Roland Go: Piano 88 Review

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8.5
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We rated the Roland Go: Piano 88 an 8.5/10. We really like the connectivity, weighted hammer action, and Bluetooth speakers on the Piano 88. The transpose and record features serve budding composers and arrangers quite well. The biggest cons we saw were 1. There are not many voices and 2. That Piano Partner is incompatible with the rhythm feature. That being said, neither of these cons are going to be deal-breakers for this piano’s target audience- Enthusiastic beginners! Overall this is a great starter keyboard that many will enjoy.

We rated the Roland Go: Piano 88 an 8.5/10. We really like the connectivity, weighted hammer action, and Bluetooth speakers on the Piano 88. The transpose and record features serve budding composers and arrangers quite well. The biggest cons we saw were 1. There are not many voices and 2. That Piano Partner is incompatible with the rhythm feature. That being said, neither of these cons are going to be deal-breakers for this piano’s target audience- Enthusiastic beginners! Overall this is a great starter keyboard that many will enjoy.

Hey there! Today we are writing up a Roland Go: Piano 88 review so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying a starter piano. So, just like the name of the piano suggests…Let’s “Go!” 

Overview

Roland Go:piano88 review

The Roland Go: Piano 88 key digital piano is a great starter instrument. It is a full-sized piano keyboard, with respectable sounds, portability, and teaching software.

Let’s see what Roland and Amazon have to say about this piano: 

Full-size 88-note piano. Play-anywhere portability. Smartphone-powered lessons.

When you’re learning to play the piano, having 88 keys makes a big difference. Although smaller 61 or 76-note keyboards are portable and easy to handle for younger players, an 88-note full-size keyboard helps you develop the correct technique and become a more expressive player. Most keyboards make you choose between performance and portability, but Roland’s GO: PIANO88 delivers equally on both fronts. Lightweight and road-ready, with optional battery power and headphones, this mobile instrument has a full-size 88 note keyboard and sounds derived from Roland’s best digital pianos, so you can play with the correct technique and expression-vital for classical music or more complex pieces. GO: PIANO88 also features high-quality onboard Bluetooth speakers that hook up to your smartphone to create a simple and compact learning solution. “ (Amazon, Roland)

I have to agree with Roland here. Having 88 keys is really great for beginners because it makes access to complex classical pieces possible. It also gives the player a better sense of space, so that when they switch to an acoustic, it will more familiar and comfortable.

 Now, let’s break this piano down into its best features. 

Features

Optional Battery Powered, and Portable

If you find yourself playing music on the go a lot, this instrument is perfect. It was named the “Roland Go” for good reason. It was specifically designed to be lightweight for travel. Also, it is difficult to find a good 88-key piano that is this light. In addition, you get to choose between plugging it in or using batteries. If you use batteries, you could even perform in the middle of a park if you wanted to! I think it’s really great that Roland made this full-sized keyboard so versatile and portable. This is the Roland Go: Piano 88’s key feature. 

Full-Sized Keys

Like we mentioned earlier, this piano has full-sized keys. Many electronic pianos that were designed for travel have keys that are more narrow in width. While this makes the keyboard shorter and easier to travel with, there is a big compromise here. 

When players decide to upgrade, their sense of space when it comes to performing, quite frankly, will need to be relearned and adjusted. Starting with full-sized keys is something I recommend for almost all beginners, perhaps with the exception of very young students.

Weighted-Hammer Action

Weighted-hammer action, as you might already know, means that the keys feel heavier, or harder to push down, the lower you get on the piano. Also, weighted-hammer action simulates how acoustic pianos feel. This is because, on acoustic pianos, the lower range you go, the thicker the strings are, and thus, the harder they are to push down. While it might sound like we are making things more difficult here, playing on a weighted-hammer action keyboard will actually (greatly) benefit players in the long run. Once again, this is a feature that will help students be able to make the switch from electric to acoustic easier. 

I’d also like to add that, even if you aren’t ever planning on making the switch, getting a weighed-hammer action keyboard is still in your best interest. Playing on one with GHS just feels more natural. If every key presses down the same exact way, but the sound that comes out is different, it feels very mechanical in a dry way. I highly recommend that even the student with no musical experience get a weighted-hammer action keyboard. 

On-Board Bluetooth Speakers

Not only does the Roland Go: Piano 88 have built-in speakers…They are Bluetooth! So, if you’d like, you can hook up your instrument to your phone or tablet, cord-free. So many musical apparatuses have Bluetooth these days, it kind of blows my mind. For example, I have both a mixer and a set of speakers that are Bluetooth, and now, we have Bluetooth pianos?! 

Gone are days of corded sound. Roland is moving forward in the modern music world here. 

Smartphone-Powered Lessons

Not only do the speakers connect to smartphones and tablets, the whole piano does too. This allows you to connect to online learning, so you can choose your lesson, and play away!

Great Connectivity Overall and Wireless MIDI Control

So we already know that you can use Bluetooth pairing to stream and to learn. But did you know that there is also a wireless MIDI control option? Your phone can act as your MIDI remote here.

Transpose Feature

If you’re a new musician, you might not know what it means to transpose, so let’s start from there. In music, to transpose means to move notes on the staff up or down by the same about. So, say we are in the key of C. If we transpose that key up by one whole step, you would be in the key of D. 

So why is a transpose feature so nifty? Say you become quite good at pop songs, and decide you want to tour around locally with a handful of vocalists. Each vocalist has a different range that they are most comfortable and rich in. Say you want to perform “Blinding Lights” with both Max and Ava, and tenor and an alto respectively. You learned the song, but only in the key of Bb. Max sings it in one key, and Ava like to sing it in the other. So what do you do?

If you are on an acoustic piano, you learn how to play the song in both Max’s and Ava’s key. So, you yourself are transposing. But electronic keyboards afford us a special option here: The transpose feature. 

By using the transpose feature, you can move the sound of the keys up or down instead of learning the song over and over again in different key centers. I love how this entry-level instrument include transpose.

Built-in Recorder Feature

You can plug in the Roland Go: Piano 88 with a micro-USB directly in to your computer. The other option is, you can use the built-in record feature. This allows you to record on the piano itself. By using the record feature inside the piano, you can jot down musical ideas and save them for later. I know that personally, when I get a musical idea, I don’t always want to go running for my USB cord and computer. That’s why having both USB and a built-in record is so handy.

3 Key Touch Modes

This particular model has fixed touch mode, as well as three other kinds of touch sensitivity. I love the fact that the touch sensitivity is adjustable. This isn’t too common, especially in pianos that are under 500. Roland has impressed me here again.

Respectable Sounds

While this keyboard doesn’t have a lot of sounds, the ones Roland chose are nice and are perfectly respectable for beginners. The sounds that this piano includes are:

  • Electric piano
  • Organ
  • Strings

Reverb and Effects

While this keyboard might not have a lot of sounds… It does have a handful of reverb and effects. Reverb is short for reverbation, and simulates the sound of multiple echoes, or reverberations. If you turn on reverb, it will make the piano sound like it is in a recital hall. 

Piano Partner Software

If you have a Roland, you can pair it with the “Piano Partner 2 App” for free. This app is both a teaching app, as well as a remote controller for your piano (How cool is that?!). Here’s how it works:

You choose a song, and this piece of programming inside the Piano Partner 2 App, called DigiScore Lite, shows musical information on your keyboard’s screen. This could be anything from sheet music to rhythm flash cards- It all depends on what you choose to learn. Personally, I really enjoy the fact that this free software teaches music theory and rhythm. 

You can learn more about the Piano Partner 2 App here.

Skoove 3-Month Trial

Not only can you use the Piano Partner 2 App, you also get Skoove. Just like the three Alesis we just reviewed, this Roland piano also comes with a 3-month trial of Skoove. In case you don’t already know, Skoove is a music-learning program that uploads new and relevant songs every month. Skoove is an excellent tool for getting starting. If you decide to get the Alesis or Roland 88, definitely check out this program.

Specifications

roland go piano88 88 key digital piano

  • Weight: 15.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 3.25 x 50 x 15.6
  • Touch Modes: 3
  • Connectivity: Micro-USB
  • Pedals: DP-2
  • Amplifier: 2 x 10 W

Roland: The Brand

Before I continue on the “Roland 88” train of thought, let’s take a minute to talk about the brand. Roland is a brand that is well known for its production of digital pianos. It is another household name, like Yamaha or Korg. 

The Roland Corporation, also known as Rōrando Kabushiki Kaisha, is a company that is based in Japan. It was founded in Osaka in 1972. So, it’s been around for a while. Some people think that it wasn’t founded until 2005, but this is actually the year the company moved their location to Hamamatsu. 

Roland has factories all over, including here in the United States, in Japan, and in Taiwan and Malaysia. And they don’t just make digital instruments, either. Roland also makes software and electronics. 

Now, back to the Roland Go: Piano 88 88-key music creation keyboard or Roland 88 for short.

Who Is It Suitable For?

The Roland Go: Piano 88 is suitable for aspiring musicians, just as Roland says. This instrument is especially great for those on the go. So, whether you move around a lot, or simply like to perform at local restaurants if you’re a travel bug, consider this entry-level instrument. 

Pros and Cons

roland go piano88 88 key music creation keyboard

Pros

  • This instrument is portable
  • You can plug it into power or use batteries
  • It is economical 
  • Roland is a large household brand name
  • It comes with nice sounds
  • The connectivity is great
  • You can learn using your smartphone or tablet
  • You can connect the speakers and stream via Bluetooth
  • It comes with two kinds of learning software
  • It comes with pedals
  • There are three touch modes, so you can adjust the sensitivity
  • It comes with effects too!
  • You can use it to record
  • Because of its weighted keys and full-sized keyboard/ keys, making the switch to an acoustic will be simple

Like I mentioned earlier, the best thing about this piano is its portability. You can pop in some batteries, and take it anywhere! It is also quite economical. And, even though you are getting a good deal, you can rest assured that you are purchasing an instrument from a large company with a fairly good reputation.  

This model offers plenty of connectivity options as well. So, whether you want Bluetooth or line-in, the Roland Go: 88 has your back. It’s really great that the pedals are included, so, everything you need to get started comes in the same package. 

Included learning tools and recording functions are definitely a standard now a days, and Roland hold up to that. In addition to all of this, the full-sized and weighted nature of the keys allows players to upgrade to an acoustic later without having to relearn key tension and special feeling.

Cons

  • Ultimately, it is an entry-level piano
  • The are very few voices
  • It does not have layer mode
  • It does not have split mode
  • The rhythm function will not work on Piano Partner 2

If you are looking for a pro piano, unfortunately, this isn’t it. The cons to the Roland Go: Piano 88 include that it has very few voices, and that split and layer mode are missing. I was pretty surprised when I learned that this model didn’t have split or layer mode. Including both has become the industry standard, even when it comes to entry-level models. 

For some reason, this piano is not compatible with the rhythm feature on the Piano Partner 2 app. Roland doesn’t quite say why. The Piano 88 is compatible with every other feature on the app besides this, which is a bit puzzling to me.

So, go ahead and take these above facts with a grain of salt, and decide what you really want and need in your first keyboard. 

Quick View 

Keys 88 full-sized keys with weighted hammer-action
Touch sensitivity  Yes
Sounds 128 voices
Recording capabilities  USB to MIDI, internal recording
Metronome Yes
Polyphony  128 voices
Speakers Yes
Headphones Yes
Accessories Sustain pedal, music rest, power adaptor
Price point  $359.99

Tips for the Budding Composer: Roland Go Mixer Pro

If you’re a composer or songwriter who is looking for an easy way to make Youtube videos, then you should consider trying out this under-$200 mixer.

So how do you make the finished product for Youtube? Here’s the idea in a nutshell. 

  • Arranging your smartphone so that you can clearly see yourself playing
  • Have your Roland Go Mixer plugged into both your piano and phone
  • Start recording video
  • Start playing!

This is how to get a perfectly synced, no-nonsense video. I know that personally, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to record and sync my music when it comes to piano. In particular, Roland blew it out of the park here, for a great price too. 

Roland Go vs. Roland Go: Keys

A lot of people are getting the Roland Go 88 mixed up with the Roland Go: Keys here on the internet. The Roland Go and the Roland Go: Keys are two completely different instruments. 

The Roland Go: Keys has just 61 keys. That being said, it has a whopping 554 preset tones. Like the Roland Go: Piano 88, it also has 3 options for touch sensitivity, as well as 128-note polyphony. In essence, the Roland Go: Keys has all the bells and whistles. So what is the drawback?

The Roland Go: Keys does not have weighted keys. For me, this is a bit of a deal breaker. Ideally, if you are focusing on piano technique, you wanted GHS, weighted keys. That being said, if you are more of a producer type, the Keys model might be what you are looking for. It also has a ‘loop’ mode, which could be really great for performances. It’s around the same price as the Roland Go: Piano 88. You can find it here on Amazon.

Roland Go 88 vs. Roland Go 61

The Roland Go isn’t just limited to one model. In the Roland Go series, there is another really popular piano: The Roland Go 61. So let’s compare and contrast for a minute so you know which is right for you. 

Obviously, the main different between the Go 88 and the Go 61 is that the Roland Go: Piano 88 is a full-sized, 88-key keyboard, and the Roland Go 61 is not. 

The perk to the Roland Go 61 is that it is a little more portable. That being said, you lose access to a lot of potential classical and even popular repertoire when you choose such a small keyboard. So, it all depends on how you are planning on using your future piano. To check out more about the Roland Go 61, you can find it here on Amazon

Roland Go: Piano 88 in Action

You can here the Roland Go: Piano 88 in action here in this video by Best Buy:

The intro starts out with a quaint little piece. The piano sound is clear and nice. Let’s see what Nick has to say about this instrument. I’ll put it in bullet points for you here, just in case you don’t have time to watch:

  • He says the keys aren’t super weighted, but that they’re nice
  • It’s convenient to carry
  • He uses it to play anywhere he wants
  • He likes to use backing tracks with the Bluetooth function, to fill out his sound
  • I learned that there are 4 bass sounds that come with the piano as well. 
  • You can combine two sounds at the same time
  • At 2:30 you can hear him play more. He shows examples of the basic piano, organ
  • If you combine the sounds and add in the bass, you actually have 16 sounds available. When I heard him say this, I was relieced. There are more sounds than I thought! 
  • He discusses reverb
  • He recommends the piano for beginners as well
  • There is a little-known ‘twin piano’ function (this is comparable to ‘lesson mode’ on the Alesis)
  • Less sounds can sometimes mean less distraction (I agree)

Conclusion

This piano is frequently said to be a “no-frills” sort of instrument. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All in all, the Roland Go: Piano 88 is a solid starter piano, with a lot of respectable features. Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to come back again soon for all your piano reviews, tips, and tricks. See ya!

8.5Expert Score
Roland Go: Piano 88 Review We rated the Roland Go: Piano 88 an 8.5/10. We really like the connectivity, weighted hammer action, and Bluetooth speakers on the Piano 88. The transpose and record features serve budding composers and arrangers quite well. The biggest cons we saw were 1. There are not many voices and 2. That Piano Partner is incompatible with the rhythm feature. That being said, neither of these cons are going to be deal-breakers for this piano's target audience- Enthusiastic beginners! Overall this is a great starter keyboard that many will enjoy.
PROS
  • This instrument is portable
  • You can plug it into power or use batteries
  • It is economical
  • Roland is a large household brand name
  • It comes with nice sounds
  • The connectivity is great
  • You can learn using your smartphone or tablet
  • You can connect the speakers and stream via Bluetooth
  • It comes with two kinds of learning software
  • It comes with pedals
  • There are three touch modes, so you can adjust the sensitivity
  • It comes with effects too!
  • You can use it to record
  • Because of its weighted keys and full-sized keyboard/ keys, making the switch to an acoustic will be simple
CONS
  • Ultimately, it is an entry-level piano
  • The are very few voices
  • It does not have layer mode
  • It does not have split mode
  • The rhythm function will not work on Piano Partner 2

Videos: Roland Go: Piano 88 Review

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