Keyboard Buyers Guide for the First Time Buyer

Paul Bothner Music Plusmstead

To the untrained ear, most student line keyboards all sound the same. So how can you find the perfect keyboard for your purposes? Do you just buy the most affordable one you see on Gumtree, or is looking around for something better in your best interests? This Keyboard Buyers Guide hopes to guide you along your way!

Basic Buyers Guide

There are hundreds of options when it comes to buying your first student keyboard, so here are a few things to look out for:

1) Most students learn on a 61 key (5 octave) keyboard. You can’t effectively learn on anything smaller

2) Does the keyboard have touch response (the volume should change depending on how hard you play)? A keyboard with touch response is preferred by most players

3) Does it have a socket for a sustain pedal?

4) Remember these vital peripheral items:
……a) Piano bench
……b) Keyboard stand
……c) Sustain pedal
……d) A bag or dust cover
……e) Headphones for late night practice

..

In-Depth Buyers Guide

Purpose

The first and most important element to consider when buying a keyboard is what you will be using it for. If you are looking for a cost effective way to not buy a piano, that’s fine. Just know that in a few years you will need to replace the keyboard.

Keyboards and pianos are very similar, but they considered to be different instruments. If you’re looking for awesome synth sounds to write trance or mellow organ sounds for your church band, then a keyboard it the right choice.

If, however, you want to play Beethoven in a symphony hall one day, then a piano is what you need. This is because the piano has a greater range as well as weighted keys.

Range

Range refers to how many keys your instrument has. Most keyboards typically have 61 keys, whereas pianos usually have 88 keys.

As a beginner pianist, you can still play most exercises on a 61 key keyboard. So if an 88 key piano is out of your price range, you can still learn to play. You must, however, remember that the keys on a 61 key keyboard are usually not weighted. This means that when you play on a real piano, the feel will be completely different.

psre353

The Yamaha PSR-E353 is jammed full of incredible instrument voices – perfect for any student!

Weighted vs Unweighted Keys

Real pianos use hammers. When you press down on a key, the hammer swings and hits strings inside the piano. This hammer action adds weight to the keyboard.

Companies like Roland use weighted keys on their digital pianos to simulate this feel. Roland even has a progressive hammer action feel; so that the bass keys are slightly heavier than the treble keys. Weighted keys add a huge range of dynamics to your playing.

Keyboards usually don’t have weighted keys. Some players claim that this makes them faster when playing. A keyboard sound is triggered when the key presses down on a pad, similar to how a computer keyboard works. Some keyboards still offer dynamic playing, by offering velocity sensitive keys. So the harder you press a key down, the louder the sound will be.

Many of the very basic keyboards, however, do not offer this feature. So if you want to learn to play dynamically, you will need to ensure that your keyboard offers velocity sensitive keys.

psre253

The PSR-E253 is an ideal first keyboard for aspiring musicians who are just starting out.

Polyphony

Polyphony is how many sounds a keyboard can play at once. If the keyboard has a polyphony of 28 notes (a fairly low number), once you play note 29, note one will stop playing.

A small Polyphony won’t affect things like scales or basic songs, but it will prevent you from being able to sustain a few notes while playing other notes over them. It will also severely affect your ability to make big layered synth sounds.

Type

As mentioned in the purpose section, there are different keyboards for different applications. As a student, you would want a very basic keyboard with piano sounds. These will usually include drum samples and some basic synth sounds.

If you are however wanting something more specialized, here is a list of the basic keyboard types:

Synthesizer (Synth) – for production of sounds (think trance music)
Workstation – for composing, recording and production. Most studios will have one of these
Digital Piano – for students of classical music and piano inspired jazz
Arranger Keyboards – The perfect option for songwriters
Portable Keyboard – Ideal for students
Midi Keyboards – these keyboards have no built in sounds, and instead trigger sounds from a PC.

This keyboard buyers guide is trying to keep information to the most important topics you need to make your selection. If you, however, would like a more detailed explanation of each type of keyboard, go here.

e09

Its price might say “budget,” but the E-09’s sounds and styles are nothing but first class.

USB/MIDI Connectivity

Does your keyboard allow you to plug it into a PC? This is important if you want to record your playing.

Some portable keyboards can also be used as MIDI controllers. This is a great option if you are learning to play, and want to try your hand at recording. With the use of MIDI, you can download and buy virtual sound packs. This means that you can use better or different sounds that what came stock on the keyboard.

Back-Up Service

Regardless of the quality of your keyboard, things can go wrong. if that happens, you need to be sure that your board can be fixed.

When buying a keyboard, ask the salesman what the backup service on the keyboard is like. Even some big brands can have really poor backup service.

Recommendations


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t-psre353

The PSR-E353 is an ideal Portable Keyboard for beginners and hobbyists, featuring touch sensitive keys, on-board lessons, computer and mobile device connectivity and much more.

For more information, or to request a quote, contact us or visit a branch today!

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t-e09

Building on the success of Roland’s popular E-series arranger keyboards, the E-09 raises the quality standard for entry-level arrangers.Perfect for the beginner to mid-level player alike.

For more information, or to request a quote, contact us or visit a branch today!

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t-psre253

If you’re looking for a solid quality keyboard that won’t break the bank, then this is the perfect keyboard for the job!

For more information, or to request a quote, contact us or visit a branch today!

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Offering lessons in:
Vocal, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Bass Guitar, Violin, Cello, Saxophone, Oboe, Clarient, & Flute, and with lessons available in Bryanston, Fourways, Centurion and Kemptopn Park, the Global House of Music is your one stop music lesson option in the Joberg area. They even offer home lessons. Check out there website to make a booking or call them directly on: 083 959 3782

Music is about way more than solo acts. School of Rock Claremont is as focused on community, teamwork, and friendships as it is on inspiring awesome music. Through our performance-based approach, we foster an inclusive community of rockers in Claremont to build a unique type of confidence only gained through cool, real life experiences. Whether we’re in serious shredding-mode or just jamming along with the band, our team spurs the growth of real, practical skills for music-minded students.

At School of Rock Claremont, we believe everyone deserves to have fun and feel like a rock star. Visit us and get a feel for the awesome opportunities your child has waiting just around the corner.

The Athlone Academy of Music (AAM) is a non-profit organisation established in 1994 with the sole aim of providing music tuition within the Athlone area. This initiative has now expanded and has grown to include the greater Athlone community residing along the Klipfontein corridor including Langa, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Retreat, Steenberg, Atlantis and Malmesbury to name but a few. The communities in and around Athlone have tried but there has not always been a cohesive attempt to make sure that music education is not lost to our children. Music tuition has shown to help with discipline, motivation and a sense of belonging. Three basic values that children from the poorer disadvantaged communities need plenty of. We all know that these communities suffer under the scourge of substance abuse, disease, abuse against women and children and a general decay of the social fibre in society. This social decay is largely a result of unemployment, poverty and idleness. We at the Academy feel obliged to create opportunities for children in the communities we serve to be active in music education and in so doing, eradicate some of the social pathologies we are faced with on a daily basis.

Rockschool is the leading accredited provider of rock & pop exams worldwide. We offer Graded Music Exams in the principal rock instruments and Diplomas in Teaching and Performance. Rockschool produces and examines unique music qualifications that are taught by independent teachers in schools, colleges and music centres all over the world. Rockschool music qualifications are practical, flexible and fun and are open to musicians of all ages and abilities.

The Gryphon Music Academy is a guitar school based in Plumstead, Cape Town. We offer guitar lessons, bass lessons, song writing courses and music theory courses Our Motto is “Turning players into musicians”. At the Gryphon Music Academy we believe in teaching players of all levels to not just play the instrument, but to think about the entire scope of the instrument in the context of music. Besides learning the practical side of playing, you will also learn music theory, song writing and instrument maintenance.

Do you have a desire to play the drums or improve your guitar skills or another band instrument? If so, then M&M is the perfect part-time Music Academy for you. We have students that attend the academy from the Parklands, Table View, West Beach, Melkbos and Milnerton area. We offer musical training in all the popular band instruments from beginner to advanced. Why don’t you visit the “Instrument” tab to learn more about our drum, guitar, bass, piano/keyboard or vocal courses. We also offer a full digital recording studio operating on Cubase, Presonus, Rode and Alesis equipment, should you wish to lay some music tracks or follow your personal development at M&M.

Beau Soleil offers tuition on all the instruments of the orchestra, namely flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, double bass, trumpet, trombone, French horn, euphonium, tuba and percussion. An Open Evening is held once a year, during which most of the instruments are demonstrated and prospective pupils and parents have an opportunity to learn more about Beau Soleil. A number of these instruments are available for hire for a limited period.

SoundHouse is a music educational vision. Designed not only to educate microcosmically but to facilitate the teaching of musical concepts through music technology. A particular focus of this vision is on music experimentation, composition, learning and recording, digital media, such as picture stories, music videos and digital mash-ups.

In De Kuilen street Kuilsriver, the average passer-by may be pleasantly surprised by what is heard when passing number 15. This building houses a premier music school within the community: Cape Music Institute. The sounds of guitar, bass-guitar, drums, keyboards, saxophones, and voices fill the air, making it an educational, entertaining and fun atmosphere. The concept of Cape Music Institute was birthed during a meeting in 2005 between Camillo Lombard, Ezra Delport, and Gary Thomas and, is currently in its fourth year of existence. Each individual contributed his own vision and ideas of what the school should be and, the outcome was a combined vision of a higher education school of music, emphasized in three categories: performance, production and business. The “seed” for Cape Music Institute, however, had been “planted” in the three Founders independently.

With studios in Cape Town & Johannesburg and branches in Lagos and Dar Es Salaam, Sound & Motion Studios is a multi-purpose audio solution covering both POST PRODUCTION AND MUSIC PRODUCTION. With a team of highly skilled engineers, producers and composers in our stable, our facilities offer analogue warmth and character, guaranteed through beautiful mixing consoles and tape machines, that forms the soul of music productions, as well as the digital accuracy and recall requirements for film, tv and corporate productions.

Tunes is a rehearsal studio that acts in the interest of local music by providing affordable practice space, good quality reference rehearsal recordings, drum lessons and retailing in musical accessories including guitar strings, drumsticks and larger items that can be ordered from Paul Bothner. We recently added new items to our stock such as drum skins, cymbals, guitar and bass pedals. We also stock electric, acoustic and bass guitars.

Tunes is open for bookings seven days a week from 08h00 to 24h00. Bookings can be made by contacting Jean on 082 7704798 or by e-mail, tunesstudio@gmail.com

CCFM (Cape Community FM) is a 24-hour, non-profit, community radio station serving the people of Cape Town. We play a mix of contemporary Christian music, combined with compelling chat, views and interviews. Not to mention up-to-the-minute news, weather and traffic information. CCFM was the first community radio station and has been on the airwaves for over 18 years, starting as Radio Fish Hoek in 1993. We currently broadcast from our building in Muizenberg on 107.5 FM in the Greater Cape Town and on 96.7 FM in the Fish Hoek valley.

NueLight Productions is the brainchild and passion of Julita Kok. NueLight produces superb musical showcases bringing the very best of South African talent to the fore. Producer of showcases such as ‘Christmas with GOD TV’, Blue Rock Gospel Fest, BAHI Healing Concert and many others, NueLight is definitely making its mark on the international and local Christian Music Industry. Entrepreneur, producer, events coordinator and artist developer, Julita Kok, an accomplished vocalist herself, has made excellence a priority for NueLight, its artists and productions. Maintaining this high calibre by associating with the crème dela crème of the Christian Music Industry.

Established in 2006, The Nameless Pub has become a well known ‘watering hole”, function venue and leading live music venue in Somerset West. With big screen TV’s, DJ’s, live bands, indoor as well as outdoor venues, 2 stages, air conditioning and a fire place, we can host any party or function in any season or you can just come and enjoy.

Celebrating 16 years at the Baxter Concert Hall, the Festival will showcase a number of schools colleges and community big bands and special guest artists will be participating in the four day Festival.

The Mercury is a top class music venue in Cape Town, right up the road from the Cape Technikon and close to the city itself. Incorporating two venues playing a large mix of music, it is one of the best places in Cape Town to hear South African tunes.

This venue is actually two in one: the Live and the Lounge areas. With its own in-house sound and lighting system, the Mercury has built a superb reputation and a loyal clientele during its 10-year existence.

Located in the old historic area of District Six, also known as Zonnebloem, it hosts live music entertainment ranging in style from rock, hip-hop and pop to jazz, world music and electronica.

Mercury’s upstairs Live venue has a capacity of over 600, and has seen most of South Africa’s top acts perform on its stage. Foosball and pool tables provide a diversion in between performances. With regular specials and promotions on offer, it’s a firm favourite with live music aficionados.

The smaller, downstairs Lounge venue has capacity for approximately 150 people, and hosts DJ parties and student nights on certain evenings. Staying open till the wee hours, the lounge is also a favourite late-night dancing and chill-out spot for patrons from other clubbing venues nearby.

Owned by former band and road manager Kevin Winder, the Mercury has a solid reputation for providing the best quality sound in a convenient and well-equipped venue. This ethos extends to making sure that only the best bands, both established and up-and-coming, are invited to play, resulting in top quality music nights.

The venue has a relaxed and friendly vibe, with good security and, a rarity amongst live music venues, excellent service. Dedicated to supporting South African music, it’s one of the best live music venues in the country.

Aandklas is a Rock Bar created for people who love their music and socialising with friends in an awesome atmosphere. Aandklas is also a live music venue that hosts big South African bands and give up and coming bands the opportunity to reach bigger audiences. All and all it is just an awesome venue to come and have a couple of drinks and enjoy the Stellenbosch culture.

BULLETSCRIPT is a band with a clear message – open your eyes to the world around you, and question everything, taking nothing, and nobody, for granted.

The band consists of a full compliment of seasoned performers from the Cape Town metal scene. A band that enjoys pushing the envelope, placing great emphasis on solid song writing, stellar stage performance and a delivery so intense that your neck will be in a constant state of headbanging ecstasy.

Combining the skills of Ian Watson (Vocals), Jacques Hugo (Guitar), Oliver Saggerson (Guitar), JJ du Toit (Bass) and Kyle Curran (Drums), BULLETSCRIPT is ready to spread the word, take no prisoners and have a great time!

Follow the band on Facebook

A high energy electronicore band focused on bombastic theatrical performances, Set For The Sky have been making waves all across the local scene with electric live performances and a high quality sound. Consummate professionals, they have been gigging since 2013 and have continued to grow their name in the South African music market, with a highly acclaimed debut album, “The Machine”, released in 2015 and two video singles “Live Like You’re on Fire” and “The Secret Season”.

They have played numerous shows around the country including slots on many festivals and tours, they do not settle for mediocre, whether in their performance or their music, and will continue to provide an exceptional experience for their fans.

Follow the band on Facebook or check out their website

Follow Louise on Facebook or check out her website.

After discovering that he loved writing songs in high school and taking some guitar lessons, Jesse could sense that he was embarking on a journey to follow his dreams.

Jesse has had a career that many singer-songwriters would love. He has pursued his music with single-minded determination, and it has definitely paid off.

One of his first big miles stones on his journey was winning a national talent competition. After that there was no stopping Jesse! Not only did he get a mjor record deal, but Jesse went on to form the Jesse Jordan Band. The Jesse Jordan Band consisted of Alex Power on keys, Heindrich Schultz on guitar, JP Crouch on drums and Sheree Power on Rhythm guitar.

So far Jesse has managed to record four albums, but that’s just a start! He’s still in the prime of his career, and it would seem as though nothing is slowing him down.

Over the years he has played countless live shows; ranging from music festivals and parties to selling out venues. He has honed his skill as a performer and audiences always leave with a smile on their faces. Jesse is known to give 150% to every performance!

After years with the Jesse Jordan Band, Jesse has started a new solo journey. It’s just him, a guitar and his life experiences. He has spent the last two years writing new songs which explore the lessons he’s learned on his journey.

This new solo project is all about story-telling in the style of old-school singer-songwriters and bluesmen. It’s raw, personal and real. In his music, you will find a hint of Michael Buble meets Maroon5, but the sound is still unmistakably Jesse Jordan.

Faith Endorsement

In September 2017 Jesse Jordan was officially endorsed by Faith Guitars and Paul Bothner Music.

Faith guitars all have a rich and unique tone which perfectly matches the rawness of Jesse’s stories. It is a perfect partnership of tone and perfection.

To keep up with Jesse, go to his Facebook page or website and give him a like and a listen.

This hip, young virtuoso started playing piano at the age of four!! To his fans this would come as no surprise! Kyle is a well-schooled prodigy… He went on to study piano and voice as subjects, before leaving for Greece, as a youth, where he performed on the Olympia Countess, as it sailed around the globe!! He’s been musical director to many productions, at venues such as the Cape Town International Convention Center and Grand West Casino, amongst many others.

He’s also a producer, session musician, highly trained vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and has had lots of radio airplay. The Kyle Petersen Band features his university trained brother, session star, Darren Petersen, who’s also travelled and performed, much like Kyle.

Follow Kyle on Facebook or check out his website.

Reuben is a super drummer, with a history of achievements that read like the biography of a legend in the making! He studied at Beau Soleil’s Music Centre, completing his Trinity Grade 6 drum kit studies, with Distinction! He went on to study at the South African College of Music, at The University of Cape Town.

He performed with the Standard Bank National Schools’ Big Band, in 2007, and at Paul Bothner’s Drum Day, in 2010. He drummed for the North Sea Big Band, in 2010, and followed up by performing at the prestigious Cape Town International Jazz Festival, with Spha Mdlalose. Other notable work includes an appearance on Idols star Unathi’s album, entitled: ‘With Love’, and on Sowers of the Word’s debut album: ‘God of Wonders’. He has a background in Rock, Pop, Swing, Latin jazz, Bebop jazz, R ‘n’ B, Hip Hop and Gospel, in live performance, studio session work and educationally.

He currently performs with the Jimmy Nevis band, electro-pop quartet TheCity and SA ska band Trenton and Free Radicals.

Contact Details

To book Ruby Crowie as a session musician or simply for additional information, please email kim.muller@hotmail.com

If you like the tuneful use of light and shade like Led Zeppelin, Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies, Rage Against the Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, or any rock with that remarkable heaviness, grounded in performance and riffage, not sheer volume, you’ll love Taxi Violence.
If you’ve heard Zeppelin’s John Bonham’s beats and the multi-guitar, low-end, V8-revving tone of a guitarist whom wields an axe, not a tennis racket, you’ll need to watch Taxi Violence live. Ever felt like you’ll never get to hear those bands because ‘someone’ said there’s no market for it here? They lied! Join the throng! “Taxi Violence smashed onto the scene as a breath of fresh, raw exuberance without the need for any fancy ‘post’ this, or ‘neo’ that or cute little words like ‘alt’ or ‘indie’ necessary to define them. The result is that after seven years together, their sound is still a timeless ode to what they do best… rocking out!” – Dave Mac (Muse Magazine).
Follow the band on Facebook or check out their website.

This crew began in 2007 as an evolution of punk band HOAX. it’s now its own thing. Completely.They have been linked to a lot of things, they’ve worked with a lot of people, they’ve made a lot of friends. Words to describe their music and, experience and work ethic include “innovative” , “Earl Grey”, “guerrilla”, “disco Something”, “retro rock” and “melody” amongst others. That’s no joke.Along with a cult following that trend to turn their sentence into acronym and get the dance floor riled up, The Plastics set out to take over the world, or at least play some darn good gigs along the way.2008 saw the release of the bands first EP The Plastics followed closely by another one; Kiss The Plastics (2009). Both distributed among Cape Town’s indie elite and head bangers for free. for more information on the band click here.

 

Follow the band on Facebook or check out their website

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