How Many Keys Are Needed For Beginner Piano/Keyboards?

The piano is one of the oldest and most notable and loved instruments in the history of the world. With that being as it is, thousands of people start learning how to play the piano every day. And if you’re a total newbie in the piano world, things can get quite confusing.

First of all, there are different sizes of keyboards you can buy. Usually, the question is if you should get 88 or 61 keys on a keyboard? Of course, there is no one true answer, as all keyboard configurations have their ups and downs and in this article. However, we are going to present all of them to you, so you can compare them and decide what is the best solution for yourself.

How Many Keys are on a Beginner Piano Keyboard?

If you’re a beginner you should consider getting at least a keyboard with 61 keys . These keyboards have a 5octave range with one added key. Though, if you have the budget, it is still worth getting an 88-key keyboard, as you will want to progress with this later. And, it’s fun!

When you go shopping for a keyboard you will notice that most of the keyboards are separated by having 61 or 88 keys. Smaller keyboards do exist, especially if you’re buying electronic equipment, but they are mostly used for DJing and electronic music and not for a standard piano playing as they usually have just two or even one octaves of keys.

How Many Keys are on a Piano?

Most pianos today have an 88-key keyboard to accommodate full 7 octaves plus three additional notes on both ends of the keyboard. Of course, you can get bigger keyboards with specialized keys, but those are used strictly by professionals who know what they’re doing and why they need those added octaves and keys.

88 keys keyboard is a standard classical piano keyboard. Whether you’re buying an acoustic or electronic piano/keyboard, you won’t make a mistake if you buy this setup. They are of course pricier, but you can never have too many keys on your keyboard and you will be able to play literally anything you want.

1. Korg SP170SBK2 | 88-Key Digital Piano

Korg’s 88-key keyboard is a no-nonsense, great quality beginner keyboard.

It is meant to mimic the acoustic piano feel and sound, and it does that great. This is a standard 88 keys (A0-c8) keyboard with natural weighted hammer action (three levels of weight), providing you with the weighted feel of an acoustic piano playing. This is really important for a beginner because if you start learning on unweighted keys, you’re likely going to bring the bad posture to the more advanced weighted keyboards once you get there.

As for the options, you can choose from 10 different preset sounds and also use chorus and rever effects. It works on a standard power supply and it packs MIDI out as well as two headphone jacks, so both you and your teacher can listen at the same time at what you’re playing. This is a great, mid-range price piano that will last you for decades if you decide to buy it.

2. Alesis Recital | 88-Key Digital Piano

A very affordable 88-key keyboard.

The Alesis Recital is a more modern looking digital piano. Keys are full-sized and semi-weighted, allowing for learning the proper way how to play the piano. You can also set up to three different levels of stiffness in the keys and match your own playing style.

As for the connectivity, it has stereo AUX output, two 1/4” jacks for sustain pedal and headphones and USB-MIDI connection jack, allowing you to use this both as a piano and as a MIDI controller. As for the power, you can connect it to the power supply or use batteries to power it. All in all, this is a great, affordable keyboard for anyone looking to get an all-in-one product that can be used for years to come.

3. Roland GO-61P | 61-Key Digital Piano

A high-quality 61-key keyboard.

There are several versions of the GO-61 model, depending on what you need in terms of controller settings and MIDI options but here we chose the Piano model which is the sleekest and compact classical piano model out there.

This model has 61 semi-weighted keys, but they give out nice resistance when playing and you can learn how to feel the keys similarly as on the acoustic piano. You can also set up the sensitivity of the keys. Inside you can find some of the best Roland piano sounds, so if sound quality is big for you, then this is your keyboard.

As for the connectivity, you get 3.5mm jacks for output and you can use batteries for power supply. Also, the great thing is the Bluetooth connection, through which you can connect your phone and play it through the speakers. This is a great, small, cheap keyboard for beginners to start practicing.

Understanding the Keys on a Piano Keyboard

But to get to that, we need to get to the question of how the piano actually works. As you probably already know, the piano keyboard has black and white keys which you press in order to hit different notes. These keys are connected to the hammers that hit the strings (on the acoustic piano) and produce the sound we hear. And how are the keys distributed and how do we know which key hits which note?

Throughout history, the piano has evolved over the centuries to the instrument it is today. And one of the key changes to the instrument was made when the black keys were added in that particular 2-3 order. And to get to why it was done, we have to understand how the notes on a piano work.

White keys hit the standard notes we all know on a major scale. That means C D E F G A B C is sequentially spread over the keyboard, repeating in that manner one after another. But, as you probably already know, there are also semitones you can play, with notes being sharp (C#) or flat (Cb). So, to allow for the piano players to add the semitones, black keys were added and somebody smartly took and arranged them in order of how they go on a scale. And that’s the reason why we today have a full 12 keys octave in that order, repeating itself on a keyboard from left to right from lower to higher tones.


We hope that this article has helped you inform on different types of keyboards. Whatever your choice might be, if you’re a beginner, you won’t make a mistake, that’s for sure. The main thing is to just practice and keep playing and everything else will come to the place after that.

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