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Rethinking shoulder synths (FKA keytars)


timwat

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Last week we opened for Brian Simpson at a really nice theater venue. He's a LA studio cat, former MD for Janet Jackson, etc., a figure on the smooth jazz scene.

 

Anyway, after our set (which, by the way, we TORE up...best gig ever), Simpson and his band comes out and he's got a Roland AX7 wireless MIDI'd to a backlined Motif ES8. He's mostly playing piano on the AX7 with two hands, only a few times he does the lead patch thing.

 

He and his sax player (Paul "Shilts" Weimar of Down to the Bone tour band fame...really nice, friendly guy) are both wireless, and strolling through the audience during several segments of the show. I've seen this many times with guitar players, sax players, singers - but rarely w/ KB players.

 

And you know what? It really works - audience dug it, it was a nice vibe. Really helped a KB-led band connect to the audience.

 

I'm really seriously thinking of the AX-Synth now. Am I crazy? Have I been seduced by the Dark Side, Luke?

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Have I been seduced by the Dark Side, Luke?

 

By mentioning "smooth jazz" and "keytars" in one post, you definitely already are on the dark side. Why not enjoy it while you're there?

I'd love to fiddle around on a strap-on electronic keyboard!

It's not a clone, it's a Suzuki.
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When I tried the AX-Synth, I absolutely loved it. In fact I instantly thought, why not stop there and just get an accordian? :)

 

At a casino in Reno, they have a guy who plays keytar and sings. He has talent but mostly everyone in the audience thought him playing the keytar was pretty silly.

 

Seriously though, for my musical applications it's just not gig worthy.

 

I think it would work for you in a more smooth jazz territory though.

 

BTW, The "plug and play" nature of the AX-Synth was unmatched. However, if you get a good price on an older ax, you could always link it to your PC3?

 

 

www.brianho.net

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brianho

www.youtube.com/brianhojazz

 

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I been using one for about 3 years and I agree it really goes over well. Great conversation starter and the crowd always loves it. I also use a wireless midi setup made by CME, which work flawlessly.
Montage 7, Mojo 61, PC-3, XK-3c Pro, Kronos 88, Hammond SK-1, Motif XF- 7, Hammond SK-2, Roland FR-1, FR-18, Hammond B3 - Blond, Hammond BV -Cherry
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I'm really seriously thinking of the AX-Synth now. Am I crazy? Have I been seduced by the Dark Side, Luke?

Do not fall for the hype. If you haven't aleady, try a melodica first. That is a cool instrument. :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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Simpson and his band comes out and he's got a Roland AX7 wireless MIDI'd to a backlined Motif ES8.

 

And you know what? It really works - audience dug it, it was a nice vibe. Really helped a KB-led band connect to the audience.

 

I'm really seriously thinking of the AX-Synth now. Am I crazy? Have I been seduced by the Dark Side, Luke?

If you haven't aleady, try a melodica first. That is a cool instrument. :cool:

And most importantly, it's NOT a keytar
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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First, if anybody should be playing one, it's me (and a few of you others on here doing 80's stuff - I know EscapeRocks plays one, surprised we haven't heard from you yet...).

 

I've looked at them and considered playing one. I recently borrowed our Ex-keyboard players AX-1 (my predecessor.. we're friends). I borrowed it for pictures - I mean, it looks sooooo 80's. While I've had it, I strapped it on to see how it would feel playing some of the stuff we do. Weird at first. But I could get used to it for SOME stuff.

 

Ultimately though, it's just one more instrument I'd have to switch during the show (I already juggle guitar, sax, and my vocal mic which I pull out front for leads). And sometimes, after running around like a fool with the mic or guitar, it's almost a break to be able to "rest" and JUST play the keyboards for a song. I might kill myself if I had a keytar for those parts.

 

Either way, I think they are acceptable for some parts, but lots of the stuff I do, which requires many parts which I split on a 61 and 76 key board, would not work on a keytar. I thought about adding pedals, but at that point you're stationary anyway, so what's the point? Now if it would allow me do dump my stand and other boards.... but no way, it's just impossible. So I'm not going to add ANOTHER piece of gear for the couple parts that I could use it.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Here in australia I called them "sling ons" in the 80's

thought that was the common name. I still find keytar rather...irritating..

 

but when I sold my AX 1 recently I sure enough called it a keytar...although I did put a disclaimer in that we didnt call them this in the 80's ...just you "johnny come latelys."

 

if it got the sale for a good price , I'd call it what the "gen y" would call it, hey they are only buying it cause they think its "in"...most of them interested had never played a keyboard.

 

The guy who bought it was a newbie, but he had disposable cash from his IT business

 

 

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I recently borrowed our Ex-keyboard players AX-1 (my predecessor.. we're friends). I borrowed it for pictures - I mean, it looks sooooo 80's.

 

 

Ironically keyboard musos living thru the 80's will know its not an 80's sling on..in fact I believe it was released in 1992 but I will give you it can pass as an 80's look as to me it was always a very close copy of the famous linc controller [always the sexiest looking sling on of the 80's]..it took Roland to be remembered as the 80's "keytar" with their 90's "keytars" and not thier earlier efforts [which had such an original design]

 

by the time the AX 1 came out I was no longer playing in bands that this would suit [nor were many others hee hee]...by then I believe Roland missed the boat as they have done with the current model [people asking for them but really i think they missed the boat in timing and in creating a synth not a sling on]...these AX 1's were soon being discounted and not surprisingly the AX7 was a sales disaster too...produced 10 years earlier the AX 1 would have been a very sought after device..Roland seems always too late to cash in on "keytar" sales

 

besides my Casio AZ1 [i used in the 80's] which I still had [and still do] was a better sling on than the roland...but the roland was slinkier and actually lighter..but that didnt matter the 80's were over and so were the sales.

 

i bought the roland in the early 2000s because I wanted to collect sling ons...just for collecting reasons although I had a feeling they would be worth something..ironically it became worth too much to not sell especially as roland was announcing the new axe, the new interest in "keytars" had destroyed the chance of chasing a near complete collection.

 

So for now I'll settle with my Casio AZ1 ,my yamaha KX5 in original yammy roadcase and I still think my Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 controller is perhaps one of the rarest controllers around and is a wonderfull accessory for my P5...and a genuine 80's sling on.

 

The roland is indeed nice being lightweight and slinky but it is just a "wanna be" Linc controller and doesnt bring to the table an original design...and now it seems too common on the playing circuit...dont these kids know there are some other "keytars other than the AX 1 or 7 .

Its nice but oh so common.

 

regards the new synth....how heavy is it...

i would hate to wear too much weight..at least the AX 1 at 3 kg was light......

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+1 vote for keytar. I don't care how it's called. Usually my bandmates refer to it as 'that cool red thing'.

 

http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/32/l_fb83a71ca3fb4daf964d70f143ca2c2f.jpg

 

 

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Ironically keyboard musos living thru the 80's will know its not an 80's sling on..in fact I believe it was released in 1992

 

Yes, I actually strapped on a Casio CZ-101 back then. Not really a keytar, per se, but it had buttons on it for a strap. Actually I still have it.

 

Unfortunately, most of the kids coming out to the 80's shows now were not born yet in the 80's. I've come up with some (I thought) great ideas for AUTHENTIC 80's style, songs, etc. at our shows, but a 21 year old girl will stand there and scratch her head wondering what the heck you're doing. Some people don't even get the reason for the Giant 80's Swatch Watch across my keyboard stand. "Why do you have a giant watch?" Most of them get it, though. No, you have to be kind of a Caricature of the 80's that the kids will recognize as "80s".

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Ironically keyboard musos living thru the 80's will know its not an 80's sling on..in fact I believe it was released in 1992

 

Yes, I actually strapped on a Casio CZ-101 back then. Not really a keytar, per se, but it had buttons on it for a strap. Actually I still have it.

 

Unfortunately, most of the kids coming out to the 80's shows now were not born yet in the 80's. I've come up with some (I thought) great ideas for AUTHENTIC 80's style, songs, etc. at our shows, but a 21 year old girl will stand there and scratch her head wondering what the heck you're doing. Some people don't even get the reason for the Giant 80's Swatch Watch across my keyboard stand. "Why do you have a giant watch?" Most of them get it, though. No, you have to be kind of a Caricature of the 80's that the kids will recognize as "80s".

 

That's hilarious. My wife owns a vintage/funky clothing store. When the college girls come in looking for costumes for an 80's themed party, she gives them the authentic goods. Usually they say "Omigod I look so silly-- I can't wear that!" They don't get it that people actually dressed like that. So now, as often as not she just invents something that doesn't really look 80's but the kids will wear it and not know better.

 

When I look at my old issues of Keyboard Magazine from the 80's, the pictures of keyboardists make me thankful that I was a dirty hippie kid with no fashion sense in the 80's.

 

To bring it back on-topic: Keyboard Magazine was calling them "strap-on" keyboards as of Feb 1987. So I'm pretty sure it's already been rethought and decided. Strap-on is a perfect name for it, anyway. :D

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+1 vote for keytar. I don't care how it's called. Usually my bandmates refer to it as 'that cool red thing'.

 

http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/32/l_fb83a71ca3fb4daf964d70f143ca2c2f.jpg

 

 

ohhhhhh bloody, yes they are right it is 'that cool red thing' and AX 1's are cool looking 80's or not.. but personally I think it would have looked cooler if you had kept your beard... :idea: hee hee

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As Dan (80's-LZ) mentioned I have one.

 

My very first one was a Korg RK100 I bought new in 1986. I had it wired up to a DW8000. I then "graduated" to a Lync in 1989.

 

Should have kept them both :)

 

I currently bring out my Ax-7 now and then depending on the venue we play.

 

I did just order the new AX, which I am looking forward to.

 

Anyway, it IS possible to play them without looking like a tool ;)

 

When I do bring out the AX, it's for about three songs.

 

It's fun, and the audience always loves it.

 

As someone else mentioned, I too use the CME midi wireless.

 

 

 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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My very first one was a Korg RK100 I bought new in 1986. I had it wired up to a DW8000. I then "graduated" to a Lync in 1989.

 

 

 

yes I too started with the rk100 hooked up to an EX8000 [module version of DW8000] still have the module but not the rk...it was good fun but having no touch sensitivity and being very heavy wood I eventually changed...cant remember if I went to a Roland SH 101 or what after that.. but the Casio AZ1 sure beat the pants of all but the Linc...I always wanted one but they never came to Australia.....can you tell me having owned a Linc was it as wonderful as it appeared in specs?

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ohhhhhh bloody, yes they are right it is 'that cool red thing' and AX 1's are cool looking 80's or not.. but personally I think it would have looked cooler if you had kept your beard... :idea: hee hee

 

I joined the army (as an electrical engineer), so I can't grow a beard or long hair.. :(

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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+1 vote for keytar. I don't care how it's called. Usually my bandmates refer to it as 'that cool red thing'.

 

http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/32/l_fb83a71ca3fb4daf964d70f143ca2c2f.jpg

 

 

Sorry, bloody, is there a keytar in that picture? If so, I didn't notice. Too busy looking at your singer! :love:;)

 

 

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