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How To Buy A Keyboard (Part 2)

Mar 11, 2008
In this article, I will discuss what keyboard features you should expect for your money.

The actual keyboard is the thing to look at next. That is the keys that make up the keyboard. Most keyboards in our price range have 61 full size keys to make up the keyboard, some of the lower price ones maybe 49 full size keys, as a beginner this is not a problem because even with the 49-note keyboard you won't need to play all the keys. Make sure however that the keys are full size and not half size. Even if you have young children that want to play. There is absolutely no advantage in choosing half size keys over full size keys. Full size keys are approximately the same size keys as piano keys and are also referred to as standard keys.

Also some keyboards have a "touch sensitive keyboard" this means the harder you press the keys the louder the sound this is a great feature and can create expressive music however, for young children, they may not be able to press the keys hard enough to produce a respectable sound. Therefore, it would be advisable to check that the "touch sensitivity" can be turned off or adjusted.

Next, sounds and rhythms. Keyboards in this price range should have at least 128 sounds. These sounds are known as a "General MIDI" sound set. Most new keyboards made today of any price will include a "General MIDI" set of sounds and so it has become very easy and cheap for manufacturers to include these sounds.

The rhythm section should contain a minimum of 20 different rhythms and many keyboards in this price range contain a great deal more. Normally when using the rhythm section or drum machine as it is sometimes called it is used in conjunction with an "auto chord" feature. This means when you play a left hand chord, the computer inside recognises the chord being played and adds a bass line and maybe a rhythm guitar and possibly a brass section, which results in a great sound and makes the whole learning/playing experience a lot more interesting.

The "auto chord" feature is called different names on different keyboards, such as "fingered chord" or "magic chord". There is also a feature sometimes referred to as "single finger chord" or "easy chord". This feature is utterly useless if you want to learn to play the keyboard properly but it is included on most if not all keyboards and is a great selling point used by sales staff quite legitimately to create the initial interest in a keyboard. You can use this feature to show family and friends what a great player you are and simply switch back to "auto chord" to learn to play the keyboard properly.

Finally make sure the sound you are listening to is coming from the keyboards own speakers. Keyboards are sometimes connected to amplifiers, which can make then sound better. Make sure you know what your keyboard sounds like from its own speakers before taking it home.
About the Author
Visit Mikes music sites for instruments, sheet music for piano and keyboard, memorabilia and hundreds of music articles.
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