Casio have been making keyboards for quite a while now and their name is synonymous with electronic keyboards, so you’d expect them to do what they do well, which they do. Casio are particularly good at making entry-level digital keyboards and they have a wide variety to choose from. This article will help you to choose the right one for you.
There are basically two ranges with different models within those ranges – the LK digital keyboard range, and the CTK range of keyboards. To look at the two ranges there isn’t a huge amount of difference to the untrained eye. But once you delve further into the functions and features there is a marked difference.
The main difference between the Casio LK and CTK digital keyboards is that the LK range, have what they call a back light keyboard. The back light keyboard is a tried and trusted feature designed to help absolute beginners to start learning and playing quickly.
We use Casio LK digital keyboards in our own music school and I’ve seen countless kids and adults find this to be one of the most useful training tools, but especially for younger learners as they can become frustrated and unfocused if they can’t learn quickly. I’m not saying you’ll become a piano maestro immediately upon using the tool – it just provides a very practical learning guide.
There are 5 models in the Casio LK range of keyboard: LK-120, LK-220, LK-230, LK-270 & LK-300TV. All of these models have 61 keys which all light up. 61 keys are plenty to be getting on with for absolute beginners. The Casio LK-120 is the entry level and goes up to the LK-300TV at the top end. Each model has slightly more features as you go up the range. For instance the LK-120 has 100 onboard sounds whereas the LK-300TV has 514.
Similarly the LK-120 has less rhythm choices than the LK-300TV digital keyboard. As you go up the range you’ll find more features such as effects e.g. delay, reverb. The ability to connect outboard gear becomes possible as you go up the range e.g. adding a microphone and playing along to someone singing. One thing that is common throughout the models is the capability to connect to a computer easily either through Midi or USB. They also feature the Casio Step up learning system.
The Casio CTK-range is also suitable for absolute beginners but do not feature the back light keys. They do however all feature the Step-Up learning system as well more recording, sampling and effects features.
There are 6 models in the CTK range; CTK-230, CTK-2000, CTK-2100, CTK-3000, CTK-4000 and the CTK-5000. As with the LK range of digital keyboards, the CTK range increases the number of on-board sounds, digital effects as you go up the range. The CTK-230 is the entry level, and it should be pointed out that it only has 49 keys, where as the others all have 61 keys.
Another feature of the CTK range worth mentioning is the appearance of the keys. On a lot of keyboards at this price range, you can find that they keys are a different size to those of an acoustic piano. Casio have made the keys to be the same size and to look the same as an acoustic. All of which helps with playing technique.
So the question is which is the best Casio keyboard for beginners? There is no right or wrong, but as a guideline, I would chose the LK-230 absolute beginners who are younger i.e. 4-7 years old. For older players I would choose the CTK range.