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Can't get over the look.


sherry

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Saw a pro band in south Florida and the keyboard player was using a single 61 key Motif. Everyone else had tons of gear and he looked so bare there with a tiny keyboard. And most of the parts he was playing were piano. Sounded great, but looked kind of silly. My question for all you pros: Is looking cool just as important as sounding cool? I know it's a silly question, but I don't believe I've ever seen a pro touring band's keyboardist using only a single 61 note board. I'm actully thinking of doing the same for the simple reason of weight and stage realestate. Am I crazy?
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IMHO, yes, the look is part of presenting an image and entertaining an audience. It's not the only component, or even the most important, but it's important.

 

But once you identify the obvious bad extremes (The Five Browns deciding to play Beethoven in lederhosen), the middle ground is really subjective.

 

Elton and Billy wouldn't "look" right doing their entire gig on a slab digital piano. I could not picture Emerson playing one controller and Mainstage. But Eddie Jobson on two controllers, well, okay.

 

The two slabs on x stands look (not a slam on x stands) doesn't cut it for a lot of folks who end up using shells for that very reason.

 

So no, i don't think you're crazy, i think you always need to consider your visual image as an entertainer, no matter what genre or size of rig you're gigging.

..
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Looks notwithstanding, I would go insane trying to play everything on a 61 note board - particularly piano parts. Now an 88 would be an entirely different matter. Veering back on topic wrt looks, the quintessentially lame keyboard look is some dude noodling on a keyboard with his left hand dangling at his side.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Maybe he's a student of the Keyboard Corner "I need to play my gig on the smallest possible rig" club?

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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Yes your visual look onstage, including your personal appearance, your clothes and your rig, is or can be an important component of a gig and of your performance. (That's one of the reasons I love using the K&M Spider Pro keyboard stand, it really stands out with an arresting look, gets some attention.)

 

I too would find it hard to play just on a 61-note keyboard, even as a top "synth and strings" board perched over an 88-key board used for piano, it would feel restricting to me at this point, I like 73 or 76 to use in splits for different song requirements. But I do remember reading in Keyboard magazine this year I think, that the keyboard player in Steve Smith's Vital Information, tours with just a single 61-key board for his rig because of the realistic economics and logistics, mainly the economics, of touring in a jazz-fusion band today. It made me sad.

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus

 

 

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It could be worse - I know of bands that have a laptop running Reason sequences for keyboard parts (the laptop is programmed and run by the drummer). Some (famous) bands put the keyboard player off stage, behind the speakers.

 

It's up to the keyboard player to make himself seen and felt. We recently had a thread about showmanship that discussed ways and examples that keyboardists can use to make their presence known.

 

As to the gear, I wouldn't feel right with just a single 61 note keyboard but someone more talented might be able to pull it off.

 

 

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Yep, this is the last reason keeping me from pulling the trigger on a Mojo purchase.

Compared to my present and previous rigs, the thing seems to be a bit narrow without the extra width provided by preset keys of a B-3 or XK series.

One idea I'm toying with is mounting the board into the "shallow" section of a beefy road case with "hairpin" legs attached.

It would then be a simple matter of lifting off a hinged top.

The idea came to me as I remenbered an Oberheim Eclipse piano I had for a few years.

Thoughts?

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Man I hate to hear about that, big rock bands that hide the live keyboard player offstage. Guess it will tarnish their image as hard rockin' bad boys. U2 and maybe Van Halen?

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus

 

 

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No, Van Halen uses tapes.

 

I saw Black Sabbath, and their keyboardist was onstage, but right (and I mean RIGHT) behind the PA stack. He was going nuts, fist pumping, jumping, flashing the horns, all of it, but no one could see him. I only saw him (cuz I definitely didn't hear him) because the bar at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago is set back from the front of the stage, so I could see this guy, whereas no one in the actual audience could.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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I saw Black Sabbath, and their keyboardist was onstage, but right (and I mean RIGHT) behind the PA stack. He was going nuts, fist pumping, jumping, flashing the horns, all of it, but no one could see him. I only saw him (cuz I definitely didn't hear him) because the bar at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago is set back from the front of the stage, so I could see this guy, whereas no one in the actual audience could.

 

Presumably this was recently, in which case that was Adam Wakeman, progeny of a slightly more famous, cape-wearing keyboardist... he's also playing guitar on some tunes...

 

[video:youtube]

 

Frankly, I don't know if more than a single percentile of Sabbath fans would expect a keyboard player to be ANYWHERE near the stage, never mind ON it in plain sight. ;)

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I recently saw a 35MM print of Alice Cooper's "Welcome To My Nightmare" live concert film. I spent the most of the movie thinking "I can *hear* the keyboards, but where the hell is the keyboardist?"

 

Not until the end of the show when he's introducing the band (calls out their name and they rip off an extended solo) did we FINALLY see the keyboardist (Josef Chirowski) hidden behind the mains and props. The cameras actually had to film him from behind due to the way he was set up.

 

Frankly, if you're contributing to the band in a big way, you should be prominently placed. I had this issue with my last band and due to the way the stage was setup at a particular venue we played often, I was always setup on one side of the stage, partially hidden behind the mains that were hanging from the ceiling, even though I was de facto bandleader, sharing lead vocal duties with the female vocalist, and playing keys as well.

 

 

 

Nord Stage 2 SW73, Kurzweil PC3LE7, Moog Sub 37, Alesis Ion, Rhodes Stage 73, Moog Werkstatt-01, Yamaha CP-300

-------------

Knock knock

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Interrupting synthesizer

Interrup-MOOOOOOOOOG

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I have a different perspective. I have keyboard, stand, speaker, 2 horns, wireless, etc. The less equipment you have to do the job correctly the better. People will be more blown away by your sounds, actions on stage and by what you play. In the module age, why carry more than one keyboard? If I need more than one I'll have an 88 key board with modules.
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Is looking cool just as important as sounding cool? I know it's a silly question, but I don't believe I've ever seen a pro touring band's keyboardist using only a single 61 note board. I'm actully thinking of doing the same for the simple reason of weight and stage realestate. Am I crazy?

Back in the mid/late 1980's, I used a single 61 note keyboard on an Apex stand. Looked very cool, nice clean lines. Fit the bands image perfectly. Since then, I've always used a two keyboard setup. Weighs more, uses just slightly more real estate.

I've never considered myself a pro, semi-pro at times, but that was quite awhile ago. :facepalm:

:nopity:
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I have a different perspective. I have keyboard, stand, speaker, 2 horns, wireless, etc. The less equipment you have to do the job correctly the better. People will be more blown away by your sounds, actions on stage and by what you play. In the module age, why carry more than one keyboard? If I need more than one I'll have an 88 key board with modules.

 

Good luck playing Reggae that way. Some rigs need more hardware.

"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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Thanks everyone for the replies. The thought of having to lug only a small keyboard (Motif or Kronos 61) sounds very enticing because of easy setup/teardown. My other thought is, it certainly didn't seem to bother anyone that the keyboard player only had a 61 key keyboard but me. Is it because I play keyboards? Don't know. I actually give the guy credit because if I didn't see it I wouldn't know it was only a 61 key keyboard. Thanks
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It could be worse - I know of bands that have a laptop running Reason sequences for keyboard parts (the laptop is programmed and run by the drummer).....

 

 

Yeah... an all too frequent reflection of the times. Twice in the past couple of years I've been considered, but passed up, for a 'Fifth Beatle' slot with bands that run keys as part of their backing tracks. Both acts had players I'd worked and traveled with previously; the issue in both cases boiled down to $$ - the " We'd love to have you, but.... " syndrome. Supposedly the question is still up in the air with one act.. I keep in touch, but it doesn't look positive right now.

 

Regarding image - both gear and personal: Even in a casual environment, I try to dress just a little differently than the audience - if it's a 'denim' gig, I wear something additional that sets me apart from what a patron might wear. And I try and keep the keyboard rig tidy, tight, and professional looking.

I usually take two keyboards out; it makes things easier, logistically. There have been gigs that worked fine with a single keyboard - either an 88 or 76. 61 as a single keyboard ? Nah... I cover a lot of piano parts. Doing octave shifts while playing just feels wrong.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Man I hate to hear about that, big rock bands that hide the live keyboard player offstage. Guess it will tarnish their image as hard rockin' bad boys. U2 and maybe Van Halen?

 

Aerosmith hid their keyboard player behind some speakers this year.

Roland Jupiter 80, Roland FA-08, Yamaha MOXF6, Nektar Impact LX61, Macbook Air
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I play in a couple of original bands, of which one is an instrumental electro/house outfit, another one a straight up pop band with electronic elements. In both of these bands I turn up with an X stand (which I've made sure is reliable!), my Nord Lead 2X and a bunch of stompboxes. The Lead is an immensely powerful tool for live use (although I am not too fond of the screen, omission of onboard EQ and a handful of other things), and it has a distinct sound. So I go about the sounds that it has to offer, which are plenty, and change this further with outboard effects.

 

"What if I have to lay down some organ?" Well, the beauty of it is that when you're playing original music, and to some extent cover music, you have the freedom to do what you want. And a lot of players are admired for their great sound - Clapton for his classic Strat tone, Lonnie Smith for *that* organ. Noone would ever ask Miles to be able to cover a bit of Coleman and Coltrane ground as well. Having a distinct instrumental sound is a forte, and I consider this a pitfall of modern day digital keyboards - everybody sounds the same. I'm making an active choice: liberation through limitation.

 

Plus, I don't have a car, so I can get to gigs by train.

 

And I think one guy and his single keyboard, as long as it can do what it needs to, looks GREAT.

When in doubt, superimpose pentatonics.
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I've done many a gig with only my Nord Stage compact. I also did many a gig with my Electro 73 before I got the stage. If I only need 1 sound at a time and it's something the Nord can cover, that's what I'm bringing. I'd rather let my playing speak for itself. Before I lost a lot of weight I'd make the Nord look like a toy sitting behind it.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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ahem..

 

I know a lot of pro players in the prog metal scene who just use one KB. And these all are very capable players who demonstrate their skill onstage.

 

Jordan Rudess :))))

Jens Johansson

Janne Wirman

the dude from Sabaton

the dude from Sonata Arctica

and more

 

 

 

Personally I switched to a single 61 a long time ago and never looked back. My rig doesn't look silly at all, and I get A LOT of positive feedback on my stage appearance from both audience and fellow players.

 

to me being hidden behind a cr@pload of ironing boards is worse than just playing that one little KB and letting the audience see you.

 

I can imagine myself playing a 49-er if a gig is something like electronic music or indie rock where parts are simple.

 

 

Here's my rig:

 

http://metalist.co.il/Images/Galleries/2013_09_07_Eluveitie/Big/IMG_0114%20copy.jpg

 

 

http://metalist.co.il/Images/Galleries/2013_07_04_MetalBozen/Big/IMG_0255.jpg

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Personally I switched to a single 61 a long time ago and never looked back.

 

I often use just one keyboard.

 

When I started playing back in the 80's, I lugged around 3 synths... fun back then perhaps, but I like to travel light anymore.

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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(Off topic, the pic just made me think of it) That's Geoff Downes, right? I saw him play last spring with Yes and though his rig and performance were amazing and awesome for my money, I have to say I thought he himself didn't really look cool but rather ridiculous just because of the outfit he was wearing - they looked to me like billowy white pajamas, with the top having some kind of print pattern in light pastel colors that could have been teddy bears or something (wasn't close enough to make it out). He sounded great but looked really silly!

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus

 

 

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