Introducing the ROLI Seaboard Rise 49: a Revolutionary New Instrument?

Have you seen the new instrument from ROLI, the Seaboard Rise 49?

It is the latest instrument in ROLI’s Seaboard range, which they claim is “the future of the keyboard”. The concept behind it is that it is based on a traditional keyboard instrument in that it kind of has keys laid out in the same formation, but it goes beyond the limitations of a traditional keyboard. You can play individual notes like on a normal keyboard, but you can also get more expression by sliding between the notes and getting vibrato by wiggling your finger while it is pressed on the note.


Here is Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater playing a very realistic electric guitar sound on the Seaboard Rise 49 at NAMM 2016:

And here is a discussion about the Seaboard Rise 49 at NAMM 2016:

Although some new musical instruments do seem a bit gimmicky, such as the Zoom Arq, I actually think the Seaboard is a totally revolutionary new instrument. It totally redefines how you can perform music. Now you can have all the benefits of a keyboard while having the expressive control that you get with string instruments like violin or guitar.

In fact, I find it interesting to think about how this technology could be further developed. If they created something in the style of a guitar, so that musicians could play it standing up with the instrument facing the crowd, it could make it a really good performance instrument. You see, I think that’s why a lot of people still like guitars in live music settings because there is a strong performance element to standing there with an instrument hanging around your neck. There is also the expressiveness that you get with an instrument like that which you can’t quite get from a standard keyboard.

So maybe we are heading towards a new musical future where we can abandon the limitations of dinosaur instruments like guitars. Maybe now we can have all the benefits of an expressive live musical instrument along with all the sonic possibilities of synthesizers.


What do you think? If this instrument was affordable, would you use it? Or do you prefer a standard keyboard? Why not let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

All the best,

P.S. If you want something similar you can use for free, take a look at the ROLI Noise app.


  1. Tyler Redlev

    I’ve came across with ROLI keyboard a short time ago but i just became addicted to it.

    It has really opened a new level in the keyboard industry and the slide sound option and vibrato with your finger movements are just features that you couldn’t find anywhere else before.

    I don’t know the price of it but this would be a keyboard that i would purchase without hesitation

    1. Marcus (Post author)

      It’s £949 GBP, which is about $1,360 USD, so it’s certainly not cheap. Hopefully it will come down in price over time.


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