Everything about the Keyboard

What is it?

The keyboard instrument is an electronic piano, it plays like a piano but is able to replicate most instruments.

Here’s how it looks and sounds

Not to be confused with

You may hear about it with other names like the electronic keyboard or midi keyboard. Pronounced /əˈlektrikˈkēˌbôrd/, from the Latin word “electrum”. meaning to produce from amber by friction and called teclado electrónico in Spanish, clavier électrique in french and teclado elétrico in Portuguese. A person that plays it’s called a keyboardist. 

Category

The Keyboard family means that it has a row of keys, buttons, or levers that make the sound when you press them and in another way of classifying its electrophone meaning it makes sound through electricity.

Materials

Different types of plastic (celluloid, delrin, styrene, PVC)  and metal (brass, high-carbon, steel).

Variants / Evolution

The types are determined by features, what we call keyboard today is just an evolution of the original electric piano.:

  • Electronic: Original version, used oscillators and filters to produce sound.
  • Frequency Divider: now with transistors, cheaper and less heavy than originals.
  • Console: bigger, but with a bigger range and made to substitute church pipe organs.
  • Home: Build smaller homes and with functionalities like tape players.
  • Combo / Spinet/transistor: These versions become standardized, probably what most people think when they hear electric organs.
  • Digital: Capable of making all organ sounds digital (using electricity and a speaker).
  • Synthesizer: Now able to play different instruments using a digital keyboard.
  • Software: Non-physical, you can have any instrument in your computer or phone.

What we are referring to in this article is pretty much a synthesizer with a keyboard, synthesizers come in many other shapes and forms but work very similarly.

When you search a keyboard today the biggest difference between the products will be the number of keys the keyboard has 54,61 or 88. Of course the more keys it has the easier it will be to play bigger ranges.

Another difference is that some models have pre-installed programs, the same way a smartphone will have apps, some have learning programs, performance improvers, playback, recording, effects, extra instruments, and the ability to install even more programs.

The last difference you’ll find is that some models are more compact than others, some are called synthesizers and some digital pianos because the term is used interchangeably, we will talk more about sorting all the differences in the brand section of this article.

Prices

For a MIDI keyboard, around $300 – $5000 USD, the cheapest we found was an Alesis Recital 88-Key Digital Piano and the most expensive was a Yamaha Genos 76 Key Arranger Workstation.

In the middle, we have something like a Roland V-Combo VR-730 73-key Live Performance Keyboard for $1,600 USD.

VariantLowest price*Highest price*Average*
Digital Workstation$800 USD$3,600 USD$1,200 USD
Synthesizer$300 USD$1,000 USD$500 USD
Arranger$200 USD$6,000 USD$3,000 USD
*Rounded and based on our own and a search in different stores.

Weights and sizes

The size of Digital Workstation and Arranger goes around 48.6 x 18 x 5.4 In – 40.83 x 11.65 x 3.15 In (123.4 x 45.6 x 13.8 Cm – 103.7 x 29.6 x 8 Cm) and has a weight from 8.82 Lbs (4 Kgs) to 28.66 Lbs (13 Kgs), that’s the size of a surfboard and the weight is heavier than a typical full-size Electric Guitar.

VariantsSizes*Weights*
Portable Keyboard37 x 4.1 x 12.5 in8.13 lbs
Digital Piano54.3 x 7.5 x 18 in72 lbs
Compact keyboards42 x 4 x 12 in22 lbs
*Average of our own instruments and references searched online.

Now that you know, you can check on eBay here.

Best brands and models

We checked a lot of brands and rated them based on customer experience. Models and series are confusing? check this guide. Not picky? you have more options.

The best Electric Keyboard for a beginner is the 54-61 keys models since it is the most common variant it’s also very useful if the keyboard comes with a learning program installed on it., there’s also the compact keyboards that will be extra useful if you have to carry them constantly.

For kids, we suggest a keyboard app for tablets or smartphone because the size is right for smaller hands and is a very low-risk investment, especially if you don’t know if them will want to keep learning also for them or even toddlers Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Piano or any toy piano that lets them play note by note. It’s a good option for a gift because it lets them play without any knowledge of music theory.

If we look at famous players Jonny Greenwood had a Yamaha XB-2 Hammond and Rick Wright a Fender Rhodes Mark I Stage Piano so if you’re going professional, you don’t have any excuse with one of these or just any 88 keys model with the most programs you can find, if you want to be limited only by your ability and not the instrument.

Accessories

Here’s a list of a lot of them, but for this one a stand (better if it’s portable), a dust cover to avoid doing so much cleaning, and a cleaning kit because the dust cover won’t do all the work. There are also stickers with the key names for beginners (make sure they can be removed no problem once you’re done).

Start playing

We recommend learning to read sheet music to get the basics. We review resources to help you choose how you want to learn. Now that you know how to read them, you need to get some. 
Sheets come in different notations so we recommend checking various versions of the same sheets, searching for “scores” to get all instruments, and even the “song name for piano/keyboard to save on translations.

Don’t forget all the details that combined make a big difference like the way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions, and techniques.

Remember, the keyboard is like any other pianos, it is easy to learn, and for beginners, it will take a couple of months of getting used to it, it’s also similar to the digital piano, electric organ, mellotron, and synthesizer., so you can combine those resources to help you learn.

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