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#2624962 - 03/18/17 07:30 PM 61 key keyboard
deltamud Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 6
Loc: Houma, La
63 year old newbie working on my bucket list. Learning to play piano. I'm away from home 2-3 weeks at a time for work. I can't bring a full size keyboard with me so I was thinking about a 61 key. I've heard that learning on a short keyboard is not a good idea but I was thinking in my situation it's better than not playing at all.
Looking for opinions and recommendations. I would need the keyboard to have it's own speakers as I'm limited in space and would like to keep it under $1200 if y'all think it's a good idea

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#2624964 - 03/18/17 07:41 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
Richrf Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/16
Posts: 374
Definitely go for it. Just learn the instrument you are playing and learn the music you want to pay. Learning to play an instrument is the same in some ways and different in other ways from every other instrument - and every other art for that matter. As long as you are enjoying yourself learning what you are learning, it is all great!
_________________________
My online Russian Method piano course diary

Creativity, imagery, relaxation and patience are the pillars of my arts.

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#2624966 - 03/18/17 07:51 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
Anita Potter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/14
Posts: 371
Loc: Colorado
I learned on a 49 key keyboard before I got a full sized one a few weeks ago. You may not be able to do dynamics but it's definitely a starting point. I agree with Richrf enjoy yourself smile
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XXXVII-XXXIX

Casio Privia PX-160
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#2624969 - 03/18/17 07:52 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
macuaig Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 19
Loc: Virginia/DC
I'm sure you've investigated, but I'm still amazed at how small a full 88 keyboard is - if you resist doubling the depth by choosing to lug around thousands of digiprocessing fiddlybits and LCD screens. I recently chose a Yamaha P115, one of the smallest and lightest full action keyboards I believe there is - and at half your budget. Extra functions if you want to learn the few buttons, or it plugs into an iPhone app.

I have frustrating memories of trying to learn on a short Casio keyboard as a kid, and when I was shopping recently a friend kept stopping his demo by saying "and I don't have those notes, so I'm transposing on the fly", etc. Sheesh, I have enough to think about.

Anyway, I'd consider whether it's the size or the weight that you'd object to more. Also, check on a recent thread I started called "Traveling with DP" for a couple of helpful observations on plane travel and shipping.
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Adult Beginner: Yamaha P115 Piano, Guitars
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#2624970 - 03/18/17 07:53 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
dogperson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/15
Posts: 1958
Loc: Florida
hi Deltamud
What a great screen name for someone from Louisiana Would a full- size keyboard be better? Yes. But please don't delay starting to learn the piano because of your travel limitation. You might want to post your question about which one to buy in the digital piano forum where you will get a lot of assistance

What you might also want to include with your post is when your circumstances might change and you could upgrade to a full-size keyboard That might make a difference in what you want to spend now.

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#2624984 - 03/18/17 08:26 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
earlofmar Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 3035
Loc: Australia
I might be one of the very few people ever to take a full size keyboard to an ultramarathon laugh

I still have that DP which is a Yamaha P105. The newer P115 is probably the same, relatively small and light compared to most.

I don't think there is a 63 key piano with fully weighted keys, which IMHO is essential. However to just get started I would not rule out a touch sensitive 63 key instrument, but you will have to expect to "outgrow" it probably in the first year.
_________________________
Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

13x

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#2624986 - 03/18/17 08:32 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
sara elizabeth Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/16
Posts: 224
Would it be an option to get an 88 key for home and a shorter one for travel?

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#2624990 - 03/18/17 08:47 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3774
I strongly recommend that you get an 88 key unit.

88 key keyboards typically have the keyboard mechanism designed to duplicate the touch and feel of of a real (acoustic) piano.

61 key keyboards on the other hand have mechanisms that do not attempt to duplicate the touch and feel of a real piano. Instead they have a spring or something under the key that causes it to rebound.

Students who learn on the 61 key non-pianos thus do not develop the proper physical movement response that learning on a real piano, or a 88 key digital can provide.

Its like going to the gym and working out using weights that look like real weights, but are much lighter.

Furthermore, 88 key digitals typically have graded actions (the name for the mechanism) that respond differently to different velocity and pressure of touch, whereas the 61 key keyboards are more like an on-off switch.

I have been teaching for about 17 years full-time in a music store, and have been down this road numerous times with many students.

Students with the 62 key units typically do not thrive as piano players, whereas those with 88 key units often do thrive and develop.

BTW, the width of a Casio Privia PX360 is 52" wide; it is a good 88 key digital...the width of a Casio CTK-6200 (a 62 keyboard) is 37 inches. Is 15 inches really a deal-killer?

Also, 88 key units usually sound much more like a real piano.

Most people who start lessons with a 62 key unit either quit, or quickly become dissatisfied with the 62 key unit. Remember...62 key units are NOT smaller pianos...they are more like toys.

At least that is my experience working literally hundreds and hundreds of students over the years.
_________________________
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

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#2624992 - 03/18/17 08:55 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 2487
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
The Roland RD64 is the closest thing to a short keyboard with a reasonable piano action.

I travel a lot too and, depending on my ability to manage luggage for a specific trip, I either take the RD64 or a Yamaha NP11 (61 keys, unweighted, but only 11 pounds, compared to 30+ for the Roland). The NP11 is better than nothing (IMHO -- not everyone agrees), but just barely.

When I can drive to my destination, a take an 88-key Casio, which is far preferable to the other two.


Edited by ClsscLib (03/18/17 08:56 PM)
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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

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#2624993 - 03/18/17 08:56 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
Swain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/16
Posts: 93
Look into the Roland RD-64. it's portable, 64 ivory feel fully weighted keybed.
_________________________
If practice seems like a chore, you're playing the wrong instrument.
Passion + Persistence = Talent (eventually)

https://soundcloud.com/swain-9

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#2624994 - 03/18/17 08:59 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: ClsscLib]
Swain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/16
Posts: 93
you beat me by one minute!
_________________________
If practice seems like a chore, you're playing the wrong instrument.
Passion + Persistence = Talent (eventually)

https://soundcloud.com/swain-9

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#2625005 - 03/18/17 09:34 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
Tone Deaf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/20/15
Posts: 64
Loc: Canada

Am in agreement with what rocket88 and others have posted re the need for a fully weighted keyboard.

I began as a comlpete novice on a 61 key, unweighted Casio. Within 4 months I was looking for something much better.
The difference between my teacher's acoustic and my Casio was night and day. Any practice done at
home was mostly (in hind sight) a waste of time. Not only were the keys unweighted, but they were not full sized (length) keys.
As in the size (length) of keys found on an acoustic or 88 key DP.

Make sure whatever keyboard you select has Full length keys, and that the space between each key(s)
feels comfortable under your hands. Don't forget the headphones.

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#2625020 - 03/18/17 10:32 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3774
Thanks Tone Deaf...I was going to mention that the key size of the 61 keyboards are smaller...not as wide, not as long, thus closer together than the keys of 88 key digitals and acoustic pianos (except some spinets which are now obsolete, thats another thread story).

The size difference can be disorientating when switching over to a full-size 88 key digital...BTW, all the contemporary 88 key digitals have "grand" size keys. (at least all those I am familiar with...there may be exceptions, but I doubt it).
_________________________
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

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#2625053 - 03/19/17 04:24 AM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
fiver Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 12
Loc: West Michigan
Travel means compromise. Get a decent full size 88 key hammer action keyboard at home and something else to take with you on the road.

For travel, what you end up buying will have a lot to do with your mode of travel and how much weight / bulk you are willing to deal with. For 1-2 day air trips I have a 25 key that fits in a mid sized suitcase with the rest of my clothes. 3-4 day trips a 37 key that fits in a full sized suitcase. No you can't work on any serious repertoire but as least you can work on song sections, scales arpeggios and what not.

Longer air trips I have a 49 key midi controller that fits in a Pelican flight case I already owned for a rifle. I'd like to fly with something bit bigger but it's what I had and the whole package is pretty light and manuverable. Unless you don't care about the extra baggage fees when flying you need to worry about total weight and volume of keyboard + case. Not to mention physically humping it through airports with the rest of your luggage. Any decent flight case is going to have a fair amount of weight in and of itself. So when shopping for bigger stuff to fly with be sure to do the math of the total weight of the potential case + keyboard and keep in mind the logistics of getting in and out of ground transportation, busses etc.

Driving pretty much anywhere, I take a Nord Electo 5HP. It's the almost identical in length to the Roland RD64. The action may not be quite as nice but I'd rather have 73 keys than 64. Any repritore that I'm going to practice that requires the full 88 keys can wait until I get home, very rarely am I limited with 73. I can fit the 5HP + an x stand in the same soft case and the entire package is under 30 pounds and will fit in even compact car.

IMO the only keyboards in current production less that 88 keys with hammer actions that are remotely portable are the RD64 and the Electro 5HP. There is the Kurzwiel model out there but it weighs a ton and is bulky as all heck.

I tried my best to travel with a StudioLogic VMK161 plus for awhile, which is one of the other few sub-88 key hammer actions in the wild. I do not recommend it, the firmware is buggy and unreliable and the velocity curves are terrible and full of obvious gaps. They quit making it for a reason. Not to mention it is a full 10 pounds heavier than the Electro and not much shorter.






Edited by fiver (03/19/17 04:27 AM)

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#2625071 - 03/19/17 06:27 AM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
john f Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 265
Loc: thailand
We travel a lot in Asia since I am retired in Thailand. Beautiful and historical places to visit. Plus my wife is an interpreter for the church which requires us to travel a lot. I have a P-45 DP, Yamaha in my bedroom at home. If you travel by car this piano minus the stand is easy to carry. It is 52" long. I am considering buying a second one without the stand just for travel. Volume is easy to keep low enough for in a hotel room unless your wife plays a stupid t.v. and then you need good earphones.

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#2625094 - 03/19/17 09:05 AM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
Greener Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 2131
Loc: Toronto, Canada
My sister has the very portable Roll-up Piano she carries around in her suitcase she calls a purse.

I believe the action on it is fairly terrible, but she doesn't use it for that. She's a Guitar player (which she also usually is carrying) so mostly it is for tuning or maybe just the laughs, not sure. It is good for some things I guess, as a shorter keyboard will also be (better of course), but playing isn't one of them. smile



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#2625216 - 03/19/17 06:15 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: Greener]
earlofmar Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 3035
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By Greener
M It is good for some things I guess.......




door stop springs to mind laugh
_________________________
Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

13x

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#2625508 - 03/20/17 07:42 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: fiver]
JohnSprung Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 3986
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By fiver
Travel means compromise. Get a decent full size 88 key hammer action keyboard at home and something else to take with you on the road.


+1. That's what I have. The 61 key is only for travel, I got it for $50 on Craig's List. No big deal if it gets stolen or left in a hotel room.

The "doorbell button" action of the 61 key is so light that it's actually helpful to play on once in a while. It reveals where I'm getting lazy and putting weight on keys that aren't supposed to be played. But that's only good in the context of having the vast majority of practice on a real piano and a weighted velocity sensitive 88 key digital. What the 61 key does let you do is practice getting the right fingers to the right places at the right times.

(Edit: BTW, get headphones for your travel keyboard so you don't get complaints from other guests.)



Edited by JohnSprung (03/20/17 07:43 PM)
_________________________
-- J.S.



Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2625542 - 03/20/17 09:58 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: sara elizabeth]
deltamud Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 6
Loc: Houma, La
Sara sorry it took so long to respond. Yes that is the plan. A full size keyboard at home and a small one for the road. The only problem is I spend more time on the road than I do at home.

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#2625544 - 03/20/17 10:06 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
deltamud Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 6
Loc: Houma, La
Folks thanks for all the responses. I'm going to do some measuring and see if I can fit a full size keyboard in my truck. I'm an owner operator and due to federal law I have to stop for a minimum of 10 hrs every day and who can sleep that much? Lots of time to practice.

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#2625547 - 03/20/17 10:50 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3774
I can fit a full-size Roland 88 keyboard in the front seat of my car, angled from the floor to the headrest. Best wishes on your piano journey!

ps...get a soft gig bag carrying case like this:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/GKB88Slim
_________________________
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

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#2625787 - 03/21/17 07:51 PM Re: 61 key keyboard [Re: deltamud]
JohnSprung Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 3986
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By deltamud
Folks thanks for all the responses. I'm going to do some measuring and see if I can fit a full size keyboard in my truck. I'm an owner operator and due to federal law I have to stop for a minimum of 10 hrs every day and who can sleep that much? Lots of time to practice.


Hmmm.... Maybe you could save a whole bunch of money by going into the long distance piano moving business.... ;-)

Why bother with digital, you could bring a concert grand.... ;-)

Seriously, though, check out the various stage pianos. Many of them run on 12 Volt DC from a wall wart adapter. If you have 12 VDC available in the truck you might save the inverter and wall wart losses.
_________________________
-- J.S.



Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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