What to consider when buying a piano keyboard

January 6, 2015

Keyboards cansound like anything an aspiring musician could ever want. Here are some of things to consider when you’re buying musical keyboards.

What to consider when buying a piano keyboard

Types of keyboards

Keyboards are tailored to different musical styles and goals. Think about the music you’ll be playing before settling on one that meets your needs.

Digital piano: With pedals and 88 keys that feel like the real thing, a digital piano is designed to sound just like an acoustic piano. Consider a digital piano if you need the sound and feel of a real piano but want something more portable.

Electronic keyboard: With a variety of different sounds, rhythms and sequencer options, electric keyboards are entirely different instruments from digital pianos. These keyboards are best for people interested in making new and different sounds. Some of the more advanced models have sampling and looping functions to make your keyboard sound like a full band.

Synthesizer: For those who want more control over their music, synthesizers manipulate sounds into something entirely new. Some synthesizers come with keyboards, but others must be connected to other instruments or computers to generate sound. Look for a synthesizer if you want more advanced sound control.

Keyboard features

Extra features can make your keyboard easier to use, more versatile or feel like a real piano. Look for features that will help you play the music you want.

Keys: Keyboards come with different numbers of keys, from a small 25-key controller up to an 88-key keyboard similar to a regular piano. More keys results in a broader sound range, but units are also longer.

Action: Early keyboards used springs to pop keys up when pressed. They felt very different from pianos, so companies introduced weighted and hammer-action keys for a familiar, acoustic feel. Weighted keys are lighter in the treble area and heavier in the bass area, just like a regular piano. Hammer-action keys feel similar to a grand piano’s action.

Headphone jack: For busy households and smaller quarters, a headphone jack lets you practice without disturbing the rest of the household.

MIDI connections: Short for musical instrument digital interface, a MIDI keyboard has special connections so it can communicate with computers and other electronic musical instruments. MIDI connections are an industry standard, but some keyboards are switching to USB connections for simplicity.

Tones and sounds: Most keyboards can change sounds to mimic other instruments or electronic noises. More traditional instruments can make composing and arranging songs with just a keyboard much easier.

Whether it’s a digital piano for practice or a synthesizer for new and interesting sounds, a keyboard is a versatile instrument for any musician. With this information, you can find a keyboard that complements your musical aspirations.

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