Guide to Keyboards

The keyboard is a versatile instrument, as you can use it to play the softest classical music and you can also play it on the loudest electronic dance music (EDM) if you want to. Similar to the guitar, the keyboard serves as a beginner’s instrument due to how it is easy to play, but it is often considered as one of the hardest instruments to master.

Key Things to Consider in Buying a Keyboard

Learning how to play the piano is simple, but you would need to have the determination to know more about the instrument to be truly prolific in many genres and styles on it. Besides knowing what sounds the keys can produce in the keyboard, it is also important for you to learn about the intricacies of the keyboard in terms of its mechanics and parts. These are some essential things to consider in buying a keyboard.

Keys

A budget-friendly keyboard usually has 61 to 66 keys on the board, which is excellent for beginners as they won’t have to worry about extra keys while learning how to play. However, the best number of keys for those who genuinely want a better keyboard after learning to play it is 72 keys.

For those who want a keyboard than can imitate the sound and feel of the traditional piano, it is recommended that they buy a keyboard that has 88 keys, which is the standard number of keys for the piano.

Action

Action is the feel of the keys when you press them down using your fingers. Some keyboards have a bit of resistance to their keys to simulate the feel of a traditional keyboard, and these keys are called weighted keys.

On the other hand, there are a number of keyboards in the market that have keys that are lightweight and don’t have any resistance in them, and these are called unweighted keys. If you are going to buy a piano after learning how to play keys using a keyboard, it is best that you buy one with weighted keys so that you can already get used to the feel of the piano.

Multitimbrality

For those who want to produce other sounds on the keyboard other than the sound of a piano, then they should buy a keyboard with multitimbral functionality. These keyboards typically have different sounds built into them like drums, guitars, and basses, and can be used to create songs with using only one instrument.

If you want to be a songwriter or composer, then you can buy a multitimbral keyboard so you won’t need to have another person to play other instruments while recording.

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Roland 88-Key Entry-Level Digital Piano, Black (FP-10-BK)
Casio CTK-2550 61-Key Portable Keyboard with App Integration/Dance Music Mode
Korg microKorg 37-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer with Vocoder
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII | 25 Key Portable USB MIDI Keyboard With 8 Backlit Performance Ready Pads, 8 Assignable Q Link Knobs & A 4 Way Thumbstick
Korg KROSS261MB Synthesizer 61 Note Matte Black w/Stand, Sustain Pedal, and Gea
Korg Kross 2 88-Key Synthesizer Workstation

Types of Keyboards

You may know by now by reading the key things consider in buying the instrument that there are different kinds of keyboards out there that serves different functions and purposes for beginners and veterans. Let us look at a few of the most popular keyboard types that you should know about before buying.

Digital Piano

a digital piano with more than 60 keys
The digital piano is a type of keyboard made to imitate the sounds you can hear on a traditional piano. This variant normally has 88 weighted keys, and it doesn’t have multitimbral features since it is a keyboard mainly used for playing the piano.

This keyboard is great for beginners who need to focus on learning how to play the piano without getting distracted by the other sounds that a multitimbral keyboard can produce. One of the best beginner-friendly digital pianos you can buy online and in music stores is the Roland FP-10.

Arranger Keyboard

The arranger keyboard is arguably the most common type of keyboard found in almost every instrument store in the world. Most arranger keyboards have unweighted keys, which are perfect for children who can’t apply sufficient pressure to press weighted keys, and it also comes with a variety of backing tracks so you can play the piano while following a beat or another instrument. In addition, a majority of arranger keyboards are multitimbral so that you can replicate the sounds of other instruments on its speakers.

However, since they come with the backing track feature, some arranger keyboards can be quite expensive. But there are some arrange keyboards out there that have a relatively cheap price tag like the Casio CTK-2550.

Synthesizer

synthesizer with knobs to adjust volume and effects
The synthesizer is a level up from the arranger keyboard in terms of the number of sounds it can create, but it is a downgrade when it comes to the number of keys since almost all synthesizers only have less than 40 keys.

Since it has fewer keys, the synthesizer is much more portable than arranger keyboards, making it a suitable instrument for traveling or touring musicians who play other instruments besides the keyboard. Most synthesizers have unweighted keys to make it easier to play, and it can be plugged into an amplifier or a loudspeaker for better sound quality.

Some of the best synthesizers include the KorgmicroKorg, which has a built-in microphone if you want to add effects on your vocals, and the Akai MPK Mini MkII that has eight mini drum pads that you can use to create a beat with different sounds.

Workstation Keyboard

The workstation keyboard is the “jack of all trades, master of none” in the world of keyboards because of its amazing versatility and its ability to provide all the features you need that are found on the other keyboards on this list.

Workstation keyboards have weighted keys like a digital piano, and it is multitimbral like the arranger keyboard. Furthermore, it can also be played a synthesizer because of the wide array of sounds it can create, but it does not have any defining features that make it stand out compared to other types.

Moreover, workstation keyboards can be pricey since they have plenty of features, but if you want a keyboard that you can for a long time without the need to buy another one, then this keyboard may be the best one for you. One excellent workstation that you can purchase is the KorgKross 2, which has 61-key and 88-key variants.

These types of keyboards offer a variety of features that may be suitable or not suitable for your preferences. Before buying a keyboard, make sure that you have tried it or have read and watched reviews so that you will know which type is the best for you, whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician.