Which piano is a best first choice?
If you are beginning to learn piano chords but you are using someone else's piano or keyboard, it is time to think about buying your own keyboard or piano. There is no choice which will be right for everyone because of the different situations we each have as our realities.
If someone has a piano advertised which is free and all you have to do is move it, that will be right for some people. If you have access to a truck and some strong friends you might want the free piano. Pianos weigh more than 500 pounds usually, and that might not be a problem if you live on the ground floor of a farm house or you have a studio in your garage. You also might be able to hire a moving company which specializes in moving pianos.
The free piano might be an old upright that needs to be tuned or it might need some strings replaced. Those are things to consider, especially since you are just starting your piano or keyboard experience. Piano tuners might charge more each year for their services than you would pay for a portable five octave keyboard on sale. If you live on the fifth floor of a condo or apartment building which has no freight elevator, it might not be wise to try moving a full size heavy piano up a flight of steps even if it is a wonderful looking, great sounding old piano.
If you are looking for a piano to put into a school or lodge or community building, then it would make sense to get a full size real piano. A keyboard might be something too tempting for a burglar to pick up and carry away.
When you are purchasing a first piano or keyboard, I will recommend starting with an electronic keyboard of some kind. MIDI keyboards have lots of abilities which you might use in the future if you intend to do any recording with a computer based software of some sort. I would recommend five octaves or more to get a good range of sounds and dynamics in your performing abilities. 88 key keyboards are fine choices if you want to spend a little more. If you are travelling between gigs in a tiny car, get a five octave or 61 key piano, or a 76 key piano and it will fit in most small cars. Even the 88 key keyboard will fit in most spaces where a person could be seated. Believe it or not the keyboards are usually lightweight.
What about the sound? A real piano that is in good tune and which is well made sounds the best of all pianos. It does not have to be an expensive grand piano to sound great. I played a Baldwin Acrosonic in 1966 which was my favorite sounding piano of all time. Those are still available for reasonable prices. I do not know if newer Baldwin Acrosonics still sound that great.
Why is it that a real piano sounds better than an electronic piano? There is a very good reason. The electronic keyboard has one or two or a few speakers located somewhere, usually on top. Even if the tone and the timber of the sound from the speaker was just like the piano, it does not have a big wood sounding board attached to a huge metal, harplike frame. If you sing loudly in a room, the effect will not be the same as if you sing loudly into a canyon that has an echo. You will sound better in the shower with the surrounding tile than you will sound in a closet. The real piano is like having a great sounding electronic keyboard inside your shower without having the danger of eletrocution. There is a fullness to a real piano sound which is not just volume, but a massive surround sound which cannot be recorded.
The new keyboards have great sound and probably will record as well as most real pianos but if you have a place for a real piano it will be hard to beat the sound, plus it is a nice piece of furniture.
Only you can make the choice of what is best for your circumstances. I will recommend you get a five octave portable, low priced piano keyboard to begin your piano learning experience. Often for less than $100 you can find a decent sounding keyboard. Read the reviews at sites which sell musical instruments. Yamaha is usually considered to have the best sound. I have been very pleased with my Casio keyboards. I also am very happy with the sound and portability of my five octave Kawai keyboard. I also am pleased with the action of my M-Audio Keystation 88es. It does not have a sound card or speakers, so it is used as a controller for other MIDI instruments or it can be used to play the sound card in a computer. I would not recommend it for a first piano or keybord. It is something to think about later when you start recording with software. Kurzweil and Akai and other brands might be worth checking when you go keyboard shopping. Be sure to read some reviews for what you decide to buy.