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"American Band" keyboards? #3002718 08/11/19 05:51 AM
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EricBarker Offline OP
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I'm playing this song tonight, but I can't quite tell what kind of keyboard is playing skank on the chorus. It's pretty present, but the tone is hard to discern. Sounds like a string machine, but that doesn't seem quite a la mode for Americana party rock. The discography lists Craig Frost playing Organ, Clavinet, Electric Piano, and Moog. Doesn't sound anything like a Moog to me (I hear chords). Could be a Clavinet, but that wouldn't be my first guess. I'll probably go with Acoustic Piano or Wurli tonight, as that will be easiest for my setup and I can rock the organs up top.

Last edited by EricBarker; 08/11/19 08:17 PM.

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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002727 08/11/19 11:20 AM
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Not knowing much about Grand Funk Railroad, I’m hearing a lot of Wurli throughout, but it does sound like something else playing high eighth note block chords on the choruses. It might just be a Hammond or a combo organ.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002731 08/11/19 12:12 PM
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You mean the straight eighths organ part?

What I did....

I just played that on the top manual over the long notes on the bottom manual. Make the top drawbars sizzle make the the bottom manual growl. The clav doubles the guitar parts on the the verse along with the bottom organ manual.

Last edited by CEB; 08/11/19 12:33 PM.

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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002741 08/11/19 02:02 PM
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I just play piano and hold b3....never liked the organ 8ths sound on the chorus.....

Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002752 08/11/19 04:05 PM
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It's a Hammond thru a straight cabinet, no leslie.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002761 08/11/19 04:52 PM
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I think Moe's right, but I would seek the effect using a moderately bright Farfisa.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: Tom Williams] #3002762 08/11/19 05:02 PM
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I never played this song, but from casually listening to it over the years, I too would probably grab a bright combo organ patch.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002772 08/11/19 05:54 PM
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Chorus almost sounds like RMI.

Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002783 08/11/19 06:34 PM
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As long as you chop the 8ths, I don't think it matters much what you use on this one. Choose a bright sound and match the voicing and rhythm and call it a day. (MHO)


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002792 08/11/19 07:33 PM
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In this live performance from 1974 it's played mostly on B3 with some left-hand Clavinet. Only other Keyboard on stage is a Mellotron which is not used here. Doesn't sound exactly like the original recording but is full sounding and gets the job done. My hat is off to your drummer if he can nail that intro.

Last edited by Shamanczarek; 08/11/19 07:49 PM.

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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002795 08/11/19 07:56 PM
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This old promo film appears to show Hohner Pianet, B3 and Clavinet. Granted it's a play-to-track lip sync, but it may provide some direction. And I don't play drums, but never thought the intro was tough to play - I remember a guy in my high school nailing it back in the day with his band.



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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: bg] #3002796 08/11/19 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Shamanczarek
In this live performance from 1974 it's played mostly on B3 with some left-hand Clavinet. Only other Keyboard on stage is a Mellotron which is not used here. Doesn't sound exactly like the original recording but is full sounding and gets the job done. My hat is off to your drummer if he can nail that intro.

Our drummer nails it every time, but he's been doing it for years. Even though we only recently started playing the song, everyone takes a little solo break in "Blister in the Sun", and the drummer always plays the American Band intro for his, I've never heard him drop it, I don't think it's that hard.

Originally Posted by bg
Chorus almost sounds like RMI.

^ There we are, I think that's the closest yet.

Just to be clear, there is no big organ chords anywhere in the song until the final chorus, and possibly the intro (don't have it in front of me now). But there definitely aren't organs during the middle choruses. 8th note skank in the choruses are DEFINITELY not organ, doesn't sound like any kind of B3 or Combo I've ever heard, attack is too slow and the sound is too stringy. Honestly, reminds me very much of string machines Patrick Moraz uses, more than anything. Could be mellotron too, though.

I'll have to listen to the verses to hear that Clavinet, it didn't jump out at me before, I just thought there were a few different guitar layers in the studio recording. Played live I just sit out, let it breath. But I can listen again.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002802 08/11/19 08:36 PM
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This thread feels vaguely IMRT-like...


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002804 08/11/19 08:37 PM
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Hohner Planet N?

The description of the "promo video" suggests that it was shot during the actual recording session. Thus, while not an actual take, it may be the actual instrumentation.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002812 08/11/19 10:18 PM
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Sounds like an old electric organ. Maybe Yamaha YC-30 or YC-45D. Or maybe a Farfisa Professional Piano?


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002821 08/11/19 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by EricBarker
I'll probably go with Acoustic Piano or Wurli tonight, as that will be easiest for my setup and I can rock the organs up top.


I played this song for 20 years , from 1976 to 1996. Did exactly what you are describing here. Get the notes right and the audience wil dig the song.
thu


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Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002823 08/11/19 11:10 PM
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It's actually a synth that was played by Todd Rundgren. Frost played the Wurli and Hammond stuff, but that part in the chorus was Todd.
It always sounded like Farfisa in the mix to me.

I worked on the box set for Grand Funk (30 Years of Funk 1969-1999), and I asked Don Brewer about it, and he told me the above. I still thought he could have been mistaken, but ironically a friend of mine was recently working on that track and confirmed the same. On the master that part is labeled "Synth"..

Last edited by zxcvbnm098; 08/12/19 02:13 AM.
Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: zxcvbnm098] #3002843 08/12/19 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
It's actually a synth that was played by Todd Rundgren.
I find that quite believable. Even a monophonic synth, using two 8' or 4' sawtooths (sawteeth?) a 5th apart would reproduce the effect as I remember it.
...Or a bright Farfisa. deadhorse

P.S. Considering where that poor horse is being beaten, I'm rather happy for him that he's dead.

Last edited by Tom Williams; 08/12/19 02:24 AM. Reason: Dead Horse

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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002867 08/12/19 08:43 AM
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In this isolated vocal and Keys track you can hear the Wurli throughout the entire song with the Hammond coming in towards the end. Missing the part that Rundgren played but still enlightening.


These isolated tracks may be of interest to the guitarist and bassist.



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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002873 08/12/19 10:41 AM
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Now that we know it’s a synth, I’m thinking it’s a Minimoog. Did Todd use a Minimoog at the time?


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3002938 08/12/19 05:35 PM
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Per sleeve notes

Mark Farner – vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, conga; electric piano on "Creepin'"
Craig Frost – organ, clavinet, electric piano, Moog
Mel Schacher – bass
Don Brewer – vocals, drums, percussion


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: Shamanczarek] #3002942 08/12/19 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Shamanczarek
In this isolated vocal and Keys track you can hear the Wurli throughout the entire song with the Hammond coming in towards the end. Missing the part that Rundgren played but still enlightening.

Great to hear the Wurli track so clearly, he's really digging in! Sounds great.

Sounds like that Rundgren synth part is in there to me. Didn't notice any clav, but the Hammond entrance at the end is nice to hear.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: samuelblupowitz] #3002966 08/12/19 08:51 PM
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The 8ths are there for sure.

As this discussion among some pretty sophisticated listeners makes clear, replicating the origin of that sound is not going to be important (since we all think it's something different).

Just nail the feel and the nature of it, and it will slay.


"
Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3003224 08/14/19 06:20 PM
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I think it's a Nord Lead.

Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: J Graul] #3003244 08/14/19 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by J Graul
I think it's a Nord Lead.
</thread>


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3003253 08/14/19 08:03 PM
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I always heard it as a Vox Continental, and at the time I assumed it was inserted as a tribute to the garage bands of the 1960s. Todd's covered 96 Tears at various points in his career, so he seems to have an affection for combo organ cheese (as do I). If it was actually played on a synth, I'm surprised.

IMO it has to be there. Just play it on anything you've got in your rig that goes dit-dit-dit-dit-dit. grin

Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3003261 08/14/19 08:42 PM
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Synths can emulate combo organs fairly effectively, actually. When I was using an Alesia Fusion, I usually just went straight to the VA engine rather than look for Farfissa or Vox patches, because I could get the sound dialed in just right.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: Tom Williams] #3003263 08/14/19 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Williams
Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
It's actually a synth that was played by Todd Rundgren.
I find that quite believable. Even a monophonic synth, using two 8' or 4' sawtooths (sawteeth?) a 5th apart would reproduce the effect as I remember it.
...Or a bright Farfisa. deadhorse

P.S. Considering where that poor horse is being beaten, I'm rather happy for him that he's dead.


The attack isn't fast enough for an organ, be it Hammond or other combo organ. Sounds like a synth to me.

Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: Jim Alfredson] #3003300 08/15/19 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim Alfredson
The attack isn't fast enough for an organ, be it Hammond or other combo organ. Sounds like a synth to me.

^ This... no way that attack is a combo organ. That's obviously a synth. If it's a sawtooth, that's pretty much what I figured, as string machines are mostly layered saws. Not sure how that sounds remotely like a Farfisa or Vox.


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Re: "American Band" keyboards? [Re: EricBarker] #3003302 08/15/19 02:47 AM
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It *could* be an organ that they put through a synth EG, ala "Won't Get Fooled Again". The Who song came out in '71 and this came out in '73. It wouldn't be surprising if they lifted the idea.

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