Jul 1, 2009  •  In Music, Personal, Reviews

A Digital Piano to Call My Own

Having played the piano since the age of 5, I always pictured my “grown-up” home featuring a baby grand nearside an oversized window.

What I didn’t realize is that city living on a limited budget does not allow for such luxuries.

Sometime last year I decided that a digital/electric piano would fit the bill. It would allow me to practice in private and would definitely take up less space than an acoustic instrument.

I immediately began saving, and per my usual self, began to do crazy research for the perfect digital piano under $2,000 (thank you, Piano World Forums!).

Unfortunately, my job situation (or lack thereof) put a halt to my savings plan.

Until I received my tax refund, that is.

Having a husband who works for the big G has its benefits. He contacted his employee concierge service and asked where we can get my desired piano, within 20 miles of Manhattan, at the best price. They replied within 24 hours with a referral at almost $200 off the list price.

The very week that my tax refund was deposited into my bank account, we trekked to a local Sam Ash and bought my very own digital piano.

The Roland FP-4

During my research, I found that the best brands in the sub-$2,000 range were Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, and Casio.

However, I have not had the best experience with Kawais in the past, and Casios felt a bit flimsy to me.

I did more research into the Yamaha vs Roland debate.

What I discovered was that at my price range, it was really a matter of preference.

Yamahas tend to have brighter sounds with “spring-y” keys, more akin to the American style. They are optimal for fast pieces and is the preferred brand for a large majority of professionals.

Rolands are optimized for those who prefer a more romantic sound, similar to those of the old European pianos.

Personally, I preferred the feel of the Roland over the Yamaha.

At first, I was interested in the Roland FP-7, but found that the FP-4 has all the features I need at a lower price. The main difference between the two is that the FP-7 has more electronic features such as a better display and a USB port.

The FP-7 also has better built-in speakers than the FP-4, but I do not need top-of-the-line sound in my little apartment. I also would’ve been happy with run-of-the-mill headphones, but J insisted that we buy a pair of very nice Sennheiser headphones…and I am so happy I did. With the headphones, my FP-4 sounds delightful, much better than the majority of pianos I’ve played in my life.

My piano playing level is nowhere as good as I once was, but I’m starting to get it back. I’ve also been playing in my church’s praise band, something I had done back in high school.

Maybe one day, I’ll be courageous enough to hit the “record” button and upload a piece on this blog.

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10 Responses to “A Digital Piano to Call My Own”

  1. I VASTLY preferred the Rolands over the Yamahas even though I went there with the initial preference of wanting to buy a Yamaha.

    I am lemming after the Roland RD 700 GX though.. $2500 but I want it. I WANT IT! I feels and sounds JUST like a real piano with the proper amp and headphones.


  2. Geek in Heels says:

    I tried the 700 GX and it’s an amazing piece of technology. Please let us know if you DO get it! On my limited budget (and lack of patience to save for more money), my FP-4 suits me just fine!

  3. Barbara says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  4. Geek in Heels says:

    Thank you for your comment, Barbara! It’s always nice to hear from my readers and your note is very much appreciated! 🙂

  5. Sara says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  6. i have one but i want another like the picture above. i love it. thanks for the post. keep it up. thanks for the post.

  7. wow its too thin,it can occupy less space than to acoustic piano,it great to have that kind of piano,the sound gives real music but the music is depend to the pianist or to the one who played piano..,,

  8. brian says:


    i just bought an fp-4. trying to find out if i got a lemmon, or if it’s just me not knowing how to set things up.

    basically with the e.piano, organ, etc (first 15 or so) keys and hear nothing — as though there was no power. then, i get a stuffy sound until about middle-C, after that it sounds like a "normal".

    with the piano sample, everything is fine. responsive across all keys.

    roland rep mentioned something about 61 vs 88 keys, keys/frequencies being out of natural range of some of the samples, etc.

    is this normal?

    would appreciate *any* feedback.


  9. Geek in Heels says:

    @brian — I’m so sorry to hear that! My FP-4 works perfectly on all modes and doesn’t have any of the problems you are describing. I would definitely talk to Roland, or the store where you purchased it, and try to get a replacement or a repair!

  10. brian says:

    @geek in heels: thanks for taking the time to respond. was starting to convince myself that it was "normal" behavior. i’m a bit bummed. but, it’s only 2-days old, so i can still swap it out for a good one.

    btw, the piano mode reinforces my decision to go with the fp4. it sounds absolutely beautiful.


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