New Roland GP-3 Compact Grand Piano Might Be the Perfect Size

At Kraft Music, we carry over 200 different digital pianos in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price points. It's not often that a new piano comes along that fits in where others don't. And then comes the new Roland GP-3, which Roland calls "the most compact and affordable grand in the acclaimed GP series." We would call it the most compact and affordable grand that we carry. Period. Really, it's in a class of its own.

There's nothing like a grand piano. Sitting at one and playing such a large, sturdy instrument is inspiring and consuming. And you don't have to play a grand piano to enjoy it, as it really is a wonderful piece of furniture that can make a room. But traditionally, a grand piano IS a statement, and takes up significant space. Digital grands are generally not as large as an acoustic grand, but you're still talking about something that will be three to four feet deep, at least.

And they are heavy... Moving or repositioning a grand in your house is not impossible, but can be a challenge. Want your piano in a second story loft or in a lower level music room? You better think twice if you're considering a typical "grand" that will be 200 to 300 pounds and just plain awkward to move.

Enter the Roland GP-3. At just 27.5 inches deep and 126 pounds, Roland has created an instrument that has the grand look (complete with a three legged design and an elegant, adjustable lid) in a size that will fit in those tighter living spaces. And in grand tradition, the GP-3 is offered in a polished ebony finish that says, well, "grand." Here are a couple of quick photos we shot upon completing setup of the first GP-3 that arrived at our studio.

GP-3 in studio, right front angle view
GP-3 in studio, right side view

Recently, the marketing team has been working on a project that has entailed unboxing and setting up dozens of digital pianos from different manufacturers. Dave and Alan have literally seen the gambit of offerings that we have available and have carefully set up pianos large and small (sometimes with extra help). We're doing this so we can film the setup of each digital piano and then pass along a video to you to help you get your piano out of the box and playable.

When they set up the GP-3, they grabbed me and said, "Ben, check this out!" What they liked was the low profile and the ease with which two people can move it around. And yet it still looked like a grand. Want an elegant looking piano in that upstairs loft? You can likely make that happen with the GP-3 without hiring professional help. Have a great room that isn't quite "great" enough to support a typical large grand piano? The GP-3 might be the answer.

OK, enough about the size and appearance. How does it play and operate? You sit down on an included Roland bench and lift the integrated key cover. The first thing you'll notice is that the panel is clean and there are just 4 buttons on the left side of the piano. Holding the top button for a second or two turns the piano on, and you're ready to play. The two buttons below the power button allow you to turn the volume up and down. The GP-3 features 15 sounds, and it defaults to a pleasant piano sound. With so few buttons on the panel, how do you select the other 14 sounds? Using the bottom button, you hold it and simultaneously press specific piano keys to change sounds (we'll demonstrate this in another article and video). Overall, the GP-3 has the meat and potatoes tones that cover the basics... a few different piano sounds, some electric piano sounds, organs, strings, Roland's famous vocal scat tone, and a few others.

The keyboard itself is a progressive hammer action with ivory feel, and you can adjust the touch 5 ways. The speaker system consists of two speakers and has 22 watts of power. The sound is robust, and I found myself playing for quite some time. But truthfully, that happens with nearly every keyboard I play with the Roland name on it. The standard three pedals feel natural, and the quality of the instrument is what you expect from Roland.

Besides the 15 different sounds, the GP-3 has other key features such as dual headphone jacks, transpose, a metronome, adjustable tunings, two effects (ambience and brilliance), 394 internal songs, 287 lesson songs, a USB port to allow you to load and play standard MIDI files, and Bluetooth, which makes the GP-3 compatible with the very cool Roland Piano App. Connect your smartphone or tablet to the piano and control nearly every aspect of it in addition to being able to record your playing and view the score of what you're playing or listening to.

It's important to note that as wonderful as the GP-3 is, it is not simply a flagship Roland piano in a compact size. The low-profile footprint of the GP-3 does limit the number and size of the speakers that could be installed (the larger GP607 model has 5 total speakers, and the flagship GP609 has 7 total speakers(!), including a large 9" speaker to enhance bass frequencies). In addition, the GP-3's big sisters contain Roland's PHA-50 keyboard action, which incorporates a wood hybrid structure, and the two pianos feature more than 300 total sounds along with several buttons on the panel to enhance operation. But all of that comes at a cost (nearly $10K for the GP609!) and size (the GP609 is nearly 5 feet deep and greater than 300 pounds). Finally, the GP-3 is built like Henry Ford's Model T: you can have one in any color you like as long as it is black. If a white piano fits your room's decor better, you'll want to consider another model.

In the end, we're thrilled to be able to offer the GP-3 as an alternative for our customers. Roland quality at an affordable price combined with an elegant (yet compact) appearance makes this a winner on so many levels. Contact a Kraft Music Sales Advisor to learn more!