What to Know Before Buying an Electronic Keyboard: Tips & Advice

Electronic Keyboard -Beginners Guide


If you’re looking to start your musical education, a beginner’s electronic keyboard is a perfect instrument to start with. Lightweight and portable, it can teach you the skills you’ll need to transfer to a full-size piano. But how can you determine which keyboard is perfect for you when there are so many options? We’ll help you traverse the world of beginner keyboards in this guide so you can choose correctly.

How to Choose a Keyboard for Beginners

Choosing a beginner keyboard is not always an easy task, as it depends on the individual’s goals. A musician who wants to compose their own music will need a keyboard with different features than someone who wants to transition to a full-size piano. Let’s take a look at some key characteristics of a good beginner keyboard.

What to Consider When Buying a Keyboard

Action: Action describes how well the keys on a keyboard or piano react when they’re pressed down. Each keyboard will have its own action, which can vary in firmness and resistance. Unweighted keys are easier to press down, while weighted keys will react like a traditional piano, making these keyboards a great choice for newbies.

Sound: How the keyboard sounds is one of the top factors when picking a good starter keyboard. The top keyboard brands produce quality sounds equal to those produced by a true piano.

You should also look at any polyphony options and the ability of the keyboard to play other sounds as a background to the song being played.

Keyboard Size: A keyboard with full-size and weighted piano keys is probably the best keyboard to learn piano for adults. Unfortunately these keyboards may have fewer sound options. For novices interested in electronic music, a good beginner keyboard can have smaller and unweighted keys but will offer more sound functions.

MIDI Compatibility: MIDI means “musical instrument digital interface,” a language that allows instruments to speak to each other by sending and receiving data. While not a necessary feature in a beginner keyboard, MIDI functions may become important if you like electronic music or want to connect your keyboard to a computer.

Computer Connectivity: Many of the major keyboard brands offer computer connectivity. While not necessary for learning to play, computer connectivity is great for players who plan to create their own music with music composition software. Buying a beginner keyboard with computer connectivity now may help avoid the need to upscale in the future.

Sampler/Recording Capabilities: Sampler and recording options are recommended for people who want to create their own musical compositions and put a new spin on some original music.

Storage: Onboard storage is not necessary, as you can download software patches and new keyboard sounds on micro-USB cards instead but is another feature worth looking at.

Input/Output: A keyboard or digital piano rarely receives audio input, and when it does, MIDI is nearly always used. A much more crucial feature is keyboard output, which enables the use of amplifiers and recording gear.

Keyboard Accessories

Kinsman keyboard bench - Keyboard Accessories

You’ll need a chair for sitting on while playing the keyboard, as well as a stand for sheet music. An electronic sustaining or dampening pedal is helpful for people learning on a beginner keyboard since it mimics the piano’s capacity to enable the strings to freely vibrate. Chairs, stands and other accessories are frequently sold in packages with starter keyboards.

Types of Keyboards

There are many types of electronic keyboards out there and each type will have its own advantages and disadvantages.

What Is a Workstation Keyboard?

A workstation keyboard is a keyboard that is designed for music production. It includes features such as sequencing, sampling, and sound editing. A workstation keyboard is ideal for musicians who want to create their own music.

Pros of a Workstation Keyboard

Versatility: A workstation keyboard is versatile and can be used for a wide variety of musical genres.

Sampling: A workstation keyboard allows you to sample and edit sounds, giving you more creative control over your music.

Sequencing: A workstation keyboard includes sequencing features, allowing you to create and edit MIDI data.

Cons of a Workstation Keyboard

Cost: Workstation keyboards can be expensive, and may not be suitable for beginners on a budget.

Complexity: Workstation keyboards can be complex and may require a steep learning curve.

What Is an Arranger Keyboard?

An arranger keyboard is a keyboard that is designed for live performances. It includes features such as auto-accompaniment and rhythm patterns. An arranger keyboard is ideal for musicians who want to perform live.

Advantages of an Arranger Keyboard

An arranger keyboard is a versatile instrument that comes loaded with pre-programmed rhythms and accompaniments. Here are some advantages to consider:

  1. Ideal for live performances
  2. Offers a wide range of styles and genres
  3. Can be used as a standalone instrument or with other musicians

Disadvantages of an Arranger Keyboard

While an arranger keyboard has many benefits, it may not be the right fit for everyone. Here are some disadvantages to consider:

  1. Can be expensive
  2. May have a steep learning curve
  3. Limited customization options

What Is a Synthesizer?

Synthesizer - Types of Electronic Keyboards

A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that can produce sound effects and imitate other musical instruments. Here are some advantages to consider:

Advantages of a Synthesizer

If you’re interested in a synthesizer, here are some advantages to consider:

  1. Offers complete control over sound
  2. Allows for unique and creative expression
  3. Ideal for electronic music production

Disadvantages of a Synthesizer

While a synthesizer has many benefits, it may not be the right fit for everyone. Here are some disadvantages to consider:

  1. Can be expensive
  2. May have a steep learning curve
  3. Limited traditional instrument sounds

What Is a Digital Piano?

Montford Digital Piano. Far-right shot of black piano. Showing controls and USB port

A digital piano is an electronic instrument that is designed to replicate the sound and feel of an acoustic piano.

Advantages of a Digital Piano

If you’re considering a digital piano, here are some advantages to consider:

  1. Feels and sounds like a traditional piano
  2. Offers a wide range of sounds and effects
  3. Can be used with headphones for quiet practice

Disadvantages of a Digital Piano

While a digital piano has many benefits, it may not be the right fit for everyone. Here are some disadvantages to consider:

  1. Not exactly portable
  2. Limited customization options
  3. Can be expensive for high-end models

What Is a Controller Keyboard?

A controller keyboard is an electronic instrument that is designed to control other devices, such as software synthesizers or digital audio workstations (DAWs). They don’t produce any sound themselves so need these devices before they can produce music. Here are some advantages to consider:

Advantages of a Controller Keyboard

  1. Offers complete control over sound and production
  2. Ideal for music production and recording
  3. Can be used with a variety of devices and software

Disadvantages of a Controller Keyboard

While a controller keyboard has many benefits, it may not be the right fit for everyone. Here are some disadvantages to consider:

  1. Limited standalone use
  2. May require additional devices or software
  3. Can be expensive for high-end models

Do You Need an Amplifier for a Keyboard?

Whether or not you need an amplifier for your keyboard depends on your intended use. If you plan on performing live or with a band, an amplifier is necessary to project your sound. However, if you plan on using headphones for practice or recording, an amplifier may not be necessary.

How Many Keys Should a Keyboard Have for Beginners?

A keyboard’s key count can vary significantly, with some models having only 25 keys and others having up to 88. A keyboard with at least 61 keys is typically suggested for beginners as it will allow for a wider variety of playing and greater potential for development.

Best Keyboard Brands for Beginners

There are several keyboard brands that are known for producing high-quality instruments that are perfect for beginners. Some of the top brands to consider include Yamaha, Casio, Korg, and Roland.

Buying a New versus Used Keyboard

When shopping for an electronic keyboard, you may be wondering whether it’s better to buy a new or used instrument.

When thinking about a used keyboard, there are several pros and cons to keep in mind. On the plus side, these are often more affordable than brand-new instruments, and there is a chance of finding a high-end keyboard at a much cheaper price. However, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Used keyboards may come with some faults or damage, and you won’t have the assurance of a guarantee or warranty.

Ultimately the decision is down to what best suits you but hopefully we have given you information that you can confidently go out a buy a keyboard that meets your needs. Hopefully, you’ll be on your way to creating some great tunes very soon!

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