So who am I? My background as a keyboardist has been as a professional for many years. Classically trained through my college years, I am best known as an R&B, rock n’ roll and jazz player and church musician, equally comfortable on piano, synths and Hammond organ. I have been an artist endorsee for various keyboard companies over the span of many years. My background is extensive in the musical instrument retail and wholesale industry.
My main focus though is in the worship arena. It is the focal point of my song writing and playing even though I play countless other gigs and concerts with other musicians. I have the privilege of being a director and a resident musician for one of the largest Christian conference centers in the country. I work with countless church musicians throughout the year.
Why Casio? I used to perceive Casio as a lower line of keyboards. Most pro players did. I was at the NAMM show in Anaheim three years ago with my son. He said Dad you’ve got to hear this keyboard it’s unbelievable! It was the Casio PX5s being demonstrated at the Casio booth. It’s a powerful digital piano synth, controller with hundreds of sounds and new ones constantly being developed for simple downloads and it weighs 23lbs unlike the 55-70lbs beasts we have been transporting around our conference center. After hearing the demo and speaking with the general manager, I was sold! It began my love for Casio keyboards.
Two of the most popular and highly rated keyboards for church use are the Casio PX5s and the new PX560. As one of my customers said, the piano sounds alone are worth the price of admission! It’s also become very popular for professional keyboardists.
It’s interesting to note that a number of digital pianos on the market today sound great through headsets but when run through amps or a PA system, fail to reproduce that sound accurately. Both the Roland RD series and Yamaha Motifs fall in that category for me. (I’ve owned them.) I also have yet to become a fan of the acoustic piano sound on the Nords. (personal taste). This is where the Casio digital pianos separate themselves.
On my latest album project, I had a friend, multi Emmy award winner and Grammy nominated composer/arranger/keyboardist John Wineglass critique the master recording before pressing. “The piano sounds phenomenal. Is that your large Kawai Grand?” Nope, just my Casio direct to Pro Tools with no extra processing!
I have used the PX5-s on numerous album projects using it’s incredible sound source and using it as a master controller. As a performance keyboard it is amazing. But, it is not nearly as easy to program for the novice, as is the PX560.
The PX560 in my opinion is an incredible and logical choice for houses of worship and here are the reasons.
It has the best piano action with textured keys that feel and respond as does a high grade grand piano.
If you are doing a worship team vocal rehearsal and don’t want to hassle with turning the house sound system on, the PX560 sounds great through it’s own speaker system.
For the novice who doesn’t know their way around this keyboard and may just be coming in to play piano there is a Grand piano button that sets you up with the Concert grand sound. You are ready to go!
Splits & Transpose
It couldn’t be easier and intuitive on the PX560. You practiced with a vocalist in a certain key, but their throat is scratchy and they want it down a half step. Only takes a second and it’s done. Play off the music they gave you in the original key and just step it down.
So your bass player got sick and can’t make church this morning….can’t get someone else?
Assign electric bass (many to choose from) to the lower half of the keyboard and piano and pads to the upper. Send the lower half signal to the bass amp and the piano and pads to the sound system. You are now covering the bass parts.
New Sounds Available
New sounds are being developed by outside pros and Casio programmers for the PX5s and PX560. They get posted to the casiomusicforums.com and you can download to a thumb drive, stick it in your keyboard and place it in memory where you want it. There are 96 memory locations to chose from. Most of us use about a dozen. Acoustic grands, Rhodes, Wurlitzers, Clavs, strings, glorious pads… it’s all there.
I am able to offer a new series of pads commonly heard on praise and worship songs as setups on your new keyboard at no cost.
It’s 26lbs with the built in speaker system!!! You can carry it under one arm!
The street price is $1199 or under. You could purchase 2 of these compared to one of another brand that even comes close to the PX560’s features. I am giving you the 30,000 foot view of a remarkable keyboard. Some ask what is the difference between the PX5s and the PX560? Click the link below for a definitive comparison.