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Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?

Phil Edwards 26 Dec 09 - 12:55 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 26 Dec 09 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Joe G 26 Dec 09 - 05:18 PM
Gurney 26 Dec 09 - 06:13 PM
olddude 26 Dec 09 - 06:35 PM
Bobert 26 Dec 09 - 06:55 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Dec 09 - 06:58 PM
Jack Blandiver 26 Dec 09 - 07:01 PM
Jack Blandiver 26 Dec 09 - 07:07 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Dec 09 - 07:26 PM
Bernard 26 Dec 09 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 26 Dec 09 - 09:59 PM
Ross Campbell 26 Dec 09 - 10:46 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Dec 09 - 04:22 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Dec 09 - 05:00 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 27 Dec 09 - 05:55 AM
beeliner 27 Dec 09 - 10:50 AM
Genie 27 Dec 09 - 10:54 AM
Marje 27 Dec 09 - 11:08 AM
Tootler 27 Dec 09 - 11:09 AM
Mr Happy 27 Dec 09 - 11:55 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 27 Dec 09 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 27 Dec 09 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Ashamed) 27 Dec 09 - 01:21 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 27 Dec 09 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,S O'P 27 Dec 09 - 02:45 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Dec 09 - 03:41 PM
Alice 27 Dec 09 - 07:39 PM
Phil Edwards 28 Dec 09 - 06:48 AM
Penny S. 28 Dec 09 - 12:42 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 28 Dec 09 - 01:37 PM
Jack Blandiver 28 Dec 09 - 01:42 PM
Phil Edwards 28 Dec 09 - 02:49 PM
MikeL2 28 Dec 09 - 03:22 PM
Jack Blandiver 29 Dec 09 - 03:50 AM
MikeL2 29 Dec 09 - 06:47 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Dec 09 - 06:44 PM
Marje 30 Dec 09 - 04:46 AM
MikeL2 30 Dec 09 - 06:23 AM
MikeL2 30 Dec 09 - 06:40 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 30 Dec 09 - 06:46 AM
Marje 30 Dec 09 - 07:07 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 30 Dec 09 - 08:47 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Dec 09 - 08:58 AM
MikeL2 30 Dec 09 - 10:10 AM
MikeL2 30 Dec 09 - 10:13 AM
Marje 30 Dec 09 - 10:23 AM
Young Buchan 30 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,MikeL2 30 Dec 09 - 11:23 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 30 Dec 09 - 12:17 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 30 Dec 09 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 30 Dec 09 - 01:23 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 30 Dec 09 - 04:48 PM
Ross Campbell 15 Jan 10 - 04:34 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Jan 10 - 05:30 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jan 10 - 05:41 PM
Ross Campbell 15 Jan 10 - 08:22 PM
EBarnacle 15 Jan 10 - 11:36 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 Jan 10 - 04:42 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Jan 10 - 04:31 AM
SPB-Cooperator 17 Jan 10 - 05:24 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Jan 10 - 06:17 PM
Jack Campin 17 Jan 10 - 07:59 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jan 10 - 06:29 AM
Jack Campin 18 Jan 10 - 10:07 AM
Tootler 18 Jan 10 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Jan 10 - 01:57 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jan 10 - 02:19 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Jan 10 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,TB 23 Jan 10 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne (Astray) 23 Jan 10 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Jan 10 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 24 Jan 10 - 03:46 AM
GUEST 24 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM
Jack Blandiver 10 Feb 10 - 04:52 PM
Nick 05 Apr 10 - 03:06 PM
Little Robyn 05 Apr 10 - 03:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM
Rob Naylor 06 Apr 10 - 03:00 AM
Nick 06 Apr 10 - 09:11 AM
Rob Naylor 06 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM
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Subject: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 12:55 PM

I sing, but I've never accompanied myself on anything. I'm starting to get interested in chords, with a view to ultimately taking up the English concertina ('ultimately' as in 'when the Radish finances permit'). In the mean time I could really use something to pick out chords (and melody lines) on. I'm thinking a keyboard rather than a guitar - I want to see the notes in front of me rather than having to learn chord shapes. On the other hand, I do need to be able to sing over it, which rules out melodicas.

Any suggestions for where/how I could find a bargain-basement keyboard instrument, melodicas excluded?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:11 PM

I also really like the timbre of concertinas, Pip, but make do with "bargain-basement" electric keyboards, set on "piano" for folk or "organ" for hymns (as here). I, however, avoid chords and simply double the melody.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:18 PM

Casio & Yamaha make very good cheap keyboards - I've had a few Casios over the years and they are incredibly reliable (or were - I bought the last one about 20 years ago!). Less than £100 should see you with a good model I would think


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Gurney
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 06:13 PM

Keyboard if you are inclined toward English System concertina, perhaps mouthorgan if you like the Anglo German System.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: olddude
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 06:35 PM

Something to think about, a cheap keyboard and some software called "Ivory" will give you everything. I know several pro studio's that are using it ... I don't play piano but people I trust said it is amazing for recording ... if you want to do recording

http://synthogy.com/


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Bobert
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 06:55 PM

Pawn shops sell keyboards cheap...


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 06:58 PM

WAV - I want chords. Gurney - I need to be able to sing. Apart from that, thanks for the suggestions!

Quite a few years ago now, I remember a friend talking about some bargain-basement electronic keyboard which didn't have its own MIDI processing - it plugged into a PC (or Mac) & used the computer's MIDI. Anyone aware of anything like that?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:01 PM

The thing to look out for is an old Bontemti reed organ with a battery operated blower. Basically an harmonium / melodica, in various sizes, long superseded by the microchip; entirely acoustic. There's a Bontempi B1 going on Ebay right now (HERE) for £11.99 (+ £3.99 P&P) - I used to use one of these for drones before I got my shruti box. The powering-up of the motor when you switch it on is one of the finest sounds in folk music.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:07 PM

Anyone aware of anything like that?

I think you want a basic controller keyboard which can be had quite cheaply. I use an M-Audio Oxygen 8 midi controller which hooks up with midi & sequencing software on my DAW. There's one on ebay right now going cheap - HERE.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:26 PM

O brave new world!

I really like the idea of a "toy" harmonium - running a fan must chew up batteries, though.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 09:16 PM

There are plenty of 'dumb' MIDI keyboards around, but you'll usually need a USB MIDI controller for them to work. PM for my phone number, Pip, if you want a chat - or maybe I'll see you at the Sarries session on New Year's Day (lunchtime onwards)?

You're probably going to find what you want in 'Cash Converters' or suchlike - I've found all sorts of bargains in my local one - such as a Burns Double Six electric 12-string, a Tascam 788 digital recorder and a few PCs.

Off topic for a moment - the reason why PCs seem to end up in there cheaply is because they're riddled with malware! Forewarned is forearmed!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 09:59 PM

A child's toy...

An auto-chord ukalae

75% off after the holidays.....about $8.00 US

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Chords One, Four, Five and you can Jive.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 10:46 PM

Some relatives of mine started off their keyboard careers with a really cheap plastic organ with electric (Mains-driven) blower, proper reeds and a bank of chord buttons that gave the basic major and corresponding minor chords. There's a similar toy version on eBay at the moment under the Bontempi name here. Probably similar vintage ('70s?), these basic instruments were probably ousted from the marketplace (and my relatives' home) by the arrival of cheap electronic instruments from Casio, Yamaha, etc. While these were marvels of ingenuity (later models were dumbed down considerably), they never achieved the natural sound of the old reed organ. The cheaper versions available today tend to have miniature keyboards. You might find it worthwhile looking for one with full-size keys, though this obviously extends the overall size (and cost) of the instrument and reduces portability.

I have a Yamaha PSR-195 (this sort of thing) surplus to requirements which might suit, but can't find the power supply at the moment. PM if interested (I'm in Fleetwood, Lancs).

Ross


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 04:22 AM

For a few quid more you could get yourself one of THESE. You can get cheaper ones which are very workable little bellows pumped melodicas with the added benefit of drone buttons. £35 or so, I have one myself though seldom field it in public but it's great fun nonetheless - HERE. I use it to accompany my Fox Jumps Over the Parsons Gate & other hunting songs and sounds just braw.

Yo Ross - there's our great minds thinking alike again! There's mains driven Bontempi on ebay right now for £22 HERE which has the chord buttons Ross describes above. As for battery life, I bought my B1 from Chester-le-Street flee market more than ten years ago and it's still got the same batteries in it, and it's still going strong. The motor does interfere with the TV though...


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 05:00 AM

For even less: he Child's Mini Melodeon which are very nice too, though seasoned box players will invariably look down their snouts at anyone who dares field such a beast in public...


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 05:55 AM

I'd like to try a Shoenhut toy piano (really a mini celesta) but, whilst they are easy to purchase in America, they are hard to find here in England..?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: beeliner
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 10:50 AM

You shouldn't have any trouble finding a really nice used one on eBay for a reasonable price.

Be sure it has a MIDI interface, and be sure you can return it if it is defective upon arrival, even if you have to pay the return shipping.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Genie
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 10:54 AM

I strongly suggest thrift shops and craigs list.   I've found excellent bargains that way, including a full 88-key Yamaha keyboard with all sorts of bells and whistles and that works perfectly, for $49.   I've also found much smaller ones that are quite functional, for $10 to $20.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Marje
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 11:08 AM

There's absolutely no point in a basic one-row melodeon for song accompaniment, as it will only play one octave in one key, and only a few chords.

A simple electronic keyboard sounds as if it would tick most of the boxes for you. Now that Xmas is past, people may have upgraded and you could possibly pick up something suitable at a charity shop or a car boot sale (weather permitting). But beware of the very cheap ones that run on batteries, as they could cost a lot to run. Either find something that interfaces with your computer or a simple Yamaha or Casio keyboard wthat plugs into the mains.

I'm quite excited because I got a Yamaha keyboard for Christmas. I just love messing about with the chord accompaniments and the different voices. I have no intention of using it to perform in front of others (my daughter has told me sternly that my "Soul" version of Baa Baa Black Sheep is not going to win the X-factor) but I'm having huge fun with it. I also think it will be useful for working out harmonies and chords, and generally getting to understand a bit more about how music works.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 11:09 AM

I would have thought something from the Yamaha or Casio range of electronic keyboards would suit very well.

I have a Yamaha keyboard which I got some 15 years ago and which has a five octave full size keyboard, velocity sensitive keys and a MIDI interface. It was not the cheapest in the range but reasonably priced and in general something with a similar specification is now very much cheaper. The quality of the sounds is reasonable and most electronic keyboards at least have a decent piano sound if many of the others are a bit naff. The musical director of our recorder society has borrowed mine on a couple of occasions and found it quite satisfactory until she eventually bought her own.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 11:55 AM

Here's mine http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3123/3252565182_66a95f6a70.jpg
its a Farfisa Pianorgan [Chord Organ, 1960's]

Great sound!

Used it for carols etc recently.

Cost £30 from a local pub about ten years back


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 12:12 PM

As Tootler and Marje suggest, many musicians over the centuries have used some kind of keyboard as a first or second instrument with which to work things out and, nowadays, it's mostly the electronic keyboard.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 01:18 PM

There's absolutely no point in a basic one-row melodeon for song accompaniment, as it will only play one octave in one key, and only a few chords.

Just been messing with my toy melodeon & accordion on a couple of E. Trads (Lovely Joan & Miller of Dee) & I would prefer them to sing with to any electronic keyboard no matter what they're limitations might be! This doesn't make any sort of luddite as 50% of my musical output I do using computer, sequencers, soft synths, controllers & (my favourite instrument of all) Ableton Live - but when it comes to traditional song I feel as if I need to be singing against something a lot more corporeal than a vibrating cardboard / plastic cone. My Electronic Shruti box would seem to be the exception to this rule for reasons I can't quite figure out, maybe because the cone only gives a drone.   

Me thinks an Indian Harmonium would suit you just fine, Pip - there's some nice portable ones around, foldaways & travellers which sound very nice indeed.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,S O'P (Ashamed)
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 01:21 PM

Please note that the misplaced they're in the above post was residual from the sentence as I orginally wrote it in which it was perfectly correct. Rehashing the sentence it resonated phonetically in my egg-nog addled brain & so slipped through the net.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 02:01 PM

The hand pump harmonium caught on in India as they could play their usual one-note-at-a-time music with one hand, and pump the bellows with the other, with the harmonium on a the floor.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,S O'P
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 02:45 PM

One-note-at-a-time music = monophony, although most harmoniums come with drone stops & many with couplers, the music remains essentially monophonic in a highly evolved melismatic tradition. On the floor? I've seen them played in all positions - even on shoulder staps by children busking on trains:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnZ9GbWqMrg

Note the use of chords too.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 03:41 PM

Better quality on the above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLSDWzz3Lws


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Alice
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 07:39 PM

I have a piano, Yamaha electronic keyboard, a battery small keyboard ($7 from thrift shop) and a harmonium from India that I bought online. I like how compact the harmonium is.

for FREE
Do you have freecycle.com where you live?
Someone in my area just gave away a keyboard free yesterday on freecycle.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 06:48 AM

Those are all cricketers, Bruce!

Alice - good thinking; I'd forgotten Freecycle.

But for now, that Bontempi B1 is mine, mine I tell you - I put down the virtual money last night. I'll let you know how I get on. Many thanks to Suibhne for the tip!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Penny S.
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 12:42 PM

What about a roll-up keyboard? Try Maplin or similar. Or ebay.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 01:37 PM

...but do they have sufficient volume, Penny..?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 01:42 PM

To be honest, Pip you'd be better of with the cheapo 8-bass...


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 02:49 PM

Oddly enough it was pootling about with a roll-up keyboard in Maplin's that really started me jonesing for a keyboard. But they were £25 reduced, & the sound was crap.

I might end up looking for a cheapo piano accordion - I'll see how I go with the Bontempi. Funny thing, I've always liked concertinas & never liked piano accordions.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 03:22 PM

hi

I agree with Marje.

I have just bought a Casio CTK5000 for £220 brand new.

I got it cos as a guitarist I am unable to play chords due to an injury to my left hand.

I can however form simple piano chords and this keyboard has literally hundreds of tones and rhythms that you can play as backings while you play the melodis with the right hand.

Of course there are cheaper boards around ( and much more expensive ones too).

I think this is a good entry instrument and comes with support and guarantee.

Hope this helps

cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 03:50 AM

Is £220 cheap?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:47 AM

hi SOP

I don't know what pip's budget will stand. But compared with a martin.....yes VERY cheap....lol

Cheers

MikeL


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:44 PM

& never liked piano accordions.

I wouldn't go so far to call the cheapo 8-bass a piano accordion as such, as I say it's a melodica with bellows, with added drones, so a singular sort of toy, but one that sounds nice enough. There's one in the window of Johnny Roadhouse for £33 - that's cheap, MikeL!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Marje
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 04:46 AM

My Yamaha ketboard (YPT 310, now superseded by another model) was only half the price of Mike's Casio, and comes with masses of features, more than I could ever want to use. You can even make a noise like dog barking, a creaking door, or (get this!) applause, although I have to say the applause sound is not very convincing. Perhaps unconvincing applause is all I deserve now for the awful arrangements I am creating on it.
But I'm convinced that I'll learn quite a bit from using it sensibly, an am having lots of fun with it.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 06:23 AM

Hi SOP

< I wouldn't go so far to call the cheapo 8-bass a piano accordion as such, as I say it's a melodica with bellows, with added drones, so a singular sort of toy, but one that sounds nice enough. There's one in the window of Johnny Roadhouse for £33 - that's cheap, MikeL! >

I hold my hands up !!!! £33 IS CHEAPER than £220.......!!!!!!!

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 06:40 AM

Hi Marje

Yes I tried the YPT 310 and a very good keyboard it is at that price.

However I also tried the Casio and for me it sounded better and had more of the features that I particularly wanted.

I am pleased that you are happy with your purchase. I haven't really been able to give mine a test drive here at home yet due to someone called Santa who seems to have been around.......had a house full of children and grand-children, so I kept my new toy hidden.

The clan has not yet cleaned me out of food and drink so it looks as if it will be after New Year before I get to grips with my CTK5000. I have read through the features which are too numerous to mention and in my case to use. It too has a number of synth sounds including applause, birdsong, GUN SHOT ????!!!!! and others. What it doesn't have is one that says what are you having to drink.....

Though it does have a feature that lets me enter my own sampled sounds which I can then convert to any of the tones & rhythm arrangements that I want to or I can just play along with it....

When I have had chance to appraise the board I will post a review here if any one is interested??

Happy playing....and have FUN

Regards

Mike


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 06:46 AM

As has been said, it's fun trying the different voices on electronic keyboards, but I've never seen the concertina represented...has anyone..?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Marje
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 07:07 AM

No, there is no concertina on my vast selection of instrument "voices". There are a couple of accordions, and a bandoneon, but that's as close as it gets.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 08:47 AM

...and with the setting on "accordion", it's not far away from a pedal-less harmonium, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 08:58 AM

For half the price of the Casio you can get yourself a very workable Indian harmonium, with stops, drones, couples, though maybe the scale-changers are best avoided. I know what I'd rather have for song accompaniment!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:10 AM

hi marje/walkabouts

Hi No there are no concertina tones on the Casio either. Several accordian and a couple of bandoneon settings....but no concertina. Don't know why. must be a difficult sound to capture or maybe just nobody wants them.

As I said in my earlier post I could add concertina sample....if I had one....or I can copy a recording and obtain it that way.

Cheers

MikeL


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:13 AM

hi sop

If you say so........but I don't want an Indian harmonium !!!! So it would be very expensive for me.

cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Marje
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:23 AM

I get the impression from the pre-selected tunes and songs on my Yamaha that it's geared to the American market. This may explain why they have a couple of accordion voices but no concertina, as I think concertina is fairly rare in the US.

Also, the concertina just isn't associated with any widely heard commercial or popular music. You can hear accordions in recordings of folk dance music of various European origins - in fact a waltz on an accordion is almost a cliche for "France" in film and TV, just as the Highland pipes are shorthand for "Scotland", but a concertina ...? It ought to be regarded as typical of English music, but in the US there is no such thing as English music, so that can't be its role in a product aimed at the American market.

There's no melodeon "voice" on the Yamaha either. But I have a melodeon so I don't need that.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM

I taught at a school in the late 70s / early 80s when computers were first coming into use. Our head of IT was tearing out his already thinning hair because he was being given classes of 20 when only about 8 computersn were available. He went to the LEA's computer advisor and asked if any money for more computers was available. This educational wizard replied that there was not, but that he had a stock of CARDBOARD KEYBOARDS which could be made available so that every pupil in the class could practise pressing the right keys!

Thinking of that reminded me that my mother, who was a very occasional pianist, had a cardboard piano keyboard so that she could practise without making any noise.

Surely these would be available cheaply!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,MikeL2
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 11:23 AM

hi young b

LOL - I think my wife is going to wish that I had bought a cardboard keyboard when I get around to playing it.

Mind you we do have a " music" room and I can play the keyboard with earphones to preserve our marriage...lol

Cheers

Mike.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 12:17 PM

The first keyboard I ever played was the one I'm using right now - via KB Piano (free download, if you wish to give it a go) and, thus, I could silently practise my fingering for music and touch-typing, to-boot!

I haven't bothered with it for ages, but I have since seen an advert for a gig with a lap-top musician.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 12:24 PM

What's a Shruti Box SO'P?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 01:23 PM

Basically a drone device used in Indian classical, folk & popular music. They come in two basic varieties - Acoustic and Electronic, both of which have their advantages. I use the electronic because it's hands free, fully tunable and has a volume contol. The acoustic ones are more versatile with shifting drones around whilst singing - we saw Maz O'Connor at the Fylde last year who did this to great effect. So - they're coming into Folk, slowly but surely, although they've been part of the world=ethnoc-free-jazz scene for decades. My first Shruti box was made out of formica and had four fully tunable tambura-pattern drones, but I left it on a train back in 1994. These days I'm never without my trusty little Swar Sudha, and it's loud enough to kick out some serious noise with the clarinet...


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 04:48 PM

...and if you can, thus, find cheap enough keys, BCL, you may not need any kind of loan.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 04:34 PM

While looking for something completely different, I found this new 61 Key Roll Up Soft Keyboard Digital Piano MIDI for 68.80 USD from China (about £50?) which may be the same as the Maplins one you mentioned above.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 05:30 PM

I'm very happy with my Bontempi toy reed organ, which cost a lot less than £50. (I say 'toy' because that was clearly how it was sold, but it's got 25 full-size keys and some quite nice-sounding reeds.)


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 05:41 PM

Excellent news, Pip! Hope to get to hear it soon. Rachel's awaiting the imminent arrival of her new super-portable lap-top size hand-pumped harmonium from India - like This One, which means we can do our thang on the hoof, even unto intimate singarounds.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 08:22 PM

S O'P - is this Shruti Box Pine Wood the same as the one you lost? And can it play more than one note at a time? Looking forward to hearing Rachel's new machine.

Pip - glad to hear you found what you were looking for. I think the Bontempi is probably the closest thing to the little reed-organ that my aunt and uncle had. I was really disappointed when they replaced it with an electronic version.

We just had John Kelly (Harmonium Hero on Mudcat) at Fleetwood Folk Club. Among other instruments he had a portable Victorian harmonium, lovely mellow sound, even full two-handed chords not overpowering his fairly light voice, and an Indian harmonium (not the first time there's been two in the room!), a bit more limited because you have to use one hand for the bellows - something like this, maybe not so elaborate - Harmonium Professional 4 reed .

If, like me, you find getting away from the white keys (key of C) a challenge, the ability to transpose at will might be attractive - HARMONIUM Scale Changer Special . (Can any of the electronic keyboards do this?)

Ross


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 11:36 PM

Don't give up hope for a concertina, either. It took me a year of looking but I got my wheatstone for $250. I did it by stopping into every music shop and hock shop I passed until I found what I wanted. You have to carry a 50 with you as deposit, then beg, borrow or steal the rest to pay it off in a reasonable time and hope they do not reneg on the deal or sell it to someone else for the "right" price before you get back. It takes a lot of work but it's worth it.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 04:42 AM

S O'P - is this Shruti Box Pine Wood the same as the one you lost? And can it play more than one note at a time?

The one I lost was an electronic tambura shruti with four tunable tambura drones (i.e. plucked drone sounds) in a number of possible rhythmic ostinatos. The whole thing was built from fetching formica, giving it the look of a cheap 40s radio or something. Such things might still still be had (albeit without the finish) and even in a cheapo version like my wee Shruti: Here.

The one you link to is a bellows-blown reed shruti box, similar to the one played at Fylde last year by Maz O'Connor, who changed the drones even as she sang. In theory you could play all twelve notes at the same time, or any combination, which gives them the advantage over mine because I can only do 4ths & 5ths, unlike my lost one, on which I used to use 2nds, minor thirds & all sorts of irregular dissonances by way of drones.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Jan 10 - 04:31 AM

For around £15 you could have one of these...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opDTYv2v9wU


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 17 Jan 10 - 05:24 PM

One thing that sets aside cheaper keyboard from more expensive is the pressure sensitivity. On an electric piano, it responds to how hard you play the keys as opposed to the cheapest keyboards where this is done by a volume knob - it depends if you want your accompaniments to vary in the same song/tune.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Jan 10 - 06:17 PM

"and, thus, I could silently practise my fingering"

.... !!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jan 10 - 07:59 PM

I have been trying to find a tanpura/shruti-box simulator for the Mac (preferably one that runs on Panther) and I'm not having much luck. Anybody know what's available?

This is to go with my latest attack of instrument acquisition syndrome, an Afghan rubab.

A problem with Bontempis: they don't give you a full range of major and minor chords, and you will run out of sharp keys if you try it on Scottish music.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 06:29 AM

Jack - There are on-line shruti sites such as karnATik which might suffice. Otherwise the best thing to do is track down a lite (cheap) version of Ableton Live for an effective soft-shruti. This is versatile looping technology into which you might export whatever samples you wish to use - even those of your rubab - and loop them in real time.

If Pip's got the Bontempi B1, then it doesn't have chord buttons at all which makes them all the more suited for Scottish music! These are similar in essence to the electric reed organs used on Christopher Hobbs's Aran (for reed organs and percussion) and MacCrimmon Will Never Return (for four electric reed organs) which feature on Ensemble Pieces - #2 in Eno's Obscure Series which, although very rare these day, with no CD release, can happily be downloaded gratis with full cover artwork & notes from HERE. Highly recommended for owners of electric reed organs and lovers of great & beautiful music. Aran I remember being used to great effect as crowd rousing intro music by Siouxie and the Banshees during their 1981 tour (with Linton Kwesi Johnson).

*

Meanwhile, on the subject of cheap keyboards, reed organs and Instrument Acquisition Syndrome, Rachel's new lap-top size Indian harmonium (see below somewhere) arrived about an hour ago. She is at work today, I am working from home, now looking at this very inviting box sitting in the middle of our studio awaiting to divulge its hidden mysteries...


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 10:07 AM

Thanks! KarnATik is neat. 8 minute chunks, but that's enough to be going on with. I think I might glue a whole string of them together to make a gapless CD.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 04:02 PM

It should be possible to create your own shruti box sounds if you have a decent midi synth on your computer.

I experimented briefly today with my keyboard one of the accordion patches was pretty close to the shruti sounds on the KarnATik site.

Record your sounds then transfer them to an iPod/mp3 player and take that along with one of those little iPod speakers to make a portable electronic shruti box.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 01:57 PM

I've been thinking of getting shruti for years, just not got round to it. Tried the electric ones but didn't think they sounded like a musical instrument. Sorry I missed the B1 - I'd have had that - but was in hospital. (Had a 'proper' Bontempi over the water for a while, cost me a quid from the jetty boot fair, but it was too big to lug to the session).

Sean, do you think your 'proper' shruti has enough puff to blow a melodica? I've tried various pumps and balloons to drive mine and they never work, but the reed size must be about the same, and you mostly need only one note at a time.

A discrete (pluggable) hole in the side of the shruti to attach the tube...

Got my wasp working again - but that's worth a few bob now (collectors item). The lad plays it and the drums at the same time - and he's bagged my stylophone too!

I did make a rig so I could pump a toy accordion with my foot, then wedge down notes for a drone, and play the guitar and sing over. May try to do something similar with the shruti.

Is Rachel's harmonium the kind with the horizontal bellows? Which only sounds on the squeeze? That's the problem with most - whereas the reciprocal bellows on the schruti (dashed clever, that) give you a continuous breath.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 02:19 PM

do you think your 'proper' shruti has enough puff to blow a melodica?

Some I've seen just might, the 'four dial' type maybe, but they tend to use pretty soft reeds some of which blow under the weight of gravity on the reciprocal bellows - so maybe some sort of wind-chest would give a better pressure. Mind you, I'm thinking of the Hohner button melodica-alto which takes a lot of puff!

Rachel's new lap-top style harmonium has a reciprocal (sprung) bellows arrangement which (once we've sealed the gaps) works a treat on an stupidly loud set of reeds for the size of the instrument, so it could work. Our other Indian harmonium (baja) uses a horizontal bellows + wind-chest, which makes more sense to me & gives a more consistent pressure.

You got a WASP!? Bleedin' hell. Robert Wyatt used one of these on The Animals Film soundtrack & it even gets name-checked by Mark E. Smith on the 1983 live version The Fall's Mere Psued Mag Ed.:

Has a sneer which was weird
Some time ago
Heard Kraftwerk in '81
Has a WASP synthesizer

A real male, make-up as well
Sophisticate
WASP synthesizer
Didn't get far
In computer teaching job
His dream girl sings adverts for Renoir perfume
A fancied wit that's mere imitation of D. Bowie
in "Man Who Fell to Earth"


I tell you, these things are serious cult artefacts; the idea of your lad playing one & drumming at the same time makes me very happy indeed. The stylophone is seriously cult too of course - at least you buy these new. I use one in conjunction with various loops & filters - see the track Stylophony Number One playing HERE.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:19 AM

How much???!!!! Even so, I reckon the WASP would be the ideal beast for ballad accompaniment in singarounds, with a shruti box of course... Ah, we can but dream!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 09:52 AM

Wowza wowza - I knew it was more than a ton, but....!

Got mine for £99 in about 79. Was so desperate to have a proper synth that I traded in a nice Farfisa worth about £300, (which was enough to buy a small house in some parts then). It was the hook-cooker (wizzes, fizzes, pops and snaps) on our infamous Christmas not-hit of err 81? Pete Waterman had sneaked it onto the Radio 1 playlist, and both Bates and Reid had promised to plug it (or so I heard) but the band imploded and we missed the deadline. What price a Wasp that went to No 1?

Stylophone is a replacement. The original went missing due to progeny. Used to play it in a wonderful punk version of Fireball XL5 sequing into Telstar, which I seem to remember involved me climbing the PA stack while plying with one hand...

Can you give me a link to the sprung harmonium. Does it play continuously (for continuo? ;-) like a shruti?

Tom


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,Suibhne (Astray)
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 02:16 PM

The lap-top harmonium was HERE - not sure if he'll be relisting. It's a great idea for a portable harmonium, but the joinery wouldn't have got you a CSE Grade 5 in woodwook (circa 1976) - for the price one expects more somehow. Plus points - it sounds great, & with further adjustments (like narrowing the interface between the bellows & reed bed) we've got it perfect. Like a lot of Indian instruments, it's in miliary pitch - several cents sharp of concert, but at least it's in tune with itself. Like all harmoniums the sound is continuous, the difference here is the use of sprung reciprocal shruti box type bellows rather that the more efficient wind-chest.

Rating 5/10 - workable but not at that price!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 03:13 PM

That's pretty much what I was hoping to achieve with the 'Shrutlodica.' The size is the real bonus for me. If I ever do go back to gigging it would have to fight for its place in the van along with all the other instruments - and more importantly, up all those stairs and through the damn fire doors. Even normal sized Indian harmonia are too big.

But concert would be an essential.

I might have a word with my squeezebox tech - he may fancy building something. Or I may get a shruti anyway and then see how hard it'll blow. I can sound the Hohner with minimal breath.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 03:46 AM

Ah, this is the badger...

Dulcetina, with drones and in concert

Check out the Tomy on the same page, and some really nice home-made instruments on More From: addict2overtone, specially the amazing pocket cajons and the homemade Monochord + Tanpura generator - right up your street I'd have thought Sean.

Tom

(Couldn't resist this Woopee cushion harmonium - including how to break a glass with a clarinet - by playing it, I mean)!


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:10 PM

I have a casio Concertmate 1100 for $75.

Here is the craigslist ad:

http://oregoncoast.craigslist.org/msg/1559327827.html

or you can call me at (541) 254-1122.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 04:52 PM

Today we bought a lovely new pink KAOSSILATOR which Korg describe as a Dynamic Phase Synthesiser. Hold it in your palm and intuit music, loops, grooves, drones, ambience & other such joyful noise.

Check out the official demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeQOuNBuJwg

Hardly cheap, but very portable, although it does require an amp (we use a Roland Micro Cube which is also very portable). Post-Folk friendly - you can programme it to play in a number of modes (Dorian. Lydian etc.) & raga scales - I can see us using this in singarounds as the ideal thing to accompany E. Trads & Ballads.

Watch this space!


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Subject: Suggestions for cheap keyboard for gigs
From: Nick
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 03:06 PM

I'm toying with the idea of taking a keyboard to gigs in the future and am looking for some suggestions. It would be just to play on a few tunes and mostly just to fillin chords rather than to play lots of solos.

I am not a keyboard player so it would be just for some basic stuff (think Linda McCartney and Wings perhaps!).

There is a person selling a 1970s Hammond organ at the moment locally for £75 but I would guess that it is going to be totally impractical as it is probably huge and heavy for me to cart about with all the other stuff.

So what I am after are some suggestions of what would sound ok through a PA or amp and is going to be portable and relatively small with the ability to make a decent organ sound and probably a piano sound as well.

For example is something like this - Casio - completely inappropriate? It's cheap and simple but would it sound like a pile of poo?


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for cheap keyboard for gigs
From: Little Robyn
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 03:37 PM

For 30 pounds, that one should be great BUT how much room do you have in your car?
That's not a small keyboard.
And if you're mainly playing fill/chords, that one is overkill.
(But if I lived in your part of the world I would grab it.)
Robyn in NZ


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM

Nick
that Casio pictured will do far more than you say you need - but then when playing a Pipe Organ or Piano Accordion, you don't need to push all the buttons at once all the time either :-)

I found similar ones at the local council tip shop, and provided it all works and nothing needs repair, it will do all you say you need. You can even get smaller ones too.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 03:00 AM

Nick,

We picked up a Casio like that for my younger daughter last year at about the same price. It's been excellent value, and it certainly doesn't sound like a pile of poo.


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Nick
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 09:11 AM

Thanks for the responses - just to be clear this is going to be playing in a blues band with drums, guitar, bass rather than in a quiet folky setting.

Still ok?

Do they sound ok through a PA or amp at a sound level to battle with a full drum kit going for it?


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Subject: RE: Very cheap keyboard - suggestions?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM

It'll sound fine through an amp. In fact, you probably need to put it through an amp to get the best out of some of the effects.

The keys aren't as "positive" as, say, my son's Korg 800 synth, but pretty good for plastic. No bend or mod wheels on it, but I suspect you're not too worried about those!

Reverb and flanger effects are good, but the chorus effect is a bit disappointing. Trumpet, guitar and violin effects are nice but the flute effect's a bit crappy.

all in all, though, a bargain for the price.


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