Very few manufacturers are as prolific as Yamaha. They offer some of the best keyboards for beginners to professionals. We are looking at the YPT-270, a budget-friendly beginner keyboard that makes music fun.
The YPT-270 is a 61-key portable beginner keyboard with a wide variety of voices. It’s ideal for younger players but suitable for beginners of all ages.
Everything about the YPT-260 is intended to make music fun and easy. It comes with an intuitive feature set, perfect for the eager student.
Quiz mode is an ear training game where you have to guess the note being played. We really love this feature because ear training is something that every beginner should do.
Yamaha’s Education Suite (Y.E.S) provides lessons of varying difficulty to suit different ability levels. The lessons are gamified in the sense that you can score your performance, and there are nine levels to play through. The stages include lessons for each hand and both hands together.
The lessons also cover some of the most important aspects of musicianship: ear training and timing. Every beginner keyboard should have something like this included.
The built-in recorder allows the recording of one song, up to 300 notes. So, it’s not the most complex system, but it’s more than enough for a beginner.
A metronome with a tempo range of 11 – 280 bpm; an essential function for beginners.
This feature is pretty basic; most keyboards have some form of rhythm accompaniment. The reason we want to highlight it is that it’s something that helps beginners develop multiple aspects of their playing. Playing with other musicians is the best way to learn, and in the beginning, this is the next best thing. There are 143 styles in total.
In addition to using the accompaniment styles, the YPT-270 has a Smart Chord feature that will help you learn about chords and harmony. Smart Chord will trigger chords/triads when you press a single note, and the accompaniment will respond to your chord changes.
The LCD screen is pretty small and basic, but it does what it’s supposed to. It makes selecting voices, songs, and styles easy.
Learner keyboards always have built-in speakers, so they are good to go straight out of the box. The YPT-270 has a pair of 12 cm speakers powered by a pair of 2.5 W amps. As you could guess, it’s not the most powerful system, but it doesn’t have to be. Perfect for practicing and performing for friends and family at home.
We have to remember that we are talking about a beginner keyboard here and not a high-end stage piano. A lot of things contribute to the sound quality, from the voices themselves to the speakers and velocity-sensitive keyboard.
In the beginner range, Yamaha is one of the best when it comes to sound quality. We should also mention Casio, who is also right up there.
There are 401 voices and 17 drum/SFX kits onboard the YPT-270. The sounds come from Yamaha’s AWM Stereo Sampling and include a range of classical and world instruments.
The main grand piano voice is very convincing if you add a sustain pedal.
You might never find these sounds on any of Yamaha’s flagship keyboards, but they are near the top of the beginner range; no complaints.
The YPT-270 has a max polyphony of 32 notes, which is low, but again, it’s suitable for the beginner range.
The keys are velocity-sensitive, and they perform well enough to add expression once your playing ability gets that far. In terms of feeling realistic, they don’t, but that’s not the point.
Keyboards like the YPT-270 are stepping stones towards digital pianos or keyboards with weighted keys. They are the first step for beginners to see how their interest level and ability develop. So, what you want from the keys is for them to be light enough for kids and absolute beginners to make an easy start.
With that in mind, they feel good enough to us.
We would only say this about a beginner keyboard, but we are glad that the layout of Yamaha’s beginner keyboards hasn’t changed much since the very early PRS days. The main aspect that hasn’t changed is that all of the functions are printed clearly on the top panel. You can’t make it much easier to navigate than that.
On the left of the LCD screen, you have some of the core function buttons, like metronome on/off and transpose. You also have lesson controls, transport controls for songs and styles, along with a master volume knob.
On the right of the screen are the sound selection buttons, covering voice, song, and style. There are three large group buttons for voice, song, and style. Once you select a group, there are 10 multi-function buttons used to make a selection from the group. You can also navigate through choices using the -/+ buttons.
If you get lost in the 401 voices, the portable grand button will instantly return you to the default piano voice; very useful.
The YPT-270 is the ultimate home keyboard for beginners because it ticks so many boxes. It’s incredibly light and portable, so it’s easy to set up and put away as needed. It’s also battery or AC-powered, so you aren’t limited to being near a power outlet. If noise is an issue, it has a headphone output, too.
When you get past the built-in demo songs and lessons, it has a stereo mini-jack AUX in so that you can play your favorite songs through the YPT-270 speakers.
Obviously, the YPT-270 isn’t the kind of keyboard that we would recommend for stage performers. However, we do highly encourage kids and beginners to play with other musicians as much as possible. So, if you can get some other players at a similar level, there’s no reason you can’t jam out with the YPT-270.
Beginner keyboards will always feel more plastic than premium, and that’s how we have to judge the YPT-270. One common problem of beginner keyboards is that they have buttons that can break off or are easily damaged when moving them around. The good thing about the YPT-270 is that all of the buttons are recessed into the body enough that they should avoid any potential damage.
Keyboards take the odd unavoidable knock when moving them around, so our warning with any beginner keyboard is to be very careful with the keys. The keys aren’t as robust as a high-end keyboard and are more likely to break with impact.
Overall, the build quality doesn’t blow us away, and it’s not bad for the price either.
Compared to other beginner keyboards
The beginner keyboard market isn’t short of options, and it’s always best to do your research. Here are a few alternative options to consider.
YPT-270 vs. Casio CT-X700
Casio and Yamaha are probably the top manufacturers of beginner keyboards in the world. The CT-X700 isn’t too different from the YPT-270, but it offers a little more of everything.
YPT-270 vs. Yamaha PSR-E360
The PSR-E360 looks quite similar to the YPT-270, but it has a woodgrain finish. It’s almost like a slightly more grown-up version, so if you are an absolute beginner, the YPT-270 is probably best.
YPT-270 vs. Alesis Harmony 61 MkII
The Harmony 61 MkII from Alesis is a very cheap all-rounder. On its own, the keyboard isn’t as good as the YPT-270, but it takes a microphone, and it comes with a nice bundle.
Final verdict on the Yamaha YPT-270
It’s precisely what it’s supposed to be, a fantastic beginner’s keyboard. It’s easy to use, easy to put away, and it’s educational. The downside is that players could outgrow it quickly, but the same can be said of any beginner keyboard.
Who does it suit?
Younger kids and beginners.
- Ideal first keyboard.
- Extremely portable.
- Lesson and Quiz modes.
- Lots of sounds and SFX.
- Smart Chord function.
- Some players will outgrow it quickly.