I've been playing guitar for a couple of years now, and I want to try my hand at piano - so to speak.

I'm a little stumped as to what the best instrument for me to choose is, as I've been looking at these two:



One is a keyboard with tons of features, and the other is a digital piano with more keys, and "Graded touch".

Now, I understand that the graded touch makes the keys lighter towards the higher notes, and vice versa, but I don't really know if it's needed.

Likewise, I don't know if the extra keys will be worth it compared to all of the features of the keyboard?

I suspect I'll be playing MOSTLY piano sounds, so I guess in a way you could say that maybe all of the sounds and features of the keyboard could be overkill?

But then again - if the sound quality is better in the keyboard? Not that I'd probably be able to tell the difference much - as I'm not exactly a professional :)

The price is the same, making the choice much more difficult :)

If anyone could give me some advice, it'd be much appreciated!


3 Answers 3


I'm going to answer the general question so that this is not a shopping reccomendation per se (61 un-weighted key keyboard with lots of features vs. 76 graded "soft touch" key keyboard with minimal features).

Arguments for a 61 key, unweighted keyboard (PSR-E423 in your case):

  • This is simple and easy to play, due to the fact that:
    • There are less keys, and
    • The keys are completely unweighted (you do not have to develop finger strength to play this).
  • It has additional fun features beyond being a simple piano.
    • I know I enjoyed playing with the recording / layering abilities, which are still present in this model (and probably much more advanced now).
    • There are pre-built "beats" / song rhythms for you to play along with, which is great for practicing new techniques or ad-libbing.
  • The non-piano voices will likely be of higher quality than they are on the other keyboard you mentioned
    • In my experience, the keyboards with 76 to 88 weighted keys are more focused on the piano sound. The piano will sound great, the other voices will usually sound kind of cheesy.

Arguments against the 76 key, graded "soft touch" keyboard (NP-31 in your case):

  • It only has 76 keys (rather than a full 88). While this is more than the other choice, I don't think it's worth the loss of the other features in your case.
  • It uses graded "soft touch" action (rather than the more natural weighted keys). Once again, this is falling short of a real upgrade, and probably unnecessary for what you're trying to do.
  • It's not nearly as versatile as the PSR. All you really get is a piano sound (and probably some less-than-stellar other voices).

Based on the description of what you're looking to do, I would strongly suggest 61 key keyboard with more features. You are not trying to be a professional pianist, so you don't need something that's going to be like a real piano. Overall, I think you will get much more use out of this option than the other.

  • Oh dear :) Yes, thanks for your input. Although nearly everyone else I heard from, on other forums as well, tell me to drop the keyboard and get the closest thing to a full 88 key piano as possible. Your arguments make sense though, which makes it even harder. I've been looking into two other, more expensive models of digital pianos; the Yamaha NP-V80, 76keys, but with lots of features, and the Casio CDP-120, a full 88key digital piano, but again with limited features. I will probably be focusing a lot on the clean piano sound, and probably classical though. This feels like a difficult choice
    – Dynde
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 7:01
  • @Dynde Oh goodness, I hope I have not over-complicated your decision. If you really are just interested in piano sounds, you might want to step all the way up to a full 88 key digital piano. I was just thinking you would get more mileage out of the smaller, feature-rich one. Just one guys opinion though =) Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 5:02
  • 1
    @jadarnel27 :) Don't worry, it was complicated enough as it is :) I think I may have decided on a Yamaha NP-V80, which as far as I can read is similar to a NP-31, but with nearly all the bells and whistles of a keyboard. Even though many tell me that the 88 key piano is preferred, I think I'll be okay with the 76 keys - at least for now. And Casio vs. Yamaha, as far as I can read, Yamaha is more of a quality product. You did help though, so I'll mark yours as answer, thanks :)
    – Dynde
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 6:18
  • 1
    Less keys doesn't mean easier to play. It means restricted range
    – bobobobo
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 23:28
  • 1
    Call me bobobo. But it's bobobobo bobobo!
    – bobobobo
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 4:30

You need to decide what your goal is.

If your goal is to be a general keyboard player, then a more general keyboard might be your best choice. A keyboard like that:

  • Might have fewer keys than a piano
  • Might have smaller keys than a piano
  • Might not have weighted keys
  • Will have non-piano sounds as "first class" features, not just an afterthought
  • Will have input features that pianos don't have, like aftertouch and pitch bend
  • May not have pedals

None of this means it's not a serious musical instrument. Professional musicians make good music using short, non-weighted keyboards, sometimes with smaller keys than a piano.

However if your goal is to be a piano player, then you'll be held back by anything about your keyboard that doesn't try to imitate an acoustic piano. Assuming your intention is to be able to one day perform on an acoustic piano, you want your learning/practice instrument to be as similar as possible.

  • 88 keys is ideal. 61 keys will be fairly limiting. 76 keys might be an acceptable compromise.
  • Full-size keys are essential.
  • Weighted - or at the very least, "semi-weighted" keys are essential
  • Velocity sensitive keys are essential (any weighted keyboard will be velocity-sensitive)
  • The more accurate the piano sound, the better.
  • Pedals are essential.

One way to go cheaper is to buy a MIDI/USB keyboard controller and use your computer as a sound source.


PSR-E423's keyboard is way way too small. If you are starting piano then you won't need all those knobs and bells, just the keys, so I would concentrate on key quality. Also, 88 keys is preferable for learning — it would be impossible to play e. g. Für Elise on a 5-octave keyboard. If it is possible with NP31 to plug it in as MIDI input into a computer, I would do so and use it through e. g. VMPK (free software) plus some free or proprietary soundfonts made by recording a physical piano.

You would also need a sustain pedal.

  • Thank you for your input. Is the sustain pedal really necessary for a beginner? I actually don't even have a table or a place to but a stand or anything, so I'll be learning with it on my lap on my bed :)
    – Dynde
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 9:59
  • 1
    Yes. Yes, it is. Proper pedal technique is important for pretty much all piano music. (I have seen a few études that don't require a pedal though, and also music that was originally written for harpsichord. But these are exceptions.) Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 12:00
  • I would also highly recommend finding a good sitting position because in wrong position (wrong height, keyboard too close or too far) playing is extremely straining and possibly even damaging to your hands. If you are not tight on budget I would recommend an adjustable piano chair or bench. If you are, a simple kitchen-type IKEA table and a chair with old magazines for height modification would do. This is a diagram on how to choose position: pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Benchheight.JPG Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 12:05
  • Thanks for the input. I realize that there are proper ways of positioning and things like that, and maybe I should get a pedal, but you should know that this is a hobby, I taught myself the guitar on youtube and tabs, and there is probably tons of things I should do differently to do them properly. In that respect, I think I'll be okay with less than ideal positioning, as I'm not going to be the next Beethoven :)
    – Dynde
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 13:38
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    Piano is a bit more complex than guitar, and it involves unobvious, unnatural and counter-intuitive techniques. Learning them by yourself is time-consuming and carries danger of acquiring bad habits instead. (Bad habits are much worse than no habits because they require A LOT of effort to overcome.) I'm not sure if it is possible at all to become a semi-decent pianist without a good teacher. Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 14:18

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