Help - budget keyboard

Jul 9, 2022
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Hello everyone!

So, I am mostly a guitarist (not particularly good xd) currently playing rhytm guitar in a 5-piece (two guitars, bass, drums, singer) rock band. We mostly play covers and a few own things.
Recently we've been thinking of adding some keyboard. So that we can play songs like Don't Stop Believin, some Deep Purple songs, some Queen songs, 80's synth songs, Pink Floyd, Rush etc. and also explore a bit into the progrock realm.
So that combined with the fact I wanted to dive into the keyboard world for some time led to this - i want to buy a keyboard type instrument.
Now, I am completely new in this territorry, I don't really know the differences between stage piano, keyboard, synth etc.
I just know what i would like to get from this device.
I would like:
-it not being too expensive. I was thinking under 500$ but maybe thats completely unrealistic in the world of keyboards? (I know some of the amazing high end stuff like Nord Stage can get really expensive)
-i want it to give me some piano sounds, Hammond organ sounds, synth sounds, but also some sounds to explore new types of stuff
-I would also like it to be usable for gigging, because as soon as I learn at least some basic songs (I have a little bit of experience when I was younger) I want to play with the band
So, what would you recommend me?
Thanks in advance :D
Also, i don't mind if someone would try to explain a little bit the differences between various stage panios, keyboards, synths etc. Thanks!


Sep 6, 2017
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Lancashire, UK.

Digital Piano, 88 keys with acoustic piano feel graded hammer action keybed, keys heavy at left progressively getting lighter to rhs. Limited piano centric onboard sounds.

Synth, digital and analogue versions, the sound is generated by onboard circuity whose parameters are set by the player and the resulting sound envelope is modified by filters to deliver the sound required. In theory any sound can be created by a synth.

Keyboard, sounds are onboard via samples of other instruments. A vast array of instrument sounds are onboard. Keybed can be 61, 88, or 76 with the 61 & 76 having a synth action keybed which is lighter than the hammer action of an 88.

There is a degree of overlap between each of the above classes of instrument.

For your use and budget checkout a Roland Juno DS 61 which retails new at about $900 US, or a Korg Kross 2 which is similar, you may find a pre owned unit online within your budget.

There is also the Yamaha MOXF6 @ $1000 US or MX61 @ c$800 US (the MX is more of a synth) to look at, but unfortunately there is not a great deal of keyboards available in the sub $1000 US market that fit your requirements.
Last edited:


Jun 26, 2010
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Short version: Probably the cheapest board that combines true piano, organ, and synth functionality is a Roland VR-09B (or its sonically/functionally identical predecessor VR-09).

Note that extensive editing of the synth section requires an iPad for Roland's editor, or a PC/Mac for 3rd-party freeware editor.

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