When you’re buying a keyboard piano, there are a number of factors you’ll consider, such as the price, number of keys, etc. But perhaps the most important factor that will directly impact the way you play is whether or not the keys are weighted.
In this guide on weighted keyboards we’ll cover everything from what a weighted keyboard is, why it’s useful, and where you can find the best weighted keyboard.
How Does a Weighted Keyboard Work?
When you play the piano, you need to ensure that the keys are being pressed with enough force to send a hammer into 2-3 strings. When the hammer hits the strings, the note you’ve played can be heard. Each key is connected to the hammer by means of a lever. This is what makes the keys feel weighted.
The difference between weighted and non-weighted keys is quite stark: non-weighted keys spring back instantly when played and can be pressed down more easily than the weighted ones.
What Is a Semi-Weighted Keyboard?
There is an option between the weighted and non-weighted keyboard: the semi-weighted keyboard. The core difference between weighted and semi-weighted keys is that semi-weighted keys offer uniform resistance, whereas weighted keys offer gradual resistance.
Semi-weighted keys are controlled by a spring mechanism that mimics the action of the hammers in the weighted keyboard. They offer a little less resistance when pressed, but the time taken to revert to their original position is slower than with non-weighted keys.
They are suitable for players who don’t require or want the full resistance offered by a weighted keyboard, such as synthesizer musicians. They are ideal for playing sounds and effects that can’t be produced by a piano.
How to Tell if Keyboard Keys are Weighted
It is quite easy to tell if a keyboard is non-weighted: the keys can be pressed down instantly without resistance and they also spring back instantly. On the other hand, weighted keys will be much heavier since they will offer resistance with the help of inbuilt hammer action. The best way to distinguish between the two is to actually test them out in a piano store.
What is More Important: Weighted or Touch Sensitive Keyboard? What is the Difference between the Two?
Touch-sensitive keyboards are generally more popular than weighted ones. This is because you can find different types of touch-sensitive keyboards that offer features such as digital touch response. Their core function is that the force with which you press a key affects the sound level – the harder you press, the louder a sound.
This is quite similar to the way a piano creates sound, which is one reason for its growing popularity. The range of sound allows musicians to get more innovative and create musical masterpieces with the right combination of high and low notes. In fact, many complex songs require you to be able to create this range of sound.
Essentially, if a keyboard is touch-sensitive, it can’t be weighted. Some synths incorporate touch sensitivity in the sense that sensors detect the pressure difference in your touch and alter the level of sound.
Despite allowing you to create music with a range of sounds, touch-sensitive keyboards don’t offer the resistance (that weighted keys offer) that is meant to strengthen your fingers and prep you for playing more advanced instruments, such as a piano.
To get the real feeling of an acoustic piano, you need weighted keys, which is why they are more important than touch-sensitive keys. They enable pianists to understand the amount and type of force they need to apply to the keys to reach the desired level of sound.
How much is a Good Weighted Keyboard?
A brand new, full 88-key keyboard with weighted keys costs around USD $1,000 and up. The price may be a little less for a keyboard with fewer keys or a used keyboard. Keyboards that don’t have authentic parts or parts made from cheaper materials may cost less, but it is advised that if you are getting a weighted keyboard, one from a well-reputed brand is a better investment.
Where Can I Find a Weighted Piano Keyboard Online?
Whenever you’re buying musical instruments online, it’s important to have a verified, authentic source. Some places that you can check out include:
- Amazon (of course)
- Key music
- Piano Mart
- Worldwide Piano Stores
There are many more online stores that provide authentic musical instruments. In fact, you may even find instruments online at discounted prices and save a little money!
Where to Buy a Weighted Key Piano Keyboard in Stores
You can either go to your local music store to look for a weighted keyboard, or, if you don’t have the room in your budget, go to a thrift store or find a friend who is willing to sell theirs.
Why Are Weighted Keys Important?
The best thing about weighted keys is that they emulate the feel of an actual piano. While non-weighted keyboards may seem easier to play and lighter on the pocket, weighted keyboards are a better choice for a long-term investment, especially if you intend to play the piano at some point in the future.
Weighted vs unweighted keys
Weighted keys mimic the keys on an acoustic piano. Unweighted keys are easy to press and immediately spring back. The difference is unmistakable! Make sure that you are aware of which type of keys any keyboard you are considering has.
In general, if your plan is to play an acoustic piano, make sure that your keyboard has weighted keys for the best practice.