Yamaha Keyboard Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Model For You


I will help you decide what Yamaha keyboard to buy. The one you buy will depend on various factors like your age, how new you are to the piano/keyboard, how serious you are about playing, your individual preference and style, your budget, what exactly you need a keyboard for, and so on. If I were speaking to you in person or via chat, I would ask you questions to better understand your needs. However, I promise that despite not having this convenience of addressing you and only you, you will find something in this article that will benefit you and help you choose a keyboard.

There are so many keyboards on the market, how will you know what to choose? This is where I come in. If you’re searching for a keyboard, Yamaha has one for you. Yamaha is my favorite keyboard brand and in my opinion, there is no need to go through every brand, wasting time, searching and searching. Just go with Yamaha. That’s how I see it. I simply stick to Yamaha. They sell the most keyboards anyway, particularly because they are the number one brand for beginner keyboards. But they also manufacture high end keyboards, the best on the market, such as the Yamaha Montage and Motif which is right up there with any other leading keyboard from the other brands.

I will start by taking a look at beginner keyboards. Let’s say you’re a parent in search of a keyboard for your child who is under the age of 10. What keyboard should you buy. There are several options. If it’s a child about the age of 5 or less, in my opinion, you may buy one of Yamaha’s lighted keyboards, like the Yamaha EZ-220. Why do I say so? It’s because it’s a fun keyboard. At that age, music should seem like some sort of game for your child. The lights are a lot of fun and encourage learning. Your child can follow lighted keys and play songs. This keyboard comes at a good price as well. It sells for about US$299 and comes with a stand and headphones. You may be able to get it for less. It has touch sensitive keys (which means that it responds to how fast or slow you strike the keys) and that is very important in any keyboard. I would never buy a keyboard without touch sensitive keys for anyone. Like most entry level Yamaha keyboards, this keyboard comes with the Yamaha Education Suite that helps you learn how to play.

When choosing a keyboard for a child, it’s usually wise to buy a keyboard that sells for a few hundred bucks and no more. Why? It’s because you are not sure whether the child will continue playing for years to come. Unless money is no barrier, you should buy a cheaper model. You don’t want to have an expensive keyboard collecting dust and no one plays it. This is how I see it, but there are so many variables involved that I cannot tell you exactly what to do. Who knows, you may not mind having an expensive keyboard sitting around to add to the decor of your house, just as some people buy a piano and it is hardly ever played. It’s up to you.

One thing to keep in mind when buying a Yamaha keyboard is that the more you pay the better it gets. The higher price is for a reason. Having said this, even if you’re not on a tight budget, it’s pointless buying the most expensive keyboards like the Yamaha Motif or the Yamaha Montage series if you will never use their features. It’s a waste of money to buy such expensive keyboards for a beginner (over 3 grand) unless you’re very rich. But if you see a keyboard selling for let’s say, $299 and the other is for $399, if one hundred dollars won’t hurt you, you can bet that you’re better off with the one for $399.

The lighted keyboard is just one option for a child or beginner. Actually, the PSR-E models are more popular. For about $119.99, you can get a . This is Yamaha’s entry-level portable keyboard and along with the , this is the cheapest option available to you as far as brand new keyboards are concerned. One limitation with this keyboard is that it is not touch sensitive. In other words, it doesn’t respond to how fast or slow you press the keys; the volume stays the same no matter how fast or slow you press the keys. I hate this. But if you’re on a budget, you’re better off with this one than nothing at all. It’s better to get this keyboard, see how you love to play, and graduate to something more advanced, than to buy nothing and never discover your passion for keyboard, piano and music in general.

Let me explain something as we move on. Some Yamaha keyboards have different names but they are not really different. For instance, the Yamaha PSR-E253 and YPT-255 are pretty similar. The only real difference is their looks. They do exactly the same thing. If you see a YPT keyboard and a PSR-E keyboard that sells at the same price, they are essentially the same keyboard and you can buy any one of the two. Yamaha simply sells them under different names to different markets. Don’t spend time bothering yourself with this. You are free to buy either the Yamaha PSR-E253 or the Yamaha YPT-255. Which one do you like to see? Buy that one. It really makes no difference as far as the capabilities and features of the keyboards.

The same thing applies to the DGX and YPG series. There is no real difference between the Yamaha DGX and YPG series. It’s simply different names being used depending on the country or distribution channel. Again, similar price is a good indicator that it’s really the same keyboard.

So let’s move on. We already mentioned the Yamaha PSR-E253. The other option available to you, if you want a better keyboard for a student or beginner, is the . This sells for more: US$179.99. It’s a better keyboard, as the price suggests. It has a touch-sensitive keyboard, unlike the PSR-E253, and this is one reason to buy it over the PSR-E253. If you can afford it, why not get a for $279.99? The PSR-E453 is great for beginners, but even more advanced players will find it to be a pretty good keyboard for its low price. As I said earlier, keyboards get better with price, so it’s all up to you. The ultimate decision is yours. The PSR-E453 has several extra features that makes it a better keyboard than the lighted keyboard I mentioned earlier, as well as the PSR-E253 and PSR-E353.

Another thing to bear in mind when buying an entry-level or beginner keyboard is the number of keys it has. The keyboards we have looked at all come with 61 keys. If you’re a beginner, learning to play the keyboard, these are enough keys. 88 keys are always better, but 61 will suffice. This is because beginners usually play in the middle part of the keyboard. They can do without these higher or lower keys for now. For that matter, even advanced players buy 61 keyboards. For advanced players, 61-key keyboards have many advantages like portability. Also, when playing with a band, the bass player already plays the lower notes, so you having 88 keys is not always necessarily. 61-key keyboards are also great as a top keyboard for keyboard player who use two keyboards; the 61-key keyboard can be used at the top, and a 76-key or 88-key keyboard can be used below.

More keys will give you more range. You may want to get a keyboard with more keys (76 keys) like the or the for about $250. In addition to having more keys, another advantage that this keyboard has is semi-weighted piano-style keys. The keys of the piano are heavy, unlike the PSR-E and EZ models we looked at earlier. Therefore, choosing the DGX or YPG models is a great way for a beginner to start getting used to heavy keys. Bear in mind that this is not a must. When I started playing, I started on light keys. When I played an acoustic piano, it was like I could hardly play because of the vast difference in the weight of the keys, but I soon get used to it. The Yamaha DGX230 and YPG-235 keyboards have many other useful features such as a built-in recorder.

A much better 76-key keyboard, although it doesn’t come with piano-styled semi-weighted keys is the . This one sells for about $399.99. This is the top of the line keyboard in the PSR-E series, much better than the ones we looked at earlier. Should you buy a PSR-E453 or a PSR-EW400? The difference is that the EW400 has 76 keys (not 61), a more substantial speakers system than the PSR-E453, as well as an AUX input. Learn more about this keyboard.

We already looked at the 76-key YPG model. But what if 76 keys are not enough and you need 88, similar to a full piano keyboard? One option is the . It comes with semi-weighted keys, which means that the keys are in between the weight of the keys of an acoustic piano and the light key keyboards we have seen before. This will help the beginner gain a level of strength in their fingers and get close enough to the real thing. It is also easier to play than the piano whose keys are heavy. It sells for $499.99. If this is within your budget, it’s one option you may consider. It’s great as a home piano keyboard. Learn more about its features. One great thing about this keyboard is that it has a full 88 key keyboard. You are not limited by number of keys. But bear in mind, that if you want an actual weighted keyboard like an acoustic piano, you shouldn’t buy this one. You can consider the Yamaha P-45 which has a fully weighted keyboard, sells for $449.99 and is ideal for the beginner piano student. Yamaha has several other higher priced weighted-key digital piano options such as the Yamaha P-115, P-255, Arius YDP and CP series.

So since we’re on the topic of digital pianos, let’s go right ahead and consider our options. I have reached a point where I am fed up of light weight keyboards. I like them as top keyboards for playing non-piano voices but this is about it. My focus is on piano. I am not ready to buy an acoustic piano as yet and therefore my best bet is a digital piano. I want the feel of a real piano on my fingers. I want to feel like I am playing a real acoustic piano. I find that the lighter keys are limiting. I want to be able to express myself fully. I feel so much better when I am playing an acoustic piano or a digital piano with weighted keys. Maybe you’re like me, or maybe you are a student who wants the closest thing there is to a real piano. If you are, Yamaha has a digital piano that suits your needs. Budget will play a huge part in the one you choose.

Let’s take a look at digital pianos. If you want the closest thing there is to an acoustic piano this is it. As a matter of fact, digital pianos have several advantages over acoustic pianos, such as headphone capabilities (which means you can play and not disturb anyone), they are easier to record from, they do not need to be mic’d, they cost a lot less, they are portable and take up less space, and so much more.

I love the . My brother who is also a piano player owns one, I’ve played it a lot and really love its acoustic and electric piano sounds in particular. It sells for about 600 US dollars brand new. There are other keyboards in the P series as I mentioned earlier. There’s the , if you’re looking to save a bit. If you don’t mind spending the money, you can go all in and get the for around US$1300, new. “With its graded hammer-action keybed and Yamaha’s Pure CF sampling of the CFIIIS concert grand piano, the P-255 is the pinnacle of the renowned P series.”

There’s also the which is great for the stage and sells for about US$2300. There’s quite a few Yamaha digital pianos to choose from. Price is a great indicator of value. Spend time reading reviews and watching YouTube videos on the one you may be interested in. As a serious/professional player, it’s worth it to learn everything you can about your potential investment. You want no disappointments. If you want a digital piano for your home, one that not only sounds great but fits perfectly, you may look into the YDP series, such as the , and .

If you’re in search of a synthesizer, you may look into the MOXF series. This series is packed with world-class MOTIF XF sounds and effect, a flash board option slot, and MIDI and audio over USB. You can choose between the and . The MOXF6 sells for about US$1200 and has 61 keys, while the MOXF8 has a full 88-key weighted keyboard and sells for 500 more. If you’re on a tight budget, you may check out the MX or MM models.

Are you ready to take things to the next level? I wrote about the Yamaha Montage here. This is the new Yamaha flagship synthesizer. It is said to be a replacement for the Motif XF, although the XF is a workstation and this one isn’t. You have a choice between the 61-key Montage 6 which sells for about US$3000, the 76-key Montage 7 for about US$3500 and the 88-key Montage 8 for about US$4000, online. Clearly, this Yamaha keyboard has a high price tag. Learn more about the Yamaha Montage in my review, here.

For further reading on choosing a Yamaha keyboard that meets your needs, go here. You will find guides to choosing various categories of Yamaha musical keyboards, including Yamaha portable keyboards, PSR keyboards, DGX keyboards, YPG keyboards, YPT keyboards, digital pianos, Yamaha Tyros, Yamaha Motif, Yamaha arranger keyboards and more.

I trust that you found this post useful. I hope you can find a keyboard that meets your needs.