While you may not have heard of a keytar before, there is a good chance that you may have seen them in use before. In fact, if you’ve played Rock Band 3 back in the day, you may have jammed using the game’s Wireless Keyboard which is in fact the same kind of instrument. With instruments like the Yamaha SHS-10 having been around since the 1980s, keytars have been used for quite some time but have been called various names like ‘shoulder’ or ‘strap-on’ keyboards. Then there was a shift to adopt the keytar name a few years back when Alesis released its Vortex controller. With the unveiling of AX-Edge Keytar, Roland shows off its beautiful, high-end 49-key guitar/keyboard hybrid.
With the launch of Roland’s just-announced AX-Edge Keytar, the company shows us its take on how the instrument should look, feel, and perform. With 49 full-sized keys and professional sound set, this instrument, like its other offerings, is aimed at serious players.
The AX-Edge Keytar is available in white or black finishes, with the ability to customize its appearance even further with the interchangeable ‘Edge Blades’. The company claims that the neck controls along the top have been ‘refined over years of development and artist feedback’, making it intuitive to use.
With 320 programs, 500 preset tones and 256 user-defined tones, players are given loads of options to find the perfect sound they are looking for. All of these settings can be confirmed via a built-in LCD display.
Just past the keys you will find a slew of buttons dedicated to managing leads, bass, and many other sound types. Sounds can be customized without wires using the AX-Edge editor app thanks to built-in Bluetooth.
Not only does Roland’s AX-Edge Editor app let you customize sounds, it also lets you download ‘ready-to-play sounds’ from its Axial website. The app even packs a ‘librarian’ feature, providing a simple way to ‘manage program/tone data for different live performances’.
If you tend to keep your jam sessions limited to 4-hours or less, there will be no need to stop and charge when powered with rechargeable Ni-MH batteries. In fact, even if you do find yourself running out of juice, you can continue playing by simply plugging into power using the included AC adaptor.
With no official word on availability yet, some websites like American Musical are showing estimated ship dates of October 2nd. Pricing was not clarified in Roland’s press release or on its product page, but multiple websites like Kraft Music and American Musical are offering pre-orders with a price tag of $999.99.