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Electronic Keyboard Buying Guide

Start making music in a matter of minutes with an electronic keyboard. Easier to play, smaller, and less expensive than acoustic pianos, electronic keyboards place an array of sounds and rhythms at your fingertips.

Choose an Electronic Keyboard

Choose an Electronic Keyboard

Electronic keyboards give you a great way to explore music and learn to play an instrument. Different types of electronic keyboards work best for different players. Popular keyboards include everything from Yamaha keyboards, Roland keyboards, and Korg keyboards to keyboards from Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Kurzweil, Casio, and Moog.

Pack up a portable electronic keyboard

Affordable and easy-to-play portable electronic keyboards can go anywhere and you can play them anywhere, even on your lap. Plus, portable electronic keyboards come with built-in speakers, so you’ll have everything you need to be a one-person band or orchestra.

Portable electronic keyboards can produce dozens of instrument sounds and percussion rhythms. Some electronic keyboards even have sampling capabilities, allowing you to record and play back sounds. Higher-end portable electronic keyboards, geared toward more seasoned players, offer more functionality and better sound.

Select a synthesizer

Synthesizers, or synths, are more sophisticated than portable keyboards and utilize cutting-edge technology. Many include a sampler that works like a digital tape recorder, playing back stored digital sounds. Samplers will also record original sounds and play them back. Some synthesizers can also change the waveform of an instrument’s sound and alter it completely.

Synthesizers or samplers that have percussion and rhythm sounds fall in the workstation category. Workstations function like a complete music studio, allowing you to create compositions without additional equipment.

Make the most of MIDI

Many electronic keyboards have Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) capabilities that allow them to communicate with other electronic instruments and computers. If you're strapped for cash, consider a standalone MIDI keyboard controller, which is basically a keyboard without sound. Hook the MIDI keyboard controller up to your computer, play back your music on your computer's built-in sound system, and digitally record your jam sessions.

Play the digital piano

Portable keyboards and synthesizers can approximate the sound of an acoustic piano, but digital pianos sound closer to the real thing. The lower-cost and portable alternative to the acoustic piano makes sense for professional musicians who need to carry their instrument from gig to gig and for novice players who eventually want to graduate to an acoustic piano.

Digital pianos have two or three pedals and require a stand. Aside from realistic piano sounds, most can produce a limited number of other sounds such as organ, vibes, harpsichord, and strings. Most also feature MIDI in and out jacks so that you can connect them to a computer or other MIDI device.

Electronic organs are available as well.

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Evaluate Electronic Keyboard Features

Evaluate Electronic Keyboard Features

From producing a background salsa beat with the touch of a button to recording your own multi-instrumental compositions, electronic keyboards have features that let you do almost anything.

Explore electronic keyboard sounds and rhythms

Electronic keyboards come with an array of sounds, rhythm patterns, and bass lines. Most electronic keyboard models feature the industry standard of 128 acoustic and electronic instruments and 47 prerecorded percussion sounds. The percussion sounds provide the basic rhythms for different types of music, including rock, reggae, and funk.

Higher-end electronic keyboards come equipped with even more sound options, such as specialty sounds, vocal effects, and drum pads.

Dig into digital effects

Digital effects such as reverb, chorus, delay, and even distortion, colour your music. Use distortion to emulate the sound of a guitar playing rock and roll. Pitch benders let you raise or drop the pitch of a note or chord.

Evaluate the electronic keyboard

The keys on an electronic keyboard can come in one of three sizes: mini, organ style, and full size. Smaller-sized keys are appropriate for children and people with small hands. If you hope to one day play an acoustic piano, pick a keyboard with full-sized keys so that you get used to the larger size.

Electronic keyboards will have varying numbers of keys. Most have 61, but you’ll also find keyboards with 49, 76, and a full 88 keys. Digital pianos should always have 88 keys.

Designed to more closely approximate acoustic pianos, weighted keys and touch-sensitive keys on electronic keyboards allow you to play harder or softer and allow more subtle variation in your playing technique.

MIDI means more possibilities

Most electronic keyboards have a MIDI port that allows your keyboard to communicate with your computer and other electronic devices. Some electronic keyboards even allow you to download songs to your keyboard. It's a must-have feature for anyone who likes to DJ or experiment with sound.

With MIDI, you can compose music, transfer it to your computer, and then edit and customize your work until it sounds perfect. Use your electronic keyboard's sequencing capabilities to write, record, and create multi-track recordings.

Teach yourself to play an electronic keyboard

Some electronic keyboards include educational tools, such as tutorials and a sound library, which can help you learn how to play. The song library includes an extensive collection of songs, from old standards to today's hits. Play your electronic keyboard along with your favourites as you become a musician or just sit back and listen for pleasure.

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Buy Accessories for Your Electronic Keyboard

Buy Accessories for Your Electronic Keyboard

Once you know what kind of electronic keyboard you need, buy the right accessories.

  • Electronic keyboard amplifiers: Most electronic keyboards come with two built-in speakers and a two- to six-watt output. Get more power and volume for performances with a keyboard amplifier. Make sure you buy an electronic keyboard that has a proper output.

  • Groove boxes: Groove boxes, made by Roland, are workstations designed for dance music and groove music makers. They feature sequencing and editing functions so that you can create and refine original dance sounds and patterns. Fans of hip-hop, funk, techno, trance, and acid jazz can also take advantage of a groove box’s built-in dance sounds.

  • Electronic keyboard stands & racks: Sometimes your lap or a desktop is all you need to play, but if you own a larger electronic keyboard or play in a band, invest in a stand or rack. Get a stool if you prefer not to stand.

  • Protect your electronic keyboard: Protect your electronic keyboard with a gig bag or case, especially if you plan to take it on the road.

  • Sustain your sound: Like the sustain pedal on an acoustic piano, sustain pedals for electronic keyboards allow a note to play a natural duration, even when your fingers leave a key.

  • Power your electronic keyboard: Remember to buy cables and AC adapters to power your keyboard and connect it to your computer.

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Find Electronic Keyboards on eBay

Find Electronic Keyboards on eBay

Once you know what type of electronic keyboard you want, go to the Musical Instruments portal, click the Electronic Keyboards link under Keyboard, Piano, and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by brand.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find a digital piano, type "digital piano" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Electronic Keyboards With Confidence

Buy Electronic Keyboards With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

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