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You are here: Home > Keyboard & Piano > Keyboard Buying Guide & Tips
What you need to know before buying a keyboard.

  • Keys:  Keyboards can come with anywhere from 32 keys to 88 keys.  Certain sizes are standard in order to have full octaves or mimic a piano's keyboard. 61 Keys are the most popular size while 88 keys is the full set for pianos.
  • Touch Sensitivity:  Most keyboards are touch sensitive.  This means that if you press a key softly, and softer note will be produced.  And if you hit a key hard, a loud note will be produced.  If a keyboard does not have this, the same note will sound no matter how the key is pressed.
  • Weighted Keys:  Weighted keys are an option on higher end keyboards that makes the keys feel like a piano.  The angle, hinge, weight, and rebound are carefully matched to a piano so that they feel the same to the musician.
  • Batteries and AC adapters:  Most keyboards can be battery powered, but this can get expensive if you only use batteries to power your keyboard.  AC adapters are made by each manufacturer for their own keyboards with the correct power requirements.  We recommend only getting matching adapters for your keyboard.
  • Keyboard stands:   Keyboards do not come with stands, but digital pianos do.  There are many options for keyboard stands, so be sure that the stand you get can handle the weight of your keyboard. 
These are great keyboards for starters:
These keyboards will be excellent for who are advancing their skills:
These are full Digital Pianos and Upright Pianos
  • 88 key Keyboards
  • Digital Pianos
    General FYI
    One question students and parents often ask is: should I start with a piano or can I begin having lessons on a keyboard?

    It's a good question, because they both have similar types of keys and read the same music. They can also be used to play many of the same songs. So which is the best to get started?

    Confusing, isn't it?
    It's difficult to say if one is truly better than the other. People who own pianos usually prefer them to keyboards, while keyboard players will tell you they like the variety an electric instrument offers. Rather than telling you what to do, though, here's a list of the main features of each kind of instrument. Hopefully this will help you make a sensible decision when the time comes to buy.

    The Piano
    Here are some of things you get with a traditional or acoustic piano:
      *Weighted keys - these are harder for young people to play well, but give more control once a player's technique improves.
      *One sound - unlike keyboards, a piano will always sound like a piano.
      *Full key range - full-size pianos have 88 keys, while keyboards generally tend to have about 60 or less.
      *Longevity - a good piano can last for 50 to 100 years if it's well cared for.
      *Care and maintenance - unlike a keyboard, your piano needs tuning a few times a year. On top of that, damaged keys, hammers and felts need to be replaced to keep it in good working order.
      * It's acoustic - pianos always work and don't rely on electricity or adaptors to produce sound.

    The Keyboard
    Keyboards, on the other hand, offer a different set of variables that might appeal to some more than others.
      *More sounds - keyboards can sound like a piano, but they can also sound like just about any other instrument you care to mention. On top of that, many of the sounds can be combined, making even practice time more entertaining.
      *Fewer keys - in general keyboards have fewer keys than pianos. You can purchase keyboards with 88 keys, but they're still quite expensive.
      *Temporary - keyboards can last a few years, but are generally superceded by the next "big thing" every year or so. Also, they're made of plastic and are easier to damage than pianos.
      *Power source - keyboards require electricity -- or at the very least batteries -- in order to make  sound.
      *Plug and play - unlike pianos, keyboards never need to be tuned or maintained. Indeed, for cheaper models, it's often more cost effective to replace the whole instrument when damage occurs.
      *Plastic keys - this is one of the main reasons why piano players dislike keyboards. Although it's easier to make a sound on a keyboard, especially for beginners, the lightness of the keys means you have less control over the type of sound you can produce.

    So what's the solution?
    In the end, it comes down to personal preference. If you have the space in your home, then you might consider buying a traditional piano. If space is at a premium, a keyboard could be more practical.

    As far as cost goes, there's not much in it. A good second-hand piano will cost about the same as a decent keyboard. Whichever you decide to buy, though, make sure you take along someone that understands the instruments and can give you solid advice. Ask a piano teacher or tuner to accompany you, or perhaps someone who plays keyboard in a local band.

    Technology is improving all the time. It may be that in the future keyboards are manufactured which can produce the sound and playing sensation of real pianos. But that time hasn't come yet.

    If you want a piano, then you have to buy a piano. But if there are other variables involved, at least it's good to know you have a few options. strings on steel string guitars.  Please consult with a personal before wanting to do this.

    Source: Mel McIntyre, Article: "Piano or Keyboard"