Jump to content
Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Which hand piano, which hand organ?


Dr88s

Recommended Posts

For instance, on the intro to Don't Do Me Like That, I could play the piano part with either hand but the organ licks, complete with smears, had to be the right hand. Smears have always been way better with the right hand, which is why my right hand ends up there much of the time.

 

How funny; it was a video of that exact song which got me pondering this whole issue. I couldn't imagine playing the organ riff with my left hand, but yet that's how Benmont Tench does it.

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 51
  • Created
  • Last Reply
For instance, on the intro to Don't Do Me Like That, I could play the piano part with either hand but the organ licks, complete with smears, had to be the right hand. Smears have always been way better with the right hand, which is why my right hand ends up there much of the time.

 

How funny; it was a video of that exact song which got me pondering this whole issue. I couldn't imagine playing the organ riff with my left hand, but yet that's how Benmont Tench does it.

 

You know, actually, thinking back, I think I did try it both ways. Organ lick was just a little cleaner with the right hand. Again, for me, left hand smears don't feel as natural.

 

This was probably another one where I'd switch hands sometimes just to keep myself challenged/entertained. Played those songs SO many times.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After going through the same thing a year or so ago, i found it really distracting having to rethink where the notes were for every different song. So now, as much as i can, i try to play everything on non-transposed keyboards (organ/synth on top 61-key keyboard and piano on bottom 88-key keyboard), with left hand on piano and right hand on organ (since i'm more an organ player than piano player). The only octave transposition i use is when i split the bottom keyboard, with right hand transposed down an octave, and left hand (if i'm not playing left-hand bass) transposed up (usually) two octaves. With this limited number of part arrangements, i can manage to put each part where it's not too uncomfortable to reach, and still keep track of where middle C is. And playing is fun again.

 

- Jimbo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely agree that the material will tend to make the choice for you, but if you can stack it solves things pretty well regardless.

In a stack for whatever reason, I always like piano on the bottom, but of course if you are using a Hammond it isn't an option, so the few gigs I've done with a real Hammond, I put the piano on top.

 

For myself I think anytime I couldn't stack, organ went to the right, because I find I'm more likely to solo on organ, and more likely to cover basslines on piano.

Of course there is also the parallel option which probably takes up more stage real estate and sort of demands you stand.

 

As for L/R independance, it is a problem for me too, but I think the larger problem is my left hand is terrible in general. :blush:

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My rig is piano to the right, organ to the left, in an L configuration. Two reasons for the left/right thing: a) I'm a piano player by nature, although I'm a decent organ player. b) The organ by its nature is a deft pad instrument and I would tend to pad with my left hand while my right hand works the piano that is, by its nature, anything but a deft pad instrument.

 

The reason for the L thing: for one, it just looks cooler, but mostly because of my wrist issues combined with the size of my keyboards. A Hammond XK-3c with lower manual coupled with a Kawai MP8II (with Nord Electro Rack, a small line mixer and a Boss Fender Deluxe pedal stacked on top) would be awkward at best stacked vertically. If I can't L the rig, then I play only organ or only piano. Frankly, if the material is worth playing, then instrumentation doesn't matter - I can cover the entire gig on either piano or organ.

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a really interesting thread, lots of good advice here!

 

For those of you that use a piano & organ in an 'L' configuration, what do you do about the differing keyboard heights? The lower manual of a Hammond organ is 4" higher than a piano keyboard. I guess this is to make an allowance for the pedals.

 

As such a Hammond organ bench is also 4" higher than a piano stool (roughly).

 

Would be interested in ideas & opinions !

 

Regards

 

Julian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I _think_ that mr. tench always plays a real B3 and a real piano, in an L - hammond on left, piano on right. This means that he really has no choice, but to play the organ riff with his left hand.
I'm just saying', everyone that confuses correlation with causation eventually ends up dead.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been encouraging friends to use organ benches for stage piano work. I believe it really helps stage presence; the extra 3" (18 vs 21) really matters, and seems to keep folks from slouching.

 

Here is my friend Craig Tousignant playing a thrown-together rig.. the pedal, amp, and M3 bench are mine; the Kurzweil belongs to someone else.

 

http://i43.tinypic.com/1z2emoy.jpg

 

If you look in the background, behind the accordion player, you can see my usual rig (I was up next), which is a spinet organ with a stage piano on top. This should work fine for an A100 etc, too. I align the keys and have the piano set up so it overhangs the organ controls.

 

SOP for me is to play organ while sitting and piano while standing. I sit if I'm playing both for more than a few quick stabs -- I need to sit for expression pedal work. Whichever instrument is lead is played by my right hand. If I am comping on both, then whichever one has the higher voicing is played with the right hand, unless the organ part needs crawling. I can't crawl with my left. Walking bass figures are usually played with my left.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes I switch hands playing with my organ so it feels like a stranger.

Wait... wrong thread.

 

Wonder how often that joke comes up here :).

 

This is a really interesting thread, lots of good advice here!

Julian

 

Thanks Julian! I hope to only start interesting and relevant threads here. There's nothing worse than an OP asking a question to only be answered by crickets...

 

What I take home from the varied responses here is that there is no hard-and-fast rule. There seem to be two camps. Some players mostly use organ as a pad-like sound and therefore will put it in their left hand for sustained chords while bringing piano or synth to the forefront with their right. Others are primarily organists and will play their runs and licks with the right while comping piano cords with the left.

 

The best thing to do is to become equally proficient with both hands as mich as is possible to allow for the greatest flexibility. I am going to try the exercise of playing some songs I know with my hands reversed to see if I am even able to do it.

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if we brings synths into the equation, for me it depends on the synth.

 

I've been pondering going with a 4 keyboard rig in an L in which case for me it would be: left=piano with poly synth on top. Right=organ with mono synth on top.

I probably won't do this due to space limitations in my teaching studio though.

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those of you that use a piano & organ in an 'L' configuration, what do you do about the differing keyboard heights? The lower manual of a Hammond organ is 4" higher than a piano keyboard. I guess this is to make an allowance for the pedals.

 

As such a Hammond organ bench is also 4" higher than a piano stool (roughly).

Well, the height difference only really matters if you're using a real B-3 and a real piano. If I'm using a real B-3 and a DP, I get the key level of the DP as in line with the level of the lower manual. If I'm using a clone and a DP, then (if there is a lower manual) I match those key levels as I would with a B-3. If it's single manual, I again match the key levels. The main reason I like those levels matched is that if I'm just playing organ on a tune, I like the level of the manuals - it's the natural relationship of the manuals on a real B-3 and I emulate that with the clones. My relationship/orientation to the lower manual on a B-3 is pretty much how I like to relate to a piano, so it's a very natural fit for me to have them on the same plane. It also makes it very easy when I'm playing both at the same time because it allows my arms and torso to be more relaxed than they would be if I was having to reach too many awkward angles, leaning one way or the other to relate to one of the keyboards.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shifting octaves, without or without splits, can get confusing, because there is nothing intuitive about it, in fact you are deliberately setting up a counter-intuitive situation that happens to make sense for a particular song. I found that I had to do a considerable amount of practice with each setup so that it starts to become, as opdigits said, physical memory. Then, time permitting, I would review it before a show, because after about a week my memory of splits and octave shifts had disappeared.

 

My sentiments exactly. However, I also find it to be a necessary evil in the world of cover / dance bands where you're expected to cover multiple parts. I find that I've got an order of preference when dealing with the "ergonomic" facet of creating a "setup" (I.e., which patches I'm going to use on each of the keyboards in my rig for any given song). Obviously the requirements of each song ultimately determines what is needed.

 

When multiple sounds are needed - I look first to layer sound. That layering may be two sounds on a single board (often using the expression pedal to swell the "2nd layer" in and out) - or sounds on two separate boards.

 

I add octave shifts when necessary (but as sparingly as possible) to avoid the need to "pretzel" (i.e., play parts with my hands crossed).

 

I resort to using keyboard splits as a last resort. When I do use splits - it's usually for "special effects" (i.e., a novelty sound assigned to a single key at the either the very top or very bottom end of the keyboard). In my experience, splits in the "middle of the keyboard" tend to breed weirdness when you're in the moment - so I avoid them to the greatest extent possible.

 

Like Adan said - it does take some effort to keep the ergonomic aspects of complex setups fresh in your mind. Whenever possible, it's part of my "pre-gig prep" that I do before every gig.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow...I had been planning to get an expression pedal, but to use just as I use the one in my organ. Never thought of using it to swell a second layer. Good idea, Norman. Good idea..

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow...I had been planning to get an expression pedal, but to use just as I use the one in my organ. Never thought of using it to swell a second layer. Good idea, Norman. Good idea..

 

I use my expression pedals in this manner constantly. I've got all sorts of "combi" patches were the base voice is a piano configured to ignore the expression pedal (I use the volume knob to adjust volume if necessary). Horns, Strings, organs and pads are all great candidates for "2nd layer" sounds - with which I use the expression pedal to bring up/down in the mix. It works great for those parts where the piano voice you need to play just doesn't seem to fill the space it needs to ... just swell in some organ, strings or a pad behind it when you need to "carry" it a little without adding a lot of notes. It's also great for adding accents to turnarounds or choruses ... just swell in a brass voice or an organ.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just curious. Is your guitar player playing all of the guitar parts from the records at the same time? :rolleyes:

 

Point very well taken.

 

We have one guitarist who does his best to choose the most salient guitar parts and weave them together into a hybrid part of rhythm with fills and the occasional lead.

 

I am not tremendously experienced in the band context and am just trying to recreate the keyboard-based sounds I hear on the record, live. I notice that some bands with layered keyboard parts will drop all but the most noticeable live. When I get a little more confident with myself in the band context, I will have no problem doing this. But for now as 'the new guy' I'm trying to do it all.

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use my expression pedals in this manner constantly. I've got all sorts of "combi" patches were the base voice is a piano configured to ignore the expression pedal (I use the volume knob to adjust volume if necessary). Horns, Strings, organs and pads are all great candidates for "2nd layer" sounds - with which I use the expression pedal to bring up/down in the mix. It works great for those parts where the piano voice you need to play just doesn't seem to fill the space it needs to ... just swell in some organ, strings or a pad behind it when you need to "carry" it a little without adding a lot of notes. It's also great for adding accents to turnarounds or choruses ... just swell in a brass voice or an organ.

 

Good advice!

 

I'm wondering if my m50, with its deep programming capabilities, could even use the expression input in an inverse way. That way, using the expression pedal could crossfade between the layered sounds. Will have to check on this at home tonight.

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Advice for new-to-bands guy: creating a muddy part that has all the parts is far worse than creating a clean part that gets the point across. It's easier to avoid mud in the studio because you can spend your time tweaking EQ, reverb and levels.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Advice for new-to-bands guy: creating a muddy part that has all the parts is far worse than creating a clean part that gets the point across. It's easier to avoid mud in the studio because you can spend your time tweaking EQ, reverb and levels.

 

This was probably the steepest learning curve transitioning from solo to band.

 

In fact, in many songs I have learned to play up one octave so as not to step on my guitarist, as well as avoid using my left hand pinky bass notes (used to love playing octaves in LH) to avoid steeping on my bassist.

 

When I practice it at home solo I cringe at the sound. Bandmates love it though and feel I've added much to the music. Who am I to complain?

 

 

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I often double piano bass with the bass player, but only when he's happy with it. Otherwise, I sometimes play a left hand rhythmic part that sticks to the tonic, which doesn't conflict with the bass part. I use EQ to roll off the bass in general.

 

When playing stacked keyboards, I'll play the simpler chord-based part with left hand and more complex or melodic with right. I have a sustain pedal on both sides of the swell pedal, because I like to avoid crossing feet with hands. However, on occasion where I've had only one sustain pedal (playing someone else's rig, pedal failure during gig, etc.) I find I'm finally beginning to be able to play cross-footed. A decade or so ago, I couldn't even get off the ground doing that.

 

With an L setup, I'd probably put the organ on the left, despite the fact that I'd far rather use my right foot for swell. That's because I'm more of a piano player, and I more often play chords on organ and more rhythmic or melodic parts on piano. When I play both, it's usually blues or swing. I'm not likely to play Springsteen or Kansas and try to cover both parts accurately!

 

It's a good point that it's not necessary to cover all the parts on the original. It's far more important to play a good part that works with what the other musicians are playing. That said, I just love the sound of piano plus organ, and while one hand on each isn't the same, it's still fun to do and it works when it works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...