How Not to Overbuy When Keyboard Shopping

apostolicchurch apostolicmusician churchmusic hgrmusic keyboard pianoplayer shopping upcimusic worshipmusic Apr 01, 2022

This probably isn’t what you’re expecting me to say…buying a new keyboard won’t make you play better!

  The reason I start with this statement is because the majority of comments I hear about buying a new keyboard is because “our keyboard at the church isn’t good enough”

 …or “it’s old and need to be updated”

 Not to ruffle any feathers but I played the same keyboard for 24 years!!!! (I had it from the time I started seriously playing in church until I was 39!)

 Ok, we can chalk part of that up to being a creature of habit and a major if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it personality…

 But the principle is this…

 The reason I wasn’t always pining after a new keyboard is because I was focused on doing things to make my playing better.

 That’s what I mean when I say a piano won’t make you play better.

 The real secret is…. you have to practice.

  If you’re depending on a keyboard to make you sound better, that won’t cut it!

 Let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty and talk about ways to make your playing better.

  1. Stop trying to be an overachiever: Let’s face it, comparison will get you nowhere. In fact, it’s a quick way to get discouraged! “Put on the blinders” and start working on making your playing better. Play songs you already know in different keys, put that new chord you’ve learned in every song you know, or play in a key that scares you!
  2. Practice more. I’m not talking about an hour a day. You’ll be surprised at how 15 minutes will give you playing a little boost.
  3. Don’t quit! Every time you stop, you get rusty. Then when you pick your playing back up, it’s like you’re starting over. Find a routine that works for you and stick with it. And on weeks or days that you fall off the bandwagon, don’t be discouraged, just jump back on the next week.


Thanks for coming to my TED talk now I’ll get back to keyboards…

 Here’s how you know if it’s time to buy a new keyboard:

  1. You don’t have a keyboard
  2. The keyboard you have is broken / unfixable 
  3. It has old technology that won’t work with your computer (this was my reason)

               (I will give you tips at the end)

New keyboard players- scroll to the bottom to see your guide to finding a keyboard (it’s different)


(if you’re super techie or good at searching on YouTube, you can find ways to download new sounds for your keyboard)


We finally bought a new keyboard for our church, here’s why…. For the 5 years I had been there the keyboard would detune itself in the middle of playing. It happened during worship service, while playing background music and during altar call….SO EMBARRASSING! It would also randomly play a key very loud, on its own, when no one was touching it!!! I had taken it to get fixed about 3 times and no one could find or even replicate the problem. (I knew they thought I was crazy!) What’s a girl to do? So I started searching for a new keyboard that would fit the needs of our church.


When you’re looking for a keyboard:

  1. Don’t overbuy - a keyboard workstation is going to be state of the art and probably the most money you can spend. It also has a lot of features you will not use. I have been to many churches that have, for example, a Korg Workstation but only use it for the keyboard sound…. ***cringe***
  2. Decide what you need - Most church keyboard players need a keyboard with 
    1. A good piano sound
    2. A sustain pedal port that plugs in the back (not a button)
    3. A strings or pad sound they can layer
    4. Weighted keys (I’ll talk more about this in a minute)
  3. Do your research - Ask other musicians what keyboard they use, look up keyboard recommendations on YouTube and shop around on the internet for the best price.

 I knew I wanted to go with the Nord brand. I liked their sounds, the ability to update and load sounds and how user friendly it was. Most churches I had seen had the Nord 3 which was super cool but has a lot of features I doubt most people use. Since Nord has several different options, I had to figure out what was going to work best for us!

 While you want a keyboard that has weighted keys, did you know there are different types of weighted keys? I’ve seen a lot of musicians I admire using Nords and I marveled at their ability to play seemelesy and the great sound that Nord produces. It definitely sounded better than my old tinny keyboard! I also noticed that they played circles around me when it came to 1 finger runs…up and down the keyboard. It took me a while to realize that some of these musicians were not playing on fully weighted keys….which made playing these runs a lot easier!! I’ve always been staunch on playing with fully- weighted keys, but also struggled with playing these fills without making mistakes. This is just my observation but I think that switching to semi-weighted keys is what made the difference! (Although, I’m sure there’s a piano maestro out there who can play anything they want on the weighted keys of a grand piano…..that’s not me!)


After a few weeks of research, I decided that our church needed the Nord Piano 4. It had great piano and rhodes sounds and also the ability to layer strings or pads. Since we had built a relationship with our local Guitar Center, we were able to get a good price. 


Now it was time for me to buy a new keyboard for my home office. Since I run an online piano lesson business, I was needing a new keyboard that I could hook up to my computer. You can imagine my keyboard that was purchased in 1998 wasn’t cutting it. I had frustrated myself trying to make it work with technology. For months I spent hours trying to figure it out. I was already sold on the Nord brand but even Nord has many options. I finally settled on the Nord Electro 6D because I needed…. 1. A good piano sound 2. Pads and strings to layer 3. I also wanted to be able to practice the organ at home. This keyboard includes drawbars. You can also purchase a leslie switch and foot pedals. The downside is that the keyboard is 73 keys instead of 88. I do miss the extra keys and found myself trying to play keys that weren’t there at first! Overall I am very happy with my Nord Electro 6D.

If you do not have a keyboard or are new to playing you may consider NOT buying something new.There are many keyboard options available on Facebook Marketplace or Offer Up. Purchasing an interim keyboard will allow you to get the feel of playing and also give you the experience to know exactly what you want to invest in. Keyboards can be expensive and can be an investment. Here are the features you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE!

  1. A good piano sound
  2. A sustain pedal port that plugs in the back (not a button)
  3. A piano with strings sound (this helps you learn to not overplay)
  4. Weighted keys (optional***if you can afford it)


While a new keyboard is nice, the time you put into practicing is going to make the difference in how you sound. I hope having a decent keyboard will give you the inspiration you need!


I hope this helps you when you’re looking to purchase a new keyboard and I’d love to know which one you choose!


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