Buying A Keyboard

There are many different questions when it comes to buying a keyboard. How much should I pay, how many keys it needs and so on. A lot of it really depends on the buyer and your own personal preference. The best way to tell if the keyboard is right for you is if it “feels” right. But, in saying that, there are a few simple guidelines that can help you out come purchase time.

One of the great things about having so many different keyboards to choose from is that you can find one at a suitable price. The first thing is you want to make sure the keyboard actually works. The problem with keyboards is that as they get older they tend to decay a bit. So be careful buying a keyboard before you’ve actually played it and checked the keys, all the buttons and so on.

The next step is looking at how many keys it has. I’m often asked “how many keys should I get?” The answer is really down to personal preference and what exactly you’re using your keyboard for. My advice is to get a keyboard with the full 88 keys. But 76 and even 61 will usually be enough. If you have the choice I think either 88 or 76 keys is best. If you were just using a small range of the keyboard and it’s more for recording interesting samples and so on, then fewer keys is fine. Most professionals will use 88 keys.

The next thing to look at is weighted keys or “synth” action. This means what the feel of the actual keys is like. This again really depends on personal taste. Weighted keys: this means that the keys on the keyboard have the same feel and weight as keys on a standard piano. A lot of trained pianists will go this route, myself included. I don’t like to use synth style keys but that’s entirely my personal taste. One of the benefits of playing on a keyboard with weighted keys is that if you never played an acoustic piano before you should easily be able to adjust quickly because your hands will be used to it. Synth style keys also have their advantages. Because they’re not weighted it’s a lot easier to play them faster.

Another important aspect is the velocity and after touch of the keyboard. Velocity refers to whether how hard you hit the keys affects how loud the sound that comes out, so that if you lightly touch the keyboard you will get a nice quite sound. Similarly if you hit down hard you will get a nice loud reaction. After touch refers to the sensitivity to the sound and touch after you hit the note and hold it down. If you play a note and you want it to ring the way an acoustic piano does, after touch is very important. Personally I believe that velocity and after touch is VERY important and any keyboard you have should really have these things catered for.

So there are a lot of things to consider when looking at keyboards. Ultimately I believe a lot of it comes down to personal taste and what your instincts tell you about the keyboard itself. Remember, you want it to be something that you can spend a lot of time on so make sure that you are completely happy with what you end up with.


Ruth Searle is a pianist with years of experience behind her. Playing the piano is her passion, and she is also the drive and inspiration behind Rocket Piano – the Ultimate Piano Learning Kit, and Rocket Piano Gospel Edition. If you want to take your piano playing skills to a new level, you need the Rocket Piano Kit. You get step by step instructions complete with audio and video lessons, and you can instant access by visiting Rocket Piano’s website now.

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