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Return to gigging (aka F$!*ing Nord!)


synthdogg

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So after many years of spending the majority of my time in the studio, I decided that I missed playing out and started accepting a couple of gigs to see how if would go. I played the first of them on Saturday night, and it turned out to be an interesting evening.

 

It was just a short set (30 minutes) with some great musicians backing up a fairly well known singer at a benefit dinner. There was time for a 1 hour band rehearsal (after a soundcheck), another hour with the singer, a LONG break and then the performance.

 

I decided to go with a really simple 1 keyboard rig; a Nord Stage 2 running direct with IEM's for monitoring. Well, halfway through the first song of the band rehearsal I broke a frikking key on the Nord. I broke to F4! There's nothing that says "Welcome back to gigging" quite like a broken key on your only keyboard, is there?

 

So I muddled through rehearsal, dancing around it. I felt lucky that the note just didn't trigger instead of giving me stuck notes constantly. The singer arrived, and she was pretty spectacular. Wonderful voice, easy to work with, funny, charming (beautiful...didn't hurt either), super easy and inspiring to play behind......except for that one "F" I kept missing.

 

So, that LONG break after rehearsal that I had been previously dreading was now my best friend. There was a green room set up and I had to perform some minor surgery in there. I opened up the Nord to see if there was any way to perform a quick fix. It looked like I would have to remove the entire keybed to remove the broken key, and I really didn't want to do that. Instead, I found a maintenance guy to ask (in vain, I thought) if he had any crazy glue. I figured there was not much chance he would have any, and if he did it wouldn't be strong enough to hold the small plastic piece that snapped off once i started playing again. I was shocked when he said that glue was one of the biggest requests he got, and instead of crazy glue they have this super strong epoxy that will "hold anything".

 

10 minutes later, he showed up in the green room wearing rubber gloves and goggles looking like a lab assistant carrying in a couple of vials. He applied the epoxy and I held the key in place for 5 minutes. I left it alone for 30 minutes after that and grabbed a bite to eat. When I returned, the key worked flawlessly! I re-assembled the Nord, brought it back out to the stage and started the gig. It worked great! The band was smokin', the singer was wonderful.....wow.

 

I have some more dates on the calendar with this singer, hopefully they won't be quite as "exciting".

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I guess the moral is to always bring a second board. Or krazy glue.

 

Really, even if I didn't need/want two boards on stage, I'd keep a Microstation or something in the car for emergency. But then, I always want two boards on stage. ;-)

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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Everytime I talk to the guys at a local keyboard repair shop they tell me with out fail that keys are the number one item they repair as pianists pound on them too hard and almost refuse to turn their monitors up enough. I told them I could easily believe it since when I really start getting into a piece or tune I bump the volume up a bit so I hear myself well.

Hopefully you didn't have that prob and it was plastic fatigue, glad it got fixed and all went well.

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Wow, I can't believe you took apart your only keyboard just before the gig at the venue. That's insane!

My second keyboardist had an Ensoniq ESQ-1 way back when. I clearly remember him frantically opening up the unit every time it froze up; pulling out and finger-swipe zapping the eproms back to life, just in time for the next set...sometimes in the middle of a set!

 

Being a little bit of a tech at a gig doesn't hurt.

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Wow, I can't believe you took apart your only keyboard just before the gig at the venue. That's insane!

 

 

Joe

 

+1 on this one. I opened up my keyboards a lot of times, and I'm not afraid of tinkering, but I would never open my keyboard just before the gig. I would rather do crazy arrangements to avoid that F than to risk total malfunction before gig.

Custom handmade clocks: www.etsy.com/shop/ClockLight
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Wow, I can't believe you took apart your only keyboard just before the gig at the venue. That's insane!

 

Although I try to avoid this if possible, I've done it many times over the years. We currently keep a set of tools, soldering iron, spare connectors, etc. in a drawer in our monitor rack. We've done repairs on the fly to keyboards, guitars, various cables, electric drums (including trigger replacements - of which we keep several spares), wireless belt pack repairs. We finally decided to use band funds to buy a complete spare IEM belt pack in the rack since we all use the same. It's part of the gig - you have to be able to keep the gear going no matter what.

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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Everytime I talk to the guys at a local keyboard repair shop they tell me with out fail that keys are the number one item they repair as pianists pound on them too hard and almost refuse to turn their monitors up enough. I told them I could easily believe it since when I really start getting into a piece or tune I bump the volume up a bit so I hear myself well.

Hopefully you didn't have that prob and it was plastic fatigue, glad it got fixed and all went well.

 

This is exactly what happened. I had myself pretty low in my ears to make extra sure I was following the rest of the band, and pounded the crap out of the keyboard. (although I'm normally pretty heavy handed anyway.) I realized what I did and turned myself up after I broke the key.

 

As far as opening up the board at the gig, I'm pretty accustomed to that from my touring days. I used to replace keys on the road all the time (not on a weighted action, though). I've never had a board go down simply from opening the case.

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I guess the moral is to always bring a second board. Or krazy glue.

No. The moral is to always bring a maintenance guy. :laugh:

 

http://www.thoughts.com/Media/Photos2/martinscottcatino/932828384_1265227913.jpg

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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On my old analog CX-3 "back in the day," I always had spare keys in my gig bag, and with some frequency, would open the board up between sets to swap out a broken key. Those keys were not meant to withstand the side-to-side forces of organ playing with swiping, etc. There were two pieces that would break. You could lose the first, and the key would just wobble. But if you then broke the second, the key would just fall in and never come back up. Still, despite the nuisance of periodic key replacement, it was the best gigging organ then, if you didn't want to travel with a back-breaking real Hammond and Leslie.

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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That happened to me on one of my last gigs..

 

The keyboard player in the warm up band broke C4 on the upper manual of the B3... Talk about a bummer~! (especially since I used percussion a lot in that band)... He connected it with a piece of silver duct tape and I tried to avoid the key... but it was impossible for most of the 90 minute set. It did hold, though... amazing..

'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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We've done repairs on the fly to keyboards, guitars, various cables...

 

LOLI am still snickering over your last cable repair!

 

Yeah I mostly posted that for comic relief. While true, the use of that cable may offer a different perspective: it changes patches on my guitar processor. A convenience more than anything. If push comes to shove, I can turn the knob to call up one of the 4 or 5 patches I use, and if I happen to have the wrong one, a Marshall with or without reverb, or slightly wrong drive setting isn't the end of the world. If I was driving a synth module, I'd give that MIDI cable much higher priority.

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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Several years ago, before I had the XK System, I used to do stupid low-paying gigs with a Roland VK7. I've already whined about it's various bugs before, but this particular gig was a doozy.

 

It was one of those festival gigs where you have to play a side-stage, but this wasn't even a side-stage it was just a fucking parking lot but of course you couldn't actually park there and they had to truck our gear over in little golf carts from about a quarter mile away. The power for the "stage" was a single extension cord running about 200 feet from a building.

 

Anyway, I get everything set up and go to turn on the VK7 and the power switch literally shatters in my hand. Just completely disintegrates. I've never seen anything like it.

 

So luckily I had my Hammond B3 maintenance kit with me (since at that time I used the real thing when doing bigger gigs) and opened up the VK7 so I could wire the power direct (no switch). After that, I set everything back up and turn it on. But the power from the 200 foot extension cord is so bad my monitor speaker (a powered Yorkville) won't even emit sound. There's simply not enough voltage from the length of the extension cord to power it!

 

So then I have to run back to my car, go home (which is thankfully only 2 miles away), grab my line conditioner, come back, plug it in, and pray everything works! :)

 

All this for a $100 gig. STUPID.

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Wow, I can't believe you took apart your only keyboard just before the gig at the venue. That's insane

 

I'll join the chorus on this one. I am totally risk-averse when it comes to these things. I would have played around that F all night. So kudos to a good repair and I'm glad it turned out to be a good gig after all.

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Years ago I spent an entire week (the last 3 days without sleep) building my Hammond into a custom case. It was a complete rewire job, with the generator and preamp in the base, with multiconnectors and an all new wiring harness.

 

I wired up until the band came to pick me up and drive 12 hours to the gig, I wired from setup until 5 minutes before the gig. I got it all done... and the organ wouldn't start. Completely dead.

 

I had to play the first set with pianet only, which was painful. During the first break I discovered that one wire had broken away due to a cold solder joint - and it was the wire to the start motor. Heated her up, and it worked great.

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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following Moe. . .there's nothing like your Hammond cr*pping out and having to play "Soul Sacrifice" and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" on your Wurlitzer EP.
"The Doomer allows the player to do things beyond which are possible without the accessory."
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A month ago, or so, before I got my Nord C2, i did a clonewheel gig with an old Viscount OP#,on top of a Korg m1, plus a digi-kick 1 octave pedalboard, running thru o Voce Spin II ( i left my Motion sound at home, it was rather small hall.) The prongs on the pedalboard snapped off, so no pedal bass accents. ( I still tapped on the pedalboard, while kicking bass on the Korg, I'm so used to using the bass pedals) After the gig,people commented on how 'catchy' the 'pedal' line' was. SOL PINCUS
robert w nuckels
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there's nothing like playing "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" on your Wurlitzer EP.

Chuck Leavell played his solo of Liz Reed on a Rhodes on the "Wipe the Windows, check the oil, dollar gas" album ... so i tried this at one gig. After the song the guitar asked "WTF was that?" I told him I was trying to emulate Chuck Leavell. He says.. "who in the F is Chuck Leavell..?" Christ ....

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Dyin Breed Band

Exit 93 Band

 

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