casio 6600.jpg

Hi Everybody!

If you’re here, it’s because you’re looking for information about how to buy your first piano keyboard. I have a few pointers for you to consider as you make this important purchase. But first, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Clinton Ryder. I’m a professional musician living in Montreal. It’s been over 20 years now I’ve been making music. My instruments are bass guitar and acoustic bass. However, you might say I’m “all-around” musician, as I also play guitar, piano and (a little bit of) drums. I’m happy to join the blogosphere and offer my advice and opinions. I’ve found the work of other bloggers around the internet to be extremely helpful, and I’d say now it’s my turn to contribute!

If there is one instrument I’d say is found in nearly every home, it’s the piano. Acoustic pianos, small and large, and digital piano keyboards bring endless hours of fun and pleasure to any home. However, if you’re a first-time piano buyer, you may have many questions about your first piano purchase. I’d like to share with you a few tips how to buy your first piano keyboard.

Our question is: “How do I buy my first piano keyboard?”
yamaha.jpg

There are a few ways to answer this question. The first thing you want to do is ask yourself “What you want your new piano keyboard will be used for the most?” You may simply want something to play at home. Or, perhaps your piano will have a more important role, as your kids use it to practice for those all-important piano lessons! Maybe you’re wanting to create music with your computer, and you feel a piano keyboard will be an important creative tool. In all cases, there are many exciting worlds to explore!

You can find keyboards at any music store including your local Best Buy. You can check out the online selection of Yamaha, Casio and many other brands of keyboards at Best Buy to see some of the variety available.

Although most pianos will provide everything you need to get you started, it’s important to note that each and every piano keyboard is a bit different. One manufacturer may have different features than their competitor. And each manufacturer makes different models, all with subtle variations.

Start Simple
If this is your first digital piano or keyboard purchase, your best option is to buy something simple. Your first piano should be easy to use, and a pleasure to play. However, there are some everyday features that you’ll realize you just can’t live without. Here’s a short list for you to think about:

1) Headphones connection
For when you don’t want to bother others with your beautiful sounds, or when you don’t want others to bother you;

2) On-board speakers

Some pianos DO NOT have on-board speakers, and this can be problem. It’s much more frustrating to have to plug your piano into a sound system in order to be heard;

3) Number of keys

A standard acoustic piano has 88 keys. In the digital piano and keyboard world, there are many variations, ranging from as few as 25 up to the standard 88;

4) “Touch and Feel” of the keys
Some pianos have “weighted” keys. This is a way of making a digital piano feel like a real piano. Every manufacturer has different standards. Some keyboards actually feel like you’re playing the keys of a real piano. Others can feel like you’re playing cheap plastic keys. Here is a link to an article explaining the difference between weighted and non-weighted keys.

5) Accessories

You’ll need a keyboard stand and eventually you’ll to make sure you have a sustain pedal as well. These accessories are available separately, but if you can find a kit that has everything included, you’ll be all set to go!

6) USB connectivity
In today’s world, we can make amazing music on our computers with relative ease. A very important part of this is having a piano keyboard that communicates easily with our computers. A USB output on your digital piano can turn out to be a very useful feature.

The good news is you can find all of these features fairly easily, and more! Most digital piano keyboards will have some nice “extra surprises” as a part of the package. Remember, every manufacturer is different in this regard, and it’s usually your personal preferences that go a long way toward choosing which brand of piano keyboard that will your first.

 

A Great Example
Allow me to share my experience with you. I have a Casio Privia 88-Key Digital Piano at home. It’s a great unit that features everything you’ll need to get started making music.

Let’s see … TWO headphone jacks; on-board speakers; 88 keys; an excellent “touch and feel;” and it comes with a stand and sustain pedal. Oh yes, it has a USB output too! My model is the PX-130, slightly older than the new PX-160 you’ll find on Best Buy’s website.

My Casio Previa PX-130 in action
My Casio Previa PX-130 in action

Now, here’s the best part: IT SOUNDS GREAT. You’ll be dreaming of playing a piano recital at Carnegie Hall in no time at all 😉

It has everything mentioned on my list! I use it for pretty much everything I do from home. Whether it’s teaching, working on a project with my computer, learning new songs for my gigs, or just exploring music, it’s a great piano keyboard for me.
And then we find the “extra surprises.” The Casio Privia Digital Piano is that it delivers beyond the basics. There’s a good chance that you or your kids will want to hear other sounds than just “regular” piano sound. This unit has string (violins) sounds, electric piano sounds, organ sounds … 9 sounds in all! There are other features to discover, enough that we’ll save these for another article. However this Casio piano keyboard still qualifies as “simple”- there are not too many buttons on the front to drive you crazy as you being to discover making music!

Now it’s time to begin choosing you’re new digital piano. Ask yourself: “What kind of piano keyboard am I looking for?” The choice is yours! You can start your search on Best Buy’s musical instruments page. Have fun, and enjoy your music!

Stay tuned for more from me as well. I’ll be posting reviews for two of Yamaha’s new digital pianos in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with you!

Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog. I appreciate your feedback! Let me know which kinds of articles you’d like to read, I’ll see if I can make it happen!

Clinton Ryder
For over 20 years, Montreal bassist Clinton Ryder has been on the Canadian music scene. With over 20 album credits, he works with musicians of all genres and generations. In recent years, he’s performed with Jim Byrnes and Petru Guelfucci, and a member of the Félix Stussi’s 5 (featuring trombonist Ray Anderson). He continues to freelance on his instrument of choice while honing his skills in Logic Pro, Sibelius and other interests, including his website www.country-music-hoedown.com.

1 COMMENT

Comments are closed.