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I would like to purchase a keyboard for my wife to practice her piano on. What do you suggest I look for?

There are three keyboard touches available:

  1. Organ touch (simple on/off switch, non expressive)
  2. Touch sensitivity (a microprocessor measures the speed at which a key is depressed to create expression)
  3. Weighted keys (creates resistance against the finger to create the illusion of a hammer striking a piano string).

The preferred keyboard is a combination of type 2 and 3 features. There are a number of methods of creating weighted keys and keyboardists have definite preferences over which technology they prefer. I don't think it's a matter of one system being better than another. Therefore, the best way to make a purchase is to try each system out. I realize this is for a birthday but you may want to consider this akin to shopping for a diamond...both should be there to decide on a purchase. Your wife needs to find a keyboard with the sound and feel that most pleases her. I cannot stress this enough.

If this is not possible, then purchasing a keyboard from a well established manufacturer with, for instance, a 30 day trade-in policy would be the next best route.

Also, keyboards come in various sizes. The preferred is a standard 88 note keyboard. However , it may be, if you need to keep the cost down choose a keyboard with less notes...although this may be frustrating to an accomplished pianist who will undoubtedly miss having all the notes available.

Lastly, choose a keyboard that does not have a lot of bells and whistles on it. Too much "stuff" is distracting. A keyboard that replicates a standard piano and does it well is what you want. Anything more and the cost goes up, possibly at the expense of the basics.