Vs. a normal midi keyboard and the Midi Pro adapter? In particular,

  • The RB3 Keyboard is not a full-sized keyboard. If we do use a full-sized midi keyboard in Pro mode, can we/do we have to use the entire keyboard, as it's played in the actual song, or can we/do we have to stick to two octaves (like the RB3 Keyboard)?
  • The RB3 Keyboard can also function as a five-button peripheral in non-Pro mode. Can we do the same with a normal midi keyboard?
  • I've read that the RB3 keyboard has velocity-sensitive keys. Does RB3 take this into effect? Will I lose some functionality if my midi keyboard isn't velocity-sensitive? Does the expressions bar also add functionality?
  • You'll have to wait until friday before I can answer that ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Oct 26, 2010 at 23:13

2 Answers 2


My qualifications: I've used both the RB3 keyboard and a Roland D-50 MIDI Synth with a MIDI adapter.

  1. If you use a full-sized midi keyboard in Pro mode, you do NOT use the entire keyboard. RB3 ignores notes played outside the two octave range of the RB3 keyboard. The pro keys chart displayed is the same no matter what kind of keyboard you are using (unlike the pro guitar charts which I understand are different depending on whether you use a 17-fret Mustang or a 22-fret Squier).

  2. A normal midi keyboard can also function as a five-button peripheral in non-Pro mode. The only thing missing are the color-coded tags over the C-D-E-F-G keys that the RB3 keyboard has, but since you shouldn't be looking at your hands anyway, that shouldn't matter ;)

  3. I don't think RB3 does anything with the velocity-sensitive keys, so you should not lose any functionality if your midi keyboard isn't velocity-sensitive. This is the only answer I'm not 100% positive on (my D-50 has velocity-sensitive keys), but I'm pretty sure.

  4. The expression bar on the RB3 keyboard is like the whammy bar on the 5-button guitar controllers - it alters the sound of the notes and when used on a held note with overdrive, it will add to your overdrive bar. My D-50 has a pitch bend joystick that the MIDI adapter converts to the same function.


Note: this is from what I've picked up in ready dozens of reviews!

All songs are designed to just be played with the right hand, however in Pro Mode, songs on Hard and Expert difficulty require you to use both octaves.

This means that there's no use for you to have a full sized keyboard, as it would leave most of it unused.

Pure speculation:

  • If you can use a midi controller instead of the keyboard, you should be able to map certain keys to the five buttons.
  • The velocity-sensitivity is probably intended to counter the fact that they're using very 'cheap' keys, which lack the natural resistance of a decent keyboard. My guess would be that you won't notice any difference in game.
  • The lack of the expression bar is only a loss if you like using the whammy bar when playing it as a keytar, although you will lose the ability to gain extra Overdrive like you can with the whammy bar on a guitar. For the rest I don't really see a use case for it anyway.
  • Well, that certainly sucks: as a drummer, it seems like they make no attempt to make the drum part the same as the actual song (unlike guitar hero); and now it appears they don't care about making the piano parts realistic either. I really hope at least the guitar parts are true-to-life (I don't have a pro guitar controller)... I am already regretting buying Rock Band 3. Oct 27, 2010 at 2:04
  • I'm not sure what your experience with playing keyboard is, but from looking at several video's I think I'd already be hard pressed to play the one handed parts!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Oct 27, 2010 at 2:08
  • There is a loss in not having a whammy bar--you can't use it on star power notes to get extra star power. And I thought that Expert Pro drums were more or less a note for note transcription of the real song--given that there are only 4 pads, 3 cymbals and a bass by default.
    – YuriPup
    Oct 27, 2010 at 20:09
  • 1
    Small corrections: Pro Keys songs don't have to use both octaves, and in fact, songs on Easy (and perhaps Medium as well) will use only one, or more specifically, won't shift the chart during the song. Also, the expressions bar functions like the whammy bar on a guitar in that it can be used to get extra Overdrive on sustained Overdrive notes ... but it doesn't seem to have nearly as much of an effect in that way, either that or I haven't figured out the best technique for doing so. Apr 8, 2011 at 17:30
  • @Dave, feel free to edit my answer as you clearly are more up to date than I am ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Apr 8, 2011 at 17:36

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