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Keyboard Weight? The Hidden Problem...


SteeVtheRipper

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I don't mean to offend or insult anyone by asking this, but I am generally curious as I am not a gigging musician and my boards stay put.

 

I hear a lot of people on here complaining about the weight of their boards. My question is why not just get a band mate or someone else help you with it? I've seen people straight up disqualify a board because its like 50 pounds. And today I saw someone wrote "Ouch" about a board that was 30 pounds. I just don't think 50 pounds is that heavy, let alone 30. If we were talking lugging a piano, Rhodes or a Hammond around, that would be a different story. Is it because when the band is setting up everyone is doing their own thing? I can't see how someone couldn't just take 2 mins out of their time to lift a board onto a stand. Or are the issues more health related, like bad back or arms? Even still someone could help I would think. And if you're a solo performer, I am sure someone at the venue you're working at could help, right? They also make carrying cases with wheels that help with transport. I guess really the consistent pain in the ass would be getting it in and out of your car and house.

 

I guess what I'm getting at is doesn't anyone ask for help?

 

Again I don't mean to offend anyone here, or come off as condescending. I really am just curious.

 

1974 Rhodes, CP70B, Polivoks, Dominion 1, Behringer D, Mother 32, DFAM, MS20 Mini, Folktek Mescaline, Nord Lead 2x, KArp Odyssey, Jv1080, Digitakt, Hydrasynth,
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Well 30 is rather light. I consider boards 50lbs and over as heavy. My friends MP8 is almost ninety pounds and with the ATA case about 100lbs. Boards are long and akward, lifting them can be strain on the back. Its easier to lift a fifty pound speaker with a handle. Even if at the gig you have helpful band mates, that is not the only place you have to carry it. You will have to get into and out of your vehicle. Also add the weight of the case and 50lbs becomes 60. I carry a 30 lbs board, but with the case its 39. Add a nearly 30 pound speaker, cables, stands and the fact that some venues are upstairs, it can still be tiring. And since every member has their own gear, you can't always count on someone else.

 

My casio is about 22 lbs and is a dream to lug. I don't use it much because only the acoustic piano sounds good and I worry about it being all plastic.

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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Ask a bandmate for help with a keyboard? Next thing you know, the guitarist asks for help with his cabinet, the drummer asks for help with his trap case...

 

Really, everyone is busy, especially in situations where you have to get on or off the stage quickly, which happens more often than most of us would like. Ask someone at the venue? They're busy working too. And it would be unprofessional. The person who hires you expects you to be able to handle your own gear.

 

And it's not just getting the board in and out of its case and onto the stand. There can be long walks to the car, that could also involve steps, turning corridors, uneven pavement/lawn, or other wheel-and-cart-unfriendly terrain even if you were to go that route (which is still not effortless). Then there's lifting things in and out of cars, needing to move stuff around just so in order to fit everything in, hopefully without scratching up your car. That's either a lot of help to ask for, from people who have their own gear to deal with, or a lot of unnecessary huffing and puffing. And as you said, back at your home, there's getting the stuff in and out yourself, which for many also includes steps. Even with light equipment this can be enough of a chore, as a multi-keyboard setup with amplification can easily require 3+ trips. And remember, the cases add weight too!

 

Yes, I *could* manage 50 pound keyboards if I absolutely had to. I could even get it on the stand myself. But luckily, I don't have to. The goal is to be able to get in and out quickly and easily. Heavy pieces slow you down, tire you out, can give you muscle strain, and just add unnecessary unpleasantness! (I only use keyboards that are under 30#.)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Some of this has already been covered.

 

-- Part of it is just how much effort you're willing to put into it, which is a very individual thing. At 20 I carried around rhodes pianos all by my self. Oh, to have that kind of endless energy again . . . Now I have to divide my energy in 15 different ways every day, and of course, I have less of it to divide. If music was my main gig in life, I might be willing to carry more stuff. Or maybe not, since I'd probably be carrying it alot more often?

 

-- As already pointed out, what happens on and around the stage is just part of it, and is usually the easiest part, because you might get some help, and even if you don't, you're kind of excited to be there, so you're motivated to do whatever it takes. When I get home at, say, 2:30, I have to decide whether to carry my stuff up 2 flights of stairs or leave it in my car and worry about someone breaking into it. It's stuff like that that gets old really fast. And it isn't just shows, it's rehearsals too, for which you might be just dog tired in the middle of the week.

 

-- There's a kind of borderline somewhere around 40-45 lbs, above which, you can't realistically use a gig bag that weighs 3 lbs, you have to go to at least a semi-rigid case that will probably weigh 15-20, if not a hard case. So, to my thinking, this is sort of "critical mass," because in actuality you're leaping from about 40 lbs to maybe 70.

 

-- Manufacturers are more and more able to put good stuff in lighter packages. Physics dictates there are limits to this. The Casio PX-3 has great action for a 23 lbs keyboard. Though it's not nearly as good as the 55 lbs Yamaha CP5, it makes for an interesting choice when you put everything on the scales (so to speak) and weigh your options.

 

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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My casio is about 22 lbs and is a dream to lug. I don't use it much because [snip] I worry about it being all plastic.
Both B3-er and Steve LeBlanc have been touring with these (PX-330 and PX-3, respectively) and have not had any issues last I talked to them about it. And Steve has roadies!

"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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Ah I gotcha. I didn't think of all the stage stuff and the rushing and corridors and the car trip. I guess all the small venues I have been to the people either pull up right to the back of the stage and load up or its not that far or hazardous of a walk to the stage. Granted, I haven't been to that many different venues. All of the stuff you guys said makes sense. I guess I'll have that to look forward to if I ever join a band. Thanks for the answers I definitely appreciate it.

 

There is a lot to trade off with weight. A PX-3 action could never be a CP5 or RD700. But then again not everyone needs a weighted action.

 

I wonder how much the actual circuitry plays into the weight of board. I have built a few PCs and once you get everything in there they can weigh quite a bit, processors, fans, heat sinks. Plus the actual hardware in the case itself.

1974 Rhodes, CP70B, Polivoks, Dominion 1, Behringer D, Mother 32, DFAM, MS20 Mini, Folktek Mescaline, Nord Lead 2x, KArp Odyssey, Jv1080, Digitakt, Hydrasynth,
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The small venues are worse in some ways. Often there's not enough room to move while everyone is setting up, and "lift with your knees not your back" just ain't happening.

 

I do sometimes gig with a Rhodes, and I absolutely will not move it by myself. Standing around waiting for someone to help you sucks almost as bad as carrying it yourself.

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I am 4'11" and have a slight build. I also have a herniated disc from schlepping a 60-lb bass cab in my earlier days. Weight of the keyboard is extremely important to me.

 

I may be able to ask bandmates for help at the gig, but like someone else pointed out, how much am I expected to help with their gear? If I need to move something while everyone's setting up, I also prefer to be able to do that on my own, not to mention setting up and tearing down. I don't want to be asking other busy people for help. I am not always "in a band" with people I have that bond with ... sometimes I play with new people. I don't want to be asking them for help!

 

Also, the thought that one must be self-sufficient and able to get gear in and out of the car/house is right on. My husband is not always around to help me.

 

I suppose if it were the olden days and I had to choose between asking for help or not gigging at all because the only keyboards with decent action were 70lbs, I would do so. But in this day and age, musos who gig regularly have worked with enough keyboardists to know that the gear is usually managable by one person. I would stand out as being not quite up on it if I always had to ask for help. :)

 

Since I play piano-based music on these things, the keyboards also have to have acceptable action. My PC2 is reported to be 40 pounds (feels heavier to me), and it is heavier than I want. There are nice boards out there that I am considering, the heaviest one being 34 pounds (the Roland FP4). I can live with that weight. Sometimes just a few pounds makes a difference.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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The small venues are worse in some ways.

 

Without a doubt. It's like trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

Try scrunching a CP-5, acoustic bass, drums, sax, female vocalist + her monitor, one keyboard monitor speaker & mic boom, music stands and a pair of foh speakers on poles into an 8 X 10 corner of some guy's house--fun. :cry:

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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I sprained my knee a couple months ago lifting one of my boards in it's case into the back of my truck. It's still trying to heal fully.

 

It reminds me I'm not 25 anymore, and after 20+ years of hauling gear, I take all the precautions I can now.

 

As far as the small venues with postage stamp stages: those are the absolute worst. You have to lift, bend, twist, etc in ways that are harmful to your body.

 

The large venues with large stages are not only nice for playing, but are a dream for load in, setup, teardown, and load out.

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I guess what I'm getting at is doesn't anyone ask for help?

 

Again I don't mean to offend anyone here, or come off as condescending. I really am just curious.

 

Hi Stee-V,

 

No, it's a reasonable question. And I hope that my response doesn't come off as condescending either, but the question kind of shows that you haven't gigged. :D

 

Because it sounds like it should be easy, right? I mean, we are all musicians together, right? Everyone helps out. What's the big deal -- it will take 30 seconds to help me get this keyboard out of the case and up onto the stand.

 

And yeah, sometimes it is like that.

 

The first gig. And the next one. But sometimes the venue is cramped. Maybe there's no clear path to the stage through the dinner crowd. Or it's a festival and there are 15 minutes between bands. Or the drummer had a flat tire, is late, and everyone is trying to set everything up in 10 minutes. Plus it's been raining all week, and the roads suck. And last time we played this place the manager was a jerk to us because someone in the audience tripped over a misplaced stick bag. And we had to wait 10 minutes for the kitchen crew to free up the freight elevator. Again. And that friggin' keyboard player STILL can't handle his own damn gear? :mad:

 

Yeah. It gets like that after while.

 

The thing for me is, I want to be 100% self-sufficient. I want every single step -- from loading my gear into the van from my house, to bringing it into the club, to setting it up on stage -- to go fast, and be completely doable by one person. Me.

 

When I went from my 53-pound Roland RD-700 to my 46-pound Kurzweil PC1se it was a Big Deal. Seriously.

 

Don't let any of this scare you off from gigging though. If my guess is right, you are still pretty young. And your first gigs will probably be in a band with other young guys, who will also be your friends. You will have fun, and it will be exciting, and the energy and vigor you bring to it will be endless.

 

Plenty of time to get old and jaded later. ;)

 

--Dave

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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we're musicians not athletes... Carrying heavy keys in a crowded city, moving them up and downs the stairs of a flat, or destroying them in airports/airplanes, makes the gig a bad experience. If you can find good alternatives that's a good thing. I have a blast playing my Electro, or carrying my Macbook and XV2020 aboard when i travel... I know a real hammond/rhodes would be better, but none in the audience gives a damn about that.
Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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My PC2 is reported to be 40 pounds (feels heavier to me), and it is heavier than I want.

I just checked their web site, and they said it was 35 pounds. They must have weighed it on the Moon. I had one briefly and it was a tank. I guess part of the problem is the sheer size of the thing, there's no comfortable way to get your arms around it, so I think weight starts to get distributed toward muscles that can't handle it as well. And weight farther from your body feels heavier than weight closer to your body.

 

I think that's one of the things that makes it hard to come up with an "absolute" cut off of how heavy a keyboard you can deal with. At a given weight, one keyboard can still seem lighter than another. Besides what I mentioned above, other things that can come into play are, is it well balanced or is it heavier on one side? Are there good places to grip it? Plus, as Adan alluded to, there is the little known law of physics that says that things get heavier at 2 am.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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For just the piano, count the lifts:

 

#1: lift piano off stand at home and put into case

#2: lift piano in case and put into car

(drive to gig)

#3: lift piano in case and put into club

#4: lift piano out of case and put on stand

(play gig)

#5: lift piano off stand at club and put into case

#6: lift piano in case and put into car

(drive home)

#7: lift piano in case and put into studio

#8: lift piano out of case and put on stand

 

In 1973 I auditioned a C3 with dual souped-up leslies with my band. Sound was awesome as everybody agreed. Then they told me to take it back because there was no way in hell they were going to help me schlepp 800lbs of gear in and out of gigs. We were all in our 20s...

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I think I have a different band situation than most on here (we're in the UK, for what difference it makes).

 

Our keys player gigs week in and week out with an M102 Hammond, Leslie 145, Wurlitzer A200 and Marshall twin for it. The bass player plays an Ashdown 8x10, I play bari sax and carry the vocal PA we use for smaller gigs (2 x 50lb Peaveys, an amp & desk), and we all muck in.

 

Whichever 4 of us are at the van help lift the Hammond and wheel it on it's Roll-or-Kari dollies, someone carries the Wurly in, somebody else helps the bass player, the girl singer carries in all the drums and saxes that are smaller.

 

It's a genuinely brilliant experience. We can be driving away from a venue under 30 minutes after playing our last note if we move it - everyone mucks in not only with the carrying, but also in the tidying away of PA cables, lifting speakers down etc.

 

To put it in perspective we play at least 1, often 2 shows per weekend, every weekend. London and Glasgow last weekend, London and Birmingham this weekend.

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I think I have a different band situation than most on here (we're in the UK, for what difference it makes).

 

Our keys player gigs week in and week out with an M102 Hammond, Leslie 145, Wurlitzer A200 and Marshall twin for it. The bass player plays an Ashdown 8x10, I play bari sax and carry the vocal PA we use for smaller gigs (2 x 50lb Peaveys, an amp & desk), and we all muck in.

 

Whichever 4 of us are at the van help lift the Hammond and wheel it on it's Roll-or-Kari dollies, someone carries the Wurly in, somebody else helps the bass player, the girl singer carries in all the drums and saxes that are smaller.

 

It's a genuinely brilliant experience. We can be driving away from a venue under 30 minutes after playing our last note if we move it - everyone mucks in not only with the carrying, but also in the tidying away of PA cables, lifting speakers down etc.

 

To put it in perspective we play at least 1, often 2 shows per weekend, every weekend. London and Glasgow last weekend, London and Birmingham this weekend.

You sound young. :-)

 

I think that can work when you're all in your 20s. Not so much when you're in your 40s and 50s, as many of us on this board seem to be...

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I think I have a different band situation than most on here (we're in the UK, for what difference it makes).

 

Our keys player gigs week in and week out with an M102 Hammond, Leslie 145, Wurlitzer A200 and Marshall twin for it. The bass player plays an Ashdown 8x10, I play bari sax and carry the vocal PA we use for smaller gigs (2 x 50lb Peaveys, an amp & desk), and we all muck in.

 

Whichever 4 of us are at the van help lift the Hammond and wheel it on it's Roll-or-Kari dollies, someone carries the Wurly in, somebody else helps the bass player, the girl singer carries in all the drums and saxes that are smaller.

 

It's a genuinely brilliant experience. We can be driving away from a venue under 30 minutes after playing our last note if we move it - everyone mucks in not only with the carrying, but also in the tidying away of PA cables, lifting speakers down etc.

 

To put it in perspective we play at least 1, often 2 shows per weekend, every weekend. London and Glasgow last weekend, London and Birmingham this weekend.

You sound young. :-)

 

I think that can work when you're all in your 20s. Not so much when you're in your 40s and 50s, as many of us on this board seem to be...

 

Guitarist is the youngest at 23, Hammond and bass player are mid-late 40s, and the Trumpeter is the oldest at 52. Average age is a smidge under 40 :)

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You are young. Last night's gig, first break,the discussion among the 6 band members was all about the pros and cons of various physical therapies for our back, neck and arm problems. Seriously, music places unusual demands on the body--as does schlepping gear across odd spaces. It doesn't matter how careful you are when you move things, on a stage, through a club, etc, you will ALWAYS put weird stresses on your body. Even 20 pounds is heavy if, at a certain point during set up or tear down, you have to hold the 20-pound object at an odd angle, or you slip on the ice while moving it.

 

Print out your note. Stick it in an envelope marked "open in 30 years." If you've stayed in the music business, you will know what I'm talking about, and maybe have a wry chuckle on your own behalf.

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For the actively working musician, there are several considerations in play with regards to ease of setup.

 

1. If you're working with your own group, day in and day out, you can have greater expectation of assistance, assuming everyone loads in, sets up and loads out together. That usually works when all the gear is in one vehicle and all members are there to move it. Sometimes it happens, often times not.

 

2. If you (like many) play with different groups, do fill in work, pick up gigs or simply in a situation where everyone is responsible for their own grip, it is critical to be as self contained as possible. That means transport in and out.

 

3. Weight isn't as much as in issue if you only lift something once. It becomes a much bigger deal with frequency, distance and ability to carry. It doesn't sound like there is a big difference between 52 and 35 lbs, but moving it 4x a night (standard load out home, load in club, load out club, load in home) and multiply that times each piece of gear you own, and it adds up.

 

I have my gig rigs (from small to stupid large) pareed down to cover exactly what I need them to do, with no extra weight, cables or setup. The more I have to do, the more I bring. It all still fits in my hatchback and rolls in on my Rock N Roll kart in ONE trip (save for the "stupid large rig").

 

Also, I don't carry what I carried 30 years ago. Why? Because I don't have to. Technology has made the difference. I expect 10 years from now, we'll be griping about how terrible it was to carry those 45 lb 88 key stage pianos, with weighted action.

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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Or....you could just work out a deal with one band mate. In my current group, it's the singer. We car pool. I help him with the powered speakers, board and assorted mic paraphenalia and he helps me with the two keyboards, stand, and leslie 21 I have. No sore back for either after 10 years and yes, we are old guys. Age and guile beat youth and strength.
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I always show up early to the gig BEFORE any of the other band members arrive. This is so I can leisurely set up and have all the room I want on stage to maneuver my cases around, etc. Therefore all my gear needs to be light enough to set up myself. I use a Pro XK3c system along with twin EV360's (32 lbs each). The heaviest piece of gear I have to lift is the XK3c itself (40lbs.).

 

As other have mentioned, I load the car by myself. That's pretty easy as I just move the equipment from my garage right into my car. Once at the gig the XK3c is in a castered soft case (10lbs). The bottom manual is really light and can be carried into the venue. Then I carry each EV. If there is a long trip from the car to the stage, I will put everything on a cart.

 

But the key is to arrive early enough so you are not in a rush, and then have the time and space available to troubleshoot (if necessary). When all goes well you have an hour or more to just relax, have a drink, and chat with the patrons. I usually enjoy this the most as I watch my bandmates scramble to get their gear set up, bumping into each other, sweating... cursing... and in a lousy mood because they are finishing setting up seconds before the first set begins.

 

35 years ago I toured with a C3, leslie, Rhodes, Clavinet, Minimoog, and an Ampeg V4 stack. Now its my XK3c System and a GEM RPX... Things are so much easier now...

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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Hey Stee V, you opened a BIG CAN OF WORMS MAN, you really need and I mean need to get out and have played every week end, or, three day week end, or, six days a week. Forty years ago I was a drummer/keyboard player/lead vocalist, and, carried my own monitor, YES, I had a long bed truck and unloaded and loaded it all myself. I stopped playing drums and just did boards.

Then I had three car accidents in three years, no alchol involved, I received severe back injuries, inoperable, the end of working with bands on week ends. Now, I play six boards at home every other day. I am not able to lift any of my boards, even the light plastic controller, 12Ibs. I am guessing you are sort of young and just do not have enough experience to have asked the questions you just asked. I am happy everyone thoroughly explained everything in detail to you, you should be far more knowlegable now. Any more great questions? All of the forum can and will help happily, I need some more pain meds now.

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I think I have a different band situation than most on here (we're in the UK, for what difference it makes).

 

Our keys player gigs week in and week out with an M102 Hammond, Leslie 145, Wurlitzer A200 and Marshall twin for it. The bass player plays an Ashdown 8x10, I play bari sax and carry the vocal PA we use for smaller gigs (2 x 50lb Peaveys, an amp & desk), and we all muck in.

 

Whichever 4 of us are at the van help lift the Hammond and wheel it on it's Roll-or-Kari dollies, someone carries the Wurly in, somebody else helps the bass player, the girl singer carries in all the drums and saxes that are smaller.

 

It's a genuinely brilliant experience. We can be driving away from a venue under 30 minutes after playing our last note if we move it - everyone mucks in not only with the carrying, but also in the tidying away of PA cables, lifting speakers down etc.

 

To put it in perspective we play at least 1, often 2 shows per weekend, every weekend. London and Glasgow last weekend, London and Birmingham this weekend.

 

That kind of thing is definitely workable if the whole band is committed to using awesome vintage gear. The band that motivates me to bring my Rhodes knows that it's not going to happen unless they are helping, and I make sure to suggest "maybe I should just play the Nord on this gig," to the bandleader from time to time :D The Rhodes is important to him, so he steps up.

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As has been mentioned by others, it's the combination of weight + awkwardness of a keyboard that can make them difficult to move if they are heavy. I'm not shy about lifting 80 lbs normally, but if you make it 80 lbs and 5' long then we're talking about problems.

 

Relying on bandmates for help not only means that you must constantly impose on them, but you must also wait around until they have a free moment to lend you a hand. That's usually after they've moved their own stuff.

 

It gets old really fast.

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