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An Introduction to Piano Keyboards

“So many piano keyboards…so little time”.  Keyboards can basically be divided into three basic types: non-weighted, semi-weighted and fully-weighted. There are hundreds of keyboards out there, especially in the non-weighted category. The keys press down a lot easier than on a real piano and the range of the piano keyboard is usually quite limited. They are fun for kids, but not recommended for anyone who is serious about learning how to play the piano. However, as a supplement to a real piano, they are fun and not to be dismissed.


A semi-weighted keyboard almost always has a larger range than a non-weighted keyboard. The keys offer resistance and build up some finger strength. However, it is still difficult to control one’s playing and, although I have taught on these types of instruments, I recommend spending an extra couple hundred dollars and upgrading to a fully-weighted keyboard.


Fully-weighted keyboards have drastically come down in price. You don’t have to spend thousands anymore in order to obtain one. Weighted keyboards feel like pianos. The very expensive ones are even a step up in weighted touch; the top notes are slightly easier to press than the lower ones. This is, according to what I’ve been told, even closer to a real piano touch, where the thick low strings demand a slightly heavier touch compared to the high thin strings… whatever! That’s how companies are now justifying the wide price range in weighted keyboards. My suggestion: go for a weighted keyboard under one thousand dollars.


As for pricing, they vary a lot. I recommend traveling to at least three stores for quotes. There are also an exhausting amount of brand names in electrical instruments (Roland and Yamaha are among the most popular). I would collect any brochures that stores have to offer and then google the specific model that you are interested in. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get price and performance feedback.


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