Piano Keyboards: Step-by-Step Guide

Learning a new instrument is exciting – and nothing should get in the way of that excitement.

But a lot of learners are put off by the choices involved. It can be difficult to know what’s right for you. For piano keyboards, learners have a choice of sizes, and it’s not a case of one-size-fits-all.

Let’s take a look at available sizes and which one is likely to be right for you.

Piano Keyboards Size Options

Before we start talking about how to make a decision on size, let’s look at what’s available.

Piano keyboards come in a variety of sizes. Some are huge with the full range of notes and aren’t designed to be especially mobile. Although they’re smaller than a traditional piano, they’re still a big space investment.

Smaller options are also available. These tend to be more cost-friendly. The lower cost and smaller profile comes with concessions, however. They’re often more cheaply made, have fewer options, and may have fewer keys.

The standard number of keys is 88 – 52 white and 36 black, the same as an acoustic piano. Smaller piano keyboards might even have half that number!

What Size Do I Need?

Now you know the various sizes available, it’s time to decide which is right for you.

This will vary from person to person, but we’ve broken down some of the key factors in your decision to give you the whole picture.

What’s Your Budget?

This is always a primary concern for a lot of people. While a piano keyboard will usually run cheaper than a piano, they’re far from being universally cheap.

Ultimately, smaller keyboards tend to be cheaper. They’re lighter in weight, smaller in size, and may have fewer keys – all of which shaves down the cost.

But enthusiasts will opt for something bigger to give them the full range of functionality. In particular, larger piano keyboards will have a lot of extra room for effects and accompaniment options.

Will You Play the Piano?

The piano keyboard attracts two broad categories of learners: those who eventually want to play the piano as well, or those who will stick with piano keyboards.

When deciding keyboard size, you need to answer that question yourself. Pianos come in a fixed size, so by opting for a smaller keyboard, you might struggle to make the transition to a piano later on.

It’s not impossible to make the leap if you change your mind later, though, so this shouldn’t be the only thing you base your decision on.

If you’ll be sticking with a keyboard, you can safely ignore this concern altogether and choose whichever keyboard is right for you.

Are You Buying for Small Hands?

Many women, children, and even a minority of men find that pianos and piano keyboards are actually too big for their hands. Studies suggest this actually makes up more than 50% of keyboard players!

Sadly, a physical difficulty playing their chosen instrument is enough to put some learners off for good. It often causes discomfort and a lack of self-confidence when playing is such a challenge.

Even for those who persevere, a keyboard too large for your handspan can prevent you reaching your full musical potential.

As with any sizing issue, prolonged use can even cause physical problems. Pain and even injury can punish a player for enjoying what they love.

A smaller keyboard can do a lot to combat this issue. You wouldn’t force a left-hander to play guitar right-handed – and similarly, keyboardists using narrow keys for the first time often report a dramatic improvement in comfort and technical playability.

Are You a Dabbler or a Virtuoso?

Smaller keyboards have fewer keys, and therefore less available notes.

This can be great for learners starting out and more casual players. Keyboards with reduced keys can be effective all the way to the intermediate level, but they’re less intimidating to learn and result in fewer distractions from picking up the basics.

In fact, a lot of classical music avoids the highest and lowest notes altogether.

Casual players are less likely to miss the extra notes. That means they can opt for a cheaper, smaller model while still having largely the same experience.

More serious players will likely want a larger keyboard with the full 88 keys and the host of backing options along with them.

Keyboards with fewer keys are also perfect for anyone using a keyboard along with music editing software. Editing software can change pitch and octave to create a broader effective range of notes, so you won’t be limited by the number of keys on your keyboard.

What About Space and Storage?

Space can be a big concern for learners wanting to pick up the piano or piano keyboard.

The traditional piano takes up a huge amount of room and can’t be disassembled for storage. But even a keyboard can be a bulky piece of equipment when it comes to keeping it in your home.

If real estate in your home is at a premium, opting for a smaller keyboard could let you indulge your passion without running out of room. Most keyboard stands are also collapsible, so choosing the right combination will solve any space issues you might have.

But if you want your keyboard to occupy pride of place in your room and act as a piece of furniture in itself, you might want something bigger. Larger keyboards even have stands that mimic a traditional piano, so it won’t make an unsightly addition to your room.

Generally, if you’re looking to regularly bring out and put away your keyboard, you’ll want a lighter, smaller option. Larger keyboards can be heavy and easily damaged when moved around extensively.

Choosing the Right Keyboard

We hope this has given you a starting point to choose the right size for you. The decision will depend on your own personal needs, but with this information at hand, you should be able to make an informed choice.

Be sure to check back in with us for more tips and tricks for piano lovers!

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