When you are looking for starter keyboards; whether it is for you, your child, a family member or a friend, you are struck with a huge variety of different instruments. All the instruments providing different features that you may or may not need. We receive lots of enquiries every day to help people find the best keyboard for them.
In this article, I will be describing the best starter keyboards. I have selected 5 slightly contrasting instruments with the most common features you may be looking for. Please leave a comment or contact me directly if you would like some further advice.
In no particular order, the top 5 starter keyboards in my opinion are:
1. Axus Digital AXP25 Touch Sensitive Electronic Keyboard
2. Casio CTK-1500 Portable Keyboard
3. Yamaha PSRE363 Electronic Keyboard
4. Casio CTK-6200 61 Note Piano Style Keyboard
5. Yamaha Piaggero NP32 76 Note Keyboard
• Price range (rated from £ to £££) – £
• Main features – 61 touch sensitive keys, 32 note polyphony, 300 voices and 200 styles, 100 songs and 10 demo songs. Includes a lesson and dictionary function, record/playback and an inbuilt metronome.
• Accessories – supplied with a DV12V power adaptor and a music rest. Other accessories sold separately (or as part of the upgraded package). Features sustain pedal, headphone and USB port connectivity.
• Best suited for – beginner on a budget, self-teaching, recording, small spaces, silent practice and the mobile musician
Firstly, the Axus AXP25 is a great value keyboard, that has been really popular among beginners. It features a touch sensitive 61 note keyboard that simulates the natural response to touch similar to a piano. The keyboard is great looking and features a wide range of voices and accompaniment styles. It is ideal for exploring the creative opportunities of a keyboard. To top this off, it features a lesson function and a chord dictionary to enable self-teaching.
• Price range (rated from £ to £££) – £
• Main features – 61 full size keys, 120 orchestral and synth tones, 70 built-in rhythms, 100 built-in songs, LCD Screen, built in effects for ‘Dance Music Mode’, headphone socket for silent practice
• Accessories – AD-E95100 power adapter sold separately.
• Best suited for – the younger player, self-teaching, music therapy, silent practice, portability, first introduction to music.
Another fantastic value keyboard, perfect for a beginner. Step up lesson function on this keyboard is what makes it stand out to younger players and children. Self-teaching has never been so easy! The CTK-1500 has 120 orchestral and synth tones and 70 rhythms built-in. The teaching library offers 100 lesson songs, which means you will not get bored. All this is shown on an LCD screen to make the lessons even easier. This would be the ultimate choice for the younger player to teach your child the basics of playing the keyboard.
• Price range (rated from £ to £££) – ££
• Main features – 61 full sized piano style touch sensitive keys, 574 voices and 165 accompaniment styles, inbuilt 9 step lesson function, powerful speaker system, USB connectivity and a headphone input
• Accessories – power adaptor and music rest included.
• Best suited for – beginners, younger players, anyone who enjoys the different creative features of an electronic keyboard, perfect for self teaching, small spaces and portability.
The PSRE363 has a whole lot of opportunities to offer at any budget and any level of ability. With 61 touch sensitive, piano style keys this will be perfect for a beginner. Featuring a Yamaha 9 step lesson function for self teaching. Offering 574 voices and 165 accompaniment styles, this keyboard will also impress a more experienced player. It will definitely go the distance, allowing your playing style to constantly grow and develop. No matter what sort of different creative sounds you wish to explore, you can always instantly return to the Portable Grand feature for that expressive and pure classical piano sound.
• Price range (rated from £ to £££) – ££
• Main features – 61 full size ‘box style’, touch sensitive keys, 700 orchestral and synth tones, 210 accompaniment rhythms including 10 new ethnic styles, LCD Screen, pitch bend wheel, audio input for connection to CD or MP3 player, headphone socket, 5 song 17 track recording system
• Accessories – music rest and a power adaptor included. Also available as a pack with a stand and headphones.
• Best suited for – keen beginner, wanting to achieve a professional sound, silent practices, songwriting and arranging, recording, portability and small spaces
If there was a keyboard that has all the features to meet every beginner’s needs, this is the one! The Casio CTK-6200 61 Note Keyboard features piano style, touch sensitive keys, and a natural piano sound. Perfect for those of you who may want to move on to a full size piano in the future. An extremely versatile instrument, this Casio model also features 700 voices and 210 accompaniment rhythms. You will never get bored. To complete it, CTK-6200 features quality built in speakers, audio input for CD or MP3 player and 5 song, 17 track recording system.
• Price range (rated from £ to £££) – £££
• Main features – authentic piano tone, slim design, 76 note graded soft touch keyboard, built-in stereo speaker system, 64 note polyphony, 10 voices, built-in metronome, works both with an adaptor or battery power, USB to Host, headphone socket, power adaptor connection and sustain pedal connectivity.
• Accessories – music rest and power adaptor available. 2 different colours – black or white available as a pack with a double braced stand and headphones
• Best suited for – for a potential pianist on a budget or in need of a portable keyboard and beginners looking for a more classical style keyboard
Finally… For those of you who would like yourself or your child to potentially undertake piano, but don’t want to spend too much just yet or want to save some space in your home, NP32 is the perfect choice for you. It is almost half way between a keyboard and a stage piano with 76 graded, soft touch keys which offers you a slightly weighted feel and the extra number of notes allow more freedom. The very classic look and the authentic piano sound will impress everyone and create that light and pure tone wherever you are. With an included power adaptor, this piano-style keyboard also operates on just 6 AA batteries, which means you can take it anywhere! And yet, it still features 10 different voices, 10 piano demos, USB connectivity and a transpose function for when you want your creativity to shine.
I hope that you have found something you were looking for in this article about starter keyboards. In my opinion, all of these starter keyboards are great beginner instruments that can really go the distance. The questions; what you are looking for? how much money you are looking to spend? and do you need all the different voices and styles? or are simply looking for something a bit more traditional? Another relevant thing is how important the inbuilt lessons are to you.
I would say, for a complete beginner, the likes of Axus AXP25, Casio CTK-1500 or Yamaha PSRE363 would all be perfect as the in-built lesson functions will help you learn by yourself, especially if you feel like you want to build up your confidence before seeking a keyboard teacher. Also, the AXP25 and PSRE363 keyboards will have touch responsive keys, allowing more expression while playing.
If a piano-style feel is what you are looking for, Yamaha PSRE363, Casio CTK-6200 or Yamaha NP32 would all be perfect as they will have a very pure and natural piano sound, with a touch responsive keyboard and, NP32 will even have slightly weighted keys – as far as starter keyboards go, they really do have a great feel.
If the creative features, different sounds and rhythms are what really excite you, I would recommend the Yamaha PSRE363, or Casio CTK-6200 starter keyboards. You will never get bored with either of these and the PSRE363 even has an in-built lesson function. To top that off, both of these keyboards will have a world of options to offer that will even impress a more experienced player.
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