Depends on what you're going to use it for. If you're looking to play some synth parts, pads, strings, special fx, etc or even some organ patches then 61 keys should be ok. If you're looking to play more piano-driven sounds them at least a 73 key unit when playing in a band with a bass player is kind of needed IMO. Stand alone piano playing needs an 88.
The best way to choose is to demo a couple of your contenders and pick one based on your criteria. My criteria comes down to:
How good do the patches sound? Very subjective - I judge based mostly on piano and vintage key sounds like wurlis, clavs and rhodes but the organs HAVE to be decent too, even though I will most times bring a separate organ.
Does the patch collection meet my needs? (Also subjective but my needs tend to run toward vintage sounds)
How easy is the interface to use/navigate? (sometimes saving/editing patches can be confusing and if you're gigging with it you need to be able to get to your presets fairly fast) Fortunately, in most cases there are now tons of tutorial videos from the manufacturer or other users to help you.
Post by Rick Knight on Apr 2, 2020 13:12:16 GMT -5
I don’t think the definition of keyboard player could be stretched far enough to include me without suffering permanent damage. Occasional keyboard wanker who would like to learn more might be appropriate.
Vintage keys sounds are also what most interest me; my first priority being decent Hammond B & C sounds, then EP, Clav and Grand Piano. Brass, Strings and Vox/Farfisa combo organ sounds would be cool too, but a level down in importance.
From your description, it sounds like 61 keys would suffice, and there are several interesting models under $1K, which is where I’d like the price to be. I’ve played on 76 key boards and liked having the extra keys, but in that price range, the Juno DS 76 or a used VR 700 appear to be the only 76 keys options. Both of them sound like they could work for my purposes in the Youtube vids I’ve watched. It’s probably going to be a while before in person auditions can happen.
I don't claim to be a keyboard player, but I've had to fill in sooner or later in all the bands I've ever been in. This has been when we couldn't find a good, full-time keys player and instead went for two guitars plus for a while. Most recently I've used a Korg X50, purely because it's very portable, takes up little space on stage and can sound pretty good. It is easy enough to navigate and set presets. But if I wanted to improve my keyboard skills, I'd go for an 88 with weighted keys.