Deciding to learn piano is the first step on an incredibly rewarding journey and this Piano Keyboard Buying Guide intends to make your job easy, beginner or not, it is a must-read for all the folks interested in the keyboard.
The good news is that you won’t be taking that journey alone. You will have an instrument to learn on. It will be a daily source of satisfaction, a comforting presence in your home, a companion with keys.
So let’s find you the right instrument. Even a short search can uncover a wide range of terminology and options that can be a little daunting. We’re here to help. This blog on Piano Keyboard Buying Guide gives you all the knowledge you need for choosing a piano or keyboard to choose the right instrument for you. If you don’t need all the information, take a look at the quick buyer’s guide at the end of this chapter.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A KEYBOARD
There are certain points which you should keep in mind, whether a beginner or an advanced learner this blog on piano keyboard buying guide covers everything. So go ahead and have a great read.
- Action: Action describes how well the keys on a piano keyboard respond when they’re pushed down. Each keyboard model’s response varies in firmness and resistance. Unweighted keys are easier to push down while weighted keys respond like a traditional piano. One of the important points in this piano keyboard Buying Guide. However, we think a piano keyboard with weighted keys a good piano for beginners.
- MIDI Compatibility: MIDI stands for “musical instrument digital interface,” a common electronic instrument language that allows instruments to “talk” to each other by sending and receiving signals. While not a necessary feature in a piano keyboard for beginners, MIDI compatibility may become more critical to the student if he or she gets into electronic music or chooses to interface the keyboard with a computer.
- Computer Connectivity: Many of the piano keyboard brands offer computer connectivity. Although it’s not necessary to learn to play, computer connectivity is a good option for students who plan to create their music with music composition programs. Buying a beginner piano keyboard with computer connectivity now may help avoid the need to upgrade the keyboard in the future.
- Sampler/Recording Capabilities: As with MIDI compatibility and computer connectivity, sampler and recording options are advised for students who want to create their musical compositions.
- Storage: While an option, onboard storage isn’t necessary; students can download software patches and new keyboard sounds on micro-USB cards instead. When a piano keyboard buying guide lists storage as a feature, it usually refers to user settings—a keyboard with 100 different sounds, for instance, may have an additional 100 blank settings for new sounds and user presets. Another important aspect of a piano keyboard Buying guide.
- Input/Output: Audio input to a piano keyboard or digital piano is uncommon and almost always uses MIDI when available. Piano keyboard output is a much more prominent feature, as it allows the use of amps and recording equipment.
- Sound: Piano Keyboard’s music is one of the most important considerations when choosing the right beginner keyboard – a piano keyboard Buying guide. The best keyboard brands produce sounds equivalent to those produced by an authentic piano. Other considerations include polyphony (the number of sounds a keyboard produces at any given time) and multitimbrality (the ability of the keyboard to play sounds such as drums, strings and woodwinds as a background or complement to the tune played).
- Keyboard Size: A keyboard with full-size and weighted piano keys is perhaps the best piano keyboard to learn piano for adults. The critical point in a piano keyboard Buying guide. Such keyboards tend to have fewer sound options, however. For students interested in electronic music, a right beginner keyboard has smaller and unweighted keys but more sound functions.
Let us, deep-dive, a bit more. Let’s start by splitting your options into three categories:
- Digital keyboards – The cheapest, most convenient, and most versatile. Sound and feel aren’t as good as acoustic pianos, but keyboards work well as a first instrument.
- Digital pianos – Larger and more expensive, but nearly as versatile while mimicking the feel of an acoustic piano well. A great alternative if budget and space allow.
- Acoustic pianos – The best option for playing experience and sound quality, but by far the largest and can be extremely expensive. It is important to know difference between them, a crucial point in piano keyboard Buying guide.
There are specific questions that need to be asked, compiled by some of the experts in the field of music.
A. Your first decision is what kind of keyboard player you are or want to be.
Digital Piano: If your interests are mostly geared toward playing or learning to play the piano, then a digital piano keyboard is your choice.
The next important issue is to listen to the sounds.
- Are the piano sounds convincing? Do they resonate and decay naturally?
- Do the bass notes have an appropriate piano-style “growl?”
- Do high notes have a “sparkling” quality? Or do they sound dull and muted?
B. How does the piano keyboard feel?
- Does it feel as close to a “real” piano keyboard as possible?
- Do you like the resistance of the keys? Are they too “light” or “heavy?”
- After playing for a while, do your hands feel stiff or sore? (This is often a sign of a too-light action!)
C. Is the Digital Piano self-amplified?
- How do you like the sound?
- Do you need a separate amplifier for your uses?
Arranger Keyboard: For songwriting, or performing live using backing tracks, an arranger keyboard would serve you well.
D. Does the Arranger Keyboard have the features you need?
- Auto-accompaniment or built-in sequencer
- Introduction verse, chorus, bridge and other styles for different song sections
- Effective drum and percussion styles
- USB or Smart Card for loading and saving songs and styles
E. How does the arranger keyboard sound?
- Listen to ALL of an arranger keyboard’s sounds. Do they sound genuine? Can they produce a convincing background accompaniment?
F. How does the arranger keyboard action feel?
- How many keys do you need to make your music: 61, 76, or 88?
- For synth-style keyboards, are the keys responsive without being “stiff” or “mushy?”
G. Is the user interface easy for you to use?
- Is the display easy to read?
- Do knobs and sliders feel stable and consistent in their motion?
- Can you quickly locate functions on display and activate them?
H. Is the Keyboard Arranger self-amplified?
- How do you like the sound?
- Will you need an additional keyboard amplifier for live performance?
What is the difference between a keyboard and a digital piano?
The first thing I should just clarify is that an electronic musical ‘keyboard’ with weighted keys is usually referred to as a digital piano rather than a keyboard. The term “keyboard” usually refers to instruments with unweighted keys.
So, in summary:
- A keyboard has unweighted keys
- A digital piano has weighted keys
It’s a personal choice as to what kind of piano keyboard one would like to play. For beginners, it does not matter much, since they are trying to learn basic like co-ordination of fingers, learning to find the keys on the keyboard.
HOW MANY KEYS SHOULD A KEYBOARD HAVE FOR BEGINNERS? – Piano Keyboard Buying Guide
While 88-key digital pianos are the best choice for students planning on learning to play traditional piano, students can learn to play with a simpler 66-key instrument. And ease of use isn’t the only consideration: a 66-key instrument is usually cheaper.
If you’re not sure your child will stick with the practice, you may want to opt for the lower price tag and upgrade to 88 keys later. The best keyboard for adults, however, usually has 88 keys.
- Action: It is used when describing the feel or touch of a keyboard.
- ADSR: It generally stands for attack, decay, sustains and release.
- Aftertouch: It is that point while pressing the keys that it sounds like a rubber strip that reads extra pressure.
- Assignable controller: It is a device that specifies all the parameter that it controls under it.
- Attack: When you play the instrument, the beginning part of the sound is called an attack.
- Auto-accompaniment: Often made up of a number of instruments, from simple note or chord input and which plays in the background
- Controller: A part in your piano that can be used to send MIDI messages to vary the sound.
- C/V: 1. Control Voltage, an electrical source used in analogue synthesis to vary a parameter.
- Cutoff: It is that point of the filter that does either of the two things, it either passes or blocks an audio signal.
- Damper pedal: It is also called a sustain pedal, and it is that pedal which when pressed, continues to play the same note until it is released
- DSP: Its full form is Digital signal processing.
- Effects: Signal that modifies a sound, such as reverb, chorus, delay, distortion.
- Envelope: It changes dynamically and can be considered as the parameters used while pressing a note such as frequency, amplitude or pitch.
- Filter: Altering tone or timbre of a sound by removing or emphasizing specific frequencies.
- Fine Tuning: Change the pitch of a sound by small amounts. It is represented in cents or hertz. It is used instead of not transposing when slightly the tune is out of pitch.
- Glide: The sliding of pitch between notes and it is also called Portamento.
- Graded action: It is designed to mimic the real grand piano. The lower note tends to feel more massive, and it tends to get lighter as you go to the higher notes.
- Half pedalling: The ability to sustain pedal with graduated or varying depth and response.
- Jack: A female connector. It comes in various sizes and standards according to the instrument.
- Keybed: It is used to describe the keys of the keyboard and the mechanism lying under it. You can see this article for more information.
- Layer: You must master your piano, and it can only happen if you can play different notes at the same time. This ability is called a layer.
- MIDI: There must be a real-world connection between the musical instrument and the outside world. You need to transfer and import files to play in your piano. This can be done through MIDI, which is also called the Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
- Modulation: It is called your ability to transform any parameter such as pitch, frequency and tempo.
- Oscillator: A sound source, which produces or plays back waveforms.
- Pan: A sound’s position from the left or right in the stereo field and it is often called the balance control.
- Pitch bend wheel: With the help of this, you can manually change the pitch by just bending the wheel up or down.
- Preset: A sound that is stored at a particular memory location.
- Quantize: Fix rhythmic inaccuracies in your performance.
- Random-access memory: Replacing memory location multiple times.
- Rhythms: Drumbeats and grooves are built in the keyboard in many musical styles, which adds beauty to your playing.
- Sample rate: When the audio is converted from analogue to digital, the number of times that it is measured per second is called the sample rate.
- Sampler: Edits, alters and playbacks the audio that is being recorded.
- Standard MIDI File: A file that can be shared by using its extension (.mid)
- Sustain: The level at which the value remains until you let go of the key.
- Tempo: It can be explained as the speed of the beat, which is being performed.
- Transpose: To shift the keyboard’s pitch up or down.
- Tuning: Changing the pitch of the keyboard.
- Universal Serial Bus (USB): A connection method to connect to the outside world, also called pen-drive
- Zone: A set of keys on a keyboard when it’s divided up into multiple regions for the split and layered setups.
I hope this blog about the piano keyboard Buying guide was informative. I always believe if you cannot explain it to an eight-year-old, are not doing it correctly. In my case it was an eight-year-old explaining thing to me, isn’t that great!! On second thought she did a bad job at explaining in the first place, but I think I am going to give it a pass. ( I am literally in awe of her). Now, that she is improving every day with this piano keyboard, it is a kind of a blessing to see her enjoying her time with this awesome instrument.
Anyways, thank you for reading piano keyboard buying guide. I am sure you have found something out of it. If you think anywhere in this blog about piano keyboard there are gaps, please do inform us.