Official Guide to the Best Church Pianos

Editor’s Choice

  • Includes Firmware 2.0 Update
  • It is made for rapid production and expressive performance
  • It is built from premium materials

Best Overall

  • The most advanced digital piano action Yamaha has ever made
  • Features Linear Graded Hammers for the smoothest playing experience
  • Used key counterweights to adjust the key balance

Budget-Friendly

  • Improved sound quality and expressiveness
  • Offers an upgraded interface for fast access in any live situation
  • It is loaded with high-capacity PCM sounds

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best church piano is, then I’d recommend the Yamaha Clavinova CVP-809 Digital Grand Piano as the best one.

Corporate worship provides Christians an avenue for glorifying God together. Part of that worship is singing songs of praise to the Lord. The body of Christ on its knees and feet exalting God is a sight to behold. 

But imagine for a second your church service without songs? Without music? Without the melody from different instruments? 

Songs and music have become a vital part of worship through songs. One of the instruments that usher us into this kind of worship is the church piano. 

Here are the best Church Pianos we will be reviewing:

What is a Church Piano?

There are several musical instruments used in churches. The church piano is both a string and percussion instrument. It has a soundboard and metal strings enclosed in a case. It consists of 88 keys in just one level of the keyboard. Many people confuse a church piano and a church organ. Although they are similar, the organ has two levels of keyboard with narrower and shorter keys and a pedalboard. 

Main Types of a Church Piano

Vertical/Upright

The string and soundboard of a vertical piano stand perpendicular to the ground.  Standard upright pianos are 110cm to 135 cm in height and 155 cm in width. The strings are also shorter and the soundboard smaller. 

Grand

The grand piano is the most expensive and most prominent among all pianos. Its craftsmanship is worth its price. It has longer strings and a wide soundboard area. Because of this, it plays faster and is easier to control. There are baby grand pianos, medium grand, and concert grand pianos. The differences between the three depend on the size, length of string, and scale of the soundboard. 

Digital/Electronic

The word digital connotes the presence of a sort of automation process. In the digital piano, you see this through the sensor. The sensor activates when you press a key in the piano. One of the features of a digital piano is the variety of notes heard at different volumes depending on the pressure exerted on the keys. It has built-in sounds of different kinds of piano and instruments. It usually has a recording mechanism as well. Digital pianos are portable, and some are even battery-operated.

How Does a Church Piano Work?

When a pianist presses a key on the piano, a small hammer inside hits one or more than one string. The string vibrates and produces a sound that has a specific note. The string vibration is then passed on to the piano’s soundboard. The soundboard then vibrates and resonates. 

The piano’s soundboard also contributes to amplifying the sound. The piano also has a damper. When a key is pressed, the damper lifts, producing a sound. Releasing the key replaces the damper, which mutes the string. This mechanism is why a sound is made only when a pianist presses a key.

History of the Church Piano

A lot of people associate the organ with church music. For a long time, people considered the piano as a secular musical instrument. So maybe you’re wondering when did churches start using the piano?

Church pianos began to be a popular addition to the church music ensemble in the twentieth century. A few people were vital in the inclusion of the piano in churches. William Batchelder Bradbury used the piano at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York City for his thousand-voice children’s choirs. Charles Alexander played the piano during the revival period in the 1900s. 

Many church song leaders associate the use of the church piano with him. Lastly, pianist Robert Harkness authored a book on evangelical pianism. Harkness worked with evangelist R.A. Torrey. He was the instrumentalist who came up with piano styles appropriate for the church setting.

Even today, the church piano is an instrument widely used in churches. Church song leaders and evangelical artists continue to inspire piano styles and music.

Why Choose a Church Piano?

The church piano is an instrument that helps set the tone for worship. For a churchgoer, the sound of the piano inspires praise. As part of the worship team, individuals can learn different styles and songs and widen their musical capacity. 

What to Consider When Buying a Church Piano

Quality

Interior and exterior considerations are important in looking for the perfect church piano. A church piano with an increased quality in strings and soundboard will produce good resonance and tone. To make sure that the piano will last long, consider its tuning capacity. Though an exterior component, the type of cabinet will also affect the sound quality of the piano. Also, remember that the grade of the piano may indicate its quality – grade 1 as the highest.

Aesthetic

There is a variety of styles and colors for church pianos. Although some may not find the outer appearance significant, a subtle and muted shade may work well in church settings. For example, the black mahogany type of church piano can sit well in the place of worship.

Church space

Since you’re dealing with sound and acoustics in music, it is best to consider the space of your church, its architecture, and its layout. For example, larger church spaces may entail larger grand pianos. With limited space, smaller pianos can be your choice. 

Affordability

Knowing the budget for a church piano will help you narrow your choices. You also might want to consider future add-ons you might need like accessories, sound systems, etc. There are options in the market to purchase a piano that is well worth your buck.

Reminders in Using the Church Piano

Make praise the center

Music in churches is praise to God. More than technicalities and talents, playing any church instrument is centered on God. Playing the church piano is not a recital. It is not a showcase of expertise to wow an audience. Church music that is accompanied by the church piano ushers people into worship. Offer every performance to the Lord.

Be flexible and versatile

The Holy Spirit leads everything about church services and fellowship. This prompting includes church worship through music. Thus, be ready for some changes mid-worship. Consider the mood or occasion in the church to know the style and type of song to play. It will also help to choose music that is not too complicated. Minimize deviations and unnecessary improvisations to prevent stealing the congregation’s attention from God.

Practice, practice, practice

Avoid going to church service or fellowship without practicing the pieces to be played. When we offer something to God, we offer Him the best. So we need to practice and continue learning with an open heart.

Perform with generosity for other instrumentalists

Church worship in the form of music is rarely an individual’s job. Churches have worship teams that work together. Though playing the church piano may be a distinct role, you’re still a member of a group. Accompanying a soloist or other instrumentalist means blending in melody. This practice means we are not to overpower or underwhelm the group with our performance.

Yamaha Clavinova CVP-809 Digital Grand Piano

When we think about pianos, YAMAHA is a brand that almost immediately crosses your mind. The brand’s Clavinova CVP-809 Digital Grand Piano is a versatile instrument. It is considered a top-of-the-line model. It does not matter whether you’re a professional pianist or just starting to learn to play; it caters to your needs and expertise. 

This YAMAHA digital piano includes two grand pianos in one digital piano. These consist of two of the best-selling pianos there are – YAMAHA CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial. This digital piano already has a built-in recording studio. Its speakers have six amplifiers with a more defined bass frequency. This feature makes it easy to capture and share your recordings. 

It comes in a natural wood keyboard with ebony and ivory synthetic keytops. The sound produced by the YAMAHA Clavinova is three-dimensional, vivid, and crisp. It has an intuitive panel that allows for convenient navigation of its features. It is also easy to manipulate. This digital piano offers stellar accompaniment, voices, and backing styles. All of these give the experience of being in a live band performance.

Pros:

  • The most advanced digital piano action Yamaha has ever made
  • Features Linear Graded Hammers for the smoothest playing experience
  • Used key counterweights to adjust the key balance
  • It has a colored touch screen for easy access to features and settings
  • It offers Bluetooth connectivity 

Cons:

  • It is expensive

Kawai MP11SE 88-Key Professional Stage Piano

The brand Kawai prides itself on innovation. It offers the MP stage piano series, which earned the recognition of the industry for several years. It has Kawai’s pioneer innovation wooden-key keyboard action called ‘class-leading grand feel. This feature means that you have real wooden keys with longer key pivot length, which allows the pianist to gain more control over the performance. 

It has a wide array of sounds and tonal variations executed in high-quality acoustics. With its intuitive panel, the Kawai MP11SE allows you to work on each layer of sound separately. This Kawai stage piano has a strong built-in equalizer that permits you to manipulate the sound and tone of the piano. It also has a 3-unit pedal with optical sensors. This technology provides better pedal control and a more realistic playing experience. 

Pros:

  • It has separate categories for Concert, Pop, and Jazz playing
  • It features a selection of Vintage EPs, Twin Effects, and Amp Simulation
  • It features a new, improved MIDI OUT section with four independent zones
  • It includes LINE IN jacks and a dedicated panel fader to adjust the level of connected devices
  • The control panel is clearly arranged and easy to use

Cons:

  • Limited internal recorder songs
  • This piano is heavy and not readily movable 

Korg Pa4X76 76-Key Professional Arranger

Korg is a company known for producing a wide variety of musical instruments and electronic devices. The Professional Arranger series by Korg is a popular choice among piano players. The Pa4X76 version improved in its sound quality, functionality, and interface. It comes with a collection of over 1500 ready-to-play sounds in different genres. 

Korg has a DNC or Defined Nuance Control. This feature allows for heightened sound expressiveness and realism. It weighs about 46 pounds with a dimension of 51.22 x 11.49 x 19.05 inches. It offers an extensive memory capacity and PCM database. 

The SongBook feature is great for playing live. It’s a significant advantage that it is programmable. It means you can view, edit, and create entries. Through third-party software, you can sync it with iOs and Android tablets. Its full-color, touch view display makes it convenient to navigate through settings, values, and content.

Pros:

  • Improved sound quality and expressiveness
  • Offers an upgraded interface for fast access in any live situation
  • It is loaded with high-capacity PCM sounds
  • Includes a larger color touch screen, almost 1.5 bigger than the Pa3X
  • It comes with 500 preset styles

Cons:

  • Limited insert effects

Casio GP-510BP Celviano Grand Hybrid

Casio produced the Celviano GP in partnership with the German piano manufacturer, C. Bechstein. This upgraded model from the GP-500 has better pedal control, key or touch response, and overall sound quality. It has a boosted AiR sound source with three grand pianos (Berlin grand, Hamburg grand, and Vienna grand). This feature offers improved bass reproduction, resonance, and pedal results. 

The pedals move smoothly. Its speaker system is powerful enough to fill a room with fantastic sound. The speakers have a lid that can open to give off a louder sound when open. They are also programmable in that you can disable them entirely.  

The Casio GP-510 has a ‘Concert play’ feature. It allows you to select over 15 songs of classical music you can play along with. Or you can also download songs from a Casio website and save them on a USB. These songs are in full-orchestral versions, making you feel you’re playing with a full classical band. 

Pros:

  • Full-length Austrian spruce piano keys plus a true grand piano hammer mechanism
  • Enhanced EQ options, new Harpsichord tone
  • Enhanced touch response with wider dynamic range
  • Scene feature for saving/recalling favorite settings
  • Newly-upgraded six-speaker sound system
  • Elegant cabinet with distinguished black polished finish and gold accents
  • New high-contrast inverted display for increased visibility 

Cons:

  • Bench color does not match with the design of the piano
  • Keys are not as textured

Roland FANTOM-7 Music Workstation Keyboard

The FANTOM-7 houses the best of Roland’s acoustic and electronic sound in one device. Through its expandable sound engine, playing allows great control and sound experience. This piano is easy to navigate and manipulate with two basic modes: single tone or scene. The single tone is where you can surf through sounds while scene mode creates your projects. 

Through the Scene mode, you can create patterns and performance layouts seamlessly. All the features of the FANTOM-7, from the pedal to the wheels, can be adjusted. A realistic feel to piano playing is a vital component of digital pianos. 

The FANTOM-7 does not disappoint in providing striking realism. It also packs a powerful audio interface. It also includes a touchscreen background. You can be creative with ease through the FANTOM-7’s capacity to fine-tune every note you create. 

Pros:

  • Includes Firmware 2.0 Update
  • It is made for rapid production and expressive performance
  • It is built from premium materials
  • The RPU-3 Pedal unit offers a real grand piano pedaling experience
  • It comes with a sleek ProLine PL700Z Folding Z Keyboard Stand

Cons:

  • Manual may not be user-friendly
  • Effects capability are limited 

Conclusion

The church piano has become an essential part of worship through music. Though many regard it as an internally complex device, it brings forth a simple and inspiring sound. Choosing a church piano for worship and fellowship services is a great way to usher the body of Christ into a posture of praise. The use of a church piano elevates the congregation’s worship with God in the center.

The best church piano I recommend is the Yamaha Clavinova CVP-809 Digital Grand Piano. This church piano provides excellent key action, realism, and expression. It produces stellar and vivid sound quality. The interface and navigation capabilities are also superb. You’ll enjoy playing the YAMAHA Clavinova CVP-809, whether you are an expert or beginner. Even with a price point higher than other pianos, you get your buck’s worth. 

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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