Essential Accessories for Keyboard Players
March 19, 2011 by Andy
You’ve just bought the perfect keyboard. Now it’s time to accessorise!
Forget the bling factor that normally goes with fashion accessorising. These accessories are all practical additions to your stash of equipment, helping you to play better, sound better and protect your prized instrument.
Read on to see why you need these accessories.
The speakers that come with most portable keyboards leave a lot to be desired. Some keyboards don’t have built-in speakers at all.
You can hook up the keyboard to your hi-fi system, but this isn’t always the best option in your home, and it’s certainly no good if you intend to take your keyboard out on gigs or performances.
Buying a decent keyboard amplifier will make the sounds your keyboard can produce come alive. Rich bass, mid-tones and treble, and with a much needed volume boost.
Pick the best amplifier you can afford from a well-known brand and you won’t go far wrong. Some even allow more than one input, including microphones and line-level gear, allowing for greater versatility.
Read more on keyboard amps.
A good quality seat will improve your keyboard playing no end. Forget about using chairs from the dining room or folding chairs with cushions balanced on top. Buy a proper height-adjustable bench instead. Sitting correctly at your keyboard will allow you to maintain good posture and improve your playing technique.
Read more on keyboard benches.
Whether you’re connecting from keyboard to amplifier, computer or other keyboards and sound modules, you need decent cables.
Decent audio cables are required when you connect your keyboard to an external sound source or PA system.
MIDI or USB cables are necessary for connecting up to a computer or other electronic instruments — useful if you want to start investigating the exciting world of sequencing and recording.
Invest in a decent brand, particularly when purchasing longer cables.
Read more on keyboard cables.
If you ever need to transport your keyboard between locations, a decent case is a must. Smaller keyboards will probably do OK in soft cases, whereas larger, heavier keyboards deserve the respect of a well-fitting hard case.
If you’re likely to be gigging a lot, invest in a rugged case.
Read more on keyboard cases.
Many keyboards now come with a sustain pedal, allowing you to use your foot to control if notes are sustained when your fingers aren’t holding down those keys. For those that don’t, or when you want a higher quality one, invest in a decent pedal that’s well constructed.
Ensure you buy a pedal that’s compatible with your keyboard. Sticking to the same manufacturer is usually helpful.
Some keyboards can use expression and soft pedals, but these aren’t usually supplied. Buy decent, compatible pedals to increase your playing creativity.
Read more on keyboard pedals.
Like a good bench, a sturdy keyboard stand is essential for safe, comfortable playing. Buy a decent stand that can accommodate the weight and size of your keyboard. Ideally, a height adjustable one will allow you to play both seated and standing, should you so desire.
Read more on keyboard stands
Though many keyboards have a built in metronome or rhythm/accompaniment section, it can be quite useful to have a standalone metronome that will help you to keep to a specific tempo.
You can buy a traditional clockwork metronome or a digital one, and it’s really down to personal choice. I’ve always liked the clockwork ones, ticking away like an upside-down pendulum, but digital metronomes can be slightly more practical, particularly away from home.
Some keyboards don’t come with a music stand, or they’re inadequate for holding larger manuscript books. It’s possible to buy quite a wide range of portable music stands, from lightweight to heavy duty. Most fold up to make them quite transportable. Very useful if you need music, chord sheets or lyrics.
When you want to practice but you’d be disturbing others by using the internal speakers or an amplifier, a decent pair of headphones is the alternative. Don’t skimp here. Earbuds are only just satisfactory to reproduce the dynamic frequency range your keyboard can produce. Invest in a decent pair of headphones.