digital Keyboard ($500-$10,000):

  • Must plug it in!
  • It could have up to three pedals. It also has 88 keys (if not, don’t waste your time). 
  • Always opt for the keyboard with touch sensitive keys. Disclaimer: Even the most advanced keyboards will never recreate the touch of an acoustic piano. 
  • Digital keyboards will never go out of tune and they will never need tuning! 
  • There are many apps that can be connected via USB/Midi. Connect it to your laptop or tablet and learn music through state of the art technology. 
  • Headphones can be used as to not disturb your household companions and neighbors.
  • Lightweight and can be moved or dismantled easily. 

Hybrid ($5,000-$20,000):

  • The best of both worlds! A relatively new instrument, it has all of the same features as an upright or grand piano, but you have to plug it in like a digital keyboard. 
  • A hybrid has hammers like an acoustic piano but it produces sound electronically
  • It does not need to be tuned. 
  • Headphones can be plugged in as well.   

Consider your living situation.

What kind of a home do you live in? Are you a renter? Some landlords won’t allow you to have an acoustic piano!

  • Free standing house  
  • An apartment building
  • Will your neighbors hear you practicing? 

Where will you put it?

  • Living room, family room, or study (social space) 
  • Bedroom (privacy) 

What time of day will you play/practice your piano? 

  • Morning before school or work
  • After school
  • Evenings

Who lives with you? Some will appreciate your new endeavor more than others! 

  • Your family
  • Housemates
  • Alone

Who is going to play this instrument? 

  • You are!
  • Your children

Budget for your instrument.

There are some amazing deals out there, but remember, you get what you pay for! Figure out how much to invest in your instrument and how you are going to pay for it. 

  • One time payment
  • Monthly Rentals
  • Payment plan/loans 
  • Purchase from a private seller or a retail store
  • Does it come with a warranty? 
  • Is there an added delivery fee? 
  • Is your first piano tuning included? 
  • Does your teacher give referrals for discounts? 

Where do we find instruments? 

Places to find NEW/USED pianos and digital keyboards online (sometimes for FREE).  

Some examples: Nextdoor, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, Amazon. 

Piano dealerships. 

You can walk into any showroom in the city and try the pianos. Here are some reputable piano brands. Showrooms will carry many more brands than listed below.   




Last tip- Get a second opinion on a used instrument if possible.

Ask your teacher or an experienced friend to go with you. Hire a piano technician to appraise your instrument if you are purchasing from a private seller.

Good luck and enjoy the search!

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