How long a digital piano lasts is up somewhat for debate. Similar to cell phones and tablets, digital instruments can go out of style pretty quickly. That being said, sometimes that old Nokia phone just lasts longer than the rest. But all things break eventually. Typically, little things like accessories go bad first, such as the following:
Cheap pedals that are included with chintzy digital pianos, especially ones like tiny Rockjams, often do not last more than 6 months. As frustrating as this can be, it can be replaced and or upgraded from the get-go.
Similarly, AC adapter cords that plug into the wall can get bent at either end, damaging the fine wires inside and preventing electric current. USB to host cords that one would use for producing, go bad rather quickly if you use them a lot, or don’t store them properly.
What Goes Wrong with Pianos themselves?
Part of the answer of ‘how long do digital pianos last?’ lies in the above question. So, what really can go wrong? A lot, actually!
- Dust can get in the speakers
- While they don’t typically outright break, the sounds and songs get really outdated, fast
- Keys get sticky
- LCD Screens acts up
- Contacts get dirty
- Other electronics get worn out
LCD screens don’t last forever. If a cheap pedal isn’t the first thing to go, then a subpar LCD screen will be. Again, I must emphasize how important having a high-quality instrument is. LCD screens can crack on impact, but sometimes, they just flat-out break.
Unless you are ok with playing without one, you’ll have to have a new LCD installed by a repair technician, or, if it isn’t worth the cost of repairs, get a new piano.
Digital sounds and pop songs can go out of style really quickly. Even keyboards that were made in 2019 or 2020 that are still produced and you can buy new today, aren’t going to be as relevant as ones that just came out at the NAMM convention this year.
Dirty contacts- And no, I don’t mean the kind you’ve been wearing in your eyeballs for too long… The digital contacts in a digital piano can get dirty easier than you might think. Digital piano tones are created when you press the key, and the key presses the contact.
Contacts are laid out on something called the contact board. These contacts are made out of the material graphite, which is the same thing as modern pencil lead. As you probably already know, graphite is pretty brittle.
If you feel unsure of what you are doing and think your piano has dirty contacts, consult a technician. These pieces are delicate and can be easily bent (or worse, broken!). For more information on pianos and electronics, stay tuned for our article: How to Maintain Electronics in a Piano.
A whole host of other things can go wrong with other electronics, too. Tiny wires can get bent, and things can need resoldered, etc.
Digital Pianos that Age Gracefully
If you plan on playing piano for a very long time, consider investing in something with a sound library that can be updated and added to, such as Nord pianos.
There are also some electronic or digital pianos that are simply timeless. The best example of this are Rhodes. Fender Rhodes are back with the new MK8- But it will cost you well over $9,000.
You can occasionally find the vintage Rhodes piano- But these are pretty rare, and likely are even more expensive than the new one because of the collector’s value that they (continue to) hold.
How to Remedy Piano Issues
I don’t have a quick fix for all the things that can go wrong with your digital piano, but I do have a handful. Some of these are preventative, while others are handy and quick solutions.
Sticky Keys, Noisy Keys
Always play your digital piano with clean hands. If you don’t, you’ll get sticky or noisy keys.
When your keys get dirty and sticky, use a dry, soft cloth to wipe them down. If you really must, put a little water on it to get the grime off. But take that with a grain of salt- and keep in mind that moisture is the #1 enemy of electronics.
Similarly, if you tend to snack as you gloss over your next piece, watch out. Small bits of crumbs, dust or anything can fall down into tiny cracks. Think about having to take your computer keyboard apart to clean it…How time-consuming!
The Piano Won’t Turn On
If your piano won’t turn on when you plug it into the wall, but it works fine off of batteries, then your AC adapter cord is probably to blame. Try ordering a new one that is compatible with your model off of Amazon. If this doesn’t work, it may be an internal issue.
Do you have a bad habit of setting things on top of your piano? Cute decor, decorative pillows, or the forbidden coffee mug? Then there might not be anything wrong with your instrument! Putting objects on or near a piano’s speakers often causes a buzzing sound.
When All Else Fails:
When all else fails, try a factory reset. I for one, accidentally turn on all sorts of things when I’m moving stacks of sheet music over to my stand and accidentally elbow a wrong button or two. Use this last-ditch effort before taking your keyboard to the repair shop.
Make sure you write down any of your favorite custom sound settings and transfer your best recordings onto a USB flash drive or to your computer first, though. Like a factory reset on your computer, all customizations you made will be wiped when you hit the button.
Can a Digital Piano Really Break?
Yes and no. Unless you have a very rare vintage digital piano, it’s pretty likely that you or a music expert can find the parts and tools to fix your keyboard for a fair price.
Unlike string instruments and truss rods, you can rest assured that you won’t have to worry about anything just snapping in two!
How Long Does a Digital Piano Last? Conclusion
How long a digital piano is going to last depends on your personal standards. Are you going to play it until it falls apart? Or do you quickly tire of the same songs, and want the latest and greatest sounds? I suppose the answer is really this: It depends on your perspective!
The average digital piano will last you about 10 years before you start to feel like it is getting outdated technology. Ultimately, the pianos that last the longest are the acoustic ones. But that being said, those are far less portable and require a lot more maintenance. You can sort of think of it like a desktop versus aptop situation, in a way! It’s really nice to have both options on hand.
I hope this answers your questions about how long do digital pianos last! Be sure to come back to our site for more information about the piano- From the history of the instrument to honest keyboard reviews and more.