Hammer vs. Graded Hammer Action Keys on Digital Pianos & Keyboards

Hammer vs. Graded Hammer Action Keys
Hammer Action vs. Graded Hammer Action: Is there really any difference between these two when it comes to digital keyboard instruments? Most manufacturers might advertise their products saying it comes with weighted hammer keys, but then most of the time, what you get is dependent of how much you spend. Here's more on these popular key actions that users prefer to have on their digital pianos.

How important do you think is the Key action of a Digital Piano?

Should it matter much to a beginner if a Digital Piano has hammer-action or graded-hammer key action?

Is there really a lot of difference between the two Piano Key-Actions?

Is the extra cost justified if a beginner wants to go in for a graded hammer keys digital piano and NOT a hammer-action one?

There is no straight answer to these questions but here is my two cents.

But before that you may want to checkout this post that summarizes the various types of piano action.

Marketing Strategy

Most manufacturers of Digital pianos try to emulate the keys on an acoustic piano using plastic keys with lead weights and a synthetic moving "hammer".

The only advantage this gives is that it makes the digital piano lighter and more portable, which is one of the USPs of a Digital piano, but then you may not necessarily get the real feel.

You will really have to buy a top notch digital piano to get authentic feel. Some top quality digital piano manufacturers use wooden-keys where authenticity is a high priority.

So when you ask the difference between hammer action and graded hammer action, it can really be a tricky question. Since most salesmen would either lie about what exactly it means or some of them may not know about it.

It can also be the case that for your budget, you may not get an authentic action at all. So do your homework before you go shopping!



Best Pianos & Keyboards with Weighted Keys



Used to Playing on Synth Action?

The touch of a keyboard is a relative thing and depends on the proficiency of the player.

Any player who has practised on a musical keyboard (synth action type) will find it difficult to play on a hammer-action piano but may be not on a weighted action piano.

Graded Hammer Action on Digital Pianos


Hammer or Graded?

Anybody who plays on a hammer action piano should be able to play on almost any piano. He/she might have to make some adjustments to play on a graded hammer action piano.

For instance if you have to give some piano exam or if you have to play for your school function and the piano there has a graded hammer action then you will have to practice for some sessions on that piano.

Now, having a graded hammer action will help in this case but you can still manage without it if you can have some practice sessions as mentioned before.


Concert Pianists

Lot of Concert pianists practice on graded hammer action and if you ask them to play on a hammer action, they will complain as they have got used to it and probably they may not be able to play some of the pieces with ease.

Again, with some adjustments they can still mange on a hammer action piano but they have reached that level of proficiency that they do not want to compromise; and since they are getting paid for their performances almost everybody has a graded hammer action piano.


Explore various models

A beginner may not appreciate the difference between graded hammer and hammer action and it may not affect his playing for quite some time.

I know a lot of people will be tempted to go in for the best but I think you can definitely explore other models which are cheaper.

You can even explore the possibility of going in for a slightly cheaper stage piano instead of models like the Yamaha Clavinova and give yourself around 2 years to prove that you are really serious about your piano playing.

And if you show enough potential, you could always consider selling this one off and buying yourself a graded hammer one. This is just my suggestion.

You may not like the look of a stage piano at all. Proper digital pianos add to the aesthetics of the house so you will have to do some thinking here.


To Conclude

Piano manufacturers are constantly trying to give you the best piano sound and the most authentic key touch on their digital keyboard instruments. And though they have progressed a lot over the years, many pianists feel that it is still not perfect. However, with some of the most expensive digital pianos, you may have very less to complain about. They have started using the same action as found in acoustic pianos, and also use wooden keys. But then these would still be beyond the reach (budget-wise) for most of us. But then the piano action is not all bad on most of the digital pianos available for home use, and should give you the feeling of playing on a piano...almost.



Share Your Comments here...

Share your thoughts, ask Questions on the Keyboard Action


Additional Reading

Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) vs. Graded Hammer Effect (GH / GHE) vs. Graded Hammer Effect 3 (GH3)
The Various Piano Key Actions - A Simple Guide
Yamaha Pianos - Graded Hammer Standard vs. Graded Hammer
Weighted Keyboards from Yamaha





Looking for a digital piano with Hammer action keys? Check out Yamaha Digital Piano, Casio Privia, Korg Digital Pianos and Roland Digital Pianos. These are some of the top brands of digital pianos with hammer action keys.




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