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#2491335 12/17/15 03:42 AM
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Hi! I'm a guitarist and a singer-songwriter but I'm planning to learn piano. My budget is very tight and narrowed down my options to MIDI keyboard controllers. I want to learn how to play chords, two-handed playing to accompany my vocals but I can't decide how many keys should I buy? Would a 49-key keyboard be suitable for playing two-handed? I would like to play some Beatles' song (let it be, hey jude, etc.) or maybe a Queen song like the Bohemian Rhapsody. Do you think that 49 keys would be sufficient for that purpose? or should I spend extra for a 61-key keyboard?

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88 keys is a standard piano keyboard, and you will probably find yourself severely limited fairly quickly if you get any fewer.


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49 keys is a toy, 61 keys is organ standard. I've seen electric pianos with 73 keys, but as BDB said 88 keys is a standard piano keyboard. There are plenty of relatively inexpensive digital pianos with 88 weighted keys, why would you get less?


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To answer your original question, 61 keys would be the absolute minimum. I have a Yamaha Piaggero NP11 (weighs just under 10 lbs) for absolute portability when I need to go somewhere to help people paractise a song or whatever. But I'll bring a full 88 key weighted key piano if I'm actually performing. It's too bad that no one seems to make a good easy to carry 76 key weighted keyboard piano because it would be a viable compromise for many people.


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Hi JanLance, and welcome to Piano World!

I agree with BDB and Steve, I think there are some excellent 88- weighted key digital stage pianos (most with their own speakers built-in, or can be used with an amp or PA system); and, at a very decent price.

I have the Casio Privia 310 digital piano, and I like it a lot. The feel of the keys is not as good as my real pianos, but pretty good considering the price.

By-the-way, I have a question for you, or others... I've heard this term often when discussing digital pianos, but what is a controller? What is being controlled? I thought a digital piano was played rather than controlled. laugh

Guess I don't know much about digital pianos.

Rick


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Originally Posted by Rickster

By-the-way, I have a question for you, or others... I've heard this term often when discussing digital pianos, but what is a controller? What is being controlled? I thought a digital piano was played rather than controlled. laugh


Generally speaking, a controller is a keyboard (or other playable MIDI device) that doesn't produce a sound of its own. In other words, it is used to generate MIDI signals that can then play a sound module, or go to a computer for playing a piano that is implemented in software, etc. You might also come across mentions of a digital piano being used as a controller, again meaning that it's own internal sounds might not be used in that application.


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Originally Posted by Guyl
Generally speaking, a controller is a keyboard (or other playable MIDI device) that doesn't produce a sound of its own. In other words, it is used to generate MIDI signals that can then play a sound module, or go to a computer for playing a piano that is implemented in software, etc. You might also come across mentions of a digital piano being used as a controller, again meaning that it's own internal sounds might not be used in that application.

Thanks,

I guess I'm old fashioned and not up to par on the latest digitized/computerized music scene. smile

Rick


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Originally Posted by Rickster

I guess I'm old fashioned and not up to par on the latest digitized/computerized music scene. smile

Rick


Considering controllers, modules and software have been around for 30-odd years, you must be VERY old-fashioned, Rick! wink

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Thank you for your inputs! I think I really need to buy a 61-keyboard. Now, since I have a very tight budget, what is the best keyboard to buy for not more than 200$? (Sorry I really have a tight budget) Please give me suggestions. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by JanLance
Thank you for your inputs! I think I really need to buy a 61-keyboard. Now, since I have a very tight budget, what is the best keyboard to buy for not more than 200$? (Sorry I really have a tight budget) Please give me suggestions. Thanks!
You may get more responses by checking out the digital forum section of Piano World.

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I have a 61 key Craig's list cheapie ($50) for practice while traveling. Adequate for drill, not for performance. If you can find a 61 for a two digit price, go for it.

If you want a reasonable quality unit, the price bump for 88 vs. 61 will not be worth the inconvenience.



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I'd buy a 61 piece!

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You can find lots of used 61 key keyboards for less than $100. I bought that Yamaha NP11 for $80 used. It's about $200 new.


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If you can find one, the Yamaha KX-8 slab is a weighted 88 note midi keyboard that can be picked up for under $200.

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Hi, people gave you very good advice. 61 key keyboard is a toy, 49 is a joke. Buy standard 88 keys. You can get one quite cheap, especially if used.

With only 61 keys you will be limited, you will regret.


Originally Posted by JanLance
I would like to play some Beatles' song (let it be, hey jude, etc.) or maybe a Queen song like the Bohemian Rhapsody. Do you think that 49 keys would be sufficient for that purpose? or should I spend extra for a 61-key keyboard?



And no, you can not play Bohemian Rhapsody with 61 keys (original notes - I assume you want to sing along) because you will be short for one whole tone.C6 is the highest note on 61 key keyboard, but you need also D6 for Boh Rhap.


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JanLance:
You can buy a new Casio 61 key CTK6250 or a 76 key WK245 from Musicians Friend for $199.99. Personally I would prefer the 76 key model. I don't think there are many method books that use more than 76 keys, certainly Alfred's Book 1 doesn't. The Dan Coates Easy series also doesn't use more than 76 keys. 61 keys would limit you a bit even with these books. OTH if you just want to play chords and not piano scores and either play a melody or sing than either 76 or 61 keys would work. And both these kbs have lots of accompaniment rhythms which work well with singing and chords.


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Would a 76 or 88 keys be necessary for just using the keyboard for chord progressions and accompaniment for my vocals? I will not have a piano teacher but I will learn piano on my own via online lessons. I don't think I'll be playing classical pieces, yet.

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You will probably want the bass notes sooner than you think. You might be able to get along without the treble notes, but if you are missing notes that you find you need, you will find it frustrating. Upgrading for the extra notes will probably be more expensive than just getting 88 keys to start with, and it will definitely be more time-consuming.


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Originally Posted by JanLance

Would a 76 or 88 keys be necessary for just using the keyboard for chord progressions and accompaniment for my vocals?


No. If you're just playing chords and simple accompaniments you can get by with only 61 keys (I won't call 49-key keyboards toys, but they are certainly one-handed devices).

You won't start running out of keys until you get to the point where you're trying to duplicate actual piano/keyboard parts from recordings (or create similar parts on your own), at which point I think you'll discover that you wish you had at least 76 keys.

Larry.

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There are times when a 61 key keyboard can suffice...

At our recent faculty/staff Christmas luncheon/program (held every year), there was a local elementary school music group who performed special music, and they all had the 61 key keyboards (about 10 of them). Each student played along with a computerized drum-beat accompaniment and played one note at a time on the keyboards. It sounded nice, for elementary school kids, and shows that they are being introduced to the keyboard in some fashion at their school (a good thing).

I also played the piano (a real baby grand smile ) at that event and was deathly afraid that the elementary school kids were going to up-stage me, which they did. laugh

But that's okay... it was the kids time to shine. (My light has about burned out smile ).

Rick


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