REVIEW on Music & Piano Stores - Internet & Local Dealers - STOP! DO NOT BUY from them until you READ this!


You see & hear it all the time; "I have the best deals, the best prices, the lowest prices, the biggest discounts, etc, etc." Everyone is saying it because they want YOUR MONEY! In my many years of experience, I have found that many piano & music stores, whether they be Internet or Brick & Mortar, are trying to SELL you a piano of some sort rather than HELP you get the RIGHT piano for your needs. Their ads are typically about trying to make you believe they can get you a great piano for the lowest price and most dealers are the same in that's about trying to get you to buy and spend instead of really helping you. The operative word for these piano and instrument dealers is "SELL" and this means stores WANT YOUR MONEY more than they really want to guide you to the right instrument at the right price. While not all stores are like this (there are a some good ones out there), many are this way based on my buying experience over the years. If a store has one brand, then they will recommend only that brand (obviously). If they have two brands then they will recommend only those two brands, and so on. If they have many brands then they will usually recommend them equally. That's normal and stores do not usually recommend brands they do not sell. So how are you to know what's really going to right for you if all the pianos seem to be good? That's the real question.

Getting the LOWEST PRICE is meaningless if you are buying the wrong brand or model, as far as I am concerned. Also, getting the LOWEST Price on the right brand and model for you is not necessarily the best situation if you are not going to get knowledgeable and caring people to help you in the present & future with possible warranty problems, shipping issues, and needed tech support, etc. Many of the people who work for these various companies (especially the large chain "big box" music stores) don't know much, if anything, about digital pianos and how they operate or compare to each other. Remember, many companies just want your money and the easiest way to get it is just to get you to buy something, anything regardless of the musical outcome for you. I have been buying music equipment for years and I know who to trust and who not to trust as far as getting good advice. But for most shoppers, it's sometimes difficult to tell on the outside what you are really getting on the inside for both product and the people your are dealing with.

I have seen many piano stores (whether on-line or local B&M stores) carry multiple brands of digital pianos and they say that these brands are all good and worth the money and yet I can tell you for a fact that some of those brands are very deficient in a number of ways and perhaps overpriced for what you are getting. In fact, some of the brands and models are downright disappointing and use cheap technology to try to reproduce a piano playing experience and yet those Internet and/or brick & mortar stores still try to convince you to buy one of those "off-brand" pianos because they make more money "selling" you something inadequate instead of something good.

It's been my experience that many (but not all) "salespeople" in these so-called "music stores" have little or no real product knowledge or piano playing experience and they are basically just clerks trying to answer questions. They can be nice people but at he end of the day, they are just trying to get your money and want you to but a digital piano regardless of which one it is. As an example, if you were to say "that cabinet is pretty nice and the selling price is n my budget," it is unlikely the salesperson would tell you that you should NOT buy that piano if that piano is known to be inferior in the way that it plays. After all, they want your money and if you are willing to give it to them then they will take it, regardless of what you are wanting to buy. I have seen salespeople knowingly sell products that are inferior simply because they make more money on them. So you really have to be careful. Now there are some very good people who "sell digital pianos" in regular piano stores and definitely want your money. But they are also knowledgeable, are good musicians, and have years of product experience. Although they may not necessarily have the right brand or model for your needs, they typically will only sell and promote high quality digital & acoustic piano brands like Kawai, Casio, Yamaha, Steinway, and Roland, and will help you after the sale as well. Each store usually only has one or maybe two digital piano brands so they cannot be totally without some bias. But those brands are good ones and you could probably be happy with any of them if it fits within your budget and musical goals.

The top digital pianos brands sold in the US as I mentioned before are, Yamaha, Casio, Roland, and Kawai. Under those brands are Korg, Kurzweil, and Samick. From there are the "off-brands" including Williams, Adams, Suzuki, Cameron, Adagio, and many others. Each one of these brands has many models in different price ranges. Some brands are better in certain price ranges than others so there really are a lot of factors you need to consider before making a purchase. However, many (but not all) on-line and local music store retailers advertise to get your money and not to help you necessarily get the right instrument as I mentioned earlier, especially if they are recommending the "off-brands." Whenever I see that happening I know for sure that they only want your money and this includes consumer stores like Costco, Sams Club, and others.

There are certain digital pianos that are not available for sale on-line but are only in local music and piano stores. Typically these pianos are in the higher price ranges and may be upgraded over the available pianos on the internet. However, a higher price does not always mean that instrument is a significantly better than a lower price digital piano on the internet. It is also important to know that the more money you pay for a new digital piano, the more money you will lose due to depreciation in value over the years. Some of these expensive digital grand pianos can be nice, especially if you have the money for them, and those instruments are only found at full size local pianos stores. Kawai, Roland, and Yamaha have some great models and they are certainly worth looking at and trying out. I have played them all and they sound and feel great as digital pianos go. But they will also depreciate in value over time so once again, the more you spend, the more you will lose down the road, and one thing is for sure, there will always be newer, better, more exciting digital pianos in the years ahead.

Finally, it is important to know that buying a USED or demo model digital piano, no matter how new it might be and what kind of warranty (if any) it might have, is not a good idea unless you are getting it for significantly less money than a new piano in a factory sealed box. No matter what anyone tells you about its condition such as "it's seldom been used, there are no scratches on it, or it comes with a big warranty, it is still a used piano. I have seen almost new pianos that have come out of the box and sat around only for a few days have problems due to negligence of use, unknown power surges creating intermittent electrical problems, or even people putting liquid substances into the keys causing intermittent problems that may not show up for awhile until you get it. Also, a used piano out of the box needs to be reboxed if it will be shipped, and if it should get to you and arrive with damage, you may likely have a difficult time getting that piano replaced or repaired because it was already used and it may be difficult to determine where the damage came from. So my personal rule and recommendation is, if you cannot buy a used digital piano (no matter how new it might be) for at least 25% off of the best price for a new one in the exact same model, then you should spend a bit more money and buy the new one and play it safe. After all, you are probably going to own this piano for a long time so a small short term savings could turn into a big long term headache if you are not careful!

My advice as a long time piano teacher and pro musician is to be careful when you are shopping for a digital piano and please contact me for advice before you purchase any piano! Don't OVERSPEND or underspend...but do it right! Although I have in-depth blog reviews on many piano brands and models, I advise you to contact me by email (or phone if you live in the continental US) for a free conversation about the best piano for your needs and budget, and then you'll be able to shop with confidence and know what to get and who to buy it from. I will also give you advise on the best learning materials for lessons and how to pick a good piano teacher if you do not have one already. Music is my passion whether I teach it or play it and that's what I hope will happen to thousands of new piano students...that playing music becomes a passion because it's one of the best things you can bring into your life!

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

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