Total beginner from the UK taking the plunge

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Kevlar, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Kevlar

    Kevlar

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    Hi there, from the UK, briefly played guitar in my teens many years ago, spend way too much time gaming on the pc so looking to find another hobby to get away from the games. I picked up a nice cheap guitar to dabble with but have always been fascinated by synths and keyboards so i thought why not take the plunge and have a look for something cheap and cheerful just to dip my toes. Will be looking to play a few different song styles from Van Halen Jump to Gary Newman Cars with a lot of Nine Inch Nails and a bit of Depeche Mode thrown in for good measure. I know there is not going to be any 'one trick pony' out there that will manage to cover all these bases (you just have to look at some of their live setups to see that) so will be spending a lot of time reading through the abundance of information on here to start making a shortlist and narrowing it down. May look at taking some lessons further down the road as well just to learn some of the basic fundamentals of playing.
    Anyway, looking forward to starting to try and digest the knowledge on this forum and hopefully be getting my first keyboard/synth in the near future :)
     
    Kevlar, Dec 29, 2017
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  2. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Welcome aboard...

    What sort of budget are you looking at here?

    Cheap and cheerful as in new Casio or as in used Roland Juno and amp and speakers?

    Really if you want to keep it under $500 for the kind of stuff you want to play you're better off looking at older used workstations like the Roland Juno Di or G or a used Korg X50 or TR61.

    Those would be my recommendations for the screaming leads and heavenly pad sounds that you are looking for.

    The low end Casios and Yamahas are nice for the money but they don't really jump into your face when it comes to decent synth sounds.

    If you can swing a few hundred more then take a look at the Roland Juno DS61. It lists for $699 USD in the States and it's all any aspiring Trent Reznor could hope for :)

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 29, 2017
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  3. Kevlar

    Biggles

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    Hi and welcome, I am also in the UK.

    You have quite a task in your research, for a keyboard in the range £50 to £250 alone there are more than you can shake a stick at.

    Something like the Yamaha PSRE 363 c£175 will give you a couple of years of practice before you probably will outgrow it, then eBay it or trade it in for about £80 off your next unit. Casio 6200 at £160 is also worth considering. I would pass on getting one below about £125, as you should start off with a keyboards whose keys are at least touch sensitive, also above this cost you will get more Instrument Sounds and better Styles.

    Before you buy I suggest that you go to your local music store, I am in the NW and we have Rimmers, Dawsons, A and C Hamilton, Reidys, Promenade Music all within an hours travel. So its worth going to your shop and talking, they will want repeat business and maybe a few lessons out of you if they are keen if they are not so keen move on elsewhere.

    Plenty of video reviews on Youtube of all makes and models once you narrow it down.

    Can I suggest that you point your PC towards Youtube and search out Korg Video Manual for their PA700, whilst it probably is considerably more than you want to pay there are reasons why the videos will be useful, these videos go through each of the main functions of the keyboard and they will give you a good grounding on Styles, Songbooks, Set Lists and Recording, the lessons learned are transferrable to other makes. After watching these you will then have a good grounding so you can visit the music store.

    Beware of Rimmers and others returns policy as buying in shop rather than online can give totally different Ts and Cs.
     
    Biggles, Dec 29, 2017
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  4. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    It really depends on what he's looking for and what his goals are Biggles.

    Arrangers are great if all you want to do is play one finger accompaniments with the left hand and lead solos with the right.

    But that's not going to teach him how to to properly play a keyboard with both hands.

    The workstations I mentioned have arpeggios built in but they're not meant to be a full time crutch when learning.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 29, 2017
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  5. Kevlar

    Biggles

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    Do not agree, just because I point the op towards them is primarily down to price.

    They will give him the best flexibility in use, imho.

    Just because an Arranger can have the split keyboard with one finger of the left hand playing chords does not mean that it has to be played in that mode. My arranger spends as much time with the split off as it does on and even then the left hand chords I play are three or four fingers.
     
    Biggles, Dec 29, 2017
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  6. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Agree to disagree. Most arranger styles are not even close to the genres of music the OP mentioned. What he's looking for IMHO is a workstation and an analog sounding drum sequencer to get him started.

    Arrangers are great if you're looking for 40 different Waltz and Samba beats, but do a lousy job with techno and industrial.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 29, 2017
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  7. Kevlar

    Biggles

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    I appreciate that but there is a big difference in costs between your much quoted DS which costs £520 in the UK plus correct me if I am wrong but I do not think that workstations like the DS have built in amp and speakers hence there is yet more expense and a basic keyboard amp like a Laney is £160 then there is the drum machine which even for a bsic on the cost is £120.

    £800 of the Ops cash spent so far and yet the Op did say he wants ...... something cheap and cheerful.

    The Op also does not state he is proficiency level and in fact dabbled with the guitar so I take that he is very much a beginner, and as such he will have-quite a learning curve to climb.

    Maybe something like a Midi keyboard is an alternative way forward.
     
    Biggles, Dec 29, 2017
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  8. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    That's why I presented the used Korgs and Rolands as alternatives to new Casios and Yamahas.

    I think he'd be much happier in the long run picking up a ten year old Juno or Korg from craigslist than he would be with a rinky dink mambo mutha****a Casio arranger when it comes to belting out tunes from Depeche Mode and NIN and Van Halen and Gary Numan.

    As for speakers? No need to spend a fortune on an amp.

    A set of good quality 2.1 computer speakers with the right adapter plugs will sound splendid in a home environment without breaking the bank. All the connections are line level so there's no problems with impedance matching. In a pinch he could even connect a 1/4" TS line out to the aux in on any decent home stereo with the right cables. Less than $100 gets you something decent. Not to mention a decent set of headphones will always work as well.

    If he shops around on the used market he will find decent synths that I've mentioned selling for anywhere between $350 and $500 USD and they will blow away any overpriced new Casio arranger from day one.

    I don't recommend buying on ebay though. It's always wise to shop locally on craigslist and try out the merchandise before you buy. Also saves him a bundle on shipping costs and ebay and paypal commissions.

    Like I said, if he wants to play proper techno and industrial style music, then at the very least he needs a half decent workstation that sold for $1000 or more ten years ago.

    If he's planning to play an Italian wedding then an arranger or an accordion might be a better choice. But this is not the stuff he's looking to get into.

    If he shops used and carefully for the keyboard and the inevitable accessories, he can bring the whole package in under 500 UK Pounds easily.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 29, 2017
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  9. Kevlar

    Rayblewit Love Music / Love Life

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    Welcome to the forums kevlar.

    Now that Biggles and Happyrat1 have thrown you in the deep end. . looking forward to your responses when you get your breath back. lol.

    I have a Yamaha arranger/workstation with built in speakers and has heaps of synth sounds which can emulate numan and halen pretty much identical sounds. To get these sounds identical one would need to spend a few hundred (second hand) to a thousand dollars (new) minimum. Cheap end models just don't do these sounds.

    So before taking the plunge . . Sus out your budget and way up the most important aspects of your goal.

    Cheers ray:)
     
    Rayblewit, Dec 29, 2017
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  10. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Also while it's fair to point out that in the UK all taxes including VAT are listed in the retail price bringing in the Juno DS for 520 UK pounds taxed and shipped does not sound unreasonable to me. Like I said, for an amp even computer speakers or a home stereo will sound just fine and the only other things he'll need are a sustain pedal and a keyboard stand, regardless of what model he buys.

    Personally I'm not a big fan of built in speakers. There's no possible upgrade path from there and some built ins sound absolutely atrocious.

    A used 30 Watt Keyboard Amp or a small pair of studio monitors can also be found on craigslist if you look a bit.

    EDIT >>> I just took a look at the greater London UK Area Craigslist for synths and keyboards and all I can say is you people are nuts to pay those prices for used gear.

    https://london.craigslist.co.uk/sea...&nearbyArea=403&nearbyArea=493&nearbyArea=211

    https://london.craigslist.co.uk/sea...&nearbyArea=403&nearbyArea=493&nearbyArea=211

    There's less than 30 or so used keyboards up for sale in the entire London area!!!!

    Toronto is a much smaller city and there's a far more diverse and reasonably priced selection on the local craigslist.

    https://toronto.craigslist.ca/search/sss?sort=rel&query=synth

    https://toronto.craigslist.ca/search/msa?query=keyboard&sort=rel


    While it pays to keep a constant eye on the classifieds and eventually a deal comes up, I simply cannot believe the prices you guys pay in the UK for used gear.

    There's some premium stuff there, but even that can be had for a fraction of those prices here in North America.

    My advice is to keep an eye open for a used Juno G or Juno Di or TR61 if it comes up and snap it up in a hurry.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 29, 2017
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  11. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    happyrat1, Dec 29, 2017
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  12. Kevlar

    Biggles

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    The Op is in the UK so prices elsewhere in the world or on Craigslist are pretty meaningless. Shipping a large item from across the pond will cost as much as the purchase price of second hand kit then he will probably be hit with import tax.

    Far better that he goes into his local music shops and discusses his thoughts with them.

    His prime requisite is a low initial cash outlay and that to me severely limits his choices.

    Buying second hand on the likes of Fleabay is fraught with potential rubbish, far better to see what his music shop has in as second hand kit.

    A sub £200 keyboard with built in amps and speakers is by far a better starter keyboard for a beginner, its the quality of the sounds and the action of the keys that matter, lets not forget that key action varies heck even between the Juno 61 and 88 the key actions are totally different.

    Lets not forget he is a beginner and will have enough on his plate learning to play a keyboard with two hands each operating independently and not coordinated as they do when playing a guitar.
     
    Biggles, Dec 30, 2017
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  13. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Agreed. Apparently if you're stuck in the UK your options for used gear are dismal at best.

    Otherwise, he may want to take advantage of the EU while Britain is still a member and take an overseas holiday in Germany or France or Italy and pick something up while it's still duty free.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 30, 2017
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  14. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    BTW, so far this entire discussion has been in an information vacuum. The original poster has not even answered my initial question as to what his budget actually is. So truth be told, all of our rants and ravings have been moot.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 30, 2017
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  15. Kevlar

    Biggles

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    That is most definely true.

    Probably lack of used gear is down to players keeping kit instead of selling it on.

    EU membership or rather lack of in the future should not be a problem, the UK imports far more goods from the EU than we sell there and the EU will not want to screw that up.
     
    Biggles, Dec 30, 2017
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  16. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    You have nothing to worry about from the EU when it comes to imports. The thing you should fear is Inland Revenue Service going insane and slapping duties on all imports.

    Don't forget, Jeremy Corbin wants to keep the jobs in the motherland :D :D :D

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 30, 2017
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  17. Kevlar

    Kevlar

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    Wow! Thank you so much for all the replies, so much food for thought.
    Apologies for not really elaborating in my original post regarding budget etc. Also for the delay in replying, have been back in Wales visiting family.
    My budget is around £300 - £350 max (less would be better but at the same time i understand you get what you pay for and would rather spend £300 on something that i will not outgrow in a long time or ever rather than pay £150 for something that will need to be upgraded in a years time), i was originally looking at getting a drum machine like an Alesis SR16 and the Arturia microbrute (which came in just under £350 after shopping around) and to spend lots of time dabbling with them but the wife (who always sees sense bless her) then pointed out after we watched some youtube videos that while these things do look awesome and a lot of fun, it will be such a steep learning curve to get particular sounds out of the microbrute let alone try to compose songs, then why not get something you can actually 'play' songs and learn some basic music to begin with and if/when the bug bites can always expand at a later time. And i thought that would make more sense as in my inexperience the microbrutes/bass station's etc. seem to be noise generators rather than music makers in inexperienced hands (which my hands are most definitely). Looks like it would be awesome for trying to cover Pink Floyds 'On the run' tho :)
    I am kind of old fashioned/stuck in my ways and would rather get standalone instruments rather than plugging a midi controller into the pc and using some sort of DAW. Plus there is a guy i started working with recently who is in a band and knows lots other musicians in bands who like experimenting with different instruments and they always invite friends of friends over to jamming sessions just to mess about so would be useful to have some instruments i can just put in the car to bring along without having to worry about buying a laptop (i only have a desktop pc) which would destroy any 'play money' i have to spend on a keyboard/synth, once i can at least play some basic stuff in a few months after lots of practice.
    I think for short term it would make more sense for me to just pick something up relatively cheap with full sized keys that one can program a basic drum rhythm in to and be able to play keyboards over/with the drums, with the possibility of getting sounds similar to Gary Numan 'Cars', Van Halen 'Jump' and Nine Inch Nails 'Closer' as well as maybe having option to tweak the sounds on the fly, if possible. These are just a couple of examples to give an idea of the ballpark for the type of sounds i am looking for.
    Will be taking some lessons just to learn a little about playing technique fundamentals, again with that i am kind of old fashioned in that i feel i could sit and watch people demonstrating keyboard techniques all day on youtube but to me it would be the same as watching 'how to drive a car' type videos, i feel would learn more with someone showing me in person, just to start with.
    Long term is (and this will sound silly), there is a video of one of my favourite bands on youtube (Nine Inch Nails - the main reason i am looking at learning keyboards/synth) where Trent Reznor (the man who basically is NIN) is messing about with what, due to my lack of knowledge is a 4 x 4 set of pads that he seems to be programming certain sounds/rhythms into at the start of a song and being able to not only name the device he is using but what exactly he is doing with it. That video can be found by searching 'Nine Inch Nails Burn live on stage Melbourne' (please be mindful it's only the first 40 seconds or so are what peaks my curiosity and if you happen to like the song and watch all the way through there are extreme strobe lighting effects going on, especially towards the end).
    Thank you @Buggles for the Yamaha PSRE 363 and Casio 6200 suggestions, i will have a look on youtube at those 2 models. Hopefully they tick the boxes for what i am looking for at the moment and would have some change for something cheap to mess about with drone sounds as well although that is not a priority.
    I have a nice pair of Sennheiser headphones which i will be using for the time being so will not need to buy an amp and speaker for a little while.
    I will also check out the Korg PA700 video manual to hopefully give a better idea. I live close to Oxford, i visited PMT but it was quite busy so didn't really have much time to have a proper look around, the only instruments that seemed to be in stock were out of my price range as well.
    Thank you again for all the replies from everyone, what an awesome community i seemed to have stumble across on here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    Kevlar, Dec 30, 2017
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  18. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    I've owned a Microbrute in the past and would recommend the Minibrute instead. I realize it costs about 30% more but it has a second oscillator which allows it to produce nicer and more complex sounds.

    Also in that class of instrument there are the Novation Bass Station 2 which you've already mentioned and the Novation Mininova and Ulttranova. Also look around for an older Microkorg not the XL version though, much harder to program. Or the newer Korg Minilogue or the Behringer Deepmind 6. Also keep an eye open for a used Waldorf Blofeld as well.

    Some of these might actually sell cheaper in the UK than in North America since the Behringer was designed in the UK.

    Original Microkorgs can be had for reasonable used prices these days, though there is a bit of a vintage collector's mystique starting to build up around them.

    A Casio CTK-6200 will give you a lot of musical sounds and the ability to eventually harmonize with your friends and your music, but if NIN and Gary Numan are more your cup of tea then start looking at some of the entry level synths I've mentioned here and start saving your pennies and scanning the classifieds.

    Actually an ideal setup would be a Casio CTK and a Virtual Analog or Analog synth together and you'd be off to a smashing start.

    But seriously, don't expect to try and do something like Pink Floyd's On the Run without at least 1500 UK Pounds of gear. It's really not doable with any less. CowboyNQ, a regular here from Australia plays in a successful Floyd Cover Band and I think the minimum gear he can accomplish it with is a Korg Krome and a KingKorg synth.

    The last thing any of us intends here is to discourage you, but you basically have to sink as much as you would into a dental crown to buy any decent professional sounding synth these days. And compared to 30 or 40 years ago, consider yourself blessed. Some of the early moogs were selling for the same price as a small house back in the 70's. :p

    Anyway, good luck with whatever you can afford. Learning to play basic keys should whet your appetite for bigger and better things in the future.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 30, 2017
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  19. Kevlar

    Biggles

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    PMT are a great Company I recently bought myself a Boss GT100 guitar FX unit from their Manchester store.

    Do checkout the Korg that Gary’s suggests, PMT sell them, I would ring them first as they may have to get one shipped down their from anothershop ir their warehouse. Btw Microkorg currently listed at £280, sadly the minilogue is listed at over £500
     
    Biggles, Dec 30, 2017
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  20. Kevlar

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Be sure to look for the original Microkorg.

    The Microkorg XL has only a handful of knobs to control it and requires a ton of deep menu diving to accomplish any sort of programming.

    The original Microkorg sells for less, is older and has a full set of panel controls for easy tweaking and experimentation.

    Kraftwerk used to use them all the time back in the day.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 31, 2017
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