As I strolled through the annual NAMM show in Annaheim, CA, visiting the various piano maker’s booths I was struck by the incredible volume of digital pianos this year. Some have the typical look of a digital while others are cleverly disguised as ordinary upright and baby grand pianos. Just a few years ago piano action mechanisms were made to simulate “real pianos”. The results were not great, just adequate at best.
The action on some of the ones I tried at NAMM was quite a revelation in just how far the manufacturers have advanced with digital piano technology. Now, I know the purists out there are going to disagree with me on this, But I am also not suggesting that a digital piano can replace a properly regulated grand piano for the touch and feel at all . For example, a large part of our company’s business is renting/selling pianos to families who are starting their kids with piano lessons. Also, more and more baby boomers seem to want to play the piano again. The ability to plug in headphones and practice virtually any time has to be a good thing. Just think of an average Manhattan apartment crammed with family gear where every inch counts. We are called to tune and repair older upright pianos with actions that hardly function, tuning pins that are not holding the tuning and etc…you get the picture.
A digital piano that is touch sensitive is probably the way of the future whether we like it or not.