The Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard is a beginner's keyboard with onboard lessons and simple integration with Casio's popular Chordana Play, so students can quickly and easily learn to play the piano at their own pace.
This digital piano also has built in rhythms, voices, and a Dance Music Mode that can have even novices playing fun, party-friendly music right out of the box! In this Casio CTK 3500 review we will learn about different features, specs, pro & cons, and some alternative options to consider. Let's get started!
The Casio CTK-3500 with it's 61 Touch Sensitive keys & portability makes learning to play the piano fun and simple, avoiding the frustration that can prevent people from practicing or progressing. With the Chordana Play app, learning to play the piano is a fun game, and can even be practiced on your tablet or smartphone, so you can make music and play along with your favorite songs from anywhere.
The Casio CTK-3500 Keyboard comes with a power supply, and is loaded with features and built-in rhythms, making music education fun and accessible for all. Not many companies offer so many features in this price range, which makes this keyboard special.
Here's a quick video covering the features and benefits of the Casio CTK-3500:
The Casio CTK-3500 came out in 2017.
The dimensions of the Casio CTK-3500 are 946 x 307 x 92 mm.
The weight of the Casio CTK-3500 is 3.4kg (without batteries).
Casio CTK-3500 costs around $280 but it can vary depending on where you buy it.
The Casio CTK-3500 has 61 keys, however, they are not weighted keys.
The Casio CTK-3500 has 400 sounds presets.
Casio CTK-2550 costs less than CTK-3500 and both have similarities and differences. The similarities between two models are:
The differences are:
Similarities of both boards are:
The main differences we can find between both keyboards are:
61 full sized touch sensitive keys
Weighs just 7.5 lbs.
400 built-in instrument voices
Rhythms and effects
Dance Music Mode with 50 built-in rhythms and effects
100 built-in auto-accompaniment rhythms and effects
60 built-in songs
10 levels of reverb
48 levels of max polyphony
100 one-touch presets
2 levels of touch sensitivity, or turn sensitivity off
Ports for pedals, audio in, headphones, and USB
Transpose and tuning controls
Pitch bend wheel
Built-in Step-Up piano learning system for beginners
Compatible with Chordana Play app
Store and Play
Store and play MIDI songs through the keyboard with the app
Can be powered with the included power adaptor, or by 6 AA batteries
Who the CTK-3500 is Most Suitable For
The Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard is designed to be the first keyboard for a student or family, with a lot of beginner-friendly features that make learning the piano fun and simple. It has loads of built-in instrument voices and rhythms, and the touch-sensitive keys increase in volume based on how hard you play them, for more individualized expression while you play your music. However, it should be mentioned that keys are not weighted, which means that if you or your child decide to pursue learning further and upgrade to a professional piano, you will need to spend some time getting familiar with the new setup and keys that are weighted.
With the Chordana Play app, unlike many portable keyboards, you can load any MIDI song into the keyboard's onboard memory and play along with your songs anywhere. Chordana Play generates a music score from the MIDI file and detects chords, too, making it easy to learn to play two-handed piano. It will even show you the musical notation for your songs, so you can learn to read music as well as play it.Casio keyboards are known for being affordable, easy to use, and durable, and this is a great starter instrument, where learners can get familiar not only with playing the piano, but with using today's advanced digital technologies to play music. It's a smart way to start a music education, before upgrading to a more advanced, specialized keyboard.
What’s in the Box?
The Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard comes with a power supply, but it can also be powered by batteries.
The keyboard has Casio's step-pp piano lesson system built in, and is compatible with the Chordana Play app.
Here's a quick video from Casio that explains the step-up feature:
The Casio CTK-3500 with 61 Touch Sensitive keys has all the features a beginner needs to learn to play a digital keyboard, and to not only play along with all their own favorite songs, but to start composing their very own music
The 61-key keyboard is compact and lightweight, and the ability to use battery power allows you to take it anywhere. With 6 AA batteries, you can play inside or out.
It has 400 instrument voices and 100 built-in rhythms, so it's easy to customize the sound of the Casio CTK-3500 to play nearly anything you like. With 48 levels of polyphony, you can create complex, overlapping sound and more nuanced compositions. It also has 10 levels of reverb, and a pitch bend wheel
Touch sensitive keys
Full-size, touch sensitive keys allow the sound to be responsive to your touch and playing style, for greater expression.
The bright LCD screen is easy to read, and the buttons and screen guide you quickly through settings and adjustments, and even built-in lesson modules.
Step-Up Lesson System
Casio's Step-Up lesson system uses the onboard LCD screen to guide beginners through piano lessons and practice, using the 60 built-in songs hand by hand and phrase by phrase, to learn at their own pace.
Dance Music Mode
Dance Music Mode uses the lower third of the keyboard to make dance music generator. With 50 styles of dance music that include drums, bass, synth, and effects, beginners can create their own fun party tunes and styles in just minutes.
This digital piano has all the features and functions you would expect, including transpose and tuning, a built-in metronome, and a pitch bend wheel for advanced synth pitch effects.
Chordana Play App
The free Chordana Play app comes with the Casio CTK-3500 and is a fantastic companion to the keyboard. The app has 50 built-in songs, and guides beginners through playing along with a piano roll display and/or a music notation display, to combine practice playing along with learning to read music.
Pros & Cons
If you'd like to dig deeper into the CTK-3500, here's the link to the keyboard's manual:
Alternative Products to Consider
The Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard is virtually identical with their popular CTK-2550 model, except that the CTK-3500 is touch sensitive. If touch sensitivity isn't important to you, then consider saving a little money and getting the CTK-2550.
For a young piano student, the Casio CTK-3500 or CTK-2550 are both excellent choices, while the LK-265 might be a good choice for a very young learner, who can more easily follow along with the lighted keys.
For a piano beginner who is particularly interested in exploring the vast possibilities of digital music, the Casio CTX700 is a compelling alternative.
It costs a little more than the CTK-3500 but is loaded with advanced features and capabilities that usually cost much more. Like the Casio CTK-3500, the CTX700:
However, the Casio CTX700 has more features overall, and more powerful features than the CTK-3500, including:
While the CTX700 does not have a pitch bend wheel or dance music mode, and isn't compatible with the Chordana Play app, the ability to connect it to any Android or iOS device via USB opens up the whole world of apps, as well as endless possibilities for recording, mixing, and sharing your music.The Casio CTX700 may be a better choice for a slightly older beginner, because it has onboard learning and practice features, but also has a better sound engine, and the sophisticated digital capabilities one would expect from a more advanced instrument, including USB connectivity and onboard recording and playback functions. In the end, it depends on your preference and how much money you are willing to spend.
Tablet Connectivity & Dance Music Mode
The Casio CTK-3500 61-Key Touch Sensitive Portable Keyboard has a lot of great features in a compact keyboard in an affordable price range. The onboard lessons and dedicated learning app make learning to play the piano a fun and engaging game, encouraging children to stick with the instrument and improve over time. The wide range of instrument voices and rhythms allow players to customize their sound, experiment with different styles, and express their own taste.
Dance Music mode has even new players composing their own songs and making fun dance music in no time. It's an excellent option for a first keyboard, to enhance musical education and introduce a newcomer to the world of the piano, and to the possibilities of today’s tech-enhanced, digital keyboards. With so many features in this price range makes it easy for a beginner to invent in a piano without too much risk and to learn and try lots of different styles and features. There is also an added bonus of saving money on piano lessons as, mentioned earlier, there are a lot of learning features available on-board.
When you're ready to move on to a more advanced keyboard, you know what to look for and what features and capabilities matter most to you. It's a perfect, low-risk introduction to learning music, and puts the world's styles, rhythms, and songs at your fingertips.