Although to look at, some people might think that electronic keyboards and pianos are quite similar, they do in fact differ in quite a few ways.
The first thing you notice is that they are normally much smaller, most of them only having 61 keys as opposed to a full set of 88. These keys also feel much lighter when you press them, whereas a piano feels much heavier. This is often referred to as the ‘action’, and is the reason why piano students are advised not to learn on an electronic keyboard.
A keyboard will produce a range of different sounds, from pianos to organs, guitars to flutes and strings to drums etc. Most will have in excess of 100 different sounds, or voices as they are often called. They also feature collections of rhythms or drum patterns to play along with, and these are sometimes called styles.
Many keyboards come loaded with other features, for example the facility to record what you play, the ability to play more than one voice at the same time, and special connections that allow you to plug your instrument into a computer.
If you are beginning to take lessons on the keyboard we would recommend that you buy one that features touch sensitive keys. This simply means that the sound responds to how hard you press they keys, and as a result your playing will become far more expressive. Although Roland keyboards and Korg keyboards are all popular, Yamaha keyboards continue to dominate the market for beginners.
Here are our most popular choices:
Featuring 61 full-size keys and 120 internal sounds, the Yamaha Psr-F50 is a great choice for any beginner. Although the keys aren’t touch sensitive, the value for money is incredible. Players can use features such as the built-in songs and metronome to improve musical timekeeping, whilst the headphone socket means private practice is possible. All in all, a great beginner instrument!
The Yamaha PSR-E53 is the most affordable Yamaha model to feature touch-sensitive keys – an important feature for keen players. 573 voices and 158 auto accompanying voices make practice fun and advanced iPhone/iPad connectivity adds another dimension to learning the instrument.
An impressive 385 voices are featured on the PSR-E253, enough to please any beginner keyboard player. You also get 100 auto accompaniment styles in this compact and sleek design, often chosen for classrooms or home players. Weighing only 4kg, this compact instrument can be powered using either batteries or an optional power adaptor.
The Yamaha Piaggero NP-12 Digital Piano Keyboard features a graded soft touch keyboard for a more realistic touch, as well as 10 high-quality voices which includes the coveted rich Stereo Grand Piano. Although you don’t have as many effects or voices to choose from compared to some of the other keyboards on this list, you have a solid product that is perfect for learning on or performing live when the time comes. The USB connectivity means you can record MIDI data into your music software or use it in conjunction with any 3rd part apps or software you may have. SLeek construction, gorgeous sounds and easy to use set up – what more could you need?