As a novice keyboard player, I found the Casio CTK-240 an extremely easy instrument to get to grips with. Being a Casio, I knew that I would get great build and sound quality, and I have not been disappointed.
I was amazed that after plugging in the CTK-240 power adapter and inserting the Score Stand (which doubles up nicely as a tablet holder), I was ready to go within just a few minutes.
When powering on, I had three options to choose from; ‘Normal’, ‘Casio Chord’ or ‘Fingered’ mode. Following a quick read through the easy to understand manual, I chose ‘Normal’ mode, as this allowed me to start playing with no modifiers. Once in ‘Normal’, I scanned through the available tones using the onscreen prompts and buttons with ease, eventually choosing ’03 Studio Piano’ and playing a ropey rendition of the Twin Peaks theme tune. This was all achieved with ease and everything was intuitive and simple to understand.
With a sense of accomplishment, I then decided that I would play along with one of the 50 in-built songs. I used the on-keyboard reference, ‘Song Bank’ and numeric buttons to select ‘House of the Rising Sun’. I opened the included song book and hit the ‘Start/Stop’ button. I was greeted with a count in and then the song started playing at 76bpm. Bearing in mind that I am a novice keyboard player, this was too fast for me so I used the ‘Tempo’ button to slow it down to a more manageable speed, at which point I was able to follow the melody notes that were displayed on the LCD screen and play along to the track. This was a very simple process to follow and I didn’t even need to refer to the included manual to play along, as the CTK-240 has such an intuitive interface to use.
I also had some fun playing with some of the 100 in-built rhythms that are available. This was achieved in the much the same way as selecting a song to play to but with the added bonus of being able to use the ‘Synchro/Fill-In’ button to add variation to the rhythm track. Again, this was achieved without the need of the CTK-240 manual as everything is clearly laid out and easily understandable on the keyboard itself.
As mentioned earlier, alongside ‘Normal’ mode there is also ‘Casio Chord’ and ‘Fingered’ mode; ‘Casio Chord’ allows for anyone to play chords, regardless of previous musical knowledge or experience. It is for absolute beginners and allows for single key major chords and the modification of these with minimal fingering, and ‘Fingered’ mode is a more advanced mode that allows for a total of 15 different chord types for each root note. I have not personally used these modes yet, however they would be a great help when learning to play with both hands (accompaniment and melody.)
The only downside that I have found to the CTK-240 is that the keys themselves are not touch sensitive, meaning that you cannot adjust the power of the note depending on how hard you press the key. This is not a major issue however as this is a beginners keyboard, and as such does not require this functionality as it would make it more complex to play.
In conclusion the Casio CTK-240 is the perfect keyboard for beginners as it is easy to use, intuitive, portable and well built. It may not have all the features of the higher end Casio models, but it does not need these as it, in my opinion, is one of the best beginner keyboard for casual playing or serious learning available.