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Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
#2948755 02/18/20 10:34 PM
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Hi everyone,

I already have a full-size weighted digital piano (Yamaha P515), but because of the key thumps and vibrations it produces and the noise disputes it cause with the neighbor (see this post), I am on a restricted practice schedule. This restricted schedule does not give me sufficient time to practice some of the skills I wish to develop this year.

A key skill I would like to develop this year is sight-reading without looking at the keyboard or my hands. For this, I have been sightreading Czerny 599, 299, and church hymns by feeling the keys (e.g., using the black keys to orient my hand to the surrounding keys). I think I have been making pretty good progress in developing keyboard topography awareness, and I would like to keep the momentum going. But the limited practice schedule is an obstacle.

Therefore, I am thinking of buying a second, unweighted keyboard solely for the purpose of developing better keyboard topography awareness. The idea is that an unweighted electronic keyboard will not cause the thumps and vibrations to my downstairs neighbor, and therefore I will hopefully be able to practice whenever I want.

But I have limited space, so I am hoping to just get one of those cheap (even second-hand) 61-key portable keyboards. One thing I'm not sure however is that I find that such keyboards do not have standard-sized piano keys. They tend to be a little smaller (e.g., 2.1 cm-wide white key versus standard 2.23 cm-wide white key). Does it matter much?

Also, I realize that a 61-key instrument has too limited a range, but hopefully it will suffice for the present purpose (develop keyboard topography for sight-reading).


What do people think? Any recommendations?

Thanks.




Last edited by ybtangq; 02/18/20 10:36 PM.
Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
ybtangq #2948760 02/18/20 10:58 PM
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I bought the 61-key Roland Go:Piano because it has standard sized keys. Originally I picked up a Yamaha NP-12, however something didn’t feel quite right. I used a tape measure and confirmed my theory - the keys were slightly under-sized. I returned it for a refund and kept on shopping until I found the Roland. I use it only when I’m travelling.


Yamaha P105
Roland LX-7
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Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
ybtangq #2948770 02/18/20 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ybtangq
I think I have been making pretty good progress in developing keyboard topography awareness, and I would like to keep the momentum going. But the limited practice schedule is an obstacle.

ybtangq, I sent you a PM (private message). You can find it at the upper right corner of the webpage immediately to the left of your "ybtangq" forum handle. Click on the envelope-shaped icon.


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Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
SLQ #2948810 02/19/20 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SLQ
I bought the 61-key Roland Go:Piano because it has standard sized keys. Originally I picked up a Yamaha NP-12, however something didn’t feel quite right. I used a tape measure and confirmed my theory - the keys were slightly under-sized. I returned it for a refund and kept on shopping until I found the Roland. I use it only when I’m travelling.


Thank you! A couple of questions if you don't mind.

I was watching a
Youtube review of Roland Go. Strangely, they described the Roland Go Piano keys as "Semi-weighted". I don't know what that means. Is that the same as "unweighted"? How do the keys feel for you, and importantly, do they produce the loud thumping key noise (that digital piano keys do)?

Lastly (and relatedly), due to my limited space, I will intend to store this additional keyboard vertically (e.g., leaning against a wall). I heard that if there is any weighted action to the keys, then you should not store them vertically because it would affect the mechanism. Would it be a problem for Roland Go Piano?

Thanks!

Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
Tyrone Slothrop #2948811 02/19/20 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ybtangq
I think I have been making pretty good progress in developing keyboard topography awareness, and I would like to keep the momentum going. But the limited practice schedule is an obstacle.

ybtangq, I sent you a PM (private message). You can find it at the upper right corner of the webpage immediately to the left of your "ybtangq" forum handle. Click on the envelope-shaped icon.


Thank you again! cool

Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
ybtangq #2948841 02/19/20 04:15 AM
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I think a 61-key, synth-action (unweighted or "semi-weighted") keyboard makes a lot of sense.

There are several older models of Yamaha PSR-3xx and PSR-4xx keyboards. They're touch-sensitive, and actually usable to play music. You should be able to find one, used, at a good price. They might show up in thrift shops, if you're lucky. I haven't checked Craigslist, or pawnshops. The yamaha PSR-2xx models are _not_ touch-sensitive, and IMHO not good general-purpose keyboards.

The current PSR-3xx model is this one, I think:

https://www.long-mcquade.com/90649/...63-Touch-Sensitive-Portable-Keyboard.htm

There are equivalents by Casio and other makers. Roland Go:Piano and Go:Keys are current models.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
ybtangq #2948870 02/19/20 06:30 AM
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As someone that started out on a 61-key: I did have always need to "re-orient" myself whenever I got the opportunity to play on a proper piano, because the middle c was in a different place.

Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
ybtangq #2948984 02/19/20 11:41 AM
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Weighted actions have hammer mechanisms... un/semi weighted actions do not, they will be quieter, and storage position won't matter. I haven't played a Roland Go, but it should be a reasonable choice here. And yes, all Yamaha non-hammer keys are slightly narrow.

Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
boe2 #2949010 02/19/20 12:24 PM
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Middle C is ALWAYS in the same place. It's the rest of the piano that shifts. smile
Originally Posted by boe2
As someone that started out on a 61-key: I did have always need to "re-orient" myself whenever I got the opportunity to play on a proper piano, because the middle c was in a different place.

Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
MacMacMac #2949014 02/19/20 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Middle C is ALWAYS in the same place. It's the rest of the piano that shifts. smile
Originally Posted by boe2
As someone that started out on a 61-key: I did have always need to "re-orient" myself whenever I got the opportunity to play on a proper piano, because the middle c was in a different place.


However, once boe2 is shown where middle C is, they play a mean boogie like you wouldn't believe!

Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
ybtangq #2949170 02/19/20 04:51 PM
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Now, I just realized that the 88-key Roland Go Piano is just C$50 more than the 61-key version, at my local store. I am still inclined towards the 61-key one because it is so much more convenient (compact and light) and suits my purpose. But it is very tempting when the 88-key one is just $50 more!

Re: Second (unweighted) keyboard to practice sightreading?
ybtangq #2949191 02/19/20 05:24 PM
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If you're considering an 88, you could also look at the Numa Compact 2.


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