If you’re looking to buy a stage piano that’s lightweight, compact and easy to transport, here’s what you need to look out for.
Make sure it has a fully-weighted action
If you’re serious about playing, you’ll need a good quality, weighted action keyboard that replicates the feel of an acoustic piano. Stage and digital pianos with fully weighted key actions usually come in 88-note, 76-note and, more recently, 64-note formats. With the exception of some of the more serious classical piano pieces, 64 notes are ample for most musical situations: many famous records of the 60s and 70s often featured a Wurlitzer electric piano with 64 notes. Also, the size of an 88-note keyboard is typically 140cm wide – quite a handful – whereas a 64-note keyboard could shave as much as 30cm off this – much easier to fit in a small car and for carrying in and out of gigs.
Make sure it delivers when performing live
If you play live, you’ll need some decent piano sounds covering a wide range of genres, not just acoustic piano sounds but also electric pianos, clavs and maybe some organs. You’ll also need some effects to ensure the sounds do not sound dry and artificial. Make sure you have the right effects for the sounds e.g. phaser for an electric piano or a rotary effect for an organ. Finally, the ability to play along to a backing track is important – keyboards with a stereo input let you play along with a portable music player.
Make sure it delivers in the studio (at home or on the move)
If you’re in the studio, you need to be able to control soft-synths and sound modules. Ideally, the keyboard shouldn’t be too long either, as studios are often cramped. Although there are many controllers available, few have fully-weighted keys action and comprehensive master keyboard functionality.
One instrument that excels for live and studio use is the new Roland RD-64 digital piano. It’s just over a metre long, due to having 64 notes, so doesn’t take up much space. It’s also simple to learn and easy to transport, weighing under 13kg.
Here are some of the other highlights of the RD-64 stage piano:
- Versatile piano, electric piano, clav and organ sounds with dedicated effects
- Fully-weighted keyboard action for a grand piano feel
- Advanced master keyboard controller functionality to control soft-synths or sound modules
If you’re looking for a compact stage piano for studio or live use, there are many to choose from. Making sure you don’t compromise on performance or portability means you’ll get a piano that gives you the best of both worlds.