Table of Contents
Whether your a gospel musician or a church owner, you have probably wondered what the best keyboards for worship are? I wanted to write this article as I have a lot of experience when it comes to touring and playing keyboards that are great for the church.
When it comes to playing in the church, you will most likely be wanting to look for the following in a keyboard:
- Good organ sounds
- Good piano sounds
- Good electric sounds
- Warm pads
The above is part of the criteria I used to figure out exactly which keyboards I wanted to recommend for church/worship. I know that gospel music typically takes advantage of the above sounds.
Here is the rest of the criteria I used in determining the best keyboard for the church.
What To Look For In A Keyboard For Church
Sounds: If you’re going to be playing for people in the church, you’re going to want a keyboard that has your quality sounds that I listed above.
The number of keys: I would recommend 88 keys for most keyboardists who are going to playing in a church. If you have a nice organ that is 73 keys, obviously this is fine.
Type Of Keyboard: You can go a couple of different routes when it comes to picking a keyboard these days. You can go the MIDI controller route, the keyboard workstation route or the stage piano route.
Price: Some keyboards are very expensive, especially when you get into looking at the more professional keyboards. I have listed options that cover each price range from low to high.
Best Keyboards For Worship/Church
1) Korg SV-2 – Best Overall
When it comes to electric pianos, organs, and acoustic piano sounds, I believe that Korg SV-2 is currently the best option. With this being said, a lot of this is preference and people can mark arguments for others that are also great.
What I personally love about the SV-2 is that I believe the sounds truly are a little bit better than other staples such as the Nord keyboards. Nord keyboards are incredible machines, however, there is something I truly enjoy with the SV-2.
The SV-2 has 88 keys with keyboard action that truly resembles that of an acoustic piano. You can also tweak sounds incredibly easy with this instrument.
This is definitely for serious pianists or for a church that has a good budget as it is expensive. With this being said, I don’t believe it really gets much better for keyboards in the church world.
Note: If you love Nord, this is a great Nord keyboard alternative.
- Incredible electric piano sounds
- State of the art acoustic pianos
- Create your own patches and save easily
- Great RH3 key-bed
- 8 different velocity curves
- 128 note polyphony
- Amazing for gigging
2) Yamaha CP88 – Great For Organs In The Church
The CP-88 is one of my favorite keyboards. It's very similar to the Korg SV-2 when it comes to performance. The electric pianos and feel of the keys on the CP-88 are incredible, making it one of my top picks.
When it comes to playing gospel music, I would say that the Yamaha CP 88 is easily one of the best keyboards you can get for internal sounds.
The Yamaha CP 88 is designed for professional musicians who desire extremely strong electric pianos, acoustic pianos, and organs. I believe that the CP 88 truly matches that of the Nord keyboards, and even surpasses them.
There are 3 different pianos on the CP 88 that all have their own qualities to them. I am very surprised by how good these sounds are.
With the CP 88, you’re not getting as many sounds as some of the options that I would recommend for the church, however, almost all of these sounds are great.
The key-bed on the CP 88 is one of my favorite qualities about it. The natural-wood provides a great weight to the keys and it really helps them emulate an acoustic piano. The keys are also weighted graded hammer action keys, which are known for emulating a real piano.
- Amazing electric pianos
- High-quality acoustic pianos
- Beautiful organs
- MIDI I/O
- Triple-sensor NW-GH key-bed
- Fantastic key-action
- Doesn’t have a ton of sounds
3) Roland RD-88 – Best Budget Option
The Roland RD 88 is a fantastic option that is a little bit cheaper. I own this keyboard and play it on the daily. The electric pianos and feel of the keys are the selling points in my opinion.
The Roland RD 88 is a Roland’s latest stage piano that is built for musicians on a budget.
With this being said, it’s not the cheapest keyboard that you can get, however, it is also quality. The RD 88 is packed with over 3,000 different sounds as well as controls to allow you to tweak sounds immediately.
This keyboard was built for touring musicians. Everything about it has been streamlined to suit the needs of those playing gigs frequently and I think that Roland nailed it.
One of the things Roland did really well with this keyboard is that they made it very lightweight. This is great for touring and it something a lot companies actually get wrong.
- Lightweight(29.8 lbs)
- Over 3,000 sounds
- Effects: Chorus, delay, reverb, compressor
- Master EQ
- Master compressor
- MIDI out
- Great key-bed
- Fantastic key-action
- Excellent for gigging
- Sounds might not be as good as the SV-2
4) Arturia KeyLab 88 MK II – Best Controller Option
The MK2 is built like a brickhouse. It's not extremely heavy, it gives you a ton of control for both live and studio, and it is the most durable controller I've played to date.
The Arturia KeyLab 88 MK II is one of the best 88 key MIDI controllers currently available. It is extremely durable, easy to use, and very practical.
Read my full review of the Keylab MK II here.
If you’re a keyboardist who is looking to play gigs frequently for something like worship, I would highly recommend the KeyLab 88 MK II. It is a MIDI controller, meaning that it isn’t designed for its internal sounds, rather for being able to control virtual software.
If you have a laptop, then you can use your MIDI controller to control as many virtual instruments as you would possibly like.
This is where the KeyLab 88 MK II shines. It has a great key-bed for a MIDI controller and it also is one of the best current options.
This keyboard weighs only 32 pounds and it is loaded with 16 drum pads, 9 rotary knobs, and 9 faders.
I would recommend this to a keyboardist who wants to quickly change between sounds and be able to fully customize them.
Note: This is a MIDI keyboard and there are no internal sounds on this keyboard.
- Built for gigging
- 16 drum pads
- Weighted key-bed
- Full DAW integration
- Included VST software
- No internal sounds
- Not for those who aren’t good with laptops
5) Roland GO 88 – Extreme Budget Option
The Roland GO 88 is a great Roland keyboard for beginners. The reason why I think this works for worship is that it has quality sounding instruments that are used for gospel such as the organ, strings, piano, and electric piano.
I don’t believe that this keyboard competes with the others on the list, however, it is also extremely inexpensive.
There aren’t a ton of sounds and there’s not a lot of customization with this keyboard, but you’re getting the quality sounds you need.
The main thing that could be an issue for keyboardists would be that the keys aren’t weighted. To me, I wouldn’t love this, however, if the budget is stopping you then it shouldn’t be a complete deterrent for this keyboard.
- Easy to use
- Quality Sounds
- Cheaper keys
- Limited sounds
There are a lot of options when it comes to deciding on the best keyboard for worship. I believe that these are 5 solid options for different price points.
Let me know if you have any questions below!