Do Digital Pianos Have Pedals? Roles of Pedals Explained

Are you deciding to buy a digital piano? Do you want more clarity on understanding the various pedals used in digital pianos? Well, worry no more. In this article we are going to cover all you need to understand about the various pedals used in different types of digital pianos.

Digital Pianos come with a wide variety of pedal arrangements. Some have a 3-pedal setup, while others have 2-pedals or 1-pedal setup. There are few pianos which have an expansion capacity for a single pedal only.

Musicians can opt for the digital pianos as per their necessity and sound control parameters they need. In the subsequent sections, we shall cover in depth about the various types of piano pedals and options available for digital pianos, so that our readers can take a conscious decision on choosing what is right for them.

What Are Digital Pianos?

Digital Pianos are modern day musical keyboards, which have sampled piano sounds (acoustic, grand, upright and other types of piano sounds). They come with a much lower price tag, have weighted / semi-weighted keys with velocity and expression features just like the acoustic and grand pianos.

RELATED POSTS  Do Professional Pianists Need Fingering Guides?

This piano uses digital technology to produce the piano sounds from a sound generator chip. They are operated with electricity / battery backup and are usually controlled with digital sound synthesis systems which are built-in inside the piano.

Digital Pianos also have pedal inputs to control sustain and expression parameters just like the acoustic and grand counterparts as well. Furthermore, a range of Digital signal processing (DSP) effects such as Reverb, chorus, flanger, echo etc are also available for selection from the piano controls section on these keyboards.

Do Digital Pianos Have Pedals?

Most of the digital pianos are equipped with a single pedal setup. Usually, this pedal is used to control the volume or sustain parameter of the Digital Piano. However professional digital pianos come close to real acoustic pianos by provisioning a 3-pedal setup (sustain, sostenuto and una corda/softness)

Modern day digital pianos / synthesizers have not mandated the pedal design along with the piano body. Instead, they have a digital outboard with various audio inputs, where various pedals such as SUSTAIN / VOLUME or EXPRESSION controls can be used to manage the piano sound.

A modern-day Digital Synthesizer Real Panel with sustain pedal audio input

A Kadence Sustain Pedal (Source: Amazon Website)

(Kadence Logo is copyright and trademark of Kadence Inc.)

Types of Pedals used in a Piano

The different types of Pedal set-ups found in most of the digital pianos are categorized as under:

1-Pedal Setup:

These types of digital pianos have a single pedal lever assembled in the design of the piano pedal control system. A single pedal would be mostly used to control the SUSTAIN parameter of the notes on the piano.

2-Pedal Setup:

Such digital pianos have 2 pedals provisioned in the design of pedal system. These 2-foot pedals are used to control SUSTAIN and SOSTENUTO parameters of the piano sound control.

RELATED POSTS  Can You Store A Music Keyboard Upright? Find Out Here

3-Pedal Setup:

A 3 Pedal setup is the most optimum and standardized form of pedal assembly provided for digital pianos. This is at par with the high-grade acoustic and grand pianos pedal setup usually. The 3 pedals provisioned in these digital pianos help to control – SUSTAIN, SOSTENUTO AND SOFTNESS parameters of the piano sound.

No Pedal Set-up with Pedal expansion facility:

Modern day MIDI Keyboards, arrangers and cost affordable models of digital pianos do not have a built-in pedal provided with the pianos/keyboards. Instead, such instruments have “Audio Ports” provided in the digital interface panel usually. Using those audio ports various pedals such as SUSTAIN, DAMPER, EXPRESSION, VOLUME CONTROL can be selectively added for the advanced sound control.

How Are the Pedals Used in Digital Piano?

  • The Left Pedal is referred as SOFT PEDAL (or sometimes called as UNA CORDA PEDAL), helps to control the softness of the piano notes. It controls the note striking velocity of the piano. Hence the sound produced is bit soft and muffled while using the pedal.
  • The Middle Piano Pedal is referred as SOSTENUTO PEDAL. Sostenuto is a word of Latin / Italian origin which means, upholding. In music, it means to hold selected notes in a sustained mode. Hence, we refer SOSTENUTO for Selective Sustain of Notes which are pressed by a piano player.
  • The Right Pedal referred as SUSTAIN PEDAL is the most commonly used pedal by musicians or pianists worldwide. This Pedal is used to provide universal Sustain / Hold for the notes whenever used along with the Pedal.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Piano-Pedals-Explained.png


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is the most essential pedal for a digital piano?

Sustain Pedal is the most widely used 1-foot pedal for digital pianos. These pedals are available separately in various online and offline music stores.

RELATED POSTS  Do I Have to Learn Music Theory to Learn Piano?

2. Should I choose a digital piano without any pedals? I just want to make and record music using virtual instruments using PC/MAC?

Yes, you can choose a MIDI keyboard with DAW functionality without a pedal option for your recording purpose. Most MIDI keyboards once integrated with DAW can make use of Sustain, Sostenuto and Damper Pedals using the built-in effect processor of the Virtual Instrument being played on the computer.

3. Where can I get sustain pedals at a cheap rate in US and UK?

There are various online musical instrument dealers such as Sweetwater, Zzounds, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Musicians Friend to choose from the online stores in US and UK.

4. Are there any software pedal emulators which can be used as replacement of hardware pedals for my digital piano or MIDI keyboard?

There are plenty of software VST effect plugins which can be used to control expression, sustain and damper parameters of a virtual piano instrument. For more details, check out our article on the Top 10 VST effect plugins of 2022. <link>


Digital Pianos come with a wide variety of pedal setups and arrangements ranging from no pedals to 3-pedal board setup depending on the make and models.

As a musician / keyboardist, you must consider to purchase a digital piano with 2 or 3 pedals to get the best possible sound modulation out of your instrument. However, if you are planning to make recorded music using DAW and PC/MAC, you can choose a smaller digital piano with an optional pedal setup depending on your needs.

For similar insightful articles on Piano, music keyboards, VST Plugins and much more, please visit our website

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.