#1
First off, I'm not sure if this is the ideal forum to ask this, but it's the best I could find.

I'm looking for a nice keyboard for under $300 for my girlfriend's 17th birthday. It will be her first keyboard, and I assume she'd be learning some poppier non-metal stuff, so one that has a wide variety of tones would be nice. Something easy for someone to have fun playing around with I guess?

She says she thinks she wants one with weighted keys, but does anyone know if this will make it harder for her to learn how to play at first, or would it not be a problem? Btw, the keyboard doesn't need to have weighted keys. Just wondering if they have an effect on a beginner's playing ability.

Sorry if I wasn't descriptive enough. If you need any clarification, just ask.
Gear:
Schecter Hellraiser Special C-7 FR
Peavey Vyper 60W Tube
Dunlop Crybaby Classic
#2
Keyboard?
MIDI controller to play stuff on computer?
Analog synth?
Rompler?
Digital piano?

What does she want exactly?
#3
Weighted keys won;t affect the ability to learn - it will aid in the nuances of playing as the response is designed to closer emulate the playing experience of a "proper" piano, keyboard or organ.

As for the rest... What the reply above me says.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#4
Just a synthesizer I guess. Something to learn on lol
Gear:
Schecter Hellraiser Special C-7 FR
Peavey Vyper 60W Tube
Dunlop Crybaby Classic
Last edited by celestialelixir at May 11, 2011,
#5
For 300$ you should go used.
Owning a bunch of synths, I'ld recommend the Yamaha DX7, a synth from the 80's that has been used by everybody, and still is today.

Pros
- Built like a tank
- There's a ton of them available, since it's one of the most popular of all time
- The keyboard action is superior to many other keyboards out there
- It doesn't really lose any resale value
- The sounds are all classic 80's stuff, but still usable to this day
- You can get a bunch of sounds off the internet
- You can use it as a MIDI controller

Cons
- It's heavy
- Some say it's cheesy (I disagree)

Don't settle for the cheaper models off the DX series, unless it's a DX7II or DX7s. You can check it out here:
http://www.vintagesynth.com/yamaha/dx7.php

Other classic options would include a Korg M1 or Roland D50, but they're a bit pricier.

Cheers
#6
If she's just starting out, get her one of those cheap synths with built-in speakers that they sell at Toys'r Us. It won' t sound great, but she'll at least be able to learn with it.

When she wants to upgrade, look into one of the synths Business mentioned or a Roland SH-201.
#7
Quote by Ian_the_fox
If she's just starting out, get her one of those cheap synths with built-in speakers that they sell at Toys'r Us. It won' t sound great, but she'll at least be able to learn with it.


I would advise against a Toy Synth; a cheap synth will sound like a cheap synth, but an 80's synth, altought cheaply priced, will sound pro. You won't lose any money if she gets bored with it, as you can sell it easily. Roland SH-201 is a so-so virtual analog and overpriced.
#8
I bought a Casio WK-200. They sell for around $200 here. It comes with lessons, simulates effect of weighed keys, has decent sound, has a large LED display onboard that shows you the note you're playing. It can also connect to a computer via USB.

So far, I'm pretty happy with it.
Please view my first ever recording on my profile - Tangerine by Led Zeppelin

Guitars:
Schecter C-1 Classic
Ibanez EW20ASE acoustic

Amp:
Peavey XXX EFX 40
#9
I'ld stay away from anything called Casio, unless it's the old CZ series.
#10
Eh, it works for me. I think it's a decent one to learn on. Yamaha has better sound though, but I liked the LCD screen on my Casio more. Regardless, I would try out some different ones in the store.
Please view my first ever recording on my profile - Tangerine by Led Zeppelin

Guitars:
Schecter C-1 Classic
Ibanez EW20ASE acoustic

Amp:
Peavey XXX EFX 40
#11
Casio or other toy brands are like Marshall MGs: they're good until you develop an ear for tone.
#12
Quote by Business
Casio or other toy brands are like Marshall MGs: they're good until you develop an ear for tone.

His girlfriend is new to synth playing. I'm fairly sure she doesn't have an ear for synth tone yet.

That's what bothers me about a lot of users on this forum when it comes to cheap gear like the Spiders, MG's, etc. I mean, a guy comes here like: "I'm new to guitar playing and am looking for an amp to go with my first guitar", one guy recommends a Line 6 Spider, gets flamed, and everyone else tells the guy to get the Peavey Vypyr because it "SOWENDS BETTURRR". Really, do you think somebody who has never touched a guitar in their life is going to give 1/4 of a shit about how good his amp sounds? And do you think he's going to be familiar with terms like "Dzl", "K-Stien" , "6505", and "Recto" when he doesn't even yet know how to make an E chord? That's why when it comes to Vyper vs. Spider, the Spider is a better amp for a beginner, because while it's highly inferior to the Vypyr in terms of features and sound, it's straightforward Clean, Crunch, Metal, and Insane (which is extremely worthless), it has not-good-at-all yet straightforward effects that at least show what they do, and is overall easy to use. Like I've said, the Vypyr is an overall better amp in terms of sound and features, but a Spider is better for a beginner to learn on. It doesn't sound good, so what? Do you think a beginner is going to know the difference between good and bad tone?

Same goes with synths. For a beginner, a $200 Casio synth from a toy store is perfect for this girl to learn with. When she gets older and far more experienced, she can upgrade to something like a Roland Juno G or a Yamaha Motif (if she's really dedicated and willing to pay the money), or if she decides to give up, little to no harm is done.
#13
Quote by Ian_the_fox
His girlfriend is new to synth playing. I'm fairly sure she doesn't have an ear for synth tone yet.

That's what bothers me about a lot of users on this forum when it comes to cheap gear like the Spiders, MG's, etc. I mean, a guy comes here like: "I'm new to guitar playing and am looking for an amp to go with my first guitar", one guy recommends a Line 6 Spider, gets flamed, and everyone else tells the guy to get the Peavey Vypyr because it "SOWENDS BETTURRR". Really, do you think somebody who has never touched a guitar in their life is going to give 1/4 of a shit about how good his amp sounds? And do you think he's going to be familiar with terms like "Dzl", "K-Stien" , "6505", and "Recto" when he doesn't even yet know how to make an E chord? That's why when it comes to Vyper vs. Spider, the Spider is a better amp for a beginner, because while it's highly inferior to the Vypyr in terms of features and sound, it's straightforward Clean, Crunch, Metal, and Insane (which is extremely worthless), it has not-good-at-all yet straightforward effects that at least show what they do, and is overall easy to use. Like I've said, the Vypyr is an overall better amp in terms of sound and features, but a Spider is better for a beginner to learn on. It doesn't sound good, so what? Do you think a beginner is going to know the difference between good and bad tone?

Same goes with synths. For a beginner, a $200 Casio synth from a toy store is perfect for this girl to learn with. When she gets older and far more experienced, she can upgrade to something like a Roland Juno G or a Yamaha Motif (if she's really dedicated and willing to pay the money), or if she decides to give up, little to no harm is done.


Why start with cheapo gear when you can get something 10 times (at least) better for about the same price? Kids always end up selling their Spyder when they develop their ear, and they probably wish they would have gotten something better in the first place.
#14
Calm down - it seems to be a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other....

I'd say scour CL, eBay and any local music stores, pawn shops and try to find a Yamaha or Roland. At least if she gets bored with the thing then it'll be easier to sell on or even give a friend or relative to use.

Casio make good calculators...
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#15
I own a DX7S. I love it but I wouldn't want it to be my only keyboard.
If she's learning she's better off with a real piano. Far easier to go from piano to synth than synth to piano. Just look for a second hand one, it's amazing what you can find. People selling pianos are often in a hurry because they are moving and can't take the piano with them so they flog it off at the last moment and are often desperate to just have somebody take it away. I gave an old German piano to the Salvos once for that very reason.
The M-Audio keyboards are pretty good for the money, especially if you mainly want piano.

Edit. Another issue with DX7's is that by now the battery in every single one of them is dead and to replace it is not a simple task because they are actually soldered to the board. Most people mod a battery holder into them. Unless you actually pull the whole thing apart and look you don't know what horrors may await you.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at May 12, 2011,
#16
Hi; didn't expect this many responses: thanks!

I'm not trying to be cheap with this, because it's a waste of my money to buy a $100 casio that she'll replace after a year of playing (assuming she sticks with it). If she gets bored of it, I'll take it off her and give her some money for it and play it myself. That being said, I'm liking the DX7, but is there a modern version that's worth a shit? I'm not so sure about buying a legit 80's synth, just due to them being so old (but then again, I don't know shit about synths) but maybe a model that can replicate those sounds.

And as much as I'm sure she'd enjoy a real piano, I don't think she has space for it anywhere in her home.
Gear:
Schecter Hellraiser Special C-7 FR
Peavey Vyper 60W Tube
Dunlop Crybaby Classic
#17
Quote by Mishakuz
I bought a Casio WK-200. They sell for around $200 here. It comes with lessons, simulates effect of weighed keys, has decent sound, has a large LED display onboard that shows you the note you're playing. It can also connect to a computer via USB.

So far, I'm pretty happy with it.


Something like this but not Casio
Gear:
Schecter Hellraiser Special C-7 FR
Peavey Vyper 60W Tube
Dunlop Crybaby Classic
#18
Quote by celestialelixir
Hi; didn't expect this many responses: thanks!

I'm not trying to be cheap with this, because it's a waste of my money to buy a $100 casio that she'll replace after a year of playing (assuming she sticks with it). If she gets bored of it, I'll take it off her and give her some money for it and play it myself. That being said, I'm liking the DX7, but is there a modern version that's worth a shit? I'm not so sure about buying a legit 80's synth, just due to them being so old (but then again, I don't know shit about synths) but maybe a model that can replicate those sounds.


The easiest would be buying a good MIDI controller and running plugins (which you can either buy or download...) There's actually a plugin version of the DX7 called FM7. A good MIDI controller will cost about the same as some vintage synths though, and it's always nice to have some hardware to play on.

Other interesting models in the price range:
Akai AX73 (Analog)
Korg M1 (Rompler)
Korg DW-6000 & DW-8000 (Digital Waveform)
Roland Alpha Juno 1 & 2 (Analog)
Roland D50 (Linear Synthesis / Rompler)
Roland JX3P & JX8P (Analog)