MIDI keyboards are becoming the standard for live music and studio purposes. Having the right sustain pedal for MIDI keyboards is important. There are a few different factors that determine which pedal you’re going to want to use with your MIDI controller.
Skip Ahead? My Favorite is the Korg PS-1
A sustain pedal is one of the most useful tools to a keyboardist for live performance. Having one that is sturdy and put together is essential. The biggest problem in most pedals is that they break easily and they stick while you’re playing. Having a pedal that sticks on you is the most frustrating problem you can have while performing live. Below I outline my favorite in much better detail.
Best Sustain Pedals – A Quick Glance
What Is A Sustain Pedal?
The sustain pedal is the most common pedal in music and especially in the piano world. This pedal allows you to play a note or chord and have the note right out even though your hands aren’t still pressing the notes down.
This pedal is essential for any serious musician as you will need to sustain notes out during different parts of songs. Having the right pedal for MIDI keyboards is necessary for all musicians.
Things To Consider
Live Or Studio?
Are you using your pedal for live music or for studio sessions? This is important because some of the sustain pedals have rubber stoppers on the bottom and keep them from moving.
Traditional Or Foot Pedal?
The difference between these is that the traditional pedal resembles a piano sustain pedal. The foot-switch pedals are little square box-shaped sustain pedals that can be preferred. I only use the foot pedals because I find the traditional is a pain to try and hit with my foot when performing live. The square pedals are lower on the ground and my foot doesn’t kick it as much.
How Much Use Do You Want Out Of Your Pedal?
You can find ones for very cheap, the problem is that some of them break easily. The difference between using a pedal with a normal keyboard and with a MIDI keyboard is that you want to make sure everything is working properly if using with a MIDI controller.
If your pedal has problems sticking then it will send MIDI messages to your laptop and your synthesizers will stick too. This is frustrating when performing live.
How Much Money Should I Spend?
This depends on how often you want to replace the pedal. Something that will increase the lifetime of your pedal is to not stomp as hard as you can on it. This sounds like common sense, but when you perform live it’s easier said than done. This tip will increase the life of your product by a lot.
Best Sustain Pedal For Keyboards
The Korg PS-1 is a sustain pedal that is built from steel and extremely durable. It comes with rubber on the top for grip and also rubber on the bottom so it doesn’t slide around the stage. I like this because technology has made it great for MIDI controllers.
A lot of pedals are put together poorly and the rubber falls off after a couple shows making the pedal slide around. This pedal is put together a lot better than most and won’t fall apart on you right away.
Having something that is made of metal also helps because the cheap sustain pedals can fall apart fairly quickly if not tightened weekly.
This is a good look for the price. The M-Audio line does seem to break over time, however, they all come with a 1-year warranty. If you break it you can send it back and get a new one.
These pedals are a bit cheaper, but they do work very well until they break.
There is a polarity switch so you can switch from having positive and negative polarity.
This just means that you can have it so when you hit a note it automatically sustains, rather than having to use your foot to sustain. I typically don’t like this function of any pedal, but some people like to have it.
The Yamaha FC5 is a fantastic pedal. I like this because they spring-action feels really good with your foot.
This isn’t your traditional pedal as it is rectangle shaped, but for live use, I prefer these. These aren’t going to break as fast as an M-Audio sustain pedal.
You can change the polarity on this and it works with other keyboards than just Yamaha keyboards.
How Are The Pedals Ranked Compared To On Other Websites?
I started taking piano lessons when I was 8 years old and have been playing now for over 20 years. I have spent the last 8 years touring the country and playing in a band and have had a fascination with everything related to keyboards.
When I first started taking piano lessons I had a music instructor who was incredibly helpful and I realize now how much the internet can help musicians who are looking for knowledge.
Every product that is reviewed has been played and reviewed for the reader’s knowledge. When I started getting new gear I had no idea what to look for and I always wished there was a website to teach me about what I’m getting. That is our main goal for the reader.
How To Keep It Feeling Brand New
A big tip here is to make sure that the screws are always tightened on the sides of your pedals. These screws are what is going to keep your pedal from falling apart on you from heavy use. I have run through dozens of pedals just from being lazy and not wanting to tighten the pedal. It is really easy to do and it is one of those things that will put life into your pedal if you just take the time.
Protect your Pedal On Stage
Be sure that when you’re playing shows you don’t leave your cord hanging out of your keyboard in open range. I like to gaff tape mine to the back of my keyboard and make sure the cord can’t be stepped on. The cords are very cheap and they can get ruined pretty easily. Make sure that you try and just baby them so you’re not going through a bunch of pedals.
When picking a sustain pedal for your MIDI keyboard there is a lot to consider. We hope this guide broke down exactly what you want to look for and helped you decide which is right for your needs.