Product Type: Yamaha keyboards and synthesizers
Newest Review: ... function allows you to listen to these songs then attempt to play them. You can learn the left hand and right hand separately or di... more
Perfect for beginners
Member Name: GodfatherOfSoul
Date: 09/02/12, updated on 19/02/13 (111 review reads)
Advantages: Astonishing for the price. Beautiful sound, great learning functions, perfect for beginners.
Disadvantages: No touch-sensitive keys.
I have always wanted to play the piano/keyboard and decided that now is the time to start. Given that I have never played before and wasn't sure how I would take to my new hobby, I decided to buy a low budget keyboard with a view to upgrading if I discovered I was not an uncoordinated buffoon.
From the moment I first used this keyboard I have been amazed at how much it can do for the price. It has 61 keys which is more than enough for the beginner and these keys are full sized (very important in my opinion). The sound quality is excellent; it really does sound like a grand piano - granted, the more musically tuned ear may disagree with me, but I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
You can do more than just play in the grand piano 'voice' though. You can play a range of instruments from the rock organ to the pan pipes, all of which sound brilliantly realistic.
As for the learning side, the keyboard comes with 100 preincluded songs including many classic pieces including Greensleeves, Fur Elise and to my elation, The Entertainer (think of the movie The Sting). The learning function allows you to listen to these songs then attempt to play them. You can learn the left hand and right hand separately or dive right in and try the whole thing. This works by showing whcih keys should be played on the small display screen in the centre of the keyboard. Only by pressing the correct keys on the keyboard is a sound made and the song allowed to progress (press the wrong key and nothing will happen). The screen is a little small but it is not too difficult to make out which keys need to be played. This, in my opinion, is a fantastic way to learn songs without the need to read music (a daunting task for the beginner). You can then also work on perfecting the timing of the song using the timing function where you have to play the key(s) at the correct time and in the correct rhythm. You don't have to play the correct key, any key will do - as long as it's in time. This is a little curious but I suppose the purpose of this function is to get you used to the tempo and rhythm of the piece.
There are many other aids that help make learning to play the keyboard easier. You can slow down the tempo of songs so you have more time to take in the notes and learn the keys. There is a chord dictionary which, although a little tricky to use at first, contains hundreds of chords to learn; the keys for each chord are again shown on the digital screen. On the topic of the screen - when you play a key/note, that note is then displayed on the screen on a grand staff (those rows of lines you see with sheet music) which helps you in learning the basics of reading music. You can also choose to play with accompanying music in the background such as an orchestra or drum music. I haven't had much use for this myself but I'm sure it will apply to some.
Some people may think that only having 61 keys will limit the notes and therefore the music that can be played. Well, yes and no. You won't be able to play peices that use both the lowest and highest notes together but you can 'move' the notes up or down an octave if you want. This means that the lowest note you can play is an octave lower - and consequently, every note on the keyboard now plays an octave lower. Or you can move the notes up an octave so that every note plays an octave higher. This allows you to play those missing low and high notes on the standard 61 key set-up (Pardon my bumbled effort of explaining this feature - I can sense musicians cringing at my efforts).
One disadvantage, the scale of which depends on your requirements, is that it does not have touch-sensitive keys. So when you play a key, the note sounds at the same volume regardless of how softly or forefully you strike it. This is not a great problem for the beginner like myself but will limit what you can do if you are a bit better.
The keyboard comes with a stand which fixes onto the back to hold your sheet music or any other notes and also allows for a headphone connection. I have bought a keyboard stand and a dust cover to accompany mine - both of which I strongly recommend.
In summary, this is a remarkable keyboard for the price. I have not regretted for one moment opting for this model and would happily recommend this to any aspiring pianist out there. I am also happy to report that I am progressing nicely with my new hobby and have already benefitted greatly from the learning fucntions on this keyboard. I hope this review has helped you and good luck if you are just about to take up learning the keyboard!
Summary: For this price, you can ask for nothing better!