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Hybrid Pianos: What Are They?

These days, people are aware that hybrid vehicles are a cross between gasoline and electric cars. The piano world has something similar.

An acoustic piano, the traditional kind, needs strings to function, while a digital piano has no strings. A hybrid piano mixes acoustic with digital. This can happen in two ways: an acoustic piano that offers "silent" headphone use, or a digital piano with acoustic keyboard action, advanced speaker systems, and acoustic piano sounds and samples. These samples are computer-created, mathematical models of acoustic pianos, giving us a state-of-the-art imitation that's incredibly close to the real thing.

There are many different designs of acoustic and digital hybrid pianos, including both upright and grand models. Digital piano sizes start at 9 in. depth for portable models, up to 18 in. or more to accommodate a real acoustic grand piano keybed (length of keys).

The acoustic upright piano uses a vertical design of hammers hitting the string sideways, while grand pianos use gravity and an up-and-down motion of hammers hitting the strings. In most cases the grand piano action (a.k.a. touch) is faster, noticed especially with repetition of notes and trills. The player may find they feel more control of the hammer hitting the strings. 

Hybrid digital pianos feel almost exact to their acoustic models, but still have no strings, so no tuning is needed. However, these complex actions may require some technician work down the road to regulate or adjust the touch depending on how much the piano is used. Most of these pianos have built-in high quality speakers. The weight of these instruments can vary, with hybrid digitals weighing around 200 pounds or more, and hybrid acoustics weighing around 400 pounds or more.

Make no mistake--a hybrid piano is a very real instrument, and just may be the perfect addition to your home if size, budget, or quiet is your concern! Our showroom has many models on display for you to try, and we're always happy to answer any of your questions!


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