Beginner keyboard - How many keys?


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Hi. So I am thinking about buying my first keyboard (I am an adult and have played what I would say busker guitar on and off for a few years, but I would be a complete beginner on the keys).

My question is. What size keyboard would I ultimately need? I have seen that 49, 61, 72 and 88 seem to be the popular choices.

I believe 88 is considered full size. I would ultimately be trying to play pop and rock kind of music (including music from when the keyboard was most popular - like 80s stuff (haha). Would I get away with a smaller sized keyboard? Is a full size one a bit of overkill or should I go for the 88 keys?

Also, can anyone recommend one? My budget is around 350 UK pounds (400 euros)

Thanks.
 
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Welcome

Korg Ek50 or Yanaha PSR E473, both these are Arranger keyboards with 61 keys. The aim with an Arranger is to play chords with your left and the melody line with your right. There is an Auto Accompaniment that provides the backing inbwhat Style is selected and in the set temp. These Arrangers get you playing recognisable songs pretty quickly. They also can be played in a conventional manner.

or

A Digital Piano, these have 88 piano like hammer action keys and at the budget end of the market a limited set of onboard instrument sounds. A good choice would be a Yamaha P125, Roland FP X30 or a Kawai ES110

or

Korg Kross 2 or Roland Juno DS both are 61 key, synth/workstations.

I suggest researching the above and then decide which initial direction you want to go.
 
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There are a lot of possibilities at lower price points, but sub-$100 is a tough one if you want sliders and knobs as well.
Yes, you are correct; almost everything these days is USB MIDI, thus there is no need to purchase a MIDI interface.
I suppose you should ask yourself a few questions.
How many keys are there? Most boards under $100 have 49 keys. Is that sufficient?
Do you like traditional-sized keys or mini-sized keys? (I, for one, can't get used to mini-key keyboards.)
Do you want the keyboard to have its own internal sounds, or will you rely on Reaper instrument plug-ins?
 
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including music from when the keyboard was most popular

Also, can anyone recommend one? My budget is around 350 UK pounds (400 euros)

Thanks.
I take it you mean the 1880s :) .

If you're playing around then I would go with Biggles. If you want to learn classical piano technique I would look at one of the second-hand clavinovas by Yamaha which are always turning up on Youtube. And you must must try before you buy, the quality of weighted keyboards varies wildly. I remember going to PMT to get a particular keyboard, and the difference between the action of the black and white notes was very noticeable, and I just couldn't play it at all.
 
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I have an older Yamaha YPT-300 with 61 keys. I've found 61 keys to be a little limiting. I bought a 76 key Casio WK-6600 which I've found to be sufficient for pop/rock and even quite a bit of classical. I bought the Casio because I'd read the interface was better. It may or may not be, but I've found the keys to be very cheap feeling and "clacky" compared to the Yamaha. The Yamaha PSR-EW310 demo I've gone back and played seems to be much better quality for slightly less money. Every time I demo it I tell myself I should have bought it instead. If I weren't waiting for the EW425 to become more readily available I'd probably go buy one and sell the Casio. I've taken both of my keyboards to jams and the other musicians often comment about how good the sounds are from even inexpensive keyboards.
 
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88 weighted keys are quite expensive. If you have integral speakers as well "portable" is quite misleading. "Luggable", a word used to describe early portable computers, sounds more appropriate. My PA4x 76 doesn't have built-in speakers and honestly I'm not inclined to move it anywhere by myself. But I'm getting on and I need to look after my hands.
I do think the player contributes more than the instrument, and things like speaker quality and EQ are pretty important too. Doesn't mean that a decent feeling keyboard would be less pleasurable to play, of course.
 
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My question is. What size keyboard would I ultimately need? I have seen that 49, 61, 72 and 88 seem to be the popular choices.
The fact that there are numerous popular sizes pretty much indicates that different people may ultimately need different numbers of keys. ;-)

You talked about 80s pop music. Although most "synthy" stuff can be done on 49 (or often even fewer) keys, the most popular boards of the decade (DX7, M1, D50) were all 61-key boards, so I'd say 61 would pretty safely cover most of what people were doing. But 80s pop music still also used more traditional sounds (i.e. piano), where even 61 could be insufficient to fully cover a given part. Another reason to possibly prefer even more than 61 keys is to have more ability to split a keyboard to have access to multiple sounds at once over different key ranges, whether to play them simultaneously or to be able to quickly and easily switch back and forth between the sounds without having to call up different sounds mid-performance. But since you're a beginner, and you have a limited budget, I think 61 would be fine. Whether or not it is what you'll "ultimately" need might be a different question, though. ;-)

In your price range, for what you want to do, the main contenders are probably the Casio CT-S500, or the Korg EK-50 or Yamaha PSR-E473 that Biggles mentioned. If you prefer more keys, you can trade off some other enhancements and look at the older Yamaha PSR-EW310 that BKN mentioned.

 
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From Rimmers website new keyboards in your price range, other retailers are available.

Fleabay is a waste of time in the UK for anything low priced and of decent quality, local adds are worst so imo new is your best option.
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Thanks for all the replies.

At the moment I am thinking of getting an older model like the Yamaha PSR-E373. Especially since the updated model to this seems to be out of stock in several places until December.

As this keyboard is currently on sale at £200 I could actually get a stand too (and some headphones and maybe even a bench/seat) as of course I think I would be more likely to play more with it set on a stand rather than what I would be doing - probably hunching over some kind of low table or bed.

Does anyone have any feedback on this particular keyboard. I have one more day to decide as I plan on ordering on Monday (I just wanna start already, haha).
 
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A 373 will do the job, its quite a while since I have played one but it is typical Yamaha.

Pros
They work and last, sounds reasonable for the cost, fairly lightweight, good selection of auto accompaniment styles, readily available second hand

Cons
Menu system is rubbish, manuals pretty poor, product support is extremely bad but not usually an issue

Rimmers have them in stock new with bench, stand and headphones for £279

 
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Hi. So I am thinking about buying my first keyboard (I am an adult and have played what I would say busker guitar on and off for a few years, but I would be a complete beginner on the keys).

My question is. What size keyboard would I ultimately need? I have seen that 49, 61, 72 and 88 seem to be the popular choices.

I believe 88 is considered full size. I would ultimately be trying to play pop and rock kind of music (including music from when the keyboard was most popular - like 80s stuff (haha). Would I get away with a smaller sized keyboard? Is a full size one a bit of overkill or should I go for the 88 keys?

Also, can anyone recommend one? My budget is around 350 UK pounds (400 euros)

Thanks.
If you want to get a nice background go with a multitimbral synth. Then the number of keys do not matter. The keyboard will be split to left hand for chords and right hand for melody. The synth will make chords sound nice so it is easy to sound good. If you want to play piano and jump with the left hand in stride patterns go with 88 keys. Typically ragtime, boogie woogie, swing requires a bit more keys.
 
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Hi. So I am thinking about buying my first keyboard (I am an adult and have played what I would say busker guitar on and off for a few years, but I would be a complete beginner on the keys).

My question is. What size keyboard would I ultimately need? I have seen that 49, 61, 72 and 88 seem to be the popular choices.

I believe 88 is considered full size. I would ultimately be trying to play pop and rock kind of music (including music from when the keyboard was most popular - like 80s stuff (haha). Would I get away with a smaller sized keyboard? Is a full size one a bit of overkill or should I go for the 88 keys?

Also, can anyone recommend one? My budget is around 350 UK pounds (400 euros)

Thanks.

There are a number of things to consider first, if you really want to learn piano you should consider an 88 note, however if you just want to do a pop set a 61 would work (maybe 2 keyboards) you should also consider a 73 so you can spilt the keyboard into many sections that way you can set up different sounds in each section so you can cover the sounds required for the song. Many pop songs require a number of sounds to do it justice. The other thing you should consider is a keyboard with a sampler as you would probably need to sample sounds.
 
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88 weighted keys are quite expensive. If you have integral speakers as well "portable" is quite misleading. "Luggable", a word used to describe early portable computers, sounds more appropriate. My PA4x 76 doesn't have built-in speakers and honestly I'm not inclined to move it anywhere by myself. But I'm getting on and I need to look after my hands.
I do think the player contributes more than the instrument, and things like speaker quality and EQ are pretty important too. Doesn't mean that a decent feeling keyboard would be less pleasurable to play, of course.
“Luggable” is my new favorite word !
 
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I tend to agree with Biggles on his suggestion of either a 61-key (or larger) arranger keyboard or an 88-key digital piano, such as the Yamaha P125. Either would be ideal for a beginning keyboardist.

Also, most of the keyboards mentioned above have built-in amplifiers and speakers, so you won't have to worry about the added expense of an outboard sound system . . . . which could possibly exceed the price of the keyboard itself.
 
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Hi. So I am thinking about buying my first keyboard (I am an adult and have played what I would say busker guitar on and off for a few years, but I would be a complete beginner on the keys).

My question is. What size keyboard would I ultimately need? I have seen that 49, 61, 72 and 88 seem to be the popular choices.

I believe 88 is considered full size. I would ultimately be trying to play pop and rock kind of music (including music from when the keyboard was most popular - like 80s stuff (haha). Would I get away with a smaller sized keyboard? Is a full size one a bit of overkill or should I go for the 88 keys?

Also, can anyone recommend one? My budget is around 350 UK pounds (400 euros)

Thanks.
No less than 88….even considering price.
 

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Ten fingers... Ten Keys... Why waste money on extra keys you'll never use.... Personally I could manage to get by without G#

:D :D :D

Gary ;)
 
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