There is nothing more satisfying than playing a great keyboard song that sounds "just right" when you use the right touch sensitivity of a keyboard with weighted keys. The weighted keys provide a natural and realistic feel for the timeless grand pianos, just like the grand pianos that feel and sound natural. Some of today's best piano keyboards are equipped with weighted keys, and even there are others that boast a fully graded hammer action to bring home the feeling of full-bodied piano playing. But what about those keyboards that don't have any of those fancy features? How do you know whether your keyboard is a good fit for you or not? In other words, is a keyboard with weighted keys worth the money?
Well, let's get one thing straight first. A light-weighted keyboard obviously isn't as convenient to play as a heavy-duty one. You certainly can get around that by purchasing a keyboard with adjustable sensitivity or even a whole range of light-weighted keys. But if you really want a light-weight keyboard that still feels and sounds natural, then it's time to up the ante and spend that extra money on a light-weighted keyboard with a variable-sensitivity for better response. And while you're at it, why not go for an adjustable sensitivity as well?
Adjustable polyphony is another thing to look out for. Most pianos have limited polyphony, especially professional-quality pianos. Some high-end pianos, like the ones that once belonged to Great Big George and his band, have over 500 polyphony sounds, many of which cannot be played manually. For most people, pianos with adjustable polyphony are worth their price tag, because they are capable of producing a wide range of sounds, from bells to tambourines, maracas, and so on.
Now let's move on to something many persons forget to consider when purchasing a piano: hammer action. The act of pressing down the keys on a standard keyboard creates a hammling effect that literally hammers each key down to the point where it becomes responsive and crisp sounding. It's a pleasant, relaxing, feeling to the ear, and it gives a deeper quality sound than regular playing. Hammer action is important in the quality of playing of an acoustic piano keyboard, because it adds more realism to your playing.
On the other hand, some newer pianos have a sixty-key keyboard, or a "super-sized" grand piano, that contains fewer keys than a standard piano and has a completely different feel. Instead of having hammers that strike the keys and produce an "hammering" feeling, with a sixty-key piano you press only the specified number of keys and feel a smoother, softer touch as a result. When you're purchasing a grand piano, or a combination of pianos, it's a good idea to clarify with the seller or dealer what the difference between the two is.
Another factor you'll need to think about is the question of "light-weightness." It seems self-evident that a piano should be easy to carry around. But not all pianos are lightweight. Some are big, bulky, full of knobs and buttons, requiring many pockets to house all the electronics. Others are extremely light, but make the music harder to play. As an example, the steel string acoustic grand of yesteryear would be very heavy to bring across the stage if one had to play it on a heavy-duty violin bow; today, however, you can purchase models that are lightweight for this purpose.
In addition to the lighter models, there is another con to consider: the cons of having less keys. When you're playing a key with only one fret attached, it's not terribly difficult to press down and release a single key to produce the desired sound. But when the strings are spread to five or six, pressing a lot of keys at once can cause fatiguing quickly; hence, several manufacturers have developed models with only two or three strings, each connected by a plastic bar which prevents strain on the fingers by allowing the hand to press down tightly on one fret, releasing it with a little bit of pressure.
There are many different types of keyboard available for today's pianists, whether you prefer the weighted keys of your grandfather's piano or the light-weighted keys of today's digital pianos. Routine maintenance and care will keep your equipment in good condition for many years to come. There are many good products on the market today that offer advanced programming and variable speed motors. For more information on Rolands and related products, please do a search on the Internet or call a local dealer.