Buying Guide on a Keyboard Instrument

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In this article I will try to distinguish between keyboard pianos and digital pianos and the different features offered on a keyboard instrument so you can choose what keyboard instrument will best suit your needs when looking to purchase a keyboard.
Digital Piano
This type of keyboard is designed to replicate the sound and feel of an acoustic piano. The reason this was created is that an acoustic piano is very bulky, heavy, and expensive. It’s really not practical to buy an acoustic piano if you plan on playing in a band and traveling to different gigs.
A digital piano has the same number of keys as an acoustic piano, that being 88 keys, and they are made to spring back when pressed down on them just like an acoustic piano.
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Piano Keyboard
This type of keyboard is cheaper than your digital piano, more portable, and lighter to carry. They usually aren’t designed to sound and feel like an acoustic piano, although you can find some higher-end keyboards’ that can replicate the acoustic piano.
You can learn to play the piano on a piano keyboard but if you want to eventually play on an acoustic piano or any full 88 key keyboards, you should keep in mind some differences that you should know and look for.
Beginner keyboards’ are a lot cheaper than your digital keyboard because the number of keys it has. Many beginner keyboards’ have 41 to 61 keys. If you are being taught by a teacher, they would want you to choose one that has a minimum of 61 keys because 46 keys would not be enough to learn on.
If you want a beginner to get the feel of a piano and you are not yet willing to spend a lot of money before the beginning student decides if he or she likes the keyboard instrument, it would be fine to buy a 46 key piano just to see if it holds their interest.
If you are serious in wanting to learn the piano, then I would suggest investing on an 88 key keyboards, even though the majority of musical pieces are played on the middle keys eventually you will need all 88 keys as you progress in your studies.
                       Weighted and Touch Sensitivity
You would be able to know the difference between a cheap keyboard versus a more expensive keyboard or acoustic piano by the way the keys respond when playing. When you press down on a key on the piano, a mechanism moves a small hammer, which strikes a string which gives you your note. If you strike the key lightly, you will get a softer or lighter sound, if you strike the key harder, you will get a heavier and louder sound because of the speed of the hammer striking the string.
For keyboards’, trying to duplicate this sound is not easy. The cheaper models don’t do it and just play the recording of a sound which is programmed into the instrument.
Other keyboards’ are touch sensitive, which means you can control if you want the note to be soft or loud, depending on how hard you press the key, which is a lot more useful when learning the instrument. So you definitely would want your keyboard to be touch sensitive if you are serious about learning the keyboard. Most decent keyboards’ will be touch sensitive.
                            Price Range of Keyboards
$50 to $250 – If you spend only $50 on a keyboard you are buying a cheap keyboard which probably won’t have a lot of keys. I would say $120 and above you would probably get a keyboard with at least 61 keys, which is a good amount of keys for a beginner which would like to move on to playing the piano.
$251 to $500 – This price range will get you a keyboard with 76 or a full 88 keys and a variety of useful features. This keyboard can last you years and at this price range you can find an excellent keyboard that you can grow into.
$501 to $999 – This range will get you an intermediate to advanced keyboard with a full 88 keys, an excellent sound and speakers, and a lot of advanced features. This will probably come with a stand to put the keyboard on.
$1000 and above – This price range will get you a professional piano which would have a beautiful looking console digital piano that will sound just like a traditional acoustic piano with all the extra features to go with it.


As an Amazon Associate I earn from QUALIFYING more.get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.As the owner of this website I’ve tracked down special deals for some of the products and services mentioned herein. When you use the links on this page to make a purchase i may get a small commission and you may get a great bargain. It’s a win-win all around FULL DISCLOUSURE
                 What makes up the cost of a keyboard
-Features – You can have a lot of different features on a keyboards, the most important features would be the number of sounds or voices, and the number of styles. Here is an example video of Bert Smorenburg doing styles on a keyboard. The more styles and voices the more expensive the keyboard.
– Number of keys – Your basic keyboard has 44 keys which would be a beginner keyboards, an acoustic piano has 88 keys. You should really start out with a minimum of 61 keys. The more amount of keys the more expensive the keyboard.
– Weight of keys – you will get a weighted key on your higher quality keyboard models which would duplicate the feel of an acoustic piano.
– Sound quality – The sound each note makes on a keyboard is recorded as its played on an acoustic piano. These notes are then loaded into a keyboard as sound files. Better quality sound files are larger and will take up more memory storage which intern will increase the price.
– – Compatibility – Some keyboards’ have a Musical Instrument Digital Interface, which allows them to communicate with other devices. You can actually add a song app on your computer that you can fuse into the music you are playing on the keyboard.
– Accessories – The more accessories that comes with your keyboard the more expensive the instrument. One way you can save on this is to buy what they call a “bundle package”. These bundles usually include a bench, stand, and power supply. Some bundles may even include a microphone, headphones, music stand and more.
         What to look for when shopping for keyboards’
When you are shopping for a keyboards, one of the worst things you can do is buy the wrong keyboard that is best suited for you because this mistake can discourage the beginner player by lowering their motivation to practice. What you should consider when shopping I feel you should look for the following which I will mention below.
What will you be using the keyboard for. If you have a young child you are purchasing for you might want to just buy them an inexpensive kids keyboard to have fun with, like having one that the keys light up when playing or some background noises and maybe this might lead them to get more serious in wanting to learn the keyboard.
If you are shopping for an older child or adult you may want to invest in something they can grow into like an intermediate – level keyboard that would also be good for a beginner player to also learn on so as they progress, they won’t have to go out and buy another keyboard right away.
If you are already playing at gigs you would probably want to look at investing in a keyboard that is more on the professional-level with all the bells and whistles.
You also want a keyboard that is easy to use or the beginner player might get frustrated and want to quit. If the keyboard is easy to control he or she might be more motivated to want to play.
You want to find a keyboard that allows the player to feel they are making progress. Some keyboards’ have different features, for example; a feature called “styles”, as illustrated in this u-tube video that makes it sound like the player has a backup band. This will motivate the player in wanting to play more because it can make him or her feel that they are a professional pianist.
Another thing to consider is your budget. If you are only willing to want to spend $100.00, you will be very limited on your choices like having fewer keys and features than your more expensive models.
Another thing to consider is the size of the keyboard. If you don’t have enough space in your residence this can create a problem.
You also may want to consider the portability of the keyboard if you plan on transporting it for piano lessons or future gigs or just transporting it anywhere. You will want it to be light and portable.
If you are a beginner player you might want to look for a model that comes with built in instruction systems like lighted keys, which would show you what keys to press or prerecorded songs
Another aspect to consider is the number of keys on the keyboard. If you are an intermediate player you would want at least 72 to 76 keys minimum. But if you are a beginner player you might want to consider buying a keyboard with fewer keys only because it can be easier and less confusing to learn on.
If you are serious about playing the keyboard then you should definitely choose one that has weighted keys. This is what an acoustic piano has and if you plan on wanting to eventually play the traditional acoustic piano, you’ll need to learn on a keyboard that is similar to the real thing. A weighted key is also easier on the fingers but it does make the keyboard heavier.
Another nice feature to look for is touch-sensitive-keys, which means they respond in volume according to how hard or soft you play them.
                                     Sound Quality
There are two types of sounds you should consider when shopping for a keyboard
1- Voices – This means any kind of sound, for example: a trumpet, saxophone, guitar or any other instrument sounds here is an u-tube video.
2 – Style – This means a type of back-up like Rock band sound, Jazz, Orchestra etc. U-Tube video
The more expensive a keyboard is the better the voices and styles will be. These two features can be very motivating for a new player because you can actually use a style for example: a rock band in the background while playing which would make the instrument much more fun to play.
The word polyphony is a word used to describe the tonal range of a keyboard. This means the number of tones a keyboard can play at the same time. You can watch an u-tube video demonstrating polyphony on a keyboard if you like. The cheaper models can only play 16 tones at once, while the more expensive models can play as many as 128 tones at once which would give you richer sounds as you play.
Some keyboards’ comes with what they call bundles, which may include a microphone, stand, headphones, etc. You should look for a keyboard that comes with a stand so you get used to proper posture when playing because this becomes important in learning to play the piano correctly.
Lowest to the Highest Prices Best Keyboards Reviewed by Professionals
Yamaha DGX 660B – This model has a six track sequencer which means you can do music production and arrangements rather than just playing. It has a pure cf sound engine, iconic sounds, realistic hammer action keys. It can become portable if required and comes with a stand. If you just want to compose or arrange music and also perform and practice, this is the model for you.Demo u-tube video
Casio privia px-3000 – This is the worlds slimmest keyboard piano, which gives this model a great look. It is extremely portable and has fantastic keyboard action for such a slim instrument. It also comes with an USB band Bluetooth connectivity and has a large amount of voices which is 700 in total. Demo u-tube video
It doesn’t’t have as great a sound as some other models I am mentioning but not too drastic of a difference and this model is well worth its price.
Casio CGP 700 bk – This model offers great value for its money. It has 550 different voices and 200 rhythms. It has a large color touch panel, 17 track sequencers, USB recording, and adjustable speaker system. The only negativity about this model is the voices offer more versatility than quality. Demo u-tube video
Roland rp-501r-cr – This model features 300 voices as well as the acoustic piano tones, which makes it a very versatile keyboard. It has realistic hammer action keys, an USB record function, and some nice tutor features like dual split and some good learning material through the Roland app. Demo U-TUBE VIDEO
This model is better used for classical music and other voices not as high quality as the piano tones.
Yamaha YDP 184 – This piano comes a very close 2nd to the Roland rd 2000 which will be mentioned later with its expressiveness of the weighted keys. The graded hammer action keys are the best example of progression from low-end to high-end. It has 24 voices and 256-note max polyphony. It is noted for its CFX sound engine, its authentic piano experience and smart Pianist app. It does lack in versatility compared to the Roland 2000 but is a great piano. Demo u-tube video
Yamaha CP 88 – This is a very easy piano to use on how they designed this model. It’s great for performers, producers, and songwriters. It has three amazing grand piano recordings, a choice of high quality voices, simple user interface, and a realistic feel. This is a lot lighter than a lot of other keyboards’ which is great for carrying around and it is built sturdy so it can handle some bumps and bruises. Demo u-tube video
Roland RD 2000 – This model is ideal for professionals and has been chosen as one of the number 1 models to purchase. It sounds incredible with its two onboard sound engines-Super Natural and V-piano. The piano and electric sound are great and the weighted keys are one of the best that Roland has put out there. It has a lot of sounds from synthesis to string ensembles with fantastic voices. It is very versatile in live use. Zero latency processor and has a very original feel. This model wouldn’t be recommended for beginner or intermediate players. Demo u-tube video
Hopefully I gave you enough information in this article so you can make an educated choice if you are looking to purchase a keyboard piano, especially for the first time. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer them

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