Thursday Thoughts – Playing Keyboards

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I got my first electronic keyboard in 1998. It was a Casio WK1200 and I was in awe of all of the sounds it made, the arrangements I could create, and the flexibility I had in playing any type of music authentically. It served me well for a number of years…then I discovered the Yamaha PSR-9000Pro online. These were a few years old at the time but for a 76-key model were the best out there, I discovered. So I saved and saved…on my 50th birthday my sister and a friend threw a surprise party and asked for donations toward the keyboard in lieu of gifts and it wasn’t long afterward I was able to purchase one. Literally it made me cry. The more I learned about it and the more music I made the more I cried. Sometimes there are emotions too big for words, and also too big to hold in…that happened a lot! In those days I played for our church, and my beloved 9000Pro was a beast to carry back and forth, so Pete got me a PSR-E413 for that purpose which I enjoyed for a few years…anyway, after a while I sold my 9000Pro and purchased a PSR-S950 which was/is AMAZING but still only had 61 keys so I got my PSR-EW410 that has beautiful sounds and lots of keys so that I can play like the pianist I’ve always been but not all of the functions the S950 has for more fun arranging…so I’ve been swapping back and forth between the two, depending on what I’ve wanted to play/do at the time, since we don’t have the space to leave 2 keyboards set up.

About a year ago I decided I wanted to get a keyboard that combined everything I liked about my 2 current models, plus some of the things I still miss from my 9000Pro all those years ago, into a single unit. I would have to get a used Tyros5-76, or Yamaha’s newest flagship arranger workstation, the Genos. And it would take some big-time saving to get either one! And that has been my plan and goal, ever since.

Until last night.

I was watching videos on the Roku after Pete went to sleep and watched a bunch of Tyros 5 and Genos vids. And I was overwhelmed. At this point it struck me how many functions they each have, functions I would never use at this stage in my life, besides the fact that physically I can’t sit at my keyboard for hours as I used to…my time to play is limited by my spine’s demands. Why would I want to spend so much on a keyboard that I couldn’t adequately enjoy? I didn’t see any functions on either of them that enticed me to want it. And I was shocked at my revelation.

I went back to videos about the newest mid-range keyboard, the PSR-SX900. Yamaha releases instruments that are a step back from their new flagships with much of the functionality but not the extra bells and whistles. My S950 was such a model when they Tyros 5 was released, and cost about 40% of the price. The SX900 is a step back (but not a step DOWN!) from the Genos and they’ve been out for a couple of years now. I learned that not only does the SX900 have all of the functions that I want but it has one in particular that I have missed ever since my 9000Pro days: 3 right-hand voices rather than just two! So I came to a decision that I my goal will be an SX900 (or whatever its equivalent may be by the time I have the $!), and for those times when I want to play as a piano, I will keep my EW410. I realized that I needn’t pay 3x as much for a keyboard that has WAY more than I’ll ever want, need, or use just so that I have those extra keys. Yes, a single keyboard that does it all would be nice…but not for the extra thousands of dollars. And it would be worth the cost to upgrade my S950 to the SX900 for what I will get.

Meanwhile I will continue to enjoy the keyboards I have – there’s nothing wrong with them after all – and drop my pennies in the jar, and look forward to a more realistic upgrade when the time comes.

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