Why weighted keys?


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I want to learn keyboard to do singing practice on it and learn contemporary music. I can't afford expensive keyboards because
I am not sure if I will understand the concepts or develop hand independence or get bored.
so I wanna spend 150$ for new or used one and will play it for a while then I will buy keyboard worth 600 to 700$. What keyboard should I buy which has 76 keys and good action? I'm never going to buy or play real acoustic piano so do I need to buy weighted keys? is playing semi weighted keyboard a good practice?
 
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Welcome.

If you can squeeze a little more out of your budget a Yamaha PSR E453 or an equivalent Casio new at about $210 will last you many years, this model is being replaced by the 463 and hence you should get a good deal on it. Do note that these are 61 key units, 76 key versions are considerably more expensive.

It is an Arranger where you can split the keyboard and either play a series of chords with your left hand ( or a series of single notes ) to trigger the auto accompanyment backing whilst playing the melody line with your right hand.

I am sure Gary will come along an post a list of excellent links to learning websites.

I think that within your budget you will struggles to buy a 76 key unit, if you do find one it will be second hand and maybe a quite old unit.
 

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In the $150 range you might find a used Casio WK model. Those have 76 keys,

In the $600 to $700 range you can look around at the Roland Juno DS61 new or something used like a Korg Kross or a Yamaha MX or an old Korg PA or even a used Waldorf Blofeld or Novation Ultranova or a used King Korg.

It mainly depends on what style of music you plan on playing and what sorts of sounds you want or need.

As for tutorial links? Check out the tutorial thread in the Technique and Posture forum here to see what's available on the web for free.

Gary ;)
 
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I'm never going to buy or play real acoustic piano so do I need to buy weighted keys? is playing semi weighted keyboard a good practice?
There's no rule that says you need to have a weighted keyboard. Play what suits you.

To answer the question posed by the thread title: The reason some players (I'm one of them) prefer weighted keys is they more closely replicate the action of an acoustic piano.
 
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Partly it has to do with what you started with. I started on classical and jazz piano for many years, unweighted action always feels wrong to me. Traditional analog synthesizers had a history of light, inexpensive keybeds (most not having velocity anyway), and many of the now-classic mono-synth lead styles of playing are a bit better suited to unweighted keyboards. Rhodes and Wurli's, being amplified acoustic instruments (like an electric guitar), operated in a similar fashion to a piano, though with a bit lighter touch. Organs, on the other hand, are quite a bit different, and though they have a bit more resistance, are similar in design to synthesizer keyboards. People who start on church organs or B3s take up unweighted keys very quickly.

Although, if you want an objective reason as to why weighted keys are better: more pressure means that you can be more nuanced in how dynamic you are playing. Weighted keys give quite a bit more resistance, which means you have to work a little to make them loud, and can adjust the sensitivity pretty easily. Unweighted, in my experience, you have to have INCREDIBLE control to be able to play fine dynamics, because they pretty much always just break away under your fingers and go down at similar speeds, so it's incredibly difficult to be consistent. Also, it's incredibly easy to accidentally hit unwanted notes when playing unweighted, as the keys go down with the slightest touch. But it's no different really than the fact that a cheap violin is harder to play than an expensive one.

So my advice is, if you plan on playing more vintage synth/organ material unweighted keys will do you fine, but for piano/e-piano or modern synth styles that emphasize dynamic change, you're going to want to go for weighted. Yamaha and Casio make some DAMNED GOOD electric pianos for between $400-$500 that I can highly recommend for that direction (modern Casio is a bit better, IMO).

TBH: the only real advantage I can ever see for getting an unweighted is the price and the weight. "Weighted" keyboards aren't just a catch term, they have to actually use weights in them for the action to work correctly, and it makes the board heavier. Though Fatar and Casio have been able to bring that way down to the 15-20lb range, they're still 2-3x heavier than unweighted boards, and some go up to 60-70lbs!
 
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Thank u all to reply me. The thing is I started guitar, learned chords and rhythm but couldn't learn lead because notes sounded for short time and scatered all over the fret board and I couldn't develop muscle memory. I could play chord progressions but later when i used to think about it i couldn't generate the chord voices in my head And I couln't practice singing exercises to memorize the sound of notes. I have come to conclusion that i cant learn guitar and its been three years i have guitar in my home. NOW I have doubt that if I spend 500 dollars and can't develop the sense of keyboard like hand indepence, I will waste my money and it will demotivate me.
 
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Partly it has to do with what you started with. I started on classical and jazz piano for many years, unweighted action always feels wrong to me. Traditional analog synthesizers had a history of light, inexpensive keybeds (most not having velocity anyway), and many of the now-classic mono-synth lead styles of playing are a bit better suited to unweighted keyboards. Rhodes and Wurli's, being amplified acoustic instruments (like an electric guitar), operated in a similar fashion to a piano, though with a bit lighter touch. Organs, on the other hand, are quite a bit different, and though they have a bit more resistance, are similar in design to synthesizer keyboards. People who start on church organs or B3s take up unweighted keys very quickly.

Although, if you want an objective reason as to why weighted keys are better: more pressure means that you can be more nuanced in how dynamic you are playing. Weighted keys give quite a bit more resistance, which means you have to work a little to make them loud, and can adjust the sensitivity pretty easily. Unweighted, in my experience, you have to have INCREDIBLE control to be able to play fine dynamics, because they pretty much always just break away under your fingers and go down at similar speeds, so it's incredibly difficult to be consistent. Also, it's incredibly easy to accidentally hit unwanted notes when playing unweighted, as the keys go down with the slightest touch. But it's no different really than the fact that a cheap violin is harder to play than an expensive one.

So my advice is, if you plan on playing more vintage synth/organ material unweighted keys will do you fine, but for piano/e-piano or modern synth styles that emphasize dynamic change, you're going to want to go for weighted. Yamaha and Casio make some DAMNED GOOD electric pianos for between $400-$500 that I can highly recommend for that direction (modern Casio is a bit better, IMO).

TBH: the only real advantage I can ever see for getting an unweighted is the price and the weight. "Weighted" keyboards aren't just a catch term, they have to actually use weights in them for the action to work correctly, and it makes the board heavier. Though Fatar and Casio have been able to bring that way down to the 15-20lb range, they're still 2-3x heavier than unweighted boards, and some go up to 60-70lbs!
This is my first post. I don't want to hijack the thread on my first post but, Eric, I think you answered my question with this thoughtful post. I'm less than a year into switching from guitar to piano and your "it depends on what you started with..." comment helped me with my question: "should I buy the much more expensive Hammond SK1 88 instead of the smaller SK so that I can get weighted keys?" I'm learning
on a Roland F-20 and I love it. It may have not been your intention, but your post helped me answer a question that I've been researching for about a month.

As far my extremely limited experience on keys, but 3 decades on guitar, I explain it this way: weighted keys help me tactily orient myself the way frets on a guitar do. When I play anything but weighted keys I just get lost. Also, I kind of explain my comping as "strumming the piano". Weighted keys push back like guitar strings and my rhythm feels as natural as my guitar.

Just my two cents. I hope it helps. Also, thanks again, Eric
 
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Thank u all to reply me. The thing is I started guitar, learned chords and rhythm but couldn't learn lead because notes sounded for short time and scatered all over the fret board and I couldn't develop muscle memory. I could play chord progressions but later when i used to think about it i couldn't generate the chord voices in my head And I couln't practice singing exercises to memorize the sound of notes. I have come to conclusion that i cant learn guitar and its been three years i have guitar in my home. NOW I have doubt that if I spend 500 dollars and can't develop the sense of keyboard like hand indepence, I will waste my money and it will demotivate me.

I too am a guitarist who is transitioning to include keyboard playing.

An Arranger keyboard like the Yamaha, is a good place to start.

Not to expensive yet capable of producing listenable music quite easily.

With auto accompanyment on playing a three note chord (even one and two fingers can trigger chords in these type of Arrangers) will tribber the auto accompanyment in the style you choose at the tempo you set. Each time you play a different chord with your left hand the backing will change accordingly.

Right hand plays whatever you want, chords, melody line, arpeggiated chords, syncapated rytham, melody accompanyment or just improv.

Given your self doubts you would be wise to perhaps go for a couple of lessons first, just do not expect to much too soon. It took six months of practice to get this old brain of mine to make the gnarled old pinkies of mine working sort of independently

Whilst the 453 may be a little more bucks than others it does have more festures and will accommodate your musical advancement far better than a cheaper keyboard and the 453 will accomodate your growth for many years.

I had one for a couple of years and got 1/2 the purchase price for it when I traded it in
 
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"When I play anything but weighted keys I just get lost. Also, I kind of explain my comping as "strumming the piano". Weighted keys push back like guitar strings and my rhythm feels as natural as my guitar."

I never thought about it that way! But it's true. Generally, it's just quite difficult to play an instrument that sounds the MOMENT you touch it. I'm finding my way around the Seaboard Rise, and it's an incredible instrument, but it is difficult to play on something that gives almost no feedback before the note plays, it's virtually impossible to play without looking. I think this ties into "my playing on unweighted keys is kind of a mess" comment. I remember even from an early age when I was first learning piano, I would hop on a friend's unweighted keyboard, and I was instantly frustrated at how many wrong notes I would play just by brushing up against them. Especially when I'm doing jumps that go up through the middle of the black keys, I would always accidentally trigger an F or F# while hitting a G, things like that. I've gotten better. But still, the only time I really play unweighted is with keytar, and let's be honest, no one cares whether I'm playing the right notes on that goofy thing!

Hate to sound snooty or start a weighted/unweighted war, but I just seriously don't see the advantage. I remember Jordan Rudess making a similar comment when he first joined DT (after years of unweighted multi-keyboard player), that unweighted just didn't feel right to him. That clicked with me at the time, and even though I've learned to deal with it, it's still the same today.

HOWEVER, I will NEVER fault people for wanting lightweight, small, easy setup time. I've played hundreds of tiny little bar and coffee shop gigs, and setting up a full 88 was a total drag, so I get it.
 

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unweighted keyboard, . . .and I was instantly frustrated at how many wrong notes I would play just by brushing up against them. Especially when I'm doing jumps that go up through the middle of the black keys, I would always accidentally trigger an F or F# while hitting a G, things like that.
I'm always doing this as you described Eric. Hitting wrong keys accidentally.
I have never played weighted. I wonder if my playing would improve if I had weighted keys? Umm!
Maybe playing style is different as in as much as one would lift fingers up and over keys rather than slide them accross. Is that a fair assumption?

When I upgrade next, wondering whether to consider weighted or not. Maybe I will create a whole set of new problems for myself.

o_Oray
 
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It's a possibility. As you suggest, there are always differences in playing style, but there are also going to be some universals due to the nature of the human hand. If you've ever taken lessons, there is decidedly a range of 'correct' ways of playing. Not to say that there aren't others, but I suspect even self-taught players eventually end up taking on many of the fundamentals because they/re built around efficiency and accuracy, things we all strive for.

I'd love to hear from someone who prefers unweighted. TBH, even though I've heard many advocates for it, I've actually never heard them discuss the reason for their preference. Is it just portability and price? Maybe, but I get the feeling that even without those extra-performance reasons they prefer unweighted. After all, for centuries, organs have never attempted to introduce weights into their spring-action keybeds.

Nostalgia and familiarity with old hardware? Sure. Resentment towards traditional piano styles? You definitely see a lot of that in some circles. I've also heard some praise the speed and agility of playing unweighted for leads, though I've never found myself wanting when it came to lead action speed.

The only time I've ever wondered, "is there anything better"? Is when playing "Butterflies & Hurricanes" by Muse. For those unfamiliar with the tune, the main keyboard part is an incredibly fast repeating paradiddle variant, with two hands alternating, each both playing an octave. I practiced it for weeks, bought some small dumbbells to build up wrist strength. But even at my peak, I could feel my wrists start to lock up after a minute of playing, and I would sort of fake it when the song gets loud and rocking. Story goes that Matt Bellamy composed the song in a hotel lobby on a Steinway. But the bulk of the song is played on a Rhodes, which is infamous for its terribly stiff piano action (it could have been a keyboard sim, but I sort of doubt it knowing the group). To this day, love the tune but it haunts me.
 
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Neither of my two keyboards are weighted, I would prefer it if they were after road testing a few far more expensive keyboards with weighted actions.

As it is I have to be very precise with the touch as the sensitivity is dramatic to say the least with my limited skills.

I keep fine tuning the settings to get something that suits my gnarled old hands but I am not there yet.
 
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I'd love to hear from someone who prefers unweighted.
As stated above, I prefer weighted for piano playing. I primarily view myself as a piano player.

However I do not like weighted actions for organ playing. Doing palm swipes and gliss in general is not much fun on a weighted keybed due to a) the resistance and b) the much lower trigger points, even on a DP.

Similarly for synth playing I prefer unweighted as I find it much easier to play fast licks on an unweighted action.

Disclaimer - I'm a pretty terrible organ player!
 
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I will say that I wood hate acoustic, wooden piano KEYS, especially for organ. Modern keyboard instruments have given rise to new shape and weight of the keys that I think are better overall. Glisses on a grand are PAINFUL, because of the sharp sidewalls. Thankfully, even the most "piano-like" keyboard controllers have rounded sidewalls. I have no clue why piano manufactures even continue to make piano keys that sharp, even with laminated wood, you would think that they would sand off the edges. Secondly, we're not all playing on waterfall tips makes no sense to me. The lip is simply a byproduct of outdated laminating techniques. Why we carve plastic keys with a lip is beyond me. Waterfall is just SIMPLY BETTER, yet almost no one does it. I'd prefer to play a Steinway with waterfall keys if I could find one. Also, Wooden piano keys themselves are just so damned heavy. No need. Doesn't really change the overall feel, but the mass makes glisses difficult.

So my ultimate would be a weighted board with rounded edges (now standard), with waterfall tips. They exist, but are much more rare than I think they should be.
 
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The piano is a PERCUSSION instrument. My Yamaha YPG-635 (for whatever reason I prefer it to the DGX) is exactly like playing a piano but it is also loaded with sampled awesome sounds and everything else so it is also a KEYBOARD. I have no interest in non-weighted keyboards but that is me.
 
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LOTS of good advice here..... What I've found... Folks who have learned on Piano, like weighted keys... Those who learned on an old Hammond... like non-weighted. You CAN play piano or Organ patches on either.. but your "technique" will suffer. MY thought on this is IF your going to make the Piano your "Primary" instrument.. weighted keys... BUT, if you only have one board, I'd go non (or semi). You cannot do a decent B3 with a weighted keyboard (OK.. I'm sure some can, but I sure can't). Horns & strings are another problem (for me anyway). And lastly.... I think it will save your wrists... I can "tickle" those unweighted keys..... but the weighted really like a pounding..... (By the way... Williams makes a really cheap weighted electronic Piano.. check it out...)
 

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The piano is a PERCUSSION instrument
That statement is a fallacy. Because, maybe the strings are hit by hammers undeneath the hood. But playing the keys is not by impact. Its more like caressing the keys.
On the other hand one could also call a piano a stringed instrument from what is under the hood.

As for the organ . . wind instrument?
What category is keyboard / synth?

Just to complicate an issue hehehe ray
 
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That statement is a fallacy. Because, maybe the strings are hit by hammers undeneath the hood. But playing the keys is not by impact. Its more like caressing the keys.
On the other hand one could also call a piano a stringed instrument from what is under the hood.

As for the organ . . wind instrument?
What category is keyboard / synth?

Just to complicate an issue hehehe ray


LOL.. well, I still want a Seam Calliope ..... and I don't care what the neighbors will call it... :)
 
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LOL.. well, I still want a Seam Calliope ..... and I don't care what the neighbors will call it... :)
A calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas, originally steam through large whistles—originally locomotive whistles. A calliope is typically very loud. Even some small calliopes are audible for miles.. (I'm thinking perfect for head-banger metal shows)
 

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