Which is the best affordable keyboard piano to learn to play? What musical keyboard should I buy? Why do you recommend buying a piano keyboard? Why look for the best 88-key weighted keyboard? Should I buy a digital piano? From this moment, doubts and problems are over.
Today, we will answer all these questions so that you can find the piano keyboard that best suits your needs.
Guide to Buying a Piano Keyboard
Today, we want to give you some advice and share experiences to know what the minimum requirements are that your first musical keyboard must meet and what things are not important at all and will only make you spend more money.
Acoustic Piano vs. Electronic Keyboard
The first determining question is to decide the type of piano you will buy. We will quickly tell you that there are two categories of pianos; acoustic pianos (grand pianos and upright pianos) and electronic keyboards.
The difference between the two is abysmal. These are two completely different worlds.
On the one hand, the quality and features that an acoustic piano offers us will not be found in an electronic keyboard. In contrast, the options for creating and modifying the sound that some keyboards provide us would be unthinkable to incorporate into an acoustic piano. Although the most notable differences or at least the ones that will make us quickly opt for one or the other will be the price and size.
In this guide, we will focus only on the best affordable keyboard piano in electronics. Because of the reduced space that it will occupy in our house, the ease of transporting it from one place to another, the absence of tuning and maintenance costs, the option to play with headphones, and the price make them an ideal choice for pianists.
Different Types of Keyboards:
Once we get fully into the world of electronic keyboards, we will discover a wide variety of them. Given this scenario, we can feel a bit overwhelmed, and after looking for information in the different internet forums, we may end up even more confused than at the beginning.
Therefore, we would like to show you the different types of keyboards that exist and their main functions. By the way, remember that the objective of this guide is to help you find your first keyboard, one that suits your economic possibilities and meets the necessary features according to your musical aspirations for the future.
Midi Controller Keyboard
A MIDI keyboard controller is the tool we use to play sounds or virtual instruments included in an external sound module, mainly in music production software.
Synthesizer Keyboard and Workstation
A synthesizer keyboard is a specific instrument aimed at musicians and producers. Its main features are aimed at the ability to recreate a multitude of real and synthetic sounds.
The backing keyboard is the cheapest option to enter the piano world. It is characterized by offering a wide range of sounds and accompanying rhythms.
With great sound quality, the stage piano is a portable keyboard intended for specialized users who seek to have the best keyboard in professional environments, whether live or in a recording studio.
The digital piano is focused on home study. Its excellent keyboard and its great sound quality are the main arguments for becoming the favorite option of classical musicians.
Now that we’ve had a quick look at the different types of keyboards, we will turn our attention to backing keyboards, stage pianos, and digital pianos, thus skipping midi controllers and synths from our guide.
A MIDI controller has the function of launching sounds present in an external module, mainly to music production software, which means that it lacks its sounds. This and the fact that it is an instrument that does not have built-in speakers are more than compelling reasons to discard it from our list.
Synthesizer or workstation keyboards are specific keyboards aimed at professional musicians and producers. Its main task is to offer many functions and parameters that allow you to create and modify sounds from the keyboard itself to the performer. Being too specific and expensive, they are also excluded from our guide to finding the best keyboard for beginners.
Backing the keyboard for its ease of use, its small space, and its great variety of sounds and rhythms have made the accompaniment keyboard the favorite choice of amateur pianists.
Let’s Talk about the Main Features:
- The number of keys: Most backing keyboards have 49 or 61 keys (4 or 5 octaves). Far from the best 88 key weighted keyboards that we would find on an acoustic piano, but more than enough for a beginning pianist since the works he will study in the first 2-3 years will hardly cover the central register of the keyboard.
- Keyboard type: The keyboard of these instruments is a soft key. On the other hand, these accompaniment keyboards are usually sensitive to your touch; this means that the keyboard responds to the speed of execution of the key, an essential factor in interpreting works with different dynamics. Although most keyboards incorporate a sensitive keyboard, we can still find some on the market that lacks this function, especially the cheaper models.
- Sound quality: These keyboards are not characterized by their sound quality precisely. It is surely the weakest aspect that most of them have. The sound quality will improve as you increase your budget.
- Headphone and speaker output: Some backing keyboards usually have a headphone output. This option is very interesting for those musicians who want to practice at night or do not want to disturb their neighbors. They usually have built-in speakers with enough power for the home studio, but they are scarce for playing live.
- Extra functions: This keyboard type comes loaded with hundreds of rhythmic auto-accompaniment parts and a wide selection of remastered sounds. They also usually have a small LCD screen built-in, which is useful for navigating between all the keyboard’s functions. Some of the smaller models have the option to run on batteries.
- Price: The price range of these keyboards is quite wide. We can find keyboards that meet minimum acceptable performance from $100. We do not recommend spending more than $300 on a backing keyboard since we can find very interesting stage pianos or digital pianos at that price.
We can find some balanced models. It means that the weight of the keys gradually increases from the lowest to the highest, thus mimicking the feeling of playing on an acoustic piano. Thanks to the precision in the control of the dynamics, the touch, and the quality of the keys, we will sometimes forget that we are playing a digital replica and not an acoustic piano.
So now you must have perceived an idea of which piano keyboard to look for and how. Happy playing!