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#695396 - 01/27/08 02:40 AM How much to spend on first keyboard?
Jake_the_Pianist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 10
Loc: NSW, Australia
Hi all!
Im new to this forum and to playing the keyboard so i just want to introduce myself and say hi to everyone... \:D HI!!!!.

So here's my question: how much money do people recommend that a beginner keyboard player ,like me, should spend on their first keyboard?

Should I buy a cheap keyboard to start with(for around $200-$250 Australian)and then upgrade later (to a $500+ model of better quality) if I decide that i will stick at it. This would cost more in the long run but I won't have wasted as much if i decide that i dont want to play the keyboard and don't upgrade.

Or i could buy a more expensive keyboard straight away which would cost less because I won't have bought to cheaper keyboard as well, just the $500+ model.
the only problem being that i would have wasted $500 or so if i decide i don't really want to play the keyboard for what ever reason.

But it would be more of a motivation to push on through the hard bits (like just after the excitement factor drops and i feel less motivated) because I would remember that i spent alot of money on it.

don't get me wrong! I don't plan to quit playing any time soon because i have enjoyed playing the few times that I have so much. But i guess it's better to be safe than sorry.

I guess I have learnt from previous hobbies I have had that I need to get good equipment because if i buy bad equipment (eg the crappy metal detector i bought) it frustrates me it makes it more likely that i would quit because all the fun would be sucked out of it.

Thankyou for your advice in advance,
From Jake


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#695397 - 01/27/08 06:41 AM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Hey Jake - My first (and only) digital keyboard was a DGX-520 for 600.00 US two years ago.

I am still happy with it (although it is not weighted). I plan on upgrading to a weighted/graded keyboard next year. That will give me three full years on this one. The only reason I will upgrade is to learn to play something closer to an acoustic, not because I have "outgrown" the board.

As long as you stay away from the bottom-end toys, I think you will be OK. Spend some time reading about the differences before you make your decision. If I had it to do again, I would go weighted/graded right from the start. Live and learn. That is not to say this board has let me down in any way. I really love the way it feels, but the truth is, when I sit down an an acoustic, it's like playing under water. I can do it after adjusting, but then the hands get very tired and sore, which erases lesson 1 (play relaxed).

So, my advice is get the best you can afford now to get started.

Good luck...
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

#695398 - 01/27/08 07:34 AM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2462
Loc: Denver, CO
Hi Jake,

The best answer to your questions depends on whether you want to take lessons, what type of music you want to play, whether your goal is to play keyboard or piano, and what your personal comfort level is for non-weighted keys.

Most teachers want at least a digital piano with weighted keys. Some will not even take a student without an acoustic piano. At least that is they way they are here in the US.

If your goal is to play classical music, you want one with weighted keys.

If you are looking to be able to easily transition to an acoustic piano, then you also want one with weighted keys.

Most of the people I talk to on the forums who start with a non-weighted keyboard will want to switch within anywhere from a few months to a year. I think these forums are skewed more towards a piano-centric population, so this is not probably true of a more general population sample.

IMHO, there is a major comfort difference between weighted and non-weighted keys. With non-weighted keys, I am not as comfortable, I do not have the level of control as I do on weighted, and they seem to be jarring to me overall.

The best bet is to go out and try different types to see what you want. Take your time to try as many different kind of keyboards in your price range and make your decision based on that. Even if you can't play, you can still get a feel by playing around on them.

If you do decide to go for a cheaper model without weighted keys, at a minimum make sure that it has touch sensitivy or velocity sensitivity.


#695399 - 01/27/08 08:21 AM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
KeyboardJungle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 52
Loc: Maryland
Jake - What is your budget? You can get instruments for about $1000 that will carry you for many years. If you can afford it, I would recommend that price range as the starting point. Be sure to get weighted keys. Also, auxillary audio output jacks are good because they let you upgrade the sound system later. Some of the lower priced high quality models have acceptable keyboards, but low power amplifiers and small speakers.

Be sure to include the stand, bench, and pedal in your budget, and when you make your purchase, buy everything at once. Most of the manufacturers have set the mimimum price for keyboards. The retailers get around this by selling "bundles" and incouding free shipping. So, you can often get a $1000 KB as a kit that includes the stand, bench, and shipping for just slightly more than $1000.

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#695400 - 01/27/08 11:45 AM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
I would recommend an inexpensive, 61-key,
unweighted portable keyboard. These
can be had for about $150 (US)--make sure
you get one with an AC adapter, because
some of them don't come with one. These
have been around for many yrs., and the
current ones have become very sophisticated
and are not toys--these are real instruments.
They are lightweight and fun to play. You
can play them anywhere: plopped on a
table, on the floor, lying in bed, etc.

Your concerns about losing interest are
valid, because the dropout rate with the
piano is high, especially at your age,
when many other activities beckon. So
try one of these and see how you like it.
These are serious instruments, real pianos,
not toys. Anything you learn on one you can
play on any acoustic piano.

#695401 - 01/27/08 11:59 AM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
Van Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 1215
Loc: S. California
gmm, what new digital pianos are you looking at these days?

#695402 - 01/27/08 12:23 PM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i don't think it's worth it to spend $200 for a keyboard first and half year or 1 year later you'd want to buy a $400-500 DP, which would cost you more actually, while a starting DP of $400-500 would last you at least 2-3 years before you upgrade at all.

i'd suggest you get the cheapest DP, which would last you longer time and be good for training your piano techniques to begin with, which a cheap keyboard won't do.

#695403 - 01/27/08 01:05 PM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Originally posted by Van:
gmm, what new digital pianos are you looking at these days? [/b]
Hey Van - not serious yet, but I do tend to stop off at the music store when at the mall.

I'm torn between a console or a high-end stage piano. It will be digital, that's for sure.

Flirted with some top-end Clav's, but I don't think so, too expensive.

I will get serious around Thanksgiving.

That said, there's a couple of work stations that keep calling me at night....
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

#695404 - 01/27/08 04:27 PM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
Underdog Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 19
I'd recommend getting the cheapest keyboard that you can get that you still like. Just be careful not to get one that you dislike, or it will be a problem.

As I see it, unless you have previous experience you have no way of really knowing what you want - so why spend alot of money on something that you ultimately may dislike?

#695405 - 01/29/08 02:23 AM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
Jake_the_Pianist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 10
Loc: NSW, Australia
I guess it's an investment. but the question is how much i want to put into that investment and whether it will pay off.
I really need something that won't hinder my ability to play at all (eg the keys dont feel right or the sound quality is detereorated) because this would mean the end for piano playing for me because the fun factor will be robbed.

I guess i need to hang around this forum more to get the right information before making the leap.

my budget is anything under maybe $600 (about $500 US)

Thankyou evernone for all the help so far, it is greatly apperecated


EDIT: sorry i forgot to say that i intend to take lessons

#695406 - 01/29/08 06:20 AM Re: How much to spend on first keyboard?
ldav Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 1
Loc: USA
Hi Jake,

Only you can answer the question as to your motivation.

However I cannot see how a crappy sounding instrument

that does not play well would cause you to be more

motivated! My recommendation is that you buy the best

instrument that you can afford. Sometimes you can find a

good deal on a used instrument, but there are some good

deals to be had on new instruments as well.

Here are some things to bear in mind in addition to the

price of the instrument. (1) Does it sound like a piano?

Seems like a no brainer, but you'd be surprised. (2)

Does it have an onboard midi sequncer? Handy if you plan

to make recordings of yourself. (3) Does it have

"weighted keys"? In other words does it feel like a

piano when you play it? (4) Does it have 88 notes? Some

cheaper instruments do not. You are limited as to what

you can play. (5) How does the speaker system sound? Or

does it even have built in speakers? Some stage pianos

have to be connected to an outside amplification system.

(6) How does it look? Is it something you can be proud

to have sitting in your living room?

Check out my home page for a couple of decent articles on the subject.


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