Before you go out and buy your keyboard, there are a few tips that you need to consider. There are a huge choice of keyboards and digital pianos available today -and quite often that choice can seem really overwhelming. Even a quick online search will give you more options than it is possible to get through in a week -so which one is right for you? Which one will best suit your needs?
1) Affordability. Make sure that you can afford it! Even the most conservative budget should not have too many problems finding a good keyboard that will suit your needs. Once you have set yourself a top level of what you want to spend, make sure you do not go over that.
2) Weighted action versus synth action. Synth action simply means that the keys are a little lighter, weighted action simply means that the keys are heavier and therefore behave more like an acoustic piano. The weight of the keys transmits to the style of play that you are buying the keyboard for: weighted action is great for the trained pianist or someone who is looking to develop their piano skills; synth action is more suited to those who play a more synthy or techno style, as the keys can be played a lot faster. Just a couple of the more technical terms you may come into contact with when buying your keyboard.
3) The number of keys. It can certainly seem that the choices you have when it comes to the number of keys can be almost as far-ranging as the choice of keyboards in the first place! The range goes from as little as 20 right up to 88. The choice is yours: if you are looking to use your keyboard for things like samples, then only a small range is needed and you only need a few keys. For the more experimental, for instance if you are looking to play around with sound development, then you want as many keys as possible.
4) Is an onboard sequencer worth it? This comes down to a very simple factor: if you’re working without a computer, then yes. If you’re working with a computer, then it probably won’t be necessary.
5) Do I need a workstation? The workstation on your keyboard will perform a myriad of functions, from sequencing to effects. If you are already using a computer which handles all of that, paying extra for a workstation may not be the most economical vantage point. This should be weighed against the fact that the workstation is, however, an incredible tool to use.
6) Velocity and aftertouch features. The velocity feature relates to how the sound is produced relative to the amount of pressure given to the keys, for example how quickly they are pressed. The aftertouch feature deals more with the sound that is produced after the keys have been pressed, like when they are resting on the keybed. Whatever use you have in mind for your keyboard, then velocity and aftertouch is something you should definitely be looking for.
7) Can I take this to a gig? You might want to think about a hard case to protect it, and obviously maneuverability is going to be a factor. It may seem obvious to say, but do you really want to be lugging some huge keyboard around from one gig to another? If one of the reasons you are buying the keyboard is to take it to gigs, then this should definitely be considered.
When you take the time to find the best keyboard, one that will suit your needs and your goals, then you are much more likely to develop the long-term relationship with your instrument. Think about what is available online -this is often the best way to buy a new keyboard -with the added advantage that they will deliver straight to your door!
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