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Faking a Rhodes on-stage with a S90


jook

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One thing most modern keyboards are lacking these days, is the on-stage presence of their bygone era counterparts. Most keyboards are thin, and sit on X-stands, and generally designed to hide the keyboardist in the back of the stage. They just don't.... have that same _depth_ and presence of the older stage pianos (think the B3's, Vox Continentals, and of course, the Rhodes).

 

But to cut to the chase, check this out!

http://www.elecedge.com/before%20and%20after%20photos/Keane/keane.html

 

It appears that Keane (the band) have a special "case" made out of a Rhodes (or two) to hide their S90 inside. I've seen something similar made for the Nord Electro, but this one takes the cake in really hiding the digital bits completely (front, back and all over) - though I'm not sure how they get to the controls... I guess they'll leave it on one setting or make do with "pay no attention to the man opening his Rhodes behind the black curtain!" announcements.

 

There's more than a few big bands out there hiding their digital keyboards inside empty upright pianos and whatnots... perhaps that's a good indication/sign to the keyboard manufacturers that their there's something lacking in the aesthetics of modern keyboards.

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That Elton John character has been playing hiden digital pianos inside grand piano shells for decades. McCartney has been playing a Kurzweil inside a psychadelic spinet piano shell.

 

http://www.paulmccartney.com/features/content/glastonbury/i/big5.jpg

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )? Lord knows he could afford to cart a Steinway around on tour. No instrument has more stage presence than a 9" grand piano.
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He does cart around real bosendorfer grand for most of his concerts in addition to the psychedelic spinet shell

 

Ah ok...even so, if you had the choice, would you rather play a (bad) rompler sound, or a top of the range instrument?

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I think the instrument manufacturers are doing *us* a favor. For every big tour, there are dozens of smaller bands hauling around their own gear, and most of us are trying to lighten the load, not cart around heavy classic keys. Our backs don't care how they look! ;)

 

Another guy who has a digi in a shell is Scott Thurston of TP & the Heartbreakers. I can't find a pic of it in a quick search online though. Meanwhile Benmont Tench appears to be using the real deal, including a Yamaha grand, B3, and Wurly EP.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I agree with Joe. ROMplers (good and bad are subjective) do provide gigging musicians with a) decent sounds and b) lighter load.

 

I know quite a few touring keyboardists who can request anything on a rider, yet, they prefer to use their favorite ROMpler(s) too.

 

Also, some musicians do not want to endorse a manufacturers product for free. Encasing a ROMpler is either aesthetic and/or no different from the days of black tape across the back of the board.

 

I believe this resulted in the color changes in keyboards over the years too. Of course, a gear spotter "knows" what is behind the curtain regardless. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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It appears that Keane (the band) have a special "case" made out of a Rhodes (or two) to hide their S90 inside. I've seen something similar made for the Nord Electro, but this one takes the cake in really hiding the digital bits completely (front, back and all over) - though I'm not sure how they get to the controls... I guess they'll leave it on one setting or make do with "pay no attention to the man opening his Rhodes behind the black curtain!" announcements.

 

 

exactly. that's why it's so very stupid. how can he switch patches? how can he do anything else but play one sound all the time? if that's the situation - why did he even buy the s90 if he can't use all the sounds? why didn't he just buy a rhodes?

 

i think that this is an example of how giving an extra importance to appearance can be pathetic

Vermona Perfourmer mkii, Nord Stage 3 76
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i think that this is an example of how giving an extra importance to appearance can be pathetic

 

:)

 

That's show business. And that's why Paul continues to make the big bucks - because he knows how to do it right. :thu:

 

Obviously Sir Paul thought the audience needed some eye-candy - hence the shell.

 

I figure that it's not all about the music. It's about the package. This includes the visuals, the choreography, etc.

 

It's a show and things have to look bigger (and brighter) than life... especially if you're sitting in the cheap seats.

 

For those who have worked in the theater, you know that expressions and movements have to be exaggerated. Otherwise, they get lost somewhere along the 20th row in the auditorium.

 

I think most will agree: Paul is a genius... on many levels. I put my money on the fact that any compromises that had to be made were certainly thought out by everyone involved.

 

Music is cool. :snax:

 

 

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )?

 

Clifton, I don't know the reasons behind Paul McCartney's choice, but, as you can see, he did choose a Kurzweil PC2X.

 

Many of us here on The Keyboard Corner play Kurzweil equipment. We have heard your opinions regarding this and the Yamaha keyboards many times in various threads.

 

You have a right to your opinion. However, opinions are subjective. A digital keyboard that sounds good to one person's ears may not be the favorite of another. For some, the price of certain equipment is out of reach. Perhaps the funds just aren't there for a S90es, PC2X, etc. I don't think your intention is to offend anyone.

 

And I know you are joking around - that's OK. I saw the wink. ;) However, I and others are quite fond of the Kurzweil equipment we own. We've got a personal stake in the hardware. A few of us even have spilled blood and beer on the keys (me) and have worn out the buttons entering programming variables in the middle of the night (Cydonia). :crazy:

 

I think you understand. :)

 

Because of this, I'm asking you to tone down your Kurzweil-bashing here on The Keyboard Corner... just a smidgen.

 

Thanks Clifton.

 

Tom

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Digital keyboards on stands make the stage look like a bar band, semi-pro. 95% of the time they're ugly as sin. What does the audience see? Ugly stands. The backs of keyboards that are predominately in/out jacks. Cables everywhere. It rarely looks good. Given the price of concert tickets they should be concerned about all aspects of the show and visuals are a huge part of that.

 

http://purgatorycreek.com/img/george.jpg

 

The new Rhodes has a great stage presence, clean front.

 

Busch.

 

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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )? Lord knows he could afford to cart a Steinway around on tour. No instrument has more stage presence than a 9" grand piano.

 

Yup, and he's a Yamaha artist so that makes it even worse!!!!!

 

 

JH

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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )? Lord knows he could afford to cart a Steinway around on tour. No instrument has more stage presence than a 9" grand piano.

 

Only Tiny Tim would have the stage presence to look right playing a 9" grand piano. :D:cool:

 

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Digital keyboards on stands make the stage look like a bar band, semi-pro. 95% of the time they're ugly as sin. What does the audience see? Ugly stands. The backs of keyboards that are predominately in/out jacks. Cables everywhere. It rarely looks good. Given the price of concert tickets they should be concerned about all aspects of the show and visuals are a huge part of that.

 

http://purgatorycreek.com/img/george.jpg

 

The new Rhodes has a great stage presence, clean front.

 

Busch.

 

:snax:

 

I was going to delete all the parts of your post that didn't matter. Try to trim it up a bit. You see how far I got. :)

 

OK, so ProfD doesn't agree with me, but I do like the RED Electro... (Sorry, PD.) And my purple PC2X - wooo hooo.

 

My dog doesn't seem to mind. :)

 

I've always liked the look of a real B3 on stage though. It's a personality glitch for me, I guess. Behind the keyboard, I'm fine. But if I have to get out in the crowd and do the small-talk thing with the folks who've already had a beer or ten, and I'm still sober... well, who needs that? :freak:

 

Dammit.

 

Does anyone remember when Pioneer used to put wooden cases and end-caps on their home stereo amps and tuners? I can't bear to give up mine; circa 1974. Maybe that's why I'm fond of the wood in the XK3. And the end-caps on the Electro (also wooden... and RED).

 

I'm rambling, sorry. But that's what I do.

 

Pull my finger. :sick:

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I agree that it's about the staging. In McCartney's defense, I think the spinet idea works (Although it looks more like a Hammond C3 shell to me from the keyboard side :) ). It might make him seem more "accessible" to some (i.e., "Look, Paul's playing a little spinet just like the one I have at home, but he painted it. I wonder if he painted it himself? " :) ).

 

You can't put a grand onstage and be "close" to the audience. Playing behind a grand means that either:

a. You don't face the audience

b. You face the audience across the strings (and lid).

 

Considering Paul plays bass and guitar from the front of the stage, I think it's a good comprimise from a staging perspective to get him close to the edge of the stage.

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yes, but at least in the case of McCartney - he left room to control the keyboard, switch between sounds, etc. the audience doesn't see that he has access to the controls.

on the other hand - in the first example of the s90 in the rhodes shell - there's nothing you can say. it's pathetic. as cool as it may look from the outside - the s90 is useless in this configuration.

the "show" is important, sure. but this is just not practical. period.

Vermona Perfourmer mkii, Nord Stage 3 76
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as cool as it may look from the outside - the s90 is useless in this configuration.

 

Agreed.

 

I'm not quite sure why they would sacrifice functionality in order to make it look like the musician is playing a Rhodes.

 

Some things in life will remain unanswered.

 

Add women to that list. :/

 

 

:snax:

 

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )? Lord knows he could afford to cart a Steinway around on tour. No instrument has more stage presence than a 9" grand piano.

 

obviously he doesn't make that much money anymore...

 

♫♫♫ motif XS6, RD700GX
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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )? Lord knows he could afford to cart a Steinway around on tour. No instrument has more stage presence than a 9" grand piano.

 

Only Tiny Tim would have the stage presence to look right playing a 9" grand piano. :D:cool:

http://thecia.com.au/reviews/t/images/this-is-spinal-tap-1.jpg

 

 

"Oh yeah, I've got two hands here." (Viv Savage)

"Mr. Blu... Mr. Blutarsky: Zero POINT zero." (Dean Vernon Wormer)

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As much as everyone would love to say it is all about the music - a live show does contain a visual element, unless you're playing to the blind. People have eyes, there's a stage, usually with lights! and people will see you, whilst the music is being performed. Frankly, you're lying to yourself if you think that being true to your music means to completely ignore how you are visually perceived on the stage. Otherwise, go on, and take the stage in the nude. See how your music is perceived then.

 

I know what you guys are saying though - there's a problem when the visual elements take priority over the aural elements, and it goes without saying that it's an increasing problem with many pop singers and rap stars, pretty much since MTV (Video Killed The Radio Star of course...)

 

I remember seeing a recent band play on the Jay Leno show: the lead singer had an old, painted-white upright acoustic piano set up in the middle of the stage. But the lead singer is standing in front of it - at the mic. stand, singing the song. There's a typical keyboard player down the back, next to the drummer, with a 2 tier setup, probably a Yamaha workstation and something else.

 

The piano remained un-manned, in the middle of the stage, behind the singer for the first verse, chorus, second verse, chorus, third verse....

 

Until the bridge came along. For which the singer quickly rushes to sit down at the piano and play a soft, simple chord progression on it while he sings a word or two. It really lasted something like 2 bars. Maybe 5 seconds max. And that was it! Then he jumped off the piano and stood back in the front and sang the rest of it front of stage!

 

I just couldn't believe that they couldn't have gotten the keyboard guy to play that part. And that clearly the singer felt it was so important for him to play those two chords himself... and the poor bastard roadies who had to lug that upright around, setup all these mics for him to play and sing there, just for those few seconds. That, I thought, was truly stupid. It didn't help any that I thought the song and band was awful and boring as well...

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You know a couple of front row tickets would cover the cost of a backline B3/Leslie. If you're a Steinway artist, Steinway will provide a piano for free out of their artist inventory available in all major cities in the USA. You pay for transportation and tuning. They don't have to cart this stuff around. There's no excuse for not using quality keyboards, especially given the price of tickets.

 

Busch.

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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )? Lord knows he could afford to cart a Steinway around on tour. No instrument has more stage presence than a 9" grand piano.

 

Only Tiny Tim would have the stage presence to look right playing a 9" grand piano. :D:cool:

http://thecia.com.au/reviews/t/images/this-is-spinal-tap-1.jpg

 

Nice Spinal Tap reference! LOL!

 

Nice Spinal Tap reference! LOL!

aka âmisterdregsâ

 

Nord Electro 5D 73

Yamaha P105

Kurzweil PC3LE7

Motion Sound KP200S

Schimmel 6-10LE

QSC CP-12

Westone AM Pro 30 IEMs

Rolls PM55P

 

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As far as a digital piano vs. a miced 9' grand, I agree with an old post stating that no one, even among the finely attuned ears on this forum, could tell the difference played through a stadium or arena-sized PA.

aka âmisterdregsâ

 

Nord Electro 5D 73

Yamaha P105

Kurzweil PC3LE7

Motion Sound KP200S

Schimmel 6-10LE

QSC CP-12

Westone AM Pro 30 IEMs

Rolls PM55P

 

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In regards to McCartney spinet vs. grand:

 

Sometimes his music calls for either, and he can afford to do it like he wants.

 

Grand for tunes like Hey Jude etc. and an upright sound for stuff like Lady Madonna. Maybe that's what he uses the pseudo spinet for.

 

In regards to gutting two Rhodes 88s: at least now they are useful. Ooh, ow, no he didn't say that!! If you had gutted a B-3 to stick a Nord into it, I would be highly upset. But of all the Rhodes models, the 88s were almost without fail the least playable monsters ever produced. I hauled one for 5 years and hated it.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Why would a filthy-rich superstar like McCartney even bother with a PC2x (when he could be using an S90ES ;) )?

 

Clifton, I don't know the reasons behind Paul McCartney's choice, but, as you can see, he did choose a Kurzweil PC2X.

 

Many of us here on The Keyboard Corner play Kurzweil equipment. We have heard your opinions regarding this and the Yamaha keyboards many times in various threads.

 

You have a right to your opinion. However, opinions are subjective. A digital keyboard that sounds good to one person's ears may not be the favorite of another. For some, the price of certain equipment is out of reach. Perhaps the funds just aren't there for a S90es, PC2X, etc. I don't think your intention is to offend anyone.

 

And I know you are joking around - that's OK. I saw the wink. ;) However, I and others are quite fond of the Kurzweil equipment we own. We've got a personal stake in the hardware. A few of us even have spilled blood and beer on the keys (me) and have worn out the buttons entering programming variables in the middle of the night (Cydonia). :crazy:

 

I think you understand. :)

 

Because of this, I'm asking you to tone down your Kurzweil-bashing here on The Keyboard Corner... just a smidgen.

 

Thanks Clifton.

 

Tom

 

 

 

Very well. I mean the Kurz enthusiasts on the KC no harm, I was joking around, as you did notice.

But if I;ve crossed the line, then I do take it back. My mistake.

 

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