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Looking for a decent beginners keyboard

PurpleMonkeyPurpleMonkey Why so derp?Registered User regular
edited October 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
As in a musical instrument keyboard not a computer keyboard.

Trying to find one that isn’t too expensive and that I can plug into my computer, it’s mainly for practising on rather than playing live so it doesn’t have to be a professional one or anything

XBL, Steam & Tribes: elmartino333
PurpleMonkey on


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    KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    There are a few things that are an absolute must in a keyboard, and mostly they're going to end you up with, at the low end, probably around $3-400.

    The first is that you're going to want full-sized keys. 3/4 sized keys are incredibly awful to play on, and will mess up the way real keyboards feel if you play on them exclusively.
    The second is that you're going to want Weighted keys. If you want to be awesome, try weighted scaled-hammer action keys.
    The third is one that's slightly less imperative, which is that you'll want 88 keys. That's one of those things that doesn't really pop up all too often. But when it does if you don't have it then... well, you just absolutely don't have anything that will work.

    Try something like:
    This one

    Plugs in USB, full=sized keys, weighted scaled-hammer action, 88 keys. The only potential problem is that a: it doesn't come with a stand, but those can be as low as $20-30, and b: it might sound kind of shitty. But feel-wise it's going to be everything you'll need.

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    PurpleMonkeyPurpleMonkey Why so derp? Registered User regular
    Think that's abit above my price range, I pretty much have only just started learning the instrument so I'm not looking for anything too advanced

    XBL, Steam & Tribes: elmartino333
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    Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    The problem isn't really being advanced or not, it's a matter of getting something that's not going to force you to learn bad habits early on which will hurt you when you decide to upgrade and possibly even make you not enjoy playing in the first place because it's more difficult than it should be. It's a tough balance to find that first instrument (for just about any instrument) that isn't super bad yet doesn't feel like you're paying way too much money for something you might not even like.

    Maybe give a price range that you're hoping to stay within and then people can try to find the least bad thing in that range and at least be able to warn you about whatever pitfalls it has. Also, keep in mind that you don't have to buy new. I'd guess that an electronic keyboard is probably one of the safest instruments to buy used (I'm not a keyboard guy, I could be wrong) since as far as I know there's not much in the way of maintenance for the previous owner to have ignored or moving parts beyond keys that will obviously work or not work.

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    AnomeAnome Registered User regular
    I'd seriously recommend biting the bullet and getting one along the lines Khavall suggested. If you're not looking to do much beyond just playing on your own at home for fun or practice it'll last you basically forever. When you think about it $450 for an instrument (going off the exact one he linked to) is a very decent price, you're not going to find something that won't eventually need an upgrade for much cheaper than that. Plus if you end up not liking it down the road, you can always sell it for a decent price and get a lot of your initial investment back.

    Don't make the mistake I did - I was a flute major when I went to music school so I decided I didn't need a good keyboard to pass my very basic keyboard classes, so I have a really crappy one with non-weighted keys. I hate playing on it. It feels weird if I play anything else because my fingers aren't used to the resistance of a proper keyboard. It's really hard to work on balance between my hands because the touch function is crap (touch being if I hit the key harder, it'll be louder). Remember, the instrument you practice on is very important because you'll spend more time on it than any other. Make it a good one.

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    T-boltT-bolt Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    An important question to ask would be: Are you interested in piano, synthesizer, and/or organ sounds? If you aren't that interested in piano in particular you don't need a weighted keyboard.

    Cheapest options would be to luck out searching Craigslist, or look into getting a USB-MIDI keyboard controller and have your computer be the sound source. A decent unweighted 61-key controller can be had for $200-250. If you have a PC, you're probably going to need to install the ASIO4ALL drivers (or get a proper audio interface which would set you back another $100+). Othwerwise the latency (the time between pressing the key and hearing a note) would be too much.

    T-bolt on
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    PurpleMonkeyPurpleMonkey Why so derp? Registered User regular
    Sorry I probably should of stated in the OP that I live in the UK

    I was kinda hoping not spend more than £150 which according to the FT is $240.66 though obviously the exchange rate on goods doesn't work like that. The cheapest I can find the one suggested is £329.

    I can see people's point about not wanting to learn on a rubbish keyboard though.

    XBL, Steam & Tribes: elmartino333
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    NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I'm going to go the opposite of most of the posts here.

    Honestly, I don't really see the reason to get an 88-key keyboard if you're very new to the piano...most beginner's piano pieces don't require a full 88 keys (though it will limit you, obviously, in the pieces that do).

    Weighted keys are very nice...going from a real piano, or a keyboard with weighted keys to a non-weighted keyboard will feel odd, and I imagine the reverse is true, too. If you want to cut corners, you can buy a keyboard that doesn't have weighted keys....but just be aware that if you can afford a weighted-key version in the future, you should opt for that. It does take some getting used to moving from one to the other, but I'd hardly say it's an absolute essential. Does it make your keys feel more realistic? Absolutely. Will it change the way you press the keys? Yes, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to learn to adapt once you move on to weighted keys. You can also still learn to play without weighted keys, which I think is a major point here.

    What is absolutely essential is getting full-sized keys (as was mentioned above), because you'll gain muscle memory in terms of where your hands have to move while you're playing, and smaller-sized keys will completely mess that up.

    Best of luck! If you need to cut corners, IMO this is where you can cut them, at this stage in your learning the piano. If you were mid-level to advanced, I'd definitely suggest you get a weighted-key, full keyboard, with a pedal. For somebody still learning, though, I think the above should be fine. :)

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    ShadowsofBirdsShadowsofBirds Registered User regular
    I second NightDragon's comments.
    And would add that you'd best go to your local music shop and feel the difference for yourself. There's a bit of difference between various "synth action" keyboards so after some comparison you should be able to find a compromise that you're comfortable with.

    my 20cts.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Check your local secondhand shops and newspapers. I saw a full stand up piano being sold for 20 bucks.

    As for a keyboard, i was in the same boat you are in, i wanted to get a decent keyboard to see if i was going to get back into learning...I found something in the 150-190 range that was a full size keyboard and a nice sound. If your just trying to learn, you do want a full keyboard but you dont need weighted keys or all the bells and whistles, they are nice certainly but I think a middle range keyboard would do you fine. Just be sure and put your hands on a plugged in store model before you buy. You want something comfortable and that sounds nice to you or any training you do is going to suffer.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    RaernRaern Registered User regular
    I was in this situation a few years back. I ended up buying a Korg K61p MIDI controller with velocity sensitive keys. Was a nice toy for about a year, but I knew I had to get something better to keep going once I was sure I'd stick with it.

    After using a digital piano with pedal and weighted keys for a couple of years, it'd be very hard to go back to the keyboard. There really is a big difference, but the keyboard was an acceptable place to start when I wasn't sure if I'd be staying with it.

    Anyway, keep an eye out for second-hand digital pianos. A lot of people try instruments then give up and sell them again, that's not a bad way to find something decent at an affordable price.

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    PurpleMonkeyPurpleMonkey Why so derp? Registered User regular
    I asked a paino teacher about this and he mainly recommended the Yamaha PSRE 423 but also recommended the Yamaha PSRE 333 and the Casio CCTK-4200AD as slightly cheaper options.

    Anyone know anything about these models and know if one would be good to pick up?

    XBL, Steam & Tribes: elmartino333
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