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Keyed Up: 5 Awesome Keyboards for Beginners

If you're a budding keyboardist – or an aspiring one – no doubt you've looked at tons of brands and models, trying to figure out which one might be best. While the pro models are certainly worth investing in, finding your way around a simpler board while you're still learning the keyboardist's tricks of the trade can help you master a more complex one later on. Here are five of the best keyboards for beginners.

Yamaha S03

The Yamaha S03, while being one of the older models of synthesizers, nevertheless is on par with other brands of its generation. This easy-to-navigate synth features sixty-one keys, over seven hundred different voices across three patch banks, drum kits, and MIDI capability with an interface included. The backlit screen is easy to read and navigate, allowing the player to easily switch between voices on the fly – and the keys feature smooth and dynamic-sensitive action.

Casio CTK-6200

This keyboard comes loaded with all kinds of brilliant features, including sixty-one keys, a CD/MP3 player interface for play-along, MIDI capability, and seven hundred patches. Fairly lightweight, the Casio CTK-6200 also makes an excellent touring keyboard for musicians who play keys live. It also includes a metronome function, an arpeggiator, and a pitch bend wheel capable of up to twenty-four different semitones on the same note.

Axus Digital AXP25

A more obscure brand but no less for all that, the Axus Digital AXP25 is an excellent board for the true beginner. Featuring sixty-one keys, three hundred patches, a sturdy sheet music stand, and built-in lessons – an ideal board for the budding pianist or those who want to teach themselves keys. The AXP25 also features USB connectivity for MIDI control via a software interface, a sustain pedal, and headphones output.

Yamaha PSR-e353

This basic, lightweight keyboard model is nevertheless chock-full of advantageous features for the aspiring keyboardist, including the Yamaha Education Suite with several stages of successive learning and more than a hundred built-in songs, nearly six-hundred voices, and MP3 player hookup for play-along. Like the S03, the PSR helps to bridge the gap between pro-quality sound and affordability.

Nord Electro 3

A standard in the goth industrial community and a must-see for those interested in modular synths, the Nord Electro 3 features sixty-one or seventy-three keys. With hundreds of voices, a sample editor, and a wide range of sound effects, the Nord Electro 3 is a fantastic keyboard that still caters to the beginner while allowing a huge range of creativity in sound creation.

Each of these boards has something different to offer – and for the musician on a budget, also offer up great bang for the buck. If you're an aspiring or beginning keyboardist, consider one of these boards – and even once you've become a polished keys player, one of them might still end up on one of your albums!

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