Weighted vs Semi or Non Weighted keyboards

weighted keysWhich do your prefer? A fully weighted (or hammer action) keyboard or semi to non weighted one? It depends on individual preference but there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both.

When I first started to learn to play around 2005 I only used synthesizer semi weighted keyboards. I quickly got accustomed to that feel as I grew more comfortable with my playing and the speed. The shock came was when I tried a fully weighted keyboard at a friends place. I realized that I could not play as well as I could at home with my light semi-weighted keyboard. I was told that this was a common problem with keyboardists that never really learned to play a real piano. I started practicing at some local music  instrument stores on my way home and also with band practice in some studios.

Not only did I gradually become used to the weighted keys, I started to feel the advantage. To me, the advantage seemed to be the kick back motion of the keys helped with the rhythm of the playing, especially faster tempo melodies i.e. jazz. You would think the opposite but that bounciness really facilitates your rhythm. I noticed the difference when I went back to playing my semi-weighted keyboard.

Another advantage of a weighted keyboard is how well you can play quietly. Semi-weighted keys are of course touch / velocity sensitive however it is not too easy to play very quietly. You may need to adjust the velocity touch settings.

The only disadvantage I can really see with weighted keys is the actual weight of the whole keyboard and the cost. Semi-weighted keys even 88 keys are very portable and perfect for travelling gigs. A 88 key fully weighted keyboard is extremely heavy and definitely not portable. Also, if you are only used to semi-weighted keys then your fingers can get pretty tired after lengthy playing.


7 thoughts on “Weighted vs Semi or Non Weighted keyboards”

  1. For electronic style music a non or semi weighted keybed would be fine. But if you want to record anything with a decent piano sound then maybe best to use a weigted keyboard.

    1. So, the weighted keys give a much better sound? I really love the concert piano sound, but I don’t have the space or the money.

  2. That’s definitely true about a keyboard with weighted keys because I have a Akai MPK88 and it is extremely heavy. I’m still learning how to play fluently on it but it feels alot better to me than semi weighted.

  3. Forget trying to learn on a semi-weighted keyboard. You will have big issues trying to play on a real piano. Much better to learn with weighted keys, you can get some fully weight electronic pianos for around $400 these days. The semi-weight synths are fine, but not really the learning stage.

  4. Unfortunately, I have played with semi or non weighted keys for so long I struggle with real piano. I have always avoided real piano or keyboards with weighted keys and so do a lot of people. But I realize that it’s not the way to go. A good player should be proficient on both.

    1. So did I for some time until I had to practice in studios with weighted only keys. You learn quickly and you have to compensate timing and rhythm for some of the heavier keys.

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