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How Many Keys On A Keyboard?

By Matthew Vultaggio

October 3, 2022

If you’re a beginner looking to invest in your first keyboard, you probably have plenty of questions.

One of the biggest questions beginners ask themselves is, does the number of keys on the board really matter? 

And yes, believe it or not, they do.

How Many Keys On A Keyboard?

While choosing a keyboard with more or less keys won’t significantly affect your learning process, it can influence what kind of music you play, especially if you’re serious about upping your game and becoming a skilled pianist. 

So, how many keys are on a keyboard, and how do you choose the right amount of keys for you? Keep reading to find out. 

How Many Keys On A Keyboard?

If you’re new to all things keyboard related, it’s important to know where to start. Most keyboards include 88 keys, which is the standard for most models.

However, beginners are often advised to try a keyboard with a minimum of at least 61 keys. 

It’s possible to buy keyboards with less than 61 keys. However, these are used mostly for electronic music and DJing, and they’re not your standard piano or keyboard.

These keyboards usually only have two, or sometimes just one, octave key. 

If you’re a beginner, there’s no written rule that states you HAVE to buy a 61-key keyboard.

In fact, if you want a keyboard that you can ‘grow’ into and develop your skills with, buying an 88-key keyboard may be the best decision for you.

You can progress with these keyboards, and you won’t be restricted or have to reinvest in another model later.  

Do Keyboards And Pianos Have The Same Amount Of Keys? 

Most pianos will have 88 keys, which is also the standard for most keyboards.

88 key pianos include all seven octaves and an extra three notes on both ends of the board.

It’s also possible to buy keyboards and pianos with extra and more specialized keys.

However, these are used exclusively by professionals, and as an amateur player, there’s no real need to use one. 

An 88-key keyboard is your typical standard classical piano setup.

So, whether you want to buy an electric keyboard or an acoustic piano, choosing an 88-key keyboard is a great way to go.

However, these are often more expensive than 61-key keyboards. The biggest advantage, though, is that you’ll have more keys to learn and play with and, as a result, more musical styles to try. 

Should I Get A Piano Or A Keyboard? 

Here’s another big conundrum beginners may struggle with – should you buy a piano or a keyboard? Before you make a decision, there are a few factors to consider.

Keyboards

First off, keyboards are the most affordable way to get started. Even an 88-key keyboard will be cheaper than investing in an 88-key piano.

So, if you’re working with a tight budget, a keyboard is almost always the best way to go.  

However, if it’s that authentic piano sound you’re after, nothing quite beats the real thing.

Keyboards are also often designed to function as synthesizers, so they may come with extra sounds and rhythm tracks.

While this may be appealing to some users, it can deter others. Unfortunately, most keyboards also don’t have weighted keys.

If you want to upgrade to a piano at some point, this can affect how smoothly you adjust to the transition. 

Another big benefit to using a keyboard, though, is portability.

Getting a piano in and out of your home and even moving it to different rooms can be a real challenge.

If you buy a keyboard, you’ll benefit from using equipment that’s lightweight and portable, so you won’t be as restricted as you would be with a piano. 

If you buy a keyboard, make sure you also buy a bench and a keyboard stand to use. Using your keyboard on your lap or at a table is unlikely to help you get accustomed to the feel of a piano.

You should also ensure that your bench and table are at the correct height, and your arm from wrist to elbow should be completely parallel to the floor. 

Piano

Pianos are much larger than keyboards, but you will get an authentic experience.

Learning on a real piano is often the best way to develop your skills, and you’ll get used to the weight of the keys and the layout of the real thing.

You’ll also get a level of responsiveness from a piano that you won’t get with keyboards.

However, you will have to make a larger initial investment and also have to consider tuning and maintaining your instrument, which can be frustrating (and expensive) in the long run.

You won’t face this issue with keyboards, as they’re already turned and will not lose their tune over time.  

Digital Pianos

If you’re not feeling particularly drawn to either option, there is a middle ground we’ve yet to explore – digital pianos.

Although a digital piano can’t completely mirror the experience of playing an acoustic piano (nothing can!), these often come a lot closer than keyboards. 

Digital pianos are designed to sound as close to acoustic pianos as possible, and what’s more, they often have weighted keys to offer resistance and mimic the feel of acoustic piano keys.

Digital pianos are available in 61 and 88-key setups. 

However, digital pianos are a much pricier investment than keyboards. Although they’re not as expensive as acoustic pianos, they’re pretty close.

So, you’ll need to be serious about learning the piano before you buy one. 

The Bottom Line

Keyboards are a fun, practical instrument, especially if you want to learn the piano one day.

Most keyboards and pianos come with between 61 and 88 keys, but they offer slightly different playing experiences. 

Before you invest in a keyboard, take some time to consider other options, such as digital pianos and acoustic pianos, so you can choose the correct instrument for you.

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Facebook Ads For Spotify Success

Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.

This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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