When the latest workstation, or the long-awaited re-release of an analog synthesizer is finally out, keyboardists will most likely have done all the research weeks in advance and already know what to expect. Not only are they known to archive the operating instructions, but also the original equipment packaging. Everything is always in tip top shape and in perfect working order. Unlike empty 9-volt batteries, broken sticks or amp hum among the other bandmates, there’s actually no real problems.
But there are: the unassuming, well-thought-out, often ingeniously simple and sometimes indispensable accessories, which can benefit a keyboardist enormously. They aren’t always in the limelight, but perform their services inconspicuously and reliably – just like keyboardists! Here are ten accessories that every perfectionist should know.
Starting with a true classic: the BOSS FS-5U foot pedal has been around since forever and is widely appreciated not only among keyboardists, but also guitarists – who are no strangers to stomp boxes. The reasons why it’s so popular, is that it’s virtually unbreakable and is known as the Shure SM-58 among foot pedals. If you are looking for a handy and stable sustain pedal on the go, you’ll find it here. The polarity is switchable and several can be plugged together. Furthermore a foot switch version called the FS-5L is also available.
Sometimes it’s impossible to connect a pedal. The microKORG for example, still has not been given a sustain pedal connection even after 15 years of success. Here and in many other cases, a remedy is provided by the Footswitch to MIDI Controller from MIDI Solutions. Simply connect the pedal, program the corresponding MIDI command in the small box, connect it to the keyboard via MIDI, and off you go. And if you need an expression pedal, use the Pedal to MIDI controller available from the same manufacturer.
Keyboardists come in two varieties: the “seated” and the “standing” kind. Some prefer to relax on a stool or a bench like on a home piano or organ, and others prefer to keep in motion. Both have their disadvantages however: the seated ones have less range of movement and is often overlooked behind their keyboard empire and the standing ones will have issues using two pedals at the same time. So how’s about something in between? With accessories such as the K & M 14045 you can “stand” in an upright position and move more freely than on a piano bench.
It’s not easy being a kid! Whether you need to reach for a kitchen cabinet, a cooker or a piano pedal! Well at least for the latter, there is a solution. The pedal stool by Jahn elevates pedals, making them more accessible for children’s feet.
Reading Notes doesn’t have to be difficult! These keyboard stickers can stick to any keyboard and will help you find the right key. The colored dots indicate which notes belong to which scales. It’s simple, practical and washable!
Those born with the passion to collect and who simply can’t say no to the latest exciting synthesizers, will often face a problem with studio space. This is where Jaspers comes in. These keyboard stands are available in various widths with up to six floors. Now you can also set up a keyboard museum in the storage room!
When you think of Roland, you often think of classics such as the Jupiter-8 and Juno-60. The fact that this company also made a name for itself in terms of amplifiers tends to be forgotten. The battery powered Roland Mobile Cube is ideal for mobile sessions and street music, which is not always that straightforward when it comes to keyboardists. It has a stereo input for keyboards, a microphone input and an aux-in e.g. for MP3 players. It runs for 15 hours on just a single battery charge.
Many small Master keyboards only have a USB-MIDI, as classic DIN-sockets are omitted more and more often. The Kenton MIDI USB Host is able to power USB controllers and keyboards, while providing the classic MIDI jacks.
The iPad has long become a serious musical tool and is seen on more and more stages. The problem: many “standard” iOS MIDI interfaces occupy the charging port of the tablet. The solution: MIDI via Bluetooth.
The Quicco Sound mi.1 Wireless MIDI Adapter plugs into the MIDI sockets of a keyboard or controller and wirelessly transmits the signal to the iPad or Macbook (OS X 10.10 and above). This way the iPad can remain connected to the power and worrying about battery life becomes passé.
This midibeam set from panda audio allows for wireless MIDI transmissions over longer distances. Equipped with a radio range of 250 meters, it’s sufficient for large festival locations, but is also very practical in the studio.
Which accessories do you personally swear by?
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