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Keyboard recommendations

(14 Posts)
schilke Thu 26-Nov-15 09:31:20

DS2 (15) would like a keyboard for Christmas to tinker around on. He's about to do Gr 8 violin and is doing GCSE music although he has decided against A level. We have a Yamaha digital piano in the music room, but he'd like something to play around on in his room.

I would get musician dh to sort this out, but he is ridiculously busy and has left it to me. Can anyone recommend one which is around £100? No idea how he's going to fit it in his room...violin, viola, electric violin, music stand....

Ferguson Thu 26-Nov-15 20:26:31

If you do MN search on my name, and keyboard, piano , music etc you will find I have replied on this many times.

Seeing as DS is so far advanced in music already, he really needs to take things further than just "tinkering around"!

At around £100 though you won't get much more than an 'entry-level' keyboard (if buying 'new').

Do you know what DS has at school in the way of music technology? And does he have a computer in his room, and is his electric violin MIDI compatible?

Is his interest going to be mainly in composing and exploring advanced chords, or more technology-based with recording, multi-tracking, and synthesizer facilities? For a keyboard to achieve ALL of that, I'm afraid the price needs another 'zero'!

Many aspects can be covered with connection to a computer however, so the main requirement will be that the keyboard does that effectively.

I will come back in a few days, if you can clarify the queries I have posed. Ideally, can he not research the market himself, and decide what he would like?

Worriedandlost Sat 28-Nov-15 00:33:23

The more or less "proper" keyboard would cost in a region of £300 on sale. £100 keyboard will not even have an option of playing forte-piano, let alone anything in the middle. Totally agree with Ferguson. We have a digital piano and even my 7yo loves to play with technology in a way Ferguson describes

schilke Sat 28-Nov-15 15:54:23

We have a digital piano. I don't think it's worth it then as I don't want to spend £300 on something which is just for him to mess around on. He uses Sibelius at school - we have this at home and yes, he could use that as dh has it set up with piano etc.. Ds has Sibelius on his laptop.

The reason he wasn't researching it was that it was going to be a Christmas present. It was something he'd mentioned a few weeks ago, but I don't think he expects it.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sat 28-Nov-15 15:58:43

We bought dd a second hand (barely used) Yamaha 88 key keyboard last year, came with a stand and it hadn't been touched. We wrapped it well and she was delighted with it. Might be an option for a better spec within budget?

Singsongsungagain Sat 28-Nov-15 16:00:59

I agree, £100 won't get you much more than a toy.
I've posted on here to suggest you ask school if they have an assisted purchase scheme in operation. That way you don't pay the VAT and often get hefty discounts too.

INeedNewShoes Sat 28-Nov-15 16:04:13

You could buy a reasonable midi keyboard for £100 if you've got a computer you could hook it up with so that he could use Garageband (or similar free software) for creative stuff.

Midi keyboards don't have their own speakers or functions (aside from faders etc). The idea is that you use the keyboard to drive the computer programme, but doing this you can play in all your lines for a song and stack up the tracks assigning voices to them etc.

schilke Sat 28-Nov-15 16:05:27

Thanks for your help. I knew it would end up costing more than £100 so I think we'll leave it. Our digital piano cost £1200 twenty years ago. His violin strings cost £100 a set so I was just dreaming that I could get a keyboard for that amount! We've got 4 dc and I really can't justify spending £300 on him.

schilke Mon 30-Nov-15 21:43:54

I'm back blush What about the Casio CTK7200 ?
I wouldn't normally have looked at Casio (I just think of calculators), but a couple of people mentioned this one as being better than the Yamaha NP-V80 that I was looking at and it's much cheaper.

schilke Mon 30-Nov-15 21:50:41

Now I've just read a really bad review of that one....too complicated etc.. There are so many out there it's crazy!

Ferguson Mon 30-Nov-15 23:14:05

Welcome back!

I'm afraid you are getting slightly confused though, as the CTK7200 and the Yamaha Piaggero NP-V80 are TOTALLY DIFFERENT kinds of instruments, and are intended for different kinds of music:

The Yamaha has 76 keys with 'graded touch', so is rather more like a piano, and CAN be played as a piano, and simulate a 'piano performance'. It is ideal for Classical music, but in a 'modern' (think: James Last) kind of way.

The CTK7200 is really more of a synthesizer, and is aimed at Pop and Jazz performers and/or composers and recording sessions. It also has 'drawbar organ' (Hammond + Leslie) sliders - I think, probably nine of them; that would mean it can closely simulate the Hammond (B3, Jimmy Smith) kind of sound. A lot of the 'fine tuning' - eg, keyclick, Leslie speed, will be hidden away in 'menus' I think. The original 'book price' is £600.

The 'too complicated' review you mention will, presumably be because it is very POWERFUL in terms of facilities, etc. Personally, I would thought DS would like to get his teeth into that!

I'll look back in a day or two.

schilke Tue 01-Dec-15 10:03:07

Sorry Ferguson not sure what the bit about drawbar organ even is! As we have a piano I suppose I need to move away from the Yamaha Np-V80. I only ended up on the Casio one as it was referred to a few times by in reviews of the Yamaha. The word synthesizer makes me shudder as so far we're more of a classical house, but perhaps ds2 would like that. So far he just says he wants to learn to play the piano (hello we have one!) and do a bit of composing. He doesn't like the music room so wants something in his room.

Ferguson Tue 01-Dec-15 20:12:29

As DH is a musician I (rather rudely, perhaps) assumed you would have met some of these features.

The church 'classical' organ has pipe sounds that are measured in 'footages', with 64' being the longest, fattest, and therefore lowest, note, but maybe only cathedrals and the Albert Hall are that big. Most ordinary churches probably have 32' (an octave higher). The lengths halve, and each time raise an octave. Pipes also get thinner, until we get to 1', which is obviously a very high note.

However, to add 'colour' to the sound there are 'in-between' lengths of pipe, with exotic names, 'quint' and 'nazard' - I can't remember the rest off hand.

In the 1930s, the US inventor Laurens Hammond, wanted to make a 'domestic' organ. It was an electro-mechanical instrument, with rotating metal discs between magnets, creating the sound. But it gave a rather 'static' sound, until another inventor, Don Leslie, came up with the rotating speaker, in a solid wooden cabinet. Two different speeds of rotation, fast and slow, could be selected.

The different sounds on the Hammond are selected by sliding 'drawbars, in different configurations. Well, this little Casio has nine sliders, corresponding to the Hammond drawbars, when in organ mode. They also become a 'mixing desk' to control and edit sounds, which can be 'saved' to SD cards.

Synthesizers don't HAVE to be horrid; it's how the players use them that makes the difference!

I have just learnt something! There is an organ with an 128' pipe:

schilke Tue 01-Dec-15 21:55:00

Thanks Ferguson I will read and digest. Dh is a trumpet player and knows nothing about keyboards. He can play the piano and we have a digital one, but keyboard knowledge is limited....very limited!

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