Author Topic: Keyboards for dummies  (Read 10884 times)

Offline ironcow2103

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Keyboards for dummies
« on: Mon, 2006-03-27, 17:14:10 »
Looking for some help from all you prog-keyboardists on the forum.

My ten year old son is a talented little bugger and coming on leaps and bounds with his keyboard playing (exam level two coming up sooner rather than later and he's currently sat downstairs composing some prog epic rather than doing his maths homework). He's playing some Casio thingie which does all he needs for his exams for various levels and has MIDI something and do-flip wotsit (as you might gather I can play Ode to Joy with one hand and that's it).

Whilst his music lessons are all well and good for learning the crotchets and wotnots, he is interested in finding out some of the techie side of things and how to make all those wonderful noises Clive and co make with they keyboard rigs (rig - technical term I picked up off this forum!!) :-)

So, what I'm after is:

i) is there a Keyboards for Dummies website, book or something I can read to get a better understand of what synths, MIDIs etc are/do/can do? Basic English would be good here...

ii) any idiot level (theme developing here) website/book for using my lovely iMac to link into his keyboard (apparently it does somehow) to alow him to deevelop his compositions and burn a CD off for his Mum for her birthday?

iii) suggestions of what I (as dotting/bankrupt) father should be looking at for next purchases to help him have some fun playing the thing (as oppossed to playing Yellow Bird again as exam practice) and eventually become the next Clive Nolan..

Thanking you all in anticipation...

Steve

ps. he rocked out at ProgPower on Saturday, telling Freedom Call's keyboard player that the keyboard was the most IMPORTANT instrument in any band - I think it made the bloke's day...

Offline keyboardistmatt

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 2006-03-27, 19:20:07 »
Hi, I'll help a little...

All those wonderful noises generally come from synthesizers (Well, in bands they do!)
However there are some good keyboards out there with a good selection of sounds, at very good prices.

I used to use Starland www.starland.co.uk to get my keyboards, they have a large selection of Casio, Korg, Roland and Yamaha keyboards at nice prices.  The people there are helpful and friendly.

So, what I can tell you is:

i) I don't know about 'Keyboards For Dummies', bu there are books out there with titles like 'MIDI Basics', 'Synthesizer Basics'... You get the point. ::)

ii) To link a keyboard to a computer, you need to have a MIDI interface which enables the computer and keyboard to talk to each other.  MIDI interfaces are very cheap on Ebay... ;)

iii) I would have a look at the Starland website to see what they have to offer.
(A little idea; consider, in the future, an 88 key weighted digital piano.  They usually have some great sounds, and the keyboard is weighted which means it feels similar to an acoustic piano. - That will help strengthen your son's fingers... important for playing! 8)

Hope that helps.

KBM *horns*
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Offline Wilford Jr.

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 2006-03-27, 22:10:32 »
I have another question for the keyboards players on the forum.  This seems like the place to post it.  What type of keyboard would anyone recommend for someone who is just geting into keyboards, knows absolutely nothing about them, but just wants to get a keyboard to begin learning how to play one?  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Thanks.
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Offline jeffMc

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 2006-03-27, 22:45:24 »
I have another question for the keyboards players on the forum.  This seems like the place to post it.  What type of keyboard would anyone recommend for someone who is just geting into keyboards, knows absolutely nothing about them, but just wants to get a keyboard to begin learning how to play one?  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Thanks.

A Mellotron!!!!!



Just kidding...... ;)

I bought my son a Casio keyboard when he was 5. It was fine. He now uses my old Roland D-50 to play on.
The Casio was like $140 USD at the time.

Offline ironcow2103

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 2006-03-28, 10:51:20 »
What type of keyboard would anyone recommend for someone who is just geting into keyboards, knows absolutely nothing about them, but just wants to get a keyboard to begin learning how to play one?

Not being a keyboard player, my son is learning on a Casio LK-60 which clearly has a better sound, more functions and even MIDI capability which his classmates Yamaha's don't (I had to sit through a class recital last night and boy those Yamaha tones made me cringe!). The Casio will do him for a good few years yet according to his teacher (and some of the 'synth' tones are pretty cool, though it could do with a more heavy elecric guitar tone)

Steve

Offline ironcow2103

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 2006-03-28, 10:54:51 »
Hope that helps.

Thanks KBM - the website was very useful (especially for a shop one) for the distinctions between the various instruments - good job the mortgage only has a few years to go, looks like being the Dad of the keyboard player is somewhat expensive! :-)

Steve

Offline Wilford Jr.

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 2006-03-28, 18:19:19 »
Not being a keyboard player, my son is learning on a Casio LK-60 which clearly has a better sound, more functions and even MIDI capability which his classmates Yamaha's don't (I had to sit through a class recital last night and boy those Yamaha tones made me cringe!). The Casio will do him for a good few years yet according to his teacher (and some of the 'synth' tones are pretty cool, though it could do with a more heavy elecric guitar tone)

Steve

Thank you for the help (so far).

This may be a stupid question but do I need to purchase so type of sound system or speaker to play the keyboard through?  I know my electric guitar doesn't work very well without an amp.  Are these electronic keyboards like that?

BTW, I am almost 50 years old.  Do you think that it is a little too late for me to play with this sort of thing?

Brad.
No longer feeling anything
Fading fast
Nothing lasts
Beyond the waking hour

Offline johninblack

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 2006-03-28, 19:24:09 »
BTW, I am almost 50 years old.  Do you think that it is a little too late for me to play with this sort of thing?

Brad.

NO!

Offline ironcow2103

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Re: Keyboards for dummies
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 2006-03-28, 21:31:30 »
This may be a stupid question but do I need to purchase so type of sound system or speaker to play the keyboard through?

From what I've seen most keyboards come with intergral speakers - Saul's Casio is powerful enough to be heard VERY clearly at the back of a hall with 200 parents listening to his heavy metal version of Lord of the Dance :-) The Casio has a hall reverb function that provides some "uummpphh"!

Steve

ps. it can also be linked up to an amp...
pps. you are never too old (unless you are dead - and then who knows?)