Digital pianos on the market today can sometimes get repetitive and downright boring. It seems as though digital piano engineers steal and regurgitate ideas while refusing to buckle down and come up with something new and innovative. This is surprising especially considering the more established companies, as you would think they have the time and resources to commit to searching out new advancements for digital pianos and keyboards.
Because of this, when something new comes along that incorporates innovation, exploration, and creativity it should be applauded. Lighted key keyboards I believe fall directly into this category. While everyone is not a fan of Lighted keyboards, which undeniably have their pros and cons, I do believe they have a legitimate place in the market.
The Casio LK-165 is part of Casio’s Lighted Keyboard series, and one of the more intriguing and successful keyboards out of them all. It’s been featured on the entertainment news television show Extra, where it was showcased by Doctor Gadget as one of the “must have” gifts for the holiday season. It was also featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where she gave every single audience member a LK-165 of their own.
Piano Buying Guide
Below, please enjoy the interactive guide that was created to make your piano purchase easier. Compare the affordable Casio LK-165 to the best pianos and keyboards in its class based on weight, price, and even customer reviews from Amazon.com.
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|Casio LK-175||61||9.92 lbs.||$||4.5/5|
|Casio CTK-7200||61||15.0 lbs.||$||4.9/5|
|Yamaha YPT-255||61||9 lbs.||$||4.2/5|
|Yamaha Piaggero NP11||61||10 lbs.||$||4.2/5|
|Yamaha EZ-220||61||9 lbs.||$||4.3/5|
Casio LK165 review: Good for Students?
As a visual learner, I myself am particularly drawn to this keyboard’s ability to help beginner piano players learn to play songs with ease. I’ve always known that it’s easier for me to remember something if I can see it, or formalize a picture in my mind. The lighted keys on this Casio digital keyboard are perfect for students who learn best this way, and even for those who may not be used to it. Seeing the vibrant red when the keys light up will help a student to learn to recognize the position of keys on the keyboard and better visualize the construction of piano chords.
Let’s use Beethoven’s Fur Elise, which is one of the 110 built in songs that are found in the song bank. The piano student will utilize Casio’s proprietary Step Up Lesson Feature, which is part of the 3-Step Lesson system on the LK-165. First the piano will allow the student to listen to the song, and hear how the song is to be played. Next, the piano keys will light up as the song is playing, showing the student where to place his fingers. After that the student will try to repeat the sequence of notes the piano has lit up. Note by note, section by section, the student will eventually master the song, all in a short amount of time.
Below, discover the best selling keyboards on Amazon that would be ideal for a beginner, and compare their prices and specs to the LK-165:
The Casio LK-165 Isn’t For Everyone
There is a certain level of concern and skepticism that comes with this learning process, however. Many piano purists believe this method of learning the piano, while simple and seemingly innocuous can actually be harmful in the end. Some people liken it to the popular electronic game “Simon,” which had 4 colored pads which lit up and played difficult sequences which a person would have to remember and repeat. The argument is that a person who learns the piano in this way would not actually be a musician, but simply someone who knows how to memorize sequences and patterns. Many people also say this learning method encourages piano students to look at their hands, which is a very bad habit and a hard one to break, especially if the student is learning to read sheet music.
Ultimately the decision is up to the person who will purchase the keyboard as to whether they feel this will be harmful or not. Everyone responds differently to learning techniques, and I am only looking at myself when I say I feel like using this keyboard would be a great learning tool. In the end the Casio LK-165 is simply just that, a learning tool. If anyone feels uncomfortable with a method like this then maybe they should graduate to a more advanced type of digital piano.
Wonderful Selection of Tones, Rhythms, and Special Features
The LK-165 has 400 different available tones, in addition to 150 rhythms and 110 built-in songs. 90 of those built in songs are demonstration songs that any student can use conjunction with the Step Up Lesson/3-Step Lesson system. The keyboard comes with an astounding 150 one-touch presets, so you will be able to program your machine to bring up whatever tone or rhythm you desire at any given time. There is also a sampling function, 5 different sound pads and 10 separate reverb types to choose from.
This keyboard contains many of the normal functions you would find in any other digital piano or keyboard. There is a transpose function, which will allow you to change the key of whatever music you are playing without changing hand placement. A metronome is included onboard with an adjustable tempo range of 30 to 255 beats per minute. Unfortunately, it does not have a dual or layer function, which allows the user to place instruments simultaneously on top of each other, or a split function, which can split the keyboard up into different sections of instruments.
The keyboard comes with a USB port that is MIDI capable, which will allow you to connect with other MIDI devices or connect with a computer. There is also a microphone jack, a sustain jack for a sustain pedal, a quarter inch headphone/output jack, and an AC adapter port. The Casio LK-165 can be purchased in a wonderful bundle package on online that will include a Casio AD-E95100 adapter, along with Nady HP03 closed black studio headphones and World Tour ‘X’ Keyboard stand. All this at an incredible price of less than $125 makes the LK-165 a hard bargain to pass up.
Other Digital Keyboards and Reviews
Here’s a list of the other digital keyboard piano models with a higher ranking (this list may have changed since the publishing of this review) that I have personally reviewed:
Lastly, please come back to our homepage for more reviews of digital pianos!