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8 Keyboard Essentials for Beginners: Must-Have Gear & Accessories to Get Started

8 Keyboard Essentials for Beginners: Must-Have Gear & Accessories to Get Started

Whether you’re embarking on a new personal hobby, setting up a system for your church band, or helping your kid learn something new: Welcome to the wonderful world of the keyboard! This blog is your shopping list for all the essential gear and accessories you need as you master the keys.

The keyboard is a great instrument and introduction to the wider world of synthesizers, but like all things digital, getting started can be overwhelming. Taking a few lessons will help you get started playing, but how do you really plug in? What other keyboard gear or accessories will you need to develop your own style – and what will you need to take your playing experience to the next level?

Here’s an overview of the essentials you will need to make your progression with this instrument that much sweeter.

8 Keyboard Products Every Beginner Needs

#1. A Keyboard, Synthesizer or Digital Piano

Of course, the only thing you REALLY need to get started playing is the instrument itself. However, there are actually three options here: a keyboard, digital piano or synthesizer.

  • Keyboard: Keyboards come with a wide range of sounds and features, and they are usually smaller than traditional pianos. The number of keys ranges from as little as 25 to as many as 88 keys. They’re great for beginners to learn on before advancing to other instruments. Keyboards are also great for worship bands who want to get a good organ sound without the expense of purchasing a traditional organ.
  • Digital Piano: A digital piano is designed to mimic a traditional piano, complete with weighted keys and more traditional sound and functionality. It typically comes with the full 88 keys like a traditional piano. While the options with a digital piano are limited, if you’re looking to learn classical piano and only play traditional styles of music, a digital piano is a more cost-effective way to play the piano without investing in a grand piano or keyboard with a lot of bells and whistles.
  • Synthesizers: Synthesizers (aka synths) are a broad category of instruments that can produce sounds by generating different signals. Synths can produce a much wider range of sounds than keyboards and are used in all types of music like pop, EDM and hip-hop. They’re used frequently in live show settings while also being mainstays in home and professional recording studios.

Deciding which instrument to buy is up to you, your budget and how you plan to use it. There are a lot of great guides out there that can help you narrow down which keyboard (or other keyed instrument) is right for you.

Once you’ve decided on your instrument, here are some of the accessories you’ll want to get to make it your own.

#2. A Keyboard Stand

For a proper keyboard experience, you will want to set your keyboard (or digital piano or synth – hereby referenced as a keyboard) on a proper stand instead of, say, your kitchen table.

A specialized keyboard stand is great for getting your keyboard at the exact height you need to play comfortably. It also lets you get creative with your set up, providing full access to the instrument to connect extra amps, sound mixers and pedals.

When you’re starting out, you don’t need something that will cost hundreds of dollars, but you don’t want to skimp on features and quality. So, look for a stand that’s durable, lightweight and easy to set up. X-frame stands with quick-trigger height adjustments make set-up easy and consistent, and they tend to be cheaper than their Z-frame counterparts.

#3. A Bench or Stool

You don’t want to play standing up all the time, right?

Yes, you can play from just any old chair, but a stool or piano bench is a much better and ergonomic option. A proper bench allows you to sit up straight without any armrests or seat backs to get in the way of playing up and down the keys.

Getting a proper piano bench or stool can help you play with better posture, so you can practice longer and play with more precision.

#4. Covers and Cases

If you’re going to be playing shows or practicing with friends, you’ll want a case to transport your keyboard.

The sturdier, the better. Make sure you find one that’s not too small for your keyboard and comes with extra padding to prevent scratches and dents.

If you’re going to be traveling long distances, heavy-duty padding is essential because luggage tends to get shaken up in flight.

Another thing to consider is a keyboard cover to keep the dust off your instrument while you’re not playing. Dust and dirt can collect on keys and, over time, ruin their press and feel. If you’re already dealing with dusty keys, use a gentle instrument cleaner.

#5. Headphones

A good pair of headphones is essential if you live in a shared space or want to keep it down as you’re playing. Plus, some keyboards have no audio output, which means you need to be plugged into an interface or headphones to hear anything (see keyboard accessory essential #6).

Of course, your standard pair of earbuds would work. However, if you want to hear the full range of your music, you’ll want something with better sound quality – something that was made for this type of music. Here is a good pair of affordable, studio-quality headphones.

Comfort is another consideration. Find a pair that fits well over your ears without pinching or squeezing too tight, so you can play for as long as you like.

#6. A Portable Amp

Many keyboards come with built-in speakers. But if you’re going to be playing gigs or at your local church, you’ll need to amplify your sound.

You can get as fancy as you want here but don’t buy something that will be too big or too loud for the space you will be playing in. A good all-around portable amp will do the trick, especially early on in your playing career.

#7. Sustain Pedal

Sustain pedals allow you to extend the notes and cords you’re playing, helping you add even more flair and expression to your playing.

Many keyboards come with a sustain pedal or effect built-in, but if yours doesn’t or if you want to enhance the built-in effects, a new sustain pedal can help you unlock more sounds to make your play more interesting. Here is a good one for beginners available at Sweetwater.

#8. Cables to Connect it All

Last but definitely not least, make sure you have cables to connect everything.

While we know cables aren’t the most exciting piece of gear you’ll buy, you would be surprised to learn how many different cables and connectors there are. Finding the exact cable you need can be a bit of a challenge if you’re not sure what to look for.

For a beginner keyboardist, you’ll want a classic instrument cable to connect your keyboard to any amp. You’ll also want to grab some patch cables to connect any pedal effects to your setup.

As you progress, you might think about getting a synthesizer and setting up your own DAW or digital audio workstation. If you do, just remember that the cables you use to connect your keyboard setup won’t work on a digital set up. You’ll need MIDI cables to properly record and mix tracks.

If you’re confused about what you need, we have a cable finder tool that can help!

Start Your Keyboard Journey on the Right Foot

Picking up the keyboard for the first time can be intimidating. But it’s also an exciting start that can lead to many different instruments and ways to create music.

As you start out learning your first scales and songs, remember to keep in mind this list of gear that can help you along the way.


Hosa Introduces New Keyboard Stand

Portable, lightweight design with unique trigger-style adjustment for quick set-up & tear-down

Buena Park, CA, August 2023 — Hosa is pleased to announce the release of their new KBT-502 Keyboard Stand.

The KBT-502 Keyboard Stand offers incredible portability in a lightweight, 6.5-pound X-frame design that also features a unique trigger-style adjustment lever with seven height settings. This makes for convenient and easy setup with no assembly required. Despite its size, the KBT-502 packs a punch and can support up to 88 pounds of total weight, making it an ideal choice for a range of keyboards and players. The KBT-502 has a street price of $44.95.

KBT-502 Features
-Portable X-Frame
-Lightweight (6.5 lbs.)
-Single-Handed Trigger Height Adjustment
-Seven Height Adjustment Settings: 21″/53 cm – 37.4″/95 cm
-Weight Capacity: 88 lbs./40kg

“We believe the KBT-502 Keyboard Stand is perfect for beginners and enthusiasts alike,” said CEO Mayumi Allison. “We didn’t pull any punches in its design, making sure it’s as light as possible without sacrificing reliability or performance. We’re always looking for new ways to support musicians of all skill levels. The KBT-502 stand adds to our industry-wide reputation of making high-quality cables and accessory products accessible to all.”

For more information and to purchase the new keyboard stand, click here.


Hosa Exhibiting at NAMM 2023!

Stop by #15108 Hall ACC North Level 1, April 13-15

Buena Park, CA, April 2023 — Hosa is excited to announce it will be exhibiting at the 2023 NAMM Show, April 13-15.

Attendees are encouraged to stop by #15108 Hall ACC North Level 1 to learn more about Hosa’s extensive line of products and distributed brands including Gruv Gear bags, and accessories, and CAIG Laboratories line of contact cleaners.

During the show, Hosa representatives will be on hand to answer questions about their products and application solutions.

Hosa will also be hosting a Project Studio Giveaway, with products from Adam Audio, Focusrite, IK Multimedia, JHS Pedal, Orange Amplifiers, Schecter Guitars and more. NAMM attendees can enter the giveaway by completing a brief cable-themed quiz at one of their six kiosks in the booth. Winners will be notified at the end of the NAMM show, and every participant will receive a limited Hosa t-shirt just for taking the quiz.

“Reconnecting with our dealers and distributors as well as our dedicated enthusiasts and professional musicians at The NAMM Show is always the highlight of our year,” said CEO Mayumi Allison.

For more information about the 2023 NAMM Show and how to register, click here.


Hosa Introduces New In-Line Mic Preamp

In-Line Preamp Adds +26dB of Clean Gain and Improves Sound

Buena Park, CA, October 2022 — Hosa is excited to announce the newest addition to its in-line microphone adapter collection, the MPA-149 Mic Preamp.

When using low-output dynamic or passive ribbon microphones, a consistent struggle is the introduction of noise from external preamps. Consoles, mixing boards, interfaces, and other preamps can sometimes require the gain to be maxed out, amplifying unwanted noise and often still being too quiet in overall volume. The Hosa MPA-149 Mic Preamp provides an immediate 26dB’s of gain with an impressive -97dBu signal-to-noise ratio, giving users a very clean and immediate gain boost for louder, clearer microphone performance.

Many volume-boost solutions include more cables, electronics, and failure points, whereas the Hosa MPA-149 simply connects directly into the microphone. This convenient solution makes it ideal for podcasters, streamers, public speakers, and gigging professionals relying on unpredictable venue preamps to power low-output ribbon or dynamic mics. The Hosa MPA-149 only needs a preamp supplying 48V phantom power, but does not pass the phantom power onto the microphone.

The Hosa MPA-149 utilizes a discrete Class-A circuit design and selected FET circuitry to help achieve a clean signal path and low-noise operation. Its compact metal housing is designed to perform reliably in any circumstance, whether it’s standing up to harsh environmental changes, eccentric performances, or getting thrown in and out of gig bags on the road.

“With so many microphones to choose from on the market today, many customers are purchasing dynamic and ribbon microphones that, depending on their application, may require more output”, adds David Chavez, Hosa’s Director of Product Development and Marketing. “Our new MPA-149 Mic Preamp resolves this very issue, and does so in a high-quality, affordable form-factor that the Hosa brand is known for.”


Hosa Introduces New USB-C Adapter

Adapts a USB Type A to Type C connection

Buena Park, CA, September 2022 — Hosa is again answering the call for more USB-C solutions with a USB Type A to Type C adapter.

USB Type C connectors are needed more and more in newer devices requiring greater power and transfer speeds. This inevitably creates compatibility issues for those users with a mixture of new and old devices and USB cables. Newer devices, such as Apple laptops, no longer incorporate USB Type A ports and instead only feature Type C, leaving users with equipment dependent on USB cables that are no longer supported.

The new Hosa GSB-314 USB Adapter resolves the issue by adapting a Type A connection to Type C, allowing you to use all previous USB connection types with the current Type C. It’s backwards-compatible up to USB 3.0 with burst speeds up to 5 Gbps, ensuring devices get the power and transfer speeds they require.

“In our 38 year history, Hosa has always been seen as the go-to for a wide array of small adapters”, adds Mayumi Allison, Hosa’s Chief Executive Officer. “As the landscape continues to change with USB-C, people with legacy equipment will look to Hosa first for these types of solutions, and we’re always looking for those gaps to fill.”


Hosa Introduces New 4K HDMI Cables

4K & 3D video resolution with higher frame rates

Buena Park, CA, August 2022 — Hosa is pleased to be adding a highly requested HDMI solution for modern creators, video streamers, gamers, and everyday television watchers.

HDMI has long been the connection for high-definition video and graphics commonly used in televisions, computers, and gaming consoles. Up to this point, most HDMI cables are iteration 1.4, that support up to 30fps (frames per second). However, with televisions, computers, and gaming consoles moving to Ultra HD 4K, HDMI 2.0 supports up to 60fps, which provides greater overall detail even at lower video resolution.

Built to HDMI 2.0 specs, the new Hosa HAOC-400 Series High Speed HDMI Active Optical Cables’ increased bandwidth supports 3D 4K and even dual HD video streams, allowing you to stream the big game while watching the newest episode of your favorite show, or being the hero in Call of Duty while peeking at Netflix reruns.

Using the same HDMI 1.4 connector, Hosa HAOC-400 Series Cables are backwards-compatible with older devices using an HDMI port, allowing you to get the highest video quality available. Likewise, Hosa HAOC-400 Series Cables also support ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio, featured in some computer monitors and cinema televisions.

“As 4K resolution becomes more and more ubiquitous in television and computing devices, there’s been a growing demand for HDMI cables that support the specifications required to both create 4K media, and view 4K media,” adds Mayumi Allison, Hosa’s Chief Executive Officer. “Whether you’re a musician, streamer, gamer, or just enjoy catching up on the latest episodes at home, these cables are built to help you get the most out of your experience.”

The new Hosa HAOC-400 Series High Speed HDMI Active Optical Cables are available in two lengths, 10ft and 16ft.


New Goby Labs Surface Cleaner by Hosa Now Available

New cleaner is safe on high-end equipment surfaces and anti-static

Buena Park, CA, April 2022 — Hosa is adding a long-requested addition to its Goby Labs line of cleaners and conditioners, Goby Labs Surface Cleaner.

The new Goby Labs Surface Cleaner is specially formulated to clean and polish even the most sensitive equipment surfaces without the caustic chemicals found in most cleaners on the market. Those can easily damage or corrode sensitive surfaces, making equipment look worn or affecting their performance.

When it comes to cleaning high-end equipment, any solution needs to be safe and effective on many kinds of materials. Goby Labs Surface Cleaner is safe to use on finishes, plastic, metal, and wood surfaces, including black piano surfaces. Rather than being an overly specialized cleaner, it’s a valuable “Swiss army knife” in any equipment maintenance kit.

Static build-up can be a nuisance when handling equipment and sometimes affect audio quality, which is why Goby Labs Surface Cleaner is also anti-static. Simply spray directly to a microfiber cloth and then apply on the equipment surface.

“We have had a lot of requests over the years for equipment cleaner, but up to this point, the Goby Labs line did not exactly have this type of cleaner,” adds Mayumi Allison, Hosa’s Chief Executive Officer. “This addition was a no-brainer that covers a lot of bases and complements the kinds of cleaners, sanitizers, and conditioners Goby Labs customers keep in their kits.”

The new Goby Labs Surface Cleaner is available at an MSRP of $12.05.

- Hosa

Hosa Introduces New Cable Organizers

DIY solutions adaptable for small and large setups

Buena Park, CA, August 2021 — Hosa is pleased to introduce two new highly adaptable cable organizers fit for any setup. With such a variety of solutions needed to accommodate ever-changing setups, these cable wraps offer the kind of customization customers have been requesting.

The Hosa Neoprene Cable Wrap is a simple hook & loop sleeve capable of organizing small and large bundles of cable. The hook & loop design, which firmly fits around any number of cables, makes any addition or subtraction a quick adjustment. The sleeve itself is 5ft long and can be easily cut into custom lengths with simple scissors.

The Hosa Spiral Cable Wrap features a more unique design that allows you to insert or remove cables at any point along its run. This design is beneficial for longer setups that would otherwise require many different cable ties and organizers. The plastic spiral is 10ft long, flexible, and can also be cut into customized lengths with simple scissors.

“With all of the cable options Hosa has offered since 1984, we understand the need to keep them organized and out of the way,” adds Mayumi Allison, Hosa’s CEO. “You realize how vital simple solutions like cable organizers are once you start adding equipment to your setup. So we developed these cable wraps to be as flexible and customizable as possible.”

The new Hosa Neoprene Cable Wrap is available at an MSRP of $18.95. The Hosa Spiral Cable Wrap is available at an MSRP of $5.95.


New Hosa Headset/Mic Breakouts

Adaptable for any setup combining headphones and microphones

Buena Park, CA, July 2021 — Hosa is adding to its already extensive catalog of breakout and splitter cables with a TRRS breakout designed for headsets and microphones.

With an ever-increasing number of people working remotely, streaming, and gaming, single-connection headsets with built-in microphones are becoming more commonplace. Likewise, existing setups with separate mics and headphones are having to conform to single TRRS jacks on newer devices.

The Hosa YMM-107 Headset/Mic Breakout Cable splits a TRRS connection into separate TRS outputs, making it ideal for gaming headsets requiring a connection to computers using separate jacks for microphone and headphones. Simply plug your existing TRRS headset cable into the breakout and you will have separate male connectors for headset and microphone on the other end.

The Hosa YMM-108 flips the connector configuration with a TRRS plug and two TRS female connectors designed for microphone and headphones. This can be used to combine separate mic and headphone outputs into a single TRRS connection. When using a professional balanced microphone, simply add a Hosa XVM-100F series cable to complete the connection.

Both breakouts use the CTIA wiring standard for the TRRS jacks, making them compatible with most TRRS inputs. Each of the dual plugs is color-coded and identified as microphone and headphones.

“TRRS connections have been around for a while already, but with so many new headsets, TRRS-based equipment, and rise in remote work, the number of people needing an effective breakout to connect their legacy equipment has increased,” adds Jose Gonzalez, Hosa’s Director of Marketing & Product Development. “We’ve answered the many requests to bring in these solutions that perfectly complement our already vast array of splitters, breakouts, and adapters.”

The New Hosa Headset/Mic Breakout Cables are both available at an MSRP of $9.95 each.


New Hosa Desktop Microphone Stands

Hosa Debuts Desktop Microphone Stands
Ideal for the streamers, creators, and podcasters

Buena Park, CA, May 2021 — Hosa is pleased to introduce two new microphone stands, ideal for the streamer, creator, and podcaster. Both offer familiar designs to complement any space requirement or setup, whether stationary or on the move.

The Hosa Desktop Microphone Stand features a light, foldable die-cast steel tripod base for quick setup and teardown wherever needed. The stand is height-adjustable from 4 to 6.75 inches (110-168 mm) and can hold up to 0.75 lbs (0.34 kilos). The non-slip rubber feet add increased stability, ensuring the stand won’t slip on even the most slick surfaces.

The Hosa Desktop Microphone Boom Arm features an easy C-clamp and scissor-style design for maximum adjustment on any table or desk. With an adjustable angle from 0 to 160 degrees, any position is possible to maximize even the most compact spaces. The all-metal construction creates a solid base, holding up to 4 lbs (1 kg) for stationary, multi-purpose setups.

“Hosa has long offered popular microphone stands and stand accessories at accessible prices to musicians and creators,” adds Jose Gonzalez, Hosa’s Director of Marketing & Product Development. “With the explosion and ease of home content creation, this was a natural fit, and one that longtime Hosa customers have been asking for.”

The New Hosa Desktop Microphone Stand is available at an MSRP of $14.95, and the Hosa Desktop Microphone Boom Arm is available at an MSRP of $71.95.