Synthesizers & Electronic keyboards nowadays come with hundreds of sounds…
They also come with many effects.
In addition they also provide features to modify the various parameters of those sounds and effects.
Why Should You Use It?
Ability to change the various parameters in real time, as your hands are busy playing the keyboard, is something of immense help to you as a performer.
This is where expression pedals are of great help, since you can use your foot to operate them.
Unlike a sustain pedal which holds the notes for a longer duration, a midi expression pedal lets you control parameters like volume, modulation, panning, etc. On its own, the various pedals cannot produce any sound, but it helps you to control the devices that make sounds.
Popular Keyboard Expression Pedals
Connections & Setup
An expression pedal basically looks like a small box and has an attached cable which goes in the expression pedal input of your keyboard/synthesizer.
Usually you will also find a polarity switch on these expression pedals which ensure that the pedals are compatible with different brands of controllers and keyboards.
Things To Look For!
Usually a sturdy and heavy box gives a solid feel and ensures that the pedal stays firmly under your foot.
It also ensures that the pedal does not move while you are performing. The downsize being they would be heavy to carry around.
The expression pedal also needs to be smooth to operate and should ideally cover the full midi value range (0 – 127). The values need to get from 0 to 127 in a fluid manner without being lumpy.
Another useful feature that most of the expression pedals have is a spring that brings the pedal back to the normal position when you lift your foot. You can disable that feature if you don’t like it and don’t want to use it.
Though there are several keyboard expression foot pedals that are available for musicians, here are a few good ones.
Here is an expression controller pedal from m-audio that works with all M-Audio MIDI controllers that have an expression pedal input. But that does not mean it will not work with keyboards of other make. The polarity switch on this pedal ensures that it works with most other controllers and keyboards brands.
Another alternative, if you are looking for controlling volume and for modulation, is this Behringer dual-mode foot pedal. You can use this controller to increase/lower the volume and for modulation.
If you are a moog equipment user, be it the Little Phatty or the Minimoog Voyager or anything else, you will like this Moog expression pedal.
The most advanced and fully featured pedal is this Roland dynamic foot pedal and MIDI controller. Anybody who plays keyboards as well as the guitar / bass will find tis extremely useful. Since it is a midi controller as well, it lets you play a variety of sounds from any external MIDI device, leaving your hands free to play either keyboards or guitar or bass.
Hello, under “expression pedals” you state “Another useful feature that most of the expression pedals have is a spring that brings the pedal back to the normal position when you lift your foot. You can disable that feature if you don’t like it and don’t want to use it.” I’m looking for this feature but I do not find it in any expression pedals. I have an FC7, but the spring feature is only activated near the extremes of the pedal operation. Which pedals have this feature? Merrick
Looking for a 3 switch foot controller…I have a Technics KN6500 Keyboard and I am looking for a 3 switch foot controller. Do you have something that may fit? Ryszard N.