We all know too well that inspiration can strike us at any moment and by choosing the right instrument, you’re going to maximise the chances of taking that ‘spark’ and molding it into the next chart-topping hit to add to your repertoire.
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I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’re either thinking about songwriting or you’re already doing it, but before I make some suggestions, here are a few things I want you to ask yourself:
What instrument are you writing on at the moment? Is it inspiring you every time you sit down to practice or write?
Do you find it has enough functionality on it to keep up with your fast-paced ideas?
Does it allow you to capture/record an idea at a moment’s notice?
Keyboards have come along way since classic songwriters like Elton John and Carole King were penning the songs we know today, and so it’s about finding the right balance between an authentic piano playing experience and taking advantage of the wonders of modern technology and using functions like multi-track, for example, to aid your songwriting experience and take it to the next level.
Below you’ll find keyboard suggestions to suit all budgets, for songwriters all the way from beginners to professionals.
Imagine having the luxury of lugging a £100k+ Yamaha grand piano around with you to writing sessions… I certainly need a few more #1s before I get that privilege… but until then, the Yamaha P515 comes very close and in my opinion is one of the best portable pianos you can buy on the market. Not only is it a full-size keyboard (88 keys) and touch-sensitive of course, but it uses Yamaha’s NWX key action making it feel just like you’re playing an acoustic grand piano. Honestly, if you closed your eyes you wouldn’t know the difference.
The main Piano sound is the CFX Grand which is just gorgeous (though the mellower Bösendorfer always gets my pick when writing a ballad/sad song) and the P515 also features a 16 track recorder so it’s super easy to layer up any ideas you have when writing. There have been too many times a musical idea has been lost and so this just means all your ideas can be saved for future reference — It even has a USB so exporting your midi/wav recordings to a session on your laptop/computer couldn’t be easier!
If you’re just starting out in the songwriting world, you’re tight for space, or simply don’t want to break the bank account buying an instrument then you should seriously consider the Yamaha P125.
This is one of ePianos most popular stocked keyboards and for very good reason… like the P515 it has a full size 88 note keyboard and, although wooden keys aren’t on this model, they are still weighted and touch-sensitive, allowing you to feel far more physically involved in the playing experience than you would on your classic plastic-keyed keyboard.
It has 24 voices altogether (ranging from organs to a lush Rhodes electric piano voice and strings too) which will no doubt keep your ears inspired and also has a few rhythms built in too which I find can always anchor the writing process — with the P125, it makes you feel like you’re playing with a live band as the keyboard picks up the chords you’re playing and follows you with a full drum/bass accompaniment… very cool!
For the money, you’re not going to get an alternative that’s anywhere near as good as the P125 — it’s the perfect option for those on a budget but want something that’s great quality that will keep you inspired.
If you’re a songwriter that likes having access to other instruments on your keyboard, then the DGX670 will no doubt excite you. It’s like the P125 in that it feels just like a real piano, but offers hundreds and hundreds more voices and styles to give your songs the accompaniment and arrangements they deserve.
It has over 600 voices and 260+ styles built-in and with the 16 track recorder, it really is like having a recording studio at your fingertips — equipped with EQ, Vocal FX, and every instrument you could possibly want all at the press of a few buttons.
Although not very heavy, it’s not as ‘portable’ as the P125/P515 as it comes with a lovely-looking wooden stand to make it look a bit more traditional in its’ design.
You may not realise that we actually stock a huge selection of preowned instruments at ePianos and so I would urge you to have a look at our Preowned Keyboards section for all our latest deals on this… but something we have available now is the fantastic Used Yamaha SX900.
The SX900 is a professional quality workstation, equipped with everything you need to write and record your songs. If you’re not fussed on your keyboard feeling like a real piano, but more excited by styles, rhythms, and voices, then the SX900 is the one for you. If you’re sat at the SX900 with a production/arrangement head-on, within minutes you can have a fully-fledged, fully orchestrated, and even produced track.
It’s so easy to navigate and allows you to write and record all in one place. It’s super lightweight and portable (with only 61 keys) which means you can stick it under your arm and transport it from session to session should you need to.