Top Keyboards At NAMM 2020

Top Keyboards At NAMM 2020

NAMM has come to an end. My time there was very pleasant. As a worship leader, being able to get hands on experience with the gear I’m considering purchasing is a huge benefit. With this in mind, I asked myself what are some great keyboards worship leaders such as myself might appreciate? There is a huge market for keyboard players. We will be looking at a couple different aspects of these keyboards. These include sound engine quality, key playability, price point and portability. The following list of keyboards are my top suggestions for worship leaders.

1. Nord Stage 3

Nord Stage 3 HP76

If you are looking for quality, look no further than the Nord Stage 3. This keyboard is built like a tank and has a much smaller footprint than other keyboards in this range. The audio samples used to power this keyboard are very detailed and realistic. The versatility this keyboard offers is exceptional. You can go from a warm sounding piano to a luscious ambient pad. Every sound bank has a dedicated control surface making editing a patch very easy. The Nord Stage 3 comes in various models including a 61, 76, and 88 key version. Some other neat features this keyboard offers is 2GB Nord Piano Library, OLED display, song list mode and more. One thing that I’m still unsure about is the key action. The keys are high quality and have a very smooth surface. However, they felt very bouncy. It felt like the keys were too light for the spring mechanism. I was testing the 76 key version. I believe the 88 key version has fully weighted keys. I would still highly recommend this keyboard to any worship leader. One thing that makes Nord keyboards stand out is their color choice. The Nord Stage 3 comes in a rich matte red color. The sides of the keyboard are finished in a glossy red giving it an elegant look. This keyboard sounds great and looks fantastic too. Most would probably shy away from purchasing this keyboard after finding out its $4,499 price tag. This keyboard is for worship leaders who are serious about getting the best for God. The Nord Stage 3 is definitely worth getting if you are looking to step up your quality.

2. Novation Summit

Novation Summit

If sound shaping is what you are looking for, Novation Summit is the way to go. This was a fun 61 key synthesizer. I was really impressed with the patches. Every patch could be manipulated however you want. It uses oxford oscillators, analog filters, FM parameters and more. This keyboard offers a 16 voice multitimbral engine which helps create high quality sounds. The keys felt pretty nice. They are semi-weighted and velocity sensitive. There was an extensive amount of effect control and manipulations. You have access to all the important settings right on the surface. The effects are very detailed. I love how easy it is to switch from mono to poly mode and they even added other modes in between. The overall design is very clean as well. The unit is black with blue labels and the shoulders are finished in wood giving your synth an elegant look. You get a lot of control and freedom for $2,199. I would really recommend this synth to worship leaders who really like to dive in and create sounds from scratch.

3. Yamaha MX Series

Yamaha MX49 & MX61 Blue

If you are looking for a keyboard that can do it all, the Yamaha MX49 is the one to get. It is small, light weight, stylish and very affordable. The best thing about this keyboard is its onboard sound library. It comes packed with many of yamaha’s legendary motif and montage sounds. You can edit, layer, split, and create your own patches. It also doubles as a USB DAW/VST controller which is really nice for worship leaders who use software live. The keys are light. They don’t feel special but they get the job done. The keyboard is very responsive and gives you control. The style of this keyboard is very stunning. You can choose black, white, or blue. Their keyboard is very small and lightweight coming in at 8.38 lbs. Yamaha offers 49 and 61 key versions starting at $549. You could also invest a little more and get yourself their MX88 with all the same features including fully weighted keys. This keyboard is perfect for any worship leader on a budget.

4. Yamaha YC61

Yamaha YC61

Not every keyboard will fit your needs. Sometimes you need specific sounds or capabilities. If you are a worship leader looking for pianos and organs this is the right keyboard for you. Don’t let its small size fool you. The Yamaha YC61 is a very powerful organ keyboard. It offers Yamahas classic organs. It includes draw bar settings. It comes loaded with presets and effects like organs, mellow emanations and rotary speakers. The keys are very solid. They feel nice and responsive and don’t get in the way of your playing. The design of this keyboad is very interesting. All the draw bars and knobs feel smooth and make this keyboard very appealing to the eye. This keyboard will really set the standard in quality for even the most demanding worship leaders. The Yamaha YC61 is priced at $1,999. It is a very reliable organ machine.G

5. Kawai GL10

Kawai GL10

Although keyboards are nice, sometimes you just need simplicity. This piano is perfect for old fashioned worship leaders who lead hymns. The Kawai GL10 is a baby grand. The hammer action keys feel very firm. Although the piano is small, it doesn’t compromise in sound quality. It sounds full and rich. It is finished in classic gloss ebony and is made with Tapered Spruce. The keys utilize Kawai’s ABS-Carbon system. Carbon is infused with ABS-Styran to create a rigid and sturdy hammer action. The black keys are longer than most pianos to improve playability. This piano is only 5 Ft. It fits in a small church with ease. This piano feels and sounds great. You can find this piano used for around $4,999.

 6.  Casio Celviano Grand Hybrid (Exclusive Look)

Casio Celviano GP-510BP

Casio has some hidden gems I wanted to share. If you want the real piano feel with the portability of a small upright piano, The Casio Celviano is the right choice to make. Their piano samples are incredible and extremely accurate. This particular model comes with 3 different piano tones including Berlin Grand, Hamburg Grand and Vienna Grand. It also comes with 35 extra tones. This piano is a hybrid. The keys are fully weighted and feel just like a real grand piano. The Celviano comes with built in speakers. This piano also supports USB connectivity and can be connected to a computer or other device. It is finished in polished black for an elegant and classic look. Their new hybrid piano is very well made. The pedals felt very smooth and responsive as well. The included speakers really do an excellent job amplifying your piano. This is a great piano for very small churches. Their GP-510BP is priced at $5,999 MSRP. This piano is capable of delivering quality no matter the size of the church.

The most important question to ask when choosing the right piano or keyboard is does it fit all your needs. You always want to pick the one that is right for you. Every piano or keyboard will offer different features. You need to figure out what you need out of a piano or keyboard and find the one that does it all. At the end of the day, you want the right keyboard or piano that will be your most powerful tool during worship or any performance. My last tip for any worship leader is to do your research. Read the keyboard or piano descriptions and specifications. Browse through the review section and see what others are saying about a particular piano or keyboard. Links to all the keyboards and pianos I covered in this article are available by simply clicking the titles. I would like to know your thoughts on keyboards and pianos. What features do you look for when purchasing a new keyboard or piano? Let me know in the comment section below! God bless and thank you for reading.

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Florentino Castellanos
Florentino Castellanos 63 posts

Florentino Castellanos, or Tino for short, is the Founder of The Heart Of Worship Project. Florentino is a self taught musician since the age of 7. Florentino has been serving as a worship leader for over 5 years. Florentino graduated from Musicians Institute, Hollywood with a certificate in Audio Engineering. Florentino's dream is to build up Churches, Leaders and Creatives. Florentino is known for having an incredible amount of Faith in God.

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