Page 1 of 1

Which keyboard is best for beginners?

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:43 am
by blaise84
I haven't had to order new keyboards for any project or for a customer, as we have a fairly ready supply of excellent older electronic organ consoles here in the US, which can be bought for next to nothing and gutted for conversion to MIDI. However, I do know people who have used brand new keyboards, and one popular source here is the Canadian company Classic MIDI Works.

They seem to cost anywhere from around 600 dollars (Canadian) per manual up to well over 2000 per manual, depending on whether or not there is a wooden core, whether or not pistons are included on the rail, and so on. I can't see any mention of who builds these for CMW though. I've known of people building rather high-end VPO sets with these keyboards, so I assume they are of very high quality. I don't know the exchange rate, but I'd guess that a Canadian dollar might be about 75 or 80 pence nowadays.

Note that these units are fully MIDI-equipped and do not require further equipment or encoders. They have USB jacks and can be daisy chained as well, so you can stack as many as you like and take the output directly to your computer. So perhaps the price isn't as high as it looks at first.

Maybe someone who is really into the explainer video VPO world will chime in with more info than I can offer. Just thought I'd get the ball rolling for you. Good luck!

The Hereford Willis is one that I'd love to hear. I have been to the UK several times, but my travels have not taken me to Hereford yet.

Re: Which keyboard is best for beginners?

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 11:13 am
by Jim Henry
The Classic MIDI Works keyboards are good units and they have a lot of things that are useful for building a virtual organ console. MIDIfying old electronic organs is another good way to get a virtual organ console for those with a bit of skill and a lot of time. There are some more recent electronic organs that already have MIDI output and sometimes they can be had for very little money.

For a true beginner who isn't sure how far they want to go with the organ, my suggestion is to pickup an inexpensive 61 note keyboard with a USB-MIDI port. These are often available at garage sales or on sites like Craigslist for a low price. You can plug them into your computer with a standard USB cable and off you go. This will allow you to get started on the organ and will probably satisfy your needs for at least 6 months and maybe much longer. You'll know when you are ready for more. Adding pedals, which is necessary to really be playing an organ, is usually the biggest challenge.