Beginner keyboard - How many keys?


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Rayblewit

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The answer to your quest depends on the answer to the question most people here are asking: what do you want to do with the keyboard. If you want to learn piano, buy a piano for heaven's sake (despite what "good" stage pianos can offer, you're always better off with the real thing with 88 keys). If you're looking to play synth lines with just your right hand only, you won't need more than 49 keys - you'll be spending your money on the synth part of the instrument more than the keyboard. If you want to play chords in your left hand and melodies in the right, you're after a composer workstation (my area of expertise), and they're a nice half-way house. The Yamaha PSR range is pretty good, and you don't have to get a top of the range if you are learning and just dipping your toe in the water, get an entry level 61 key instrument - you can always upgrade later (the cheaper keyboards don't sound as nice, and don't offer so many features, but while you're learning rather than performing, that's not going to be a real problem). I started out with a 44 mini-key PSS-170 when I was 10, and that's what I initially learned to play on. Naturally, I out-grew it quite quickly, and I played Electone/organ through most of my teens. While at uni, I had a 61 key PSR 270 - it's a bit of a toy and doesn't sound great, but it served its purpose - to play and practise, but it has MIDI ports, so I could expand it and learn some of the fun stuff. I later moved to the 76 key EW400 (my current workhorse) mostly because of the far better sounds, but I also chose more keys because I wanted more range on the right hand (I usually set the octave down one, so that middle C is shifted right - I then get an octave and a half below middle C to play some left hand or just play something lower, without losing the ability to just play left hand chords on the far left). The interesting thing is that the PSR 270 and EW400 both "feel" the same to play (keys not weighted, size/shape, etc), and as a learner, that's the important bit. You probably won't really know what you need until you realise you need it. So I'd start with 61 keys, and when the time comes to buy something larger/heavier/sounds better, you'll know exactly what you want by then. And if it turns out that you're never going to play that much (or at all), then you haven't thrown too much money at the hobby at an early stage - it breaks my heart when people buy really nice expensive keyboards (often out of my price range) and then don't play them!
 

happyrat1

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The answer to your quest depends on the answer to the question most people here are asking: what do you want to do with the keyboard. If you want to learn piano, buy a piano for heaven's sake (despite what "good" stage pianos can offer, you're always better off with the real thing with 88 keys). If you're looking to play synth lines with just your right hand only, you won't need more than 49 keys - you'll be spending your money on the synth part of the instrument more than the keyboard. If you want to play chords in your left hand and melodies in the right, you're after a composer workstation (my area of expertise), and they're a nice half-way house. The Yamaha PSR range is pretty good, and you don't have to get a top of the range if you are learning and just dipping your toe in the water, get an entry level 61 key instrument - you can always upgrade later (the cheaper keyboards don't sound as nice, and don't offer so many features, but while you're learning rather than performing, that's not going to be a real problem). I started out with a 44 mini-key PSS-170 when I was 10, and that's what I initially learned to play on. Naturally, I out-grew it quite quickly, and I played Electone/organ through most of my teens. While at uni, I had a 61 key PSR 270 - it's a bit of a toy and doesn't sound great, but it served its purpose - to play and practise, but it has MIDI ports, so I could expand it and learn some of the fun stuff. I later moved to the 76 key EW400 (my current workhorse) mostly because of the far better sounds, but I also chose more keys because I wanted more range on the right hand (I usually set the octave down one, so that middle C is shifted right - I then get an octave and a half below middle C to play some left hand or just play something lower, without losing the ability to just play left hand chords on the far left). The interesting thing is that the PSR 270 and EW400 both "feel" the same to play (keys not weighted, size/shape, etc), and as a learner, that's the important bit. You probably won't really know what you need until you realise you need it. So I'd start with 61 keys, and when the time comes to buy something larger/heavier/sounds better, you'll know exactly what you want by then. And if it turns out that you're never going to play that much (or at all), then you haven't thrown too much money at the hobby at an early stage - it breaks my heart when people buy really nice expensive keyboards (often out of my price range) and then don't play them!


Guess what!!! There's an enter key... USE IT!!!! :mad:
 
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The answer to your quest depends on the answer to the question most people here are asking: what do you want to do with the keyboard. If you want to learn piano, buy a piano for heaven's sake (despite what "good" stage pianos can offer, you're always better off with the real thing with 88 keys). If you're looking to play synth lines with just your right hand only, you won't need more than 49 keys - you'll be spending your money on the synth part of the instrument more than the keyboard. If you want to play chords in your left hand and melodies in the right, you're after a composer workstation (my area of expertise), and they're a nice half-way house. The Yamaha PSR range is pretty good, and you don't have to get a top of the range if you are learning and just dipping your toe in the water, get an entry level 61 key instrument - you can always upgrade later (the cheaper keyboards don't sound as nice, and don't offer so many features, but while you're learning rather than performing, that's not going to be a real problem). I started out with a 44 mini-key PSS-170 when I was 10, and that's what I initially learned to play on. Naturally, I out-grew it quite quickly, and I played Electone/organ through most of my teens. While at uni, I had a 61 key PSR 270 - it's a bit of a toy and doesn't sound great, but it served its purpose - to play and practise, but it has MIDI ports, so I could expand it and learn some of the fun stuff. I later moved to the 76 key EW400 (my current workhorse) mostly because of the far better sounds, but I also chose more keys because I wanted more range on the right hand (I usually set the octave down one, so that middle C is shifted right - I then get an octave and a half below middle C to play some left hand or just play something lower, without losing the ability to just play left hand chords on the far left). The interesting thing is that the PSR 270 and EW400 both "feel" the same to play (keys not weighted, size/shape, etc), and as a learner, that's the important bit. You probably won't really know what you need until you realise you need it. So I'd start with 61 keys, and when the time comes to buy something larger/heavier/sounds better, you'll know exactly what you want by then. And if it turns out that you're never going to play that much (or at all), then you haven't thrown too much money at the hobby at an early stage - it breaks my heart when people buy really nice expensive keyboards (often out of my price range) and then don't play them!

I simply cannot read a post which has so much text, it is very difficult for these old eyes to read.

Please split up your posts into readable paragraphs.
 
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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).
I hope you bought the 373, its a good board for that price, good luck to you! Levi in Sweden
 
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Hello! Lapsed Bass player here. I've a few months ago played my bass in front of a Cafe crowd. Strap broke seconds into tune. But crouched and improvised around open notes while reattached the strap. Nothing. Zero applause but that awkward cough!
I'm not playing keyboards in a "Get them to like me" way. My motivation is "Dude! You should have stuck with the keys!".
I've already put over five hours in. And to keep it on topic. My keyboard is an MK-2000 56 keys.
I'm looking forward to reading this subforum. Thank you all for your contributions.
Nobody here knows me. I don't know anybody. But we are at the right stop for keyboards.
 

happyrat1

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Hello! Lapsed Bass player here. I've a few months ago played my bass in front of a Cafe crowd. Strap broke seconds into tune. But crouched and improvised around open notes while reattached the strap. Nothing. Zero applause but that awkward cough!
I'm not playing keyboards in a "Get them to like me" way. My motivation is "Dude! You should have stuck with the keys!".

Could have been worse... ;)


 
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Hello! Lapsed Bass player here. I've a few months ago played my bass in front of a Cafe crowd. Strap broke seconds into tune. But crouched and improvised around open notes while reattached the strap. Nothing. Zero applause but that awkward cough!
I'm not playing keyboards in a "Get them to like me" way. My motivation is "Dude! You should have stuck with the keys!".
I've already put over five hours in. And to keep it on topic. My keyboard is an MK-2000 56 keys.
I'm looking forward to reading this subforum. Thank you all for your contributions.
Nobody here knows me. I don't know anybody. But we are at the right stop for keyboards.
If your Wirral is between the Dee and the Mersey then I know it well.

Welcome to the forum.
 
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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.
Depends... Most people think Keys are all the same, when they think about Keyboards. But there is a difference between a B3 or similar Organ, Synth and Piano. They all have different Technique. Synth's are closer to B3's since the key beds are similar. But even there Playing style is different between the Organ & Synth. The 88 (weighted Kybd) is definitely different from the Organ & Synth since the keys are weighted in an 88. Some guys myself included started with Organ & Synth's but once I got a weighted 88 its hard to go back. However on the other hand the weighted Keyboards help strengthen your hands , wrists & forearm muscles and after a while when going back to a Synth you may feel like your flying across the Keyboard. Are looking to become a Piano player or just B3 & Synth Player or all 3 ? If you are serious and thinking Piano, then you may want to get the 88 with weighted keys as opposed to Synth type Kybed. The weighted Keys will help you develop your Piano Technique which you can then develop into playing Synth's & Organ's. I play all 3 and there's definitely a different approach when playing all 3. Yes, they all have the same Scales & Chords and the Kybd's are similar, but its the Technique that's different and the Piano a bit in its own category with the weighted Keys.
 
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happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
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Depends... Most people think Keys are all the same, when they think about Keyboards. But there is a difference between a B3 or similar Organ, Synth and Piano. They all have different Technique. Synth's are closer to B3's since the key beds are similar. But even there Playing style is different between the Organ & Synth. The 88 (weighted Kybd) is definitely different from the Organ & Synth since the keys are weighted in an 88. Some guys myself included started with Organ & Synth's but once I got a weighted 88 its hard to go back. However on the other hand the weighted Keyboards help strengthen your hands , wrists & forearm muscles and after a while when going back to a Synth you may feel like your flying across the Keyboard. Are looking to become a Piano player or just B3 & Synth Player or all 3 ? If you are serious and thinking Piano, then you may want to get the 88 with weighted keys as opposed to Synth type Kybed. The weighted Keys will help you develop your Piano Technique which you can then develop into playing Synth's & Organ's. I play all 3 and there's definitely a different approach when playing all 3. Yes, they all have the same Scales & Chords and the Kybd's are similar, but its the Technique that's different and the Piano a bit in its own category with the weighted Keys.

Apparently he went the arranger route. Not a bad place to start.

I started out with Casio tablehooters 25-30 years ago, learned that I enjoyed it and built up my skills and my hardware gradually over that time. :cool:

I remember going from synth keys on a Korg TR-76 to a Kurzweil PC3K8 about a decade ago and only then did I start becoming aware of note dynamics. Now I pound the snot out of the synth keys with demonic speed after doing a riff on the 88. ;)

Budget is usually the deciding factor for newbies :(

Gary ;)
 

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