Yesterday I bought a Casio CTK-1200 keyboard. It was listed as a digital piano on Amazon, but it is really a keyboard I guess. Anyway, when I pressed couple keys it didn't really sound like the sound of a real piano.

The problem is that I've never used a keyboard before or learned music. So I'm a COMPLETE beginner and I have absolutely no idea how and where to start learning. I can't afford a teacher of course since I'm a poor student, so I need to learn alone. My main purpose is to learn how to play piano. So I bought this cheap keyboard to learn how to play in general for one year and then probably upgrade to a decent digital piano.

I tried Google and YouTube and then I found this; however it assumes having an 88-kes piano. But I only have 61 keys, so I'm not sure what to do.

I also have no idea what chords, tempo, rhythms, etc. are.

My question:

  1. Can you please give me good places to start learning? Tutorials ... etc? Or even proper Google terms since I'm not a native English speaker.

  2. Also a tutorial that demonstrates the features of a keyboard like mine or a digital piano.

  • 2
    You don't need a full 88 keys to get started with basic skills. For example Twinkle Twinkle Little Star played in the lesson you linked to - could be played on a keyboard with only ten keys. Most of the beginning lessons will use less than the 61. Your 61 keys is like a slice out of the center of the 88 keys so you will be missing the lowest and highest notes but won't need those in the beginning. It looks to me like you found a good place to start learning on YouTube. That video even links to a music theory tutorial. I would start with those YouTube lessons if I were you. Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 16:34
  • @RockinCowboy aha! Then that is why the sound sounds different when I press the left most key and then compare it to the sound of the left most key from that video. So I'm missing those keys then.
    – Jack Twain
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 16:48
  • 2
    I'm guessing it still has the ABC [Auto Bass Chord] switched on, so the bottom maybe 12 notes will play bass &/or chords when you press them. Have to figure out from the manual how to switch it off. Start at casio-intl.com/asia-mea/en/emi/standard/ctk1200/spec if you don't have the manual
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 17:16
  • @Tetsujin I'm not sure what you mean because I'm a complete beginner. But I found that the left most key is the C note.
    – Jack Twain
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 19:41
  • My last comment still stands - if the lower notes make a different sound, you have to figure out how to switch off the ABC
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 19:42

2 Answers 2


I will aim at the original question: How to play things on a shorter keyboard. The positioning of the keys for various sizes of the keybed is the following (click to enlarge):

click to enlarge

(Note that some 73 or 76 keyboards can be slightly shifted.the) That's how you should position your music on the keyboard. The red key is "the middle C" (I made it C3 here, but it's commonly known as C4, and also as C1 on some countries, it's also C1 in LilyPond):

enter image description here

As other say, you likely won't miss the outer keys. If you missed them:

  • For the high notes (ottava 6), there's not much you can do. Only if it's an isolated figure that is only played there, you can simply shift it by one ottava down.

  • For the low notes (ottava -1 and 0), you mostly play only bass notes there, and frankly, not many people notice if you play them in the lowest ottava of your keyboard. I mean, you can shift the lowest notes up by 1 ottava in most cases.

  • this is helpful indeed, because I thought my keyboard starts with note A!
    – Jack Twain
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 18:29
  • @JackTwain It is possible that it's shifted by couple keys, especially for the 6-ottava (73 to 76 keys) it's quite common. But according to images I checked on the internet, your Casio CTK-1200 starts with C1 as I indicate here.
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 18:36
  • Isn't middle C C4?
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 16:08
  • 1
    @Mr.Boy Ah, probably yes. Well, it's the C1 in my country, so it confuses me always. I'll redo the picture.
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Mr.Boy Ok, I made a remark that "you never know which C is C4", I think it should be fine now.
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 16:35

The number of keys is not everything.

From the product website it is very questionable if CTK-1200 has velocity sensitive keys (nothing is written about) and also looks like it does not have any pedals even between optional parts. Your expression will suffer significantly with such a keyboard regardless of the number of keys.

Thinking positively, maybe the keyboard can be a safe, cost efficient way to check if you actually like playing piano enough. The number of keys probably does not matter for that. After a year at most, probably earlier, the teacher will probably suggest you to buy a more high end instrument.

  • 2
    For the record, the OP says the question asker cannot afford a teacher.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 13:12

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