If you’ve ever wanted to play the piano or keyboard or more specifically, you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the blues or boogie woogie, then you’ve probably not done so because you’re wondering what to buy.
Should I buy a piano, or will a keyboard be good enough?
The answer to that question is yes, a keyboard will be absolutely fine – and here’s why…
How many keys are there on a keyboard?
The most common number of keys you’ll find on a keyboard is 61, but some go up to 76. A piano has 88 keys, which seems like quite a lot more than a keyboard – but do I really need that many keys to play piano blues?
With a keyboard only having 61 keys compared to the piano’s 88, it would be easy to see why a lot of people are put off buying a keyboard to learn. The biggest misconception with the keyboard is that it’s mainly for children and something bought only for Xmas. However, although keyboards are great for children, they are great for anyone wanting to learn!
What’s the difference between a keyboard and a piano?
There are lots of differences between the two, but it mainly comes down to the amount of keys, the sounds/voices, and the weighting of the keys. A keyboard for instance would usually come with lots of voices like trumpets, guitars, organs, strings, and so on. A keyboard usually also comes with a rhythm function which will allow you to play drum beats.
A piano of course only has the one sound – a piano! The keys are heavier than a keyboard, and are called ‘weighted keys’. When we watch Jools Holland play ‘boogie woogie’ on his grand piano, we often assume that in order to learn that style of music we need to spend thousands of pounds on a piano – but you don’t!
Why choose a keyboard over a piano?
Buying a keyboard instead of a piano has many benefits. First of all there’s the initial cost, and keyboards start from around £60-£100. A real acoustic piano can be anything from £500-£4000, depending on the condition. Baby grand pianos and grand pianos can cost as much as a house!
A keyboard is also much small and lighter, making it far easier to buy, setup and begin to play. You can carry it easily to any room in the house, and it will fit into any corner with ease. You also don’t have to tune a keyboard like you would an acoustic piano, which can cost between £60-£100 per tune – and you should tune a piano at least twice a year!
The additional sounds, voices and rhythms that you get with a keyboard also make them a lot of fun and can be easier to practice on. Playing around with the various different voices and rhythms is great, and when learning to play the blues you can have an absolute blast playing along to the swing or boogie rhythms.
What’s stopping you?
If I had a pound for every time someone said to me, ‘I wish I learned to play the piano’, I would be a very rich man. There are so many people out there that have the urge to play, but don’t ever get around to it. I think the main reason is that they feel they have to buy an expensive piano just to get started – but I know this isn’t the truth.
I have been playing piano and keyboard for over 30 years, and when I play the blues and boogie woogie it always puts a smile on everybody’s faces. Why? Because it’s such a fantastic, feet tapping, hands clapping, get up and dance style of music.
Whether it’s slow blues, fast blues, or boogie woogie – it’s one of the most exciting styles of music to learn and play. If you’re worried about committing to an expensive piano just to see if you can play it – then don’t! Buy a keyboard instead and get playing today…
Click here to see my recommended pianos, with the full range of pricing including good budget buys.