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whats the best live setup for reggae keyboard players?


reggaekeys

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With technology expanding big time these days, I guess im still not up to speed, when i'm seeing keyboard players at live shows using one keyboard and a laptop or even two keyboards and a laptop and still sounding good! with such an easy setup. Whats that all about? and whats the connection? whats the purpose? I still take my motif 7 and motif xs to live shows. I'd like to do that too!. Even the sounds for reggae. any suggestions. my typical setup is splitting my motif 7 with organ, piano, brass and flute.
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Sounds like your rig works just fine.

 

A good reggae setup is two or three 61 key boards. or possibly an 88 key and a 61 key. It depends on how much lead stuff / non rhythm sounds you need to cop, like horn lines, synth lines and samples.

 

Here are some Possible/probable splits:

 

1 board:

dedicated piano

OR

piano/organ split

OR

piano/lead sounds split

OR

organ

 

2 boards:

 

TOP: misc lead sounds / brass patches

BOTTOM: Piano / Organ Split

 

2 boards:

 

TOP: organ / everything else

BOTTOM: dedicated piano

 

3 boards:

 

TOP: lead sounds / everything else

MID: dedicated clonewheel for organ

BOTTOM: Piano

 

TOP: lead sounds / everything else

MID: something like an electro for organ and clav and EP

BOTTOM: Piano

 

What I tend to gig with/prefer on reggae gigs is unique to me, but a setup I often use unless I need something else is this:

 

2 BOARDS

 

TOP: lead sounds / organ / everything else

BOTTOM: dedicated piano, often 88 key board.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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My apologies (sorry I got off on talking about various traditional rompler setups, like you use with your MOTIFS. That's how I roll and continue to roll despite the advancement of laptop technology)

 

To answer your question a little more, there are some great programs out there that allow you host all kinds of virtual instruments on your computer and gig with controller keyboards that control the various programs on your computer. A very common one is a program called Mainstage which comes with Logic Pro and is for macs. Mainstage is popular because it's an Apple program running on Apple hardware, and it has the entire suite of quality sounds that come with Logic.

 

A controller/laptop setup is nice because controllers can be much more lightweight and slimmer than regular romplers like the MOTIFS. The huge downside to it is the scary potential for getting a laptop jacked up or damaged on stage, or having a possible computer crash mid performance. It happens. That's why I still tend to roll with a rig very similar to yours - Motif XS on top of a Motif Classic, or Motif XS on top of an 88 note board.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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http://www.vayaestudio.com/7BCCE_1%20(Small).jpg

 

...And there's of course the M1. Any reggae player who's been around for more than a minute knows the ubiquitous piano sound that came from that M1. Bright, shrill: perfect for biting chanks. You'll still see these on many a reggae gig.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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I setup with a XK-3C on bottom for organ, and PC361 up top for pianos, I find the bubble action is better with the lower arm, and the same up top with the upbeats- quick stabs with the higher arm, either way will obviously work, I just find this to feel right when playing Reggae.
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Depends on the band and if you have horns, or another keyboardist. If you are solo minimum of 3 keyboards if you want quick access because you have to cover a shitload of ground usually and it can be a pain in the ass. I rehearsed with a well know project here in town recently and they asked about the Korg M-1/T-3 sound and I told them that the music has been there for at least 20 years with that sound, now in Jamaica it is a Triton because they generally dont get the latest gear as other parts of the world. The Extreme also has that MI type sound. Bobadohshes Three keyboard option good but then it depends on what you are doing. In fact I have used up to four because of a dedicated clone for Hammond stuff. I am not one for the laptop route, the only guy I know that does that is for Inner Circle, and they sequence the whole show almost. In the late 90s and early 2000s we had a good Reggae scene, now a bunch of people are not touring but when they were I would always look at their rigs. This summer I saw Keith, from the wailers rig and it had a Motif, and two Tritons stacked on top with rack on the side, it was strange but everyone is different. Are you are playing roots, lovers rock, dancehall, ska?? It all depends. This is a template I give people all the time. Once in awhile I get an e-mail from someone from somewhere in the country that needs some information about it because there is not a lot out there:

 

 

You might be interested to know how modern Reggae bands work. These are the setups I have worked with or seen. To travel out of Jamaica takes a lot of work and they dont always carry horn players so keyboard players play horn sounds and really study it and make it their own art form. If the artist is famous they may have horns like when I saw Jimmy Cliff a few weeks back. This is just a template and can be changed. Too often people dont prioritize the rig for the music. Also 95% people play standing, never sitting. The look onstage is also important in this music.

 

Rhythm:

Korg M-1. Triton, T-3 or T-2 (piano)

Organ (usually a Korg product but sometimes a clone)

 

Melody :

Korg, Yamaha or Roland workstation for melody

Any keyboard for anything else.

 

 

Or traditionally:

 

Hammonds, Clavinet, Wurlizter, Rhodes

 

Melody:

 

Horn section

Or Someone playing lead guitar.

 

Korg is in the brand for most players in Jamaica because the way the sound cuts in a mix. Most bands have good melody and or rhythm playing so those are the guys to follow. I suggest the Roots Radiacs for example, besides the guys that played with Bob these guys did some real cool stuff and without a lot of gear, those are guys you need to study. I was and am a piano player first but I listened and tried to emulate what I heard and then picked up things in execution and structure along the way. Problem is most DVD or YouTube videos dont show what the old guys were doing so resources are very limited when trying to play Reggae. Also you have to watch out for a lot of instruction that is just plain wrong.

 

 

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I suggest the Roots Radiacs for example, besides the guys that played with Bob these guys did some real cools stuff without a lot of gear, those are guys you need to study.

 

Preach!!!!!

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-XmNm0inyM

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Funny I was teaching a guitarist the line in this song,one of my favorites. What about this:

 

[video:youtube]

 

One of my favorites also. Very hypnotic. A lot is going on.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Really loving the Gregory Isaacs tunes, thanks!

 

In the Bob Marley tribute project I just started working with, I use 2 keyboards, a Kurzweil SP4-7 below a Hammond XK-1. The Kurz does piano, Rhodes, Clav and a few synth parts. The Hammond is split, so I can do the bubble on one manual instead of 2. I have considered adding a 3rd board, a laptop/controller setup to handle all the clav/synth stuff. The band has a 3 piece horn section, and 2 guitarists, so I don't have to cover all those parts, but a lot of the Marley stuff has multiple keyboard parts, so it's kind of a challenge to decide which parts to cover.

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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I perform with guys in the Haitian reggae/hip-hop community here frequently and I do it all on an Axiom 61 running Mainstage. I have a lot of splits set up.

 

The artist I play with more often I have the following patches:

- strings layered with French horn (we do a 70s Haitian pop tune that has an orchestral arrangement)

- B3 (with some percussion fx on the pads)

- Rhodes

- Wurlitzer

- Clavinet w/ wah

- synth bass with 808 on the pads

 

For another MC I worked with, he's more into the hip-hop, dancehall and kompa sound so I didn't use the orchestral patch, and had a sine/sawtooth nasal lead that is all over modern kompa, tinny acoustic piano, and then the other usual suspects. I've gotten pretty quick at switching between Mainstage patches and I usually re-order my patches in the order they'll come in in the set.

 

If you want to stick to hardware, Korg Triton + Nord Electro is a standard rig I've seen here.

My Site

Nord Electro 5D, Novation Launchkey 61, Logic Pro X, Mainstage 3, lots of plugins, fingers, pencil, paper.

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Problem with Splits in Reggae is you only have so much room to be expressive unless it is an 88 key. Clavinet is really for Roots and Culture music. If anyone is every playing Marley you don't sacrifice the bubble for anything, that is what makes his music a pain to cover.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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