Tuesday, July 2, 2013

REVIEW - Yamaha Piaggero Digital Piano Keyboards - NPV80, NPV60, NP31, NP11 - NOT RECOMMENDED for Piano Lessons

UPDATED REVIEW - July 2, 2013 - I DO NOT recommend the Yamaha Piaggero keyboards incl NP11, NP31, NPV60, & NPV80 for PIANO LESSONS. They do not have real acoustic piano type weighted key actions and they are not good replacements for acoustic pianos because they cannot duplicate the playing & practice experience of a real piano. However, as far as beginning piano practice at home for kids and adults, you would be OK with a Piaggero keyboard because the key action is better than the typical low priced keyboard. But as you progress in playing you'll need to upgrade to something with a weighted action keyboard as soon as possible before the student gets into bad playing/finger movement habits which can and does happen after awhile.

Now with that being said, the Piaggero low priced keyboards do have enjoyable stereo piano sound, lots of cool digital features (depending on the model) including drums, multiple instrument sounds, ensemble chord arrangements & accompaniment tracks, multitrack recording & playback of songs, as well as intuitive controls, USB in/out connectivity (depending on model) and are lightweight, easy to carry instruments with good internal speakers. The key action on the NP31, NPV60, and NPV80 which are all 76 key keyboards (not full 88 key) have what is described by Yamaha as "graded soft touch keyboard." Although the key action feels quite nice as keyboards go and the key weight is slightly graded or graduated, it is not a acoustic piano type weighted key action and the difference is noticeable. The Piaggero's also are not offered in 88-key versions. Playing piano with only 61 or 76 keys, especially in the beginning, is not an issue but it's the way the key action feels and the way it moves that is the important factor. I really do like this series of Yamaha keyboards but my main goal is to see people play on more realistic feeling key actions so they can play piano music correctly. The Piaggeros will let you play, practice, and have fun, but there are better alternatives if you want to experience real piano playing.

Unfortunately there are people out there who would suggest otherwise including those people who are obviously sponsored by Yamaha. One of those people is a piano playing guy named Jamie Cullum who says in a video (by Yamaha) and I quote "for me I'm probably going to take it into my dressing room before a show... it's just right for rehearsing before a show." I definitely do not agree with that statement and the Piaggero not only won't give you the dynamics and feel of a real acoustic piano, it doesn't even have 88 keys! Also, you cannot transition properly to a regular acoustic or digital piano because of the pedals and big differences in key weight.

As an experienced piano (and keyboard) teacher, if you want your child or yourself to have the right piano playing and practice experience as soon as possible then I don't recommend the Yamaha Piaggero keyboards. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget or size of room in which to put an instrument, then the Piagerro keyboards would be quite good as compared with other keyboards in the same price range and size. The Piaggero's are quality instruments with some fun features and they can be a good substitute for a digital piano for a limited time. Yamaha has always produced exciting low priced keyboards with touch sensitive keys in low price ranges for years. The Piaggero's are just the latest in a string of fun, high quality practice keyboards by Yamaha with useful technology. The key action and piano sound are enjoyable in these keyboards but in no way are they good substitutes for real 88-key fully weighted digital pianos. Also the polyphony piano sound memory is just a meager 32 note polyphonic as compared to 128 polyphony in most low priced digital pianos. These pianos can be fine in the beginning as I said, but once piano lessons start progressing, then owning a Piagerro in my opinion will not be an asset and help for the student and it really doesn't cost that much more to upgrade into a better key action.

Yamaha P105 Piano
The number one thing that piano teachers look for and recommend in a digital piano is a properly weighted key action with the right key movement, sound dynamics & response, and piano pedaling. The Yamaha Piaggero's will not satisfy any piano teacher who knows what they are doing. However, like all good keyboards, the Piaggero's are fun to play on, sound good overall, are easy to carry around, are reliable like most Yamaha products, and are low priced. If you don't have the money for something better, getting a Piaggero keyboard is certainly a good option but for slightly more money you could also look at the Yamaha P95, P105, or DGX640, and Casio CDP120, PX150, or Casio Privia PX350. All of these models would be much better for piano playing and student practice than any Piaggero. If you want all the fun stuff and the proper key action, then either the Yamaha YDP640 or Casio PX350 would be the better choices. I have written reviews of all of the other pianos so take a look when you can.

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

* I recommend eMedia educational software. If you decide to make a purchase after clicking on link below, I have arranged a big discount for you direct with eMedia for their educational software and that discount price is displayed through this link only! I want to see everyone learn to play and enjoy piano!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the advise. I'm looking for just an entry-level keyboard which I can practice playing with. It doesn't necessarily be the best kind since I'm still learning.
    - BenkePianoAustin.com

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  2. Thanks for the review Tim - the NP 11 is definitely more synth than digital piano

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  3. We were thinking of the NP11 or NP31 for practice while we are on holidays. Something small enough to jam in a large suitcase but for a another $100 we can get a used P95. - But then the cost of a larger suitcase. ;)

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  4. a good used P95 would be a better choice with regard to a more realistic piano weighted key action as well as sound...but it just depends what is important to you

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  5. Hi Tim,

    I'm glad I found this site. I'm a saxophone player and want to really dive into learning piano. This is what I'm looking for.

    1. A Piano that has a real piano feel/touch/weighted keys
    2. Midi input/output to take advantage of practicing on my Macbookpro
    3. Portability. Not as important because I will not gig with this.
    4. Price Under $500.

    It doesn't need to be new either. It could be an older model not necessarily a "gigging" keyboard due to wear and tear, but something that feels great and is new enough so that it has midi/computer compatibilities.

    Suggestions?
    THANKS !!!!!

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