Whether you’re mainly a guitarist who is looking to experiment with some new sounds and practice on keys, or a keyboardist who wants to be able to throw on a guitar strap and rock out across the stage with the rest of the band, keytars are just fun! It’s a lighter instrument sound quality cover bass guitar play keytar bass sounds
If you’re already an experienced keytar pro playing the instrument professionally and busting out incredibly cool solos this article may be a bit basic for you.
We round up some of the best keytars available for you to explore today. One of the most important elements when pursuing music is creativity.
When thinking of starting out your music career, one question you have to ask yourself is this – what makes you different from other artists? Some people – like Freddie Mercury – rely on his distinct voice to stand out from the rest.
Others – like The Edge from U2 – rely on his signature delay sound to generate a tone that inspired thousands of guitarists across the globe. Of course, there’s completely nothing wrong with sticking around with the usual instruments – like the guitar or the keyboard.
But what if you want to be unique in your own way? What if you want an instrument that sounds like a keyboard, but can be wielded like an electric guitar? Luckily, the geniuses of today’s modern music came up with the idea and brought players the option to produce keyboard or even synth sounds! Let’s say you’re a traditional keyboard or piano player, and you’re in a band.
At first, the context of playing keys isn’t that much fun or exciting. You just sit around playing your instrument, while the vocalist, the guitarist, and the bassist get to roam around the studio or the actual stage.
No fun, right? This is why we’re going to talk about all the fun things about the keytar today. Not only that, but we’ll also give out some brands you can check out should this instrument be of any interest to you.
But before anything else, let’s first ask ourselves…
What is a keytar?
Simply put, a keytar is a keyboard but with a strap on it. This allows you to wield your instrument while walking around comfortably on stage.
Most of the controls are located on the neck, which you play with using your left hand (like a traditional electric or acoustic guitar). Some of you may be wondering why the keytar was even invented in the first place.
Considering it’s a lightweight synthesizer that you can wear using a strap, the synthesizer became popular for musicians who wanted to put on a show.
Modern music can sometimes be all about performance and “looking the part”. A keytar definitely looks cool! It dates back to as early as 1795, and can still be seen in performances today. Now you have a decent idea of what a keytar is, you may now start to consider getting one for yourself!
Let’s have a look at some of the things you should consider before making that purchase.
Right off the bat, the thing you should always consider is you or your band’s playing style.
Do you write acoustic songs? Do you perform with a piano player? Do your songs incorporate synth sounds or digital-electronic elements? Today’s modern music surely does have a lot of digitally processed textures, but you or your group can sound differently already. Always ask yourself, do you prefer moving around a lot on the stage? Or would you rather just sit tight and play your keyboard?
Next up will be your budget. Just like with anything, knowing how much you are willing to spend on your instrument is crucial to be sure that you are getting the right amount of value for your hard-earned cash.
Lastly, you can always consider the brand you are getting.
Some manufacturers have been known for their quality and sound, which is why it never hurts to do a fair amount of research before purchasing.
With that being said, let’s head onto our roundup of some of the best keytars available out there today.
The Midi Controller Keytar
While a vintage keytar can be super fun, practically speaking we would highly recommend purchasing a modern instrument with full capability to transmit midi data. No matter how cool the internal sounds from the built in sound module are, having the ability to access nearly unlimited sounds via midi technology is a game changer for making music. So if you really want to choose the best keytar, I wouldn’t suggest picking one without midi.
Just like a midi keyboard, you can use your midi keytar to drive a huge variety of musical instrument sounds from electronic music synths to drum pads to bass guitar to vintage instrument sounds.
You may have a built in sound engine, but midi hardware combined with software running on a computer with a vst program lets you make just about any sound you need. Ribbon controllers even let you achieve sounds like a guitar bend. Depending on your style of music, you can even use this to cover bass guitar if your bass player is out sick.
You’ll want to make sure the keytar you select has traditional midi jacks, or even better wireless midi capability. I also feel it’s really important to have a velocity sensitive keyboard with enough sensitivity to get the musical expression you are looking for.
This particular unit has definitely been one of the most popular models and brands out there, and for good reason.
The Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 boasts a sleek look while being one of the most reliable MIDI controllers to take the shape of a keytar. They improved the durability, being ages from the first Vortex. This is so that gigging musicians can rely more on their instrument being roadworthy.
If wireless things are your, well, thing…then the Vortex 2 has you covered! You can bring it up to 400 feet away from your device. A lot of users loved the velocity-sensitive 37 keys, the improved modulation wheel, and the octave control buttons.
The added sustain button is also a definite plus!
Coming in at number 2 is one of Roland’s most popular offerings in the instrument category. It’s arguably one of the coolest-looking keytars, too!
The AX-Edge is a 49-key instrument that houses 500 preset sounds. One of the things that make this specific unit stand out is that aside from having MIDI controls, it also boasts its own sound!
You can power it up for 4 hours using batteries, and you can enjoy its controls such as reverb, chorus, master volume control, and even compressor preferences!
Personally, this is my favorite in terms of looks. It performs well, too!
If you’re a beginner looking into getting started with the keytar, then this offering from Yamaha could be the one for you. The SHS 500 Sonogenic offers pitch bend and modulation wheel controls, 30 preset voices, and 37 keys.
A lot of users mentioned that this feels more like a toy than an instrument. But if you’re only starting out with the realm of keytars, then it’s something you should check out. It’s also one of the more affordable options in this roundup.
It offers wireless iOS compatibility, too, if that’s your thing.
Coming in at number 4 is an offering from one of the most established piano and keyboard brands out there.
Although already discontinued, the Korg RK-100S is still one of the most sought-after keytars. It boasts 200 synth sounds, 2 ribbon controllers, and a MIDI output jack.
One of the things that make this a great option is the sounds that you get from the instrument. Although a lot of users found the model to be outdated, still, you can get some great tunes from the plethora of sound options onboard the keytar.
Behringer MS-101 Monophonic Keytar
Wrapping up our list is from a company that has been known for providing quality audio equipment without you having to bust open the bank.
The Behringer MS-101 Monophonic keytar is an analog offering that boasts beginner-friendly features and a beginner-friendly price! It’s considered a clone of the Roland SH-101, a classic among players. Being an analog synthesizer, a lot of users find it a great value for the price.
It also houses 32 velocity-sensitive keys, MIDI functions, and pitch bend + modulation wheel controls.
Experimenting with sounds and instruments can be really fun! With the plethora of options available out there today, you can always have the option to explore different types of guitars, keyboards, and even both!
As long as it inspires you to get creative and put your music out there, it can always be a great idea to go out and grab hold of something that excites you creatively!
These keytars are just some of the best finds out there. Have fun trying out your next instrument!