If you’ve always wanted to learn and play blues on the piano, then you may be wondering whether you really need to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a piano to get you started.
Well the simple answer is – no! You don’t have to break the bank on an expensive piano if you want to learn, and a keyboard is perfectly fine for anyone who wants to learn the blues.
What’s the difference between a keyboard and a piano?
A piano typically has more keys than a keyboard. The standard number of keys on a piano is 88, whereas keyboards are typically between 61 and 76. There are also lots of functionality differences between a keyboard and a piano. For example, a keyboard will usually come with hundreds of different voices and rhythms – ranging from piano to guitar, brass to strings and lots more. A keyboard will also have lots of rhythms – swing beats, rock, pop, jazz etc.
An acoustic piano will of course not have these functions; however a digital piano may have some. Typically though not nearly as many, and a digital piano is focused more on the piano sound and feel, and the few additional voices you get are secondary to the main piano sound.
One of the main differences is the feel and weight of the keys. For example, an acoustic or digital piano will have weighted keys and will also be full size. Whereas a keyboard is typically not weighted, and will have a different overall feel when playing.
Will a keyboard be good enough to learn blues piano?
Yes, a keyboard is absolutely fine for beginner to intermediate level. There are some fantastic keyboards available for less than £100 if you are considering getting started but don’t want to spend too much money.
The Rockjam RJ661 is the perfect place to start, and for around £80 you can’t go wrong. For further information on this keyboard and other instruments – click here.
Remember, you don’t need to have 88 keys to play the blues on a keyboard. 61 is more than enough, and it will typically take many years before you stretch outside 61 keys and need more – and even then it isn’t essential!
Additionally, although a piano has weighted keys – again, you don’t need to have weighted keys to get started. For a beginner it won’t matter how the keys feel as it’s all about learning the notes and practicing the foundations required in order to play the blues or boogie woogie – or any style for that matter.
I’ve heard digital pianos are cheap these days – should I buy one instead of a keyboard?
The sound and feel of a digital piano nowadays is far better than it was a few years ago. In the beginning digital pianos were laughed at by the professionals and passed off as cheap toys. But these days the technology is so fantastic that the pros recommend them. From Jamie Cullum to Jools Holland, they don’t just recommend and endorse digital pianos; they even use them to perform live on stage week in and week out!
The great news when it comes to digital pianos is that they are not that expensive any more either. For example, the Yamaha NP12 is only around £140. Or if you want to spend more, look no further than the Yamaha P45 – known as the ‘professional stage piano’, at only £380 you get the full 88 key piano experience.
Gone are the days that you have to spend at least £1,000 to get a piano, and you no longer need four huge blokes to carry it up the stairs for you!