How Many Keys Do Pianos Have? Acoustic, Electric, Digital

You probably know that acoustic, electric and digital pianos are similar in some respects and differ in others. The number of keys is one specification that differs between the different types of pianos.

How many keys do acoustic, digital and electric pianos have? Modern-day acoustic pianos have a standard of 88-keys. Digital pianos, however, tend to vary between 76 and 88-keys. Electric keyboards are typically sold in 76 and 61-keys. While these instruments may have different key ranges to the ones listed, they are not the typical standard.

In this article, we will discuss how many keys there are in an acoustic, digital and electric piano.

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How Many Keys Do Pianos Have?

Key ranges vary between pianos; some have a large number of keys while others have fewer. This guide will help you understand more about these differences. In this section, we'll discuss the following general types of pianos:

How Many Keys Do Acoustic Pianos Have?

The typical modern-day acoustic piano has a standard of 88 keys that span over an impressive 7 ¼ octaves. This span equates to 7 octaves plus 3 additional keys added to the piano's bass notes. However, 88-keys weren't always the norm.

88-key pianos became the universal standard only after Steinway produced its 88-key piano in the late 19th century. Subsequently, many manufacturers followed suit, resulting in the 88-key piano becoming a universal standard.

Steinway & Sons is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!

However, before this, 85-key pianos were commonly used during the mid-1850s. So, if you happen to find an 85-key piano, it likely dates from before the late nineteenth century.

Nevertheless, some modern-day acoustic pianos do not conform to this standard. Bösendorfer, for example, has created a 97-key piano, while Stuart and Sons have developed a 108-key piano that spans nine octaves.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely that you will find one of these extended key range pianos in your local music store as they are not standard practice.

To learn more about the 88-key standard, check out my article Why Do Pianos Have 88 Keys? (And Why Some Don’t).

How Many Keys Do Digital Pianos Have?

Digital pianos aim to replicate the acoustic piano in terms of sound, touch, and feel. In this replication, however, the sound is created through electronic signals in place of hammers.

So, since the digital piano aims to mimic the acoustic piano, the key range will typically be the same as an acoustic piano. In other words, digital pianos are often built to have a range of 88-keys.

Digital pianos, however, do not adhere to the same key range standard as their acoustic counterparts. This means that the key range of a digital piano can differ from make and model.

Due to this, you will often find that manufacturers produce 76-key digital pianos in addition to 88-keys. A 76-key piano has a 6 1/4 octave span and omits the keys farthest to the left and the keys farthest to the right.

In other words, the keys that are not included are the lowest bass notes and the highest treble notes. Additionally, it is worth noting that while 61-key digital pianos do exist, they are relatively uncommon.

61-key digital pianos are not produced to the same extent as 88-key and 77-key digital pianos, so if you desire to purchase one, locating this digital piano may prove harder.

Related article: Are Acoustic Or Digital Pianos Better? Pros And Cons Of Each

How Many Keys Do Electric Pianos Have?

Electric pianos are to acoustic pianos what electric guitars are to acoustic guitars. They work on the same principle of keys controlling hammers that strike strings (or reed or tines, in the case of electric pianos). However, the vibrations of these strings (or reeds or tines) are picked up by electric pickups and amplified via electronics rather than relying solely on acoustic means of transmission to be heard.

Though electric pianos aren't nearly as popular in production as acoustic and digital pianos, you've likely heard electric pianos before, namely the Fender Rhodes (using tines) or the Wurlitzer Electronic Piano (using reeds).

Many electric pianos from Baldwin, Kawai and Yamaha are actual grand or upright pianos with pickups installed. They have the typical 88-key keyboard.

The “Fender Rhodes” (even though Fender was only the manufacturer from 1959 to 1965) generally has 73 or 88 keys. The Wurlitzer Electronic Piano (the 200A was the most commercially successful, from 1974 to 1983) had 64 keys.

Kawai, Fender and Yamaha are featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out those articles by clicking the respective links.

How Many Keys Do Electronic Keyboards Have?

In contrast, electronic keyboards were designed to perform different functions from digital pianos. Electronic keyboards are usually equipped with a large selection of onboard sounds, such as pianos, orchestra instruments, and synth patches.

To learn more about synth patches, check out the following My New Microphone articles
What Is A Synthesizer Patch? Traditional & Modern Definition
What Are The Differences Between Synthesizers And Pianos?

Due to the different purposes of the electronic keyboards, these instruments are not intended to replicate the key range or feel of the digital or acoustic piano.

Electronic keyboards are typically manufactured and sold in two popular key ranges: 76-keys or 61-keys. For 76-keys and 61-keys, the notes to the far-left (bass notes) and the far-right (treble notes) are omitted.

However, when comparing a 61-key instrument to an 88-key instrument, one can notice a significant difference. Essentially, the 61 key keyboard omits about one octave on each side of the keyboard, limiting the scope of musical range.

How Many Keys Do MIDI Controllers Have?

MIDI controllers range greatly in their number of keys if they have any at all.

Many compact controllers focused on electronic, and hip-hop production will have smaller keyboards and a greater number of beat pads and knob controls. The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK III (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is an example of such a controller.

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK III

Akai is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!

Other MIDI keyboards, like the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 (link to check the price at Sweetwater), have the full 88 keys.

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88

Arturia is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!

Should You Get 61-Key, 76-Key, Or 81-Keys?

When purchasing an acoustic piano, digital piano, or electronic keyboard, the number of keys may be daunting. As such, you may be wondering which amount of keys is ideal for you. To break it down, if you are a beginner, a 61-key keyboard might be ideal. 

61-key keyboards are excellent for beginners as they are more cost-effective than instruments with extended key ranges.

In addition, a 61-key keyboard provides a sufficient number of keys for a beginner to learn, so beginner pianists' should not find themselves running out of space. The only disadvantage is that electronic keyboards cannot emulate the feel of an acoustic piano.

So, although you will be learning how to play the right notes, you will find that playing on a piano versus an electronic keyboard feels very different.

However, it is always possible to invest in an instrument with weighted keys as you progress with your training. Considering the price range of digital and acoustic pianos, many people opt to invest in a higher-end instrument as they advance in learning the piano.

The 76-key keyboard is suitable for users up to intermediate levels. The number of keys available is more than adequate for most modern genres, such as rock and pop, and for the most part, you would not be missing out on the lower or higher notes.

Furthermore, the 76-key keyboard makes it an ideal instrument for gigging musicians due to its portability. 76-key keyboards are also typically less expensive than their 88-key counterparts.

Lastly, the 88 key keyboard is most suitable for advanced players who play genres where lower and higher notes are required. Beginners who purchase 88-key pianos are unlikely to use the lower or higher-end notes for many years to come.

Pianos with 88 keys are often more expensive than those with 76 keys. Therefore, considering your playing level will give you a good indication of what number of keys are most appropriate for you.


The key ranges of acoustic, digital, and electric pianos/keyboards vary. A modern acoustic piano is only manufactured and sold with 88 keys, whereas you can purchase a digital piano with both 76 and 88 keys. Electronic keyboards have the smallest key range compared to the pianos, with 61-key and 76-key keyboards typically sold. In conclusion, each of these key ranges has its own advantages that you should consider to determine which is most beneficial for you.

This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.

Choosing the right MIDI controller for your workflow and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive MIDI Controller Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next MIDI controller purchase.

This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.


Arthur is the owner of Fox Media Tech and the author of My New Microphone. He's an audio engineer by trade and works on contract in his home country of Canada. When not blogging on MNM, he's likely hiking outdoors and blogging at Hikers' Movement ( or producing music. For more info, please check out his YouTube channel and his music.

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