In recent years, digital piano keyboards have surged in popularity. Perhaps this is because they are easier to travel with than a regular piano and cost a lot less. Plus, they typically have lots of additional built-in features.
If you have ever used a digital piano, then you know how critical it is to have a decent sustain pedal with it.
Sometimes, you can get a whole set up, and the sustain pedal will come with your digital piano– but some don’t, which means you’ll have to purchase your own. But how do you decide which one is right for you?
In this article, we’ll provide you with our favorita digital piano sustain pedals. First, let’s take a closer look at what sustain pedals are and what you should consider when buying one.
What is A Sustain Pedal?
A sustain pedal, also known as a damper pedal, allows the piano player to sustain the sound, even when the keys are no longer being pressed.
The sound will hold as long as you are holding down the pedal. When you release the pedal, the sound stops. This is a great feature when you’re playing slower music or transitioning to a new chord.
Types of Sustain Pedals
There are two basic types of sustain pedals – flat and piano style.
This type of sustain pedal resembles the pedals you would find on a standard piano in shape and size. Usually, they are a bit heavier and offer comparable resistance to which you might be familiar with on a standard acoustic piano.
This type of sustain pedal is much thinner and smaller. If you’re not used to playing a standard piano, this will likely be more comfortable under your foot. The major advantage of this is that it’s lightweight and portable. If you are using a portable piano stand, a flat style pedal is likely what you will want to look for.
Do I really Need A Sustain Pedal?
While having a sustain pedal for your keyboard is not exactly a requirement to be able to play, it is a requirement if you want to make your music more expressive.
How to Use A Sustain Pedal
You might wonder how to use your sustain pedal once you get it. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
- Adjust the bench as desired in front of your keyboard.
- Place your legs so that your foot will fall on the pedal.
- Keep your heels on the ground and use the ball of your foot to press the pedal.
- Experiment with varying pressure, from high to low, to see what happens.
- Adjust the pedal as needed when you’re playing for wide range of sound effects.
Sustain Pedal - How to use it - Piano Lesson
Things to Consider When Choosing A Sustain Pedal
When choosing a sustain pedal for your keyboard, there are several things that you’ll want to keep in mind. These factors are:
Many keyboard types will use a standard USB type connection to connect to your piano. But older models or cheaper piano models may not have these available. Be sure to double.. we’ll probably triple check your connection type before ordering. If you are housing any newer model, you should be just fine.
Is It Similar to A Real Sustain Pedal?
There are so many options on the market, and many of them look a lot like a real sustain pedal.
However, there are many that look nothing like a real one. These are cheap imitations and not worth the investment. Don’t waste your money on a cheap knockoff. Get a quality pedal that looks like the one you’d find on a piano.
Does It Have Rubber On The bottom to Keep it from Sliding Around?
The last thing you want to happen is for your sustain pedal to slide away from you while you’re playing. So make sure that the sustain pedal you find has rubber padding on the bottom so that it won’t try to get away from you.
Is It Capable of Half-pedaling?
One of the key features you want your sustain pedal to have is being sensitive and responsive to touch.
There are some music compilations that require you to “half-pedal,” which means you don’t put full pressure on it. Make sure that the pedal you choose is capable of half-pedaling.
If you don’t know what type of piano tones you are looking for yet, don’t worry half-pedaling is not a necessity.
Do You Want Single or Triple Pedals?
This is a question that only you can answer. You can get a single sustain pedal for your keyboard, or you can get a triple pedal set-up that has sustain, sostenuto, and soft features.
This will mimic a standard piano. If you play music that requires the use of these pedals, you’ll want to get a triple pedal setup.
Note: Triple Pedal setups include sustain, sostenuto, and the soft pedal. (many will typically use the sustain pedal most frequently.
Other “nice to have features” you should look for:
- Metal Pedal -lasts longer and holds up to those tough on the road tours.
- Non-Slip Pedal – if you are playing keyboard in a humid environment. (or at a wild piano bar with spilled beers) you’ll be thankful you choose a non-slip pedal.
- Full-Sized Piano Pedal – for those that either have big feet, or move around a lot and really want to feel the keyboard pedal underneath them.
- Negative Polarity – If you plug that positive polarity pedal into a keyboard with negative polarity, then the notes that you are attempting to sustain will stop. Often times pedals will come with a switch to go from positive or negative polarity.
Our 5 Favoite Sustain Pedals
Now, we will take a look at what we believe to be the 5 best sustain pedals on the market today in 2021.
1. Yamaha FC3 Dual Zone Sustain Pedal
This is one of the best sustain pedals you can find on the market today. It is unique and comes equipped with a continuous zone.
Additionally, you are able to get a variety of sustains with this pedal from half to full damper. Since it’s a dual-zone pedal, you almost feel like you’re playing a standard piano. This makes it perfect if you need something similar to a traditional piano but also want to add more versatility to your sound.
Also Yamaha is just a great brand and can’t go wrong.
- Provides musicians with the feel of a standard piano
- Easy to control pressure
- Provides a variety of sustain types
- Provides continuous performance
- Feels expensive, but it’s not
2. Midiplus SP-2 Best for Midi Keyboards
This sustain pedal is one that can be used on a variety of digital keyboard models. The midiplus model is our favorite pick for the MIDI keyboard players.
The biggest advantage of this one is the price. This will be easier on your wallet than some of the other comparable ones on the market today. The Midiplus SP-2 provides wonderful sound once it’s set up.
- Has a polarity switch
- Not brand specific; can be used on a variety of keyboards
- The pedal can be pressed to stop sustained notes.
- Comes with a protective plastic case
- The polarity switch can be flipped to fix any issues.
- Built decently
3. Auray FP-P1L Piano Pedal
This sustain pedal is ruggedly built. Just like the one mentioned above, it has a polarity switch, which means that it is compatible with a variety of keyboards as well.
This foot pedal has a chrome finish and offers excellent durability and resistance.
- Ruggedly built
- Compatible with most electronic keyboards
- Shiny, beautiful chrome finish
- Provides the feel of playing traditional piano
- Has 6 non-slip rubber feet, so it won’t move around
- Has a polarity switch
4. Nektar NP-2 Piano Pedal
This sustain pedal is quite interesting. It has a metal base, and it’s coated in rubber.
This pedal is nothing like what you would find on a standard piano. The Nektar NP-2 is portable; you can use it at home or take it with you to the studio or on a gig. Beginner and professional pianists will have no problem with this classic design.
- The pedal is covered in rubber.
- Has a polarity switch.
- Comes with a solid metal base
- Compatible with most keyboard piano brands
- Includes a 6-foot cable with a ¼” TS jack
5. Casio SP20 Piano Style Sustain Pedal
If you prefer a sustain pedal that is more classically styled, this is the one!
This pedal is on the higher end due to its stylish design. It also acts a lot like a sustain pedal on a standard piano. Plus, it’s just plug-and-play. There’s no set-up of any kind required. Use this for professional practice or simply your practice pedal.
- Comes with a long cord to attach to your keyboard
- Weighs 1.9 pounds
- Can be connected to Casio keyboards
- Appropriate build and finish
- Improves sound quality of the keyboard
- Just plug-and-play, no complicated set-up needed
Also as a solid contender we would hate to leave out the Roland DP-10 Real-Feel Pedal. It’s another solid choice pedal for keyboards.
Digital keyboards and digital pianists have become very famous over the last few years and sustain pedals are also becoming more popular.
While you don’t necessarily need a sustain pedal in order to play music, you can do so much more with your music if you have a sustain pedal than you can without one. Adding pedal skills to your bag of tricks is a good idea for any serious piano player.
We hope that we’ve been able to help you find the best sustain pedal for your needs.