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How do I find the right beginner keyboard?


Wylie2112

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I use the double-secret search function at the top of this forum to see what the other hundreds of posts on this topic have already said!

:D

Then, having gotten a rough idea of features and prices from said posts, I go to a music shop, ask the staff their opinions and play whatever they have in stock (even stuff out of my price range, just for comparison). From there I find a model I like, then come back to the double-secret search function and see what people have had to say on that model. And, finally, I order a Casio PX-310!

 

It hasn't been delivered yet and I'm like a kid waiting for XMas morning!

 

I've been messing around on my own with a Casio CTK-671 and the Alfred books very off and on for a few years (been through Book 1 three times!). While I think the 671's tones are great, the features are more than I'll ever use, and it was good to get started, a couple of things changed recently that moved my learning up a gear. One is that I moved into a town with a piano shop and got myself a teacher. He's great and we're both learning how to play blues (well, I'm learning how to play it, he's learning how to teach it - the dual-discovery going on is fantastic!). That alone has done loads for my learning curve and enthusiasm. Even if I don't get to play much during the week, I still look forward to my lesson because it's just such a blast. There's something about us both learning something that is making it so much more than if I was the only one learning. I introduced him to Amos Milburn's stuff and he was blown away. :)

 

The second thing that happened is that my lessons are held in the piano shop after hours. I've got a choice of about 20 baby grands and uprights to play. I chose a Gors and Kallman Concerto a couple of weeks ago and haven't stopped thinking about it since. There was just something about that piano's sound and action that clicked with me. After that I just couldn't get the same pleasure out of anything without a hammer action, hence the purchase of the new Casio. Funnily enough, there seems to be something about the instrument itself that is such a part of the pleasure of playing. You guys all probably knew that but it was a discovery for me.

 

So, I tried the Clav, the Korg and the Casio and found the Casio's feel much more to my liking. It seemed to feel slightly "springier" than the others and just appealed. I'm really more interested in the hammer action than anything else. Ideally, I'd have bought an accoustic piano, because that's the sound and feel I'm really after, but I live in an apartment and my neighbors would have mobbed my door with pitchforks and torches if they'd seen me load one up the stairs.

 

So, I just thought I'd post this to say hello, let you now that some people have taken the advice about searching previous posts, and I really appreciate the time people put into the information here so newbies like me can get good advice and a friendly welcome. Much appreciated!

 

Cheers,

Wylie2112

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The Casio Privia series are suprisingly very decent. I say suprisingly because Casio is/has been very much asociated with being a 'toy' or very low end piano. However with the new Privia series they seemed to have almost shocked everyone at how good they are. Theres been alot of talk in here from the Pro's of how good they are.

 

In my opinion though if I was in charge of there marketing and given the task of competing with the 'Pro level' boards, which is what they almost appear to be doing I would have given the Privia series a whole new name and taken 'Casio' right off the board or at least put it in very small letters. Maybe just called them 'PRIVIA' and 'by Casio' in very small letters.

 

I know from talking to a few sales guys that alot of guys really like them but they just couldnt handle the psycological issue of it being a Casio. Although they still seem to fly out of the stores. They said they thought about including a free roll of black tape with the purchase of a Privia to cover up the word Casio ;)

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Yeah, funnily enough, I almost discounted the Casio for exactly those reasons. I'm not even a real keyboard player, and I've had that old impression of Casios. It was almost like admitting to some kind of unspeakable evil when I decided that, name aside, I liked the feel of the Casio hammer action better than the Korg and Yamaha. I can't wait till it arrives.

 

Any tips on how to off-load a like-new Casio CTK-671? Is e-bay the best place?

 

Wylie2112

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Wylie2112

Welcome to the forum. It's good to see a "Newbie" that's done his homework.

 

Being a bluesman myself, it's pretty cool to hear that your learning to play the blues. One thing to keep in mind when learning the blues, as many would agree, is the blues is more about the attitude than just the notes. The best blues I've ever played happened when I had a serious case of the blues due to a parental funeral. This gave me the attitude to put the needed emotion into the music.

 

Also remember, Less is More. And, find a blues jam and get out there and play with others as soon as you can. The musical interplay with the other players is one of the things that make the Blues so much fun to play. It'll also step up your learning curve even more than it is now.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Night,

 

Thanks for the tips and the welcome! You're right about the blues. I've been listening to them for years and completely agree that one single note, perfectly placed, can carry more soul and emotion than most runs and riffs. And that's the kind of stuff I'm learning with this teacher. We've been working together for about 6 weeks, haven't left the key of C yet, haven't looked at a single piece of sheet music. He's teaching me to improvise and play by ear and I'm having an absolute blast! It feels like it's woken up a part of my brain that's been dormant all my life.

 

I think the blues really lends itself to that style and since what you suggested is ultimately what I want to do (play in an unrehearsed jam)it's the perfect way to start.

 

At the moment, there are two styles that really intrigue me, and they're very different. One is boogie woogie, a la Amos Milburn. Piano based, very fast, heavy on the rolling bassline, incredible energy. The other is more urban electric blues on a B3 or Rhodes, like Greg Allman or Ray. Typically slower and more soulful, full of expression, rising and resolving tension, and empty spaces. Another reason for a digital keyboard - I can get all those sounds out of one instrument (arguments about the accuracy of the samples notwithstanding). The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to emulate the speed modulation of a Leslie on something like the Privia.

 

I'm trying to put together a jam with some guitarist/bassist mates. I've set it up that we all know we'll be rubbish to start, I'll have to stay in C for the moment, but that we'll have one hell of a good time!

 

What's your chosen music?

 

Cheers,

Wylie2112

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I gotta admit, when I saw the thread topic and having just read Sven's post about "how to handle" newbies asking the same old questions, I thought, "uh oh." :)

 

But I'm glad to see Wylie that your post was really "How to find the right keyboard"! Congrats and welcome to the forum! I'm trying to become a better blues player too. Blues or blues-rock. Whatever. I'm trying to get to the point that when it's my turn to take a solo, I'll actually be happy with it at the end. Though for now, my band isn't complaining, so I guess it's just me!

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Originally posted by Joe Muscara:

I'm trying to get to the point that when it's my turn to take a solo, I'll actually be happy with it at the end. Though for now, my band isn't complaining, so I guess it's just me!

I think you'll find that you are your worst critic. You might think what you just played is rubbish, but your band mates and the audience might think that it's the best they ever heard. Just keep plugging, and trying to play better at every outing. It'll come.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Joe,

 

Thanks for taking the time to read it. It was intended to be a bit of a windup based on the recent threads about newbie questions (I've been lurking for a couple of weeks). I should have put a smiley in the title or something to indicate it wasn't a serious title.

 

I think Mr. Nightime is right about being your own worst critic. I do a lot of public speaking and I usually think what I've just finished was random, wandering, poorly prepared nonsense, but the number of people who come up to me afterward and tell me how inspiring they found it is staggering. Go figure. The upshot is, you're probably better than you give yourself credit for so give yourself a break and just have a good time. If you've got the talent, you stay relaxed, and play what you feel, the quality will come through all by itself.

 

Mr. Nightime,

I just re-read your first post. Pretty powerful stuff, these bad feelings, eh? Kinda makes the title "the blues" seem a bit redundant sometimes. I've not really played but I can see what you meant. Thanks for sharing the observation.

 

Wylie

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Wylie

 

It all starts and ends with the blues for me. After all the years of woodshedding and experimenting, playing with true emotion is my ultimate goal. Playing ideas instead of riffs, leaving space instead of filling every 16th note with scales.

 

You're on the right track. Play with as many people as you can. Search out older blues musicians and learn the tradition as well as the music.

 

I know that you and your teacher are just beginning and are still only in C, but start learning the guitar keys (E, A, D, G. B) as soon as you can. You'll need them.

 

Best,

Blue JC

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. W. C. Fields
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Thanks, Blue. I know what you mean, at least to listen to live blues. Now playing it is going to add to that experience. What you described is exactly what I'm after. Some of the most intense experiences I've had were at Mike and Min's, a blues bar in St. Louis, in 94/95 listening to an ever-changing lineup that called themselves the LA West Blues band. The only consistent players were the bass and drummer, but the lead guitarist was there most nights. This one night in particular is the only gig I remember with this kind of clarity. The guitarist, Tony, and a harp blower named John that used to come in were both on that night and there were both really "ON". This band never played anything straight, mostly due to Tony. They'd start a song, get to the first solo and that was it - they were in to uncharted territory based on what was going through their heads and hearts right then and there.

 

Anyway, this one night it was just superb. Everyone in the crowd and the band was in a brilliant mood and the boys were blowing off some major steam with some of the hottest rip-roaring blues I'd ever heard them do. During one break between tunes John played a little riff just to blow the spit out of his harp. You could see Tony's ears prick up when he heard it. He turned to John and just said "Play that again." He did, repeated it, the bass player cottoned on and picked up a bassline and before you knew it 20 minutes disappeared into a no-holds barred rhythm and blues tour de force that saw John jumping up and playing on a table in the middle of the bar and Tony bouncing up and down in time to his own power-chord rhythms. No practice, no plan, just a four bar riff and some serious musical talent.

 

THAT is what I want to be able to do.

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