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guitarist thinking of adding keyboards - recomendations?

stratotone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,519
Here's the deal - I play in a cover band, have another guitarist, drums, bass, vocals. Want to do a few songs that have simple keyboard parts, but do not want a keyboardist in the band for several reasons. So, I figured I might do it. I have a small keyboard for recording that is a M-audio keystudio, but that's not going to work well for live. I need a 'real' keyboard for that.

What would you guys suggest for a affordable yet workable keyboard? Main thing is probably a decent piano, 80s synth sounds and maybe some organ. Some of the songs we're doing that need a splash of keys would be home sweet home by motley crue, some whitesnake songs like is this love and still of the night, etc. I have two inputs on my powered FRFR monitor, so I just need a keyboard. Well, and a stand. :)

I can half ass stuff with my guitar, Kemper and different effects, but am thinking about just doing this. I know how to read music and what keys are what notes on the piano, so other than a little awkwardness at first I think I'll be capable of doing ordinary stuff.
 

n9ne

Member
Messages
2,030
I was in the same boat. After doing a lot of research, I ended up settling on a Casio WX-P1; it has pretty good sounds and covers a whole lot of bases, all at a very affordable price. (I found one used for $325).

There are better sounding options out there, but most of them were priced considerably higher. If you do get a chance to check one out, be aware that most of the factory presets are pretty lame; it's not until you dig in and start building your own sounds that its true potential is revealed.
 

stratotone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,519
Thanks for the info so far - Tim, you're right... as little as possible, to be honest without giving up too much sound-wise. I was thinking under $500 for sure, I'm just never going to be as emotionally attached to keys as I would a guitar.
 

Fezziwig

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,307
Hmm, I really like Nord's on-board sound library if you like sticking to traditional keys sounds. You can usually find Nord Electro 2's for around $500 used.
 

tim gueguen

Member
Messages
3,074
You can find a lot of late issue ROMPLER keyboards used n that price range, such as the Korg X50, Roland Juno G, and their Yamaha equivalents. Those instruments will give you both sounds like organs and pianos, and more synth like sounds.
 

hanales

Member
Messages
898
Do you have an iPad? You can just pick up a cheap controller and run some virtual synths and keys from the iPad. In a band context they will sound authentic enough.
 

NyteOwl

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,642
Check out the Korg N5-EX. 61 keys, tons of synth patches, plus great organ and piano patches, too. Going for around $400 on eBay these days.
 

DGTCrazy

Mod Squad
Staff member
Messages
16,155
I bought a Roland GR-55 for that very purpose. I loved people's expressions when they looked around for the keyboard player, especially during a solo. It's not the cheapest way to go, but it gave us the ability to add synth pads, piano, percussion and other interesting instruments when needed, and I didn't need to set up a keyboard, extra mic, or take up additional stage space.
 

FenderTone

Senior Member
Messages
1,660
A couple of thoughts. Buy used and before you buy really listen to it carefully. Obviously there's a huge amount of difference in what keyboards sound like. I broke two fingers on my fretting hand last summer. To keep my spirits up and to keep our band practicing we brought in a temporary guitarist from this forum and I bought a used keyboard from GC. I know basic chords and learning our songs on a keyboard basically gave me something to do and kept me from feeling sorry for myself for having to wait for fingers to heal.

A really cool GC employee gave me some advice on taking up keys in the band, he said don't transpose your songs to full basic chords on the keyboard. He said it wouldn't sound right. Instead of going up and down the keyboard playing full chords look for dropping individual notes and combining individual root notes of the next chord, thereby keeping the next chord physically closer to each other on the keyboard. I hope that makes sense, I'm not a keyboard player but that was great advice.

Back to the subject at hand. I demoed just about every keyboard at GC. In the end I bought cheap used Yamaha. In my opinion it had exactly one decent tone. And so I tweaked that tone through an Eleven Rack and it sounded pretty good. Although I will say OP, that when we added keys for that month or two several band members commented that it sounded like they were in church lol.

By the way, by the time my splints came off (seven weeks) I'd learned our first set. We also added a song, Gimme Some Lovin'. Loved it! We rocked that song, thanks Joe!
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,652
A really cool GC employee gave me some advice on taking up keys in the band, he said don't transpose your songs to full basic chords on the keyboard. He said it wouldn't sound right. Instead of going up and down the keyboard playing full chords look for dropping individual notes and combing individual root notes of the next chord, thereby keeping the next chord physically closer to each other on the keyboard. I hope that makes sense, I'm not a keyboard player but that was great advice.
Actually you can get a lot of mileage out of that technique with guitar. The idea is to learn the chords of a song so you can play them with as little horizontal movement on the neck as possible. It does wonders for your knowledge of the neck.

I have actually tried the same thing with keyboard, but it seems harder somehow. Also I haven't had a lot of time to work on keys unfortunately.
 

ksandvik

Member
Messages
6,328
I would use a cheap MIDI keyboard, light, breaks, no deal, that and a laptop running MainStage and you have billions of sounds available.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,420
Tight chord intervals that are often impossible to play on guitar can fill holes very well with an organ/pad type sound.
I find it's hard to convince keys players that it can be that easy to add something in a band setting. ("20 years playing classical and jazz and I have to play what?!?!")..ok I exaggerate a bit.
 

RocksOff

Member
Messages
7,456
Yep. A Midi controller and Logic Pro will render loads of great sounds.
Also, yes. Less is more. I too have had difficulty convincing classically trained pianists that they needn't play full chords with both hands. I can't remember where I read it, but a well known keyboardist once said that the trick to adding keys to a full band is to keep your left hand in your pocket.
 

2HBStrat

Senior Member
Messages
41,223
I was in the same boat. After doing a lot of research, I ended up settling on a Casio WX-P1;.....
I've been looking at these, too. The sounds, at least what I hear on Youtube demos, aren't mindblowing but they're acceptable, and you get a lot for the price, including real drawbars for the organ patches.

Hmm, I really like Nord's on-board sound library if you like sticking to traditional keys sounds. You can usually find Nord Electro 2's for around $500 used.
I have an Electro 2.....it's a great board but they don't have the synth sounds that the OP wants.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,079
The Korg PS60 is a good choice. Simple to use, but great tones.
 






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