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  • Electric piano

    I want to buy an electric piano or organ, you know those with lights installed inside the notes so I can teach myself while playing. What is the Japanese name for that kind of device? I want to do some research on the internet first.

  • #2
    Re: Electric piano

    Thanks for the information. I was checking yamaha, roland and casio. Yamaha and Roland are pretty expensive (over 60000 yen). I think casio keyboard would be most suitable for my budget.

    Do you know any other names other than the above three? Maybe I should pay a trip to akihabara.


    • #3
      Re: Electric piano

      Korg and Kawai also make keyboards, but rather high-end models. Casio's are not much more than toys. Kurzweil and Alesis are probably also beyond you.

      Try the Yamaha shop in Shibuya, up Dogenzaka on the left hand side, large selection there, or branches of Shimamura music (

      Look for the YAMAHA EZ20 61 Piano-size keys Keyboard w/ Guide Lights. It's about US$ 280 at amazon.


      • #4
        Re: Electric piano

        "Casio's are not much more than toys"

        Yes, but... he did say he wanted one where the keys light up. So if you want good sound, then casio is not really so great, but those portable organs that play through their own speakers don't sound good anyway unless you play them through a proper amp.

        "Kurzweil and Alesis are probably also beyond you"

        Yeah, I'm pretty sure they don't make flashing lights models. But you even can find the casios and yamahas at a normal department store (there is a chain called jusco in osaka that carried a few)

        If you can connect a computer to the keyboard, you get a _lot_ more options and can save a bit of money while getting more than just flashing lights...

        If you have a computer near where the keyboard will be and don't mind having it connected, you can rig up some MIDI cables between the computer and MIDI-capable keyboard. Then the computer can either monitor, record, playback or accompany you on keyboard. If you do that, your possibilites are endless. You can learn to take 5 with dave brubeck by playing at half speed, you can have keyboard layout and musical score displayed at the same time during the song. You can even get the computer to jam with you (Band-in-a-box or other software) I don't know of any specific software to simulate the flashing keyboard lights, but I'm sure that they are out there. MIDI has been around almost as long as computers. Just worth thinking about.

        Big disadvantage is you need a computer connected. Huge advantage is you can buy a cheap keyboard that doesn't make any sounds (ie a MIDI controller, for about 10,000 yen) and the computer will make the sounds in response to a keyboard press, you can change all sounds. If you don't like the piano sound, you can download a different one, you can play drums etc etc. But if you just want one of those flashing keyboards, then


        • #5
          Re: Electric piano

          Good ideas Bluedog, but let's keep it simple. A keyboard, PC and/ or midi interface, good amp/speakers and software will cost a more than a good Yamaha piano, and a lot more than "Casio toys".

          I should personally recommend a series of lessons with a decent human piano tutor over an electronic tutor for a learner, to avoid initially acquiring bad habits with hands (and feet - remember!), while few budget MIDI keyboards have the proper weighting, balance and velocity sensing required for learning how to play properly; like those tacky MIDI guitar synths with nylon strings. Software still has problems emulating the dynamics of music, as opposed to the sound.


          • #6
            Re: Electric piano

            "a decent human piano tutor over an electronic tutor "

            Yeah, this is true. I can play some bad piano (learnt with no tutor, just two ears and a crapped out record player) but I can't use pedals at all.

            But because I'm a sucker for MIDI... I gotta say, if you already have a computer, with good headphones or a stereo, all you need is some old soundblaster with a cable, some software, and a master keyboard. Sofmap has controller keyboards with no sounds for 15000 upwards.

            Still won't teach you to play though, and although that's what I'd do if I was him, it takes a bit of know-how to get all that stuff running together and isn't quite what he asked for.

            So.... getting back onto the flashing light beatbox keyboards...

            If you follow this link

            (all one line)

            It will take you to a web page for sofmap, in the section of:

            MIDIŠÖ˜A (Midi stuff) / “dŽqŠyŠí (Electronic instruments)

            then you've got the
            “dŽqƒsƒAƒm (serious electric pianos) (40,000 upwards)
            ƒJƒVƒIƒg[ƒ“ (casio learning pianos) (30 to 70,000)
            ƒ|[ƒ^[ƒg[ƒ“ (yamaha learning pianos) (30 to 40,000)

            Theres a few options there which might help you figure out what you're looking for, and they are called “dŽqƒsƒAƒm (denshi piano) or so it seems.

            Some of these also have MIDI which means you can play with your computer, should you choose to do so at a later date.

            One final joust:
            "Software still has problems emulating the dynamics of music, as opposed to the sound."

            Yes, if you want real piano sound, then you have to buy a real piano, but anything that an electronic synthesizer can do, a computer can do better (e.g. there is a 1 gigabyte grand piano sample set for PCs that would be impossible on a synth).

            Btw, I have a Korg karma, and after all this discussion, I'm cranked to get it out and start banging around. Less talk, more playing! Damnit.


            • #7
              Re: Electric piano

              Hi Loppi,

              I'm not sure if there are any other keyboard brands that are reasonably priced. If I see some I'll post it up. I visited several shops before reading your post, and I was only checking out the casio brands. Oh, I think Panasonic also make keyboards(they're not known in the keyboard industry as being one of the popular brands), but I'm not sure how good they are, but they might be reasonably priced.

              There's a cool music shop in Akihabara, I visited it the other day. It's near the McDonalds end, where they're doing all the construction work. (If you're exiting McDonalds, go right, and at the 1st lights turn right, and maybe 1 minute's walk) It's the exit opposite to Electrical Town? You can test out the keyboards there. But Toys R Us are less intimidating. Oh I forgot!! Bic Camera (the big store) in Yurakucho? the one next to the station has 4/5 floors? It has a musical instrument floor.

              I have a pretty snazzy casio, okay I admit I bought it for the cool gadgety features,, and the good thing about it was that it had a floppy disk drive. 16 tracks great for recording.(floppies are pretty obsolete now), but it was cool 2 years ago 2 of my friends bought the same model and we're all pianists. No complaints. but if I had the money Roland all the way. But unfortunately Roland's out of my budget. Professional pianists would prob use Korg/Roland, and most of those high end keyboards require an amp. I use mine to play in 2 bands, and I use it to practice on. It's really useful as my piano is sometimes occupied by other family members.

              If you just want something that you can play and practice on, Casio's not bad.

              Just a few things you might want to help with your decision:
              - size,weight & portability, number of keys (61 keys is pretty good, I have a 76 keys one)
              (can you fit a big keyboard at home?)
              - fullsize keys or not (some keyboards have smaller keys)
              - make sure you get a keyboard with speakers, some keyboards are for computers and do not have speakers, or require an amp(lifier). Otherwise you won't be able to hear the music.
              - you might want to also invest in a keyboard stand (they're cheap)
              - check to see if the AC_DC adaptor comes with it

              Another thing to note, most keyboards are also in Japanese (instructions etc). I'm not sure if you can get an English translation for it. I think on the internet there's a website that has most of the keyboard manuals.

              Definitely go check out a store, you can test them before buying them. Toys R Us allows you to play with the keyboards.

              I agree with trip hop, a human teacher is a lot better, and the electric keyboards don't sound like the real thing, but they have their uses and also depends on your budget.

              Sorry hope I haven't given you information overload.

              Good luck in your keyboard shopping. I'm keyboard shopping in a couple of months as well. I have my eye set on a casio, also for budget and reliability reasons. If there are any questions feel free to ask


              • #8
                Re: Electric piano


                I was watching TV as I do before work, and I saw something you might be interested in. It was on the Terebi-Tokyo station.

                They were advertising a Casio LK 160, which has a 3 step teaching system. They keys light up!! THere's also 137 songs that it teaches you. It also has the LCD screen that shows the score/music. It has speakers and costs 29,800Yen. It comes with a keyboard stand, seat, headphones, computer cables and CD. I jotted down the number for you: Phone 0120441222.

                Also I think you can pay over 9 months at 3000Yen? Sorry my Japanese isn't that crash hot and I couldn't read fast enough when it flashed up that part. You can pay by credit card I think.

                I assume they also deliver to your house, so that might be convenient.

                You might be able to check this model up on the internet.


                • #9
                  are any of you guys around still???

                  I'm looking into getting an electronic keyboard as well and I've got a couple of questions.