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Looking at a change of mode - thoughts please


miden

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I am currently using my own prepared drums/bass /some guitar backing tracks for my solo gigs (bars restaurants etc), however I am getting to a point where I think it is all getting not dynamic enough.

 

I do probs 40- 60% as just solo keys tunes, but I also like to do the other stuff for a bit of variety.

 

So I am thinking about instead, playing left hand basslines, right hand keys and guitar parts and using say a Boss DR880 drum unit..

 

I am keen to find out other opinions on this method - good or bad...and no offence but no opinions on the actual use of backing trax - that issue has been done to death :D

 

And re the DR series are they a decent unit to use, program and setup cycling rhythms on - not just "set" songs...

 

Thanks

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Arranger keyboards allow you to trigger and manipulate parts including rhythms on the fly.

 

Several workstations have tools for doing things like that as well - the Kronos has Karma, for instance.

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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Guys, KARMA?? Not sure Karma is ideal, or remotely ideal. Tell me more Dan... what is the extent of the rhythmic possibilities for Karma? Disco, Hip Hop, Rhumba, Waltz? Fills?

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I am currently using my own prepared drums/bass /some guitar backing tracks for my solo gigs (bars restaurants etc), however I am getting to a point where I think it is all getting not dynamic enough.

 

I do probs 40- 60% as just solo keys tunes, but I also like to do the other stuff for a bit of variety.

 

So I am thinking about instead, playing left hand basslines, right hand keys and guitar parts and using say a Boss DR880 drum unit..

 

I am keen to find out other opinions on this method - good or bad...and no offence but no opinions on the actual use of backing trax - that issue has been done to death :D

 

And re the DR series are they a decent unit to use, program and setup cycling rhythms on - not just "set" songs...

 

Thanks

You used the phrase- "getting not dynamic enough".. Can you go into detail please? I too am interested in this. I use a Tyros, but my experience is limited in this regard.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I think this is a very good set of gear (DR 880 and left hand bass skills) and would strongly encourage you to continue down this path.

 

I hope you can analyse grooves well, and can build a highly relevant drum accompaniment, lots of variety while staying in the groove, all locked into the left hand.

 

We have all seen good examples of people making engaging music in this mode. You just have to be content to miss out on rock star status.

 

It is easy to ramp up this approach to playing live to a duo, organ or piano trio (no bass but guitar, sax, or something), etc.

 

There is a learning curve for the drum machine, but it is worth it (and it will take bass lines too, or you could make those dreaded backing tracks, off-load to sequencer, say Roland MC 808, and be as elaborate as you like.)

 

Go do it.

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Guys, KARMA?? Not sure Karma is ideal, or remotely ideal. Tell me more Dan... what is the extent of the rhythmic possibilities for Karma? Disco, Hip Hop, Rhumba, Waltz? Fills?

 

Whatever the hell you want. Sequence any kind of beat with any drums you want including fills and changes assigned to buttons so you can do whatever you want on the fly. Think of Karma like a multitrack arppegiator, except instead of being stuck with basic patterns, each track can be a sequence of whatever you want, and you can control it all via the control surface and different keys.

 

I think you're confused. Your comment sounds more like what you get out of an arranger. Karma is completely customizable. Maybe your experience is just with the presets and those happen to be the styles you found. Karma goes pretty deep.

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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Confused" no doubt, but also misinformed. Way back when the karma came out, I had enquired about it. My impression was karma was not as customizable as your years of experience say. Completely customizable.. means.. eg an actual performance of a drum groove, not limited by the Karma engine.. the Karma would accurately reflect a drum groove of any kind ? This is wonderful news, and inclines me to reconsider owning the Kronos. It may well be the most versatile "board" out there. Thank you J Dan.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I think this is a very good set of gear (DR 880 and left hand bass skills) and would strongly encourage you to continue down this path.

 

I hope you can analyse grooves well, and can build a highly relevant drum accompaniment, lots of variety while staying in the groove, all locked into the left hand.

 

We have all seen good examples of people making engaging music in this mode. You just have to be content to miss out on rock star status.

 

It is easy to ramp up this approach to playing live to a duo, organ or piano trio (no bass but guitar, sax, or something), etc.

 

There is a learning curve for the drum machine, but it is worth it (and it will take bass lines too, or you could make those dreaded backing tracks, off-load to sequencer, say Roland MC 808, and be as elaborate as you like.)

 

Go do it.

 

Thanks Trapper :)

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Confused" no doubt, but also misinformed. Way back when the karma came out, I had enquired about it. My impression was karma was not as customizable as your years of experience say. Completely customizable.. means.. eg an actual performance of a drum groove, not limited by the Karma engine.. the Karma would accurately reflect a drum groove of any kind ? This is wonderful news, and inclines me to reconsider owning the Kronos. It may well be the most versatile "board" out there. Thank you J Dan.

 

I tend to agree Richard - I recall reading on several occasions Stephen Kay eschewing the notion of trying to use Karma as a surrogate arranger. He himself has said it would be quite difficult to achieve as Karma is really not that kind of software.

 

But I do also agree with Just Dan, more in the prinicple behind karma and the varying dynamics it offers.

 

And to answer you question re the "dynamics" angle Richard - I guess it is a feeling of lack of spontaneity when always playing to the same bassline over the same rhythm...I was feeling that if I could at least remove the bass from the backings and play it myself, it would add more of a "live" feel to my playing and promote more self made variety when I play the tunes.

 

There are apps like Jamstix which apparently can alter feel and "busy-ness" of the drumming according to velocity of playing, but I could never get it to work properly. Hence using backign trax.

 

I am just wondering if machines like the DR Rhythm et al, allow free play of the patterns and not just writing set parts or "songs" if you like.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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I am just wondering if machines like the DR Rhythm et al, allow free play of the patterns and not just writing set parts or "songs" if you like.

 

Do you mean just picking a pattern and letting it run instead of chaining a bunch of patterns together to make a song? That is no problem. I think you can use footswitch to alternate between patterns on the fly for fills, v2, endings, etc. I think this would be ideal for you if I am correctly reading what you want.

 

Let us know what you end up with. :)

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Yeah Scott that's the idea :) I will check out the specs to see if the footswitch thing can work..

 

It should work with most drum machines, Dennis.

 

This video shows how it works with a Alesis. It takes him a bit to get to the meat and potatoes, but it's a nice demo of how to use a dual switch for start/stop, fills and tap tempo.

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SVBPV8zyVo

 

Hope this helps you.

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miden I have been "thinking" about this for a long long time.. I am disposed to putting things I find disagreeable, off. One of the few advantages of procrastination, is sometimes, the "issue" solves itself! In my case, one man band" performance is a Plan B, back up plan... as long as work with bands continues, well, I keep putting it off. But I have thought about it for decades.

I don't think there is a problem footswitching from pattern to pattern. But considerable time must be spent programming those variations. The Roland drum machine does not have nearly the variety ( variations ) of beats/ genres, nor the variety of say the PSR yamaha series.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Yeah Scott that's the idea :) I will check out the specs to see if the footswitch thing can work..

 

It should work with most drum machines, Dennis.

 

This video shows how it works with a Alesis. It takes him a bit to get to the meat and potatoes, but it's a nice demo of how to use a dual switch for start/stop, fills and tap tempo.

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SVBPV8zyVo

 

Hope this helps you.

 

Cool - thanks for the link Scott. That answers that question then :)

 

LOL he does take a while! Jeez those Alesis machines sound naff!

 

Dennis

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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miden I have been "thinking" about this for a long long time.. I am disposed to putting things I find disagreeable, off. One of the few advantages of procrastination, is sometimes, the "issue" solves itself! In my case, one man band" performance is a Plan B, back up plan... as long as work with bands continues, well, I keep putting it off. But I have thought about it for decades.

I don't think there is a problem footswitching from pattern to pattern. But considerable time must be spent programming those variations. The Roland drum machine does not have nearly the variety ( variations ) of beats/ genres, nor the variety of say the PSR yamaha series.

 

True but I am not looking for all that much variety - More subtle variations like a real drummer would employ...One of the biggest naff things I see arranger players do is try and use as many drum patterns as are available in a style...but I always say to them, listen to songs, there is not a lot of difference in the beat of many tunes, but the drummer employs many subtle variations to keep it interesting without the listener even realising the variations are there.

 

Do you get what I mean?

 

I have been down an arranger road before (using the top of the line Korg gear - and Roland) and after the "oooh ahhh" effect when first exploring it, the initial high settles down to accepted boredom.

 

Now that is just MY experience, not saying it is so for everyone! So please no anecdotes about this player or that player or usage or programming - it is not a slight on anyone using an arranger :facepalm:

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Dennis: Take a look at page 122 of the DR-880 manual.. it describes how the foot switches can be used.

http://lib.roland.co.jp/support/en/manuals/res/1811442/DR-880_e05.pdf

 

I'm sure most drum machines can do something like this, I just used the 880 as you mentioned it in your question.

 

So what you may want to do is arrange your patterns something like this:

Intro

Verse 1 Pattern

Fill 1

Verse 2/Chorus Pattern

Fill 2

Fill 3/Ending

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

or simpler

Fill 1/Intro

Verse 1

Fill 2

Fill 3/End

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

You get the idea.. this way you can use the foot switches to go up and down to select the patterns. I agree less is more as far as patterns go.. for me it's the subtle fills that make or break a drum machine's programming (well that and the samples).

 

Good luck! :wave:

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Actually, as I don't use these, I got a little mixed up on terminology. You can customize GE's in Karma, but the part where you can record your own pattern on multiple tracks is called RPPR. Roland has the same thing - I think they used to call it RPS or something...I used it all the way back in the days of my XP50 to trigger a little sequenced phrase with one key as I played over it. That could easily be a drum pattern or patterns. Either way, between RPPR and Karma, you can do a lot. No, it's not the same as an arranger and wouldn't replace one if that's what you need, but you could do everything you guys are talking about here.

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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I think this is a very good set of gear (DR 880 and left hand bass skills) and would strongly encourage you to continue down this path.

 

I hope you can analyse grooves well, and can build a highly relevant drum accompaniment, lots of variety while staying in the groove, all locked into the left hand.

 

We have all seen good examples of people making engaging music in this mode. You just have to be content to miss out on rock star status.

 

It is easy to ramp up this approach to playing live to a duo, organ or piano trio (no bass but guitar, sax, or something), etc.

 

There is a learning curve for the drum machine, but it is worth it (and it will take bass lines too, or you could make those dreaded backing tracks, off-load to sequencer, say Roland MC 808, and be as elaborate as you like.)

 

Go do it.

 

I too am very interested in this topic. A question for you Trapper, with the DR880 you say you can change between patterns with the footswitches. I read the manual you linked, what I dont see, is the ability to hit a fill, and then have it go into another pattern. this is the function that makes the Alesis SR16 amazing, even if its sounds are dated. So, through my own research, and reading the manual, it would seem that if you want to trigger a fill, and then go into another pattern, you have to have the "fill" actually be a pattern all of its own? And then I presume that that pattern will trigger for its entire length?

 

if that is so, the Alesis is still far more functional live because using it, you can be half way through a pattern, trigger a fill, and land nicely on the next pattern on the 1. (Alesis has two patterns, A and B contained within each pattern)

 

It just seems like the DR880 can't do this, I would buy one in a heartbeat if it could, but it doesn't seem like its a great live machine from what i can tell so far.

 

Please tell me otherwise!?

 

I would have to agree with the comments regarding both Karma and arranger keyboards. Arrangers are built for this purpose, and can be very effective and as subtle as you want them to be. Karma is certainly not built for this purpose, and it would take a lot of head scratching to turn it into an arranger. I have owned an M3, and I love karma, but this is not its purpose.

We are all slave's to our brain chemistry!

 

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True but I am not looking for all that much variety - More subtle variations like a real drummer would employ...One of the biggest naff things I see arranger players do is try and use as many drum patterns as are available in a style...but I always say to them, listen to songs, there is not a lot of difference in the beat of many tunes, but the drummer employs many subtle variations to keep it interesting without the listener even realising the variations are there.

 

Do you get what I mean?

 

I know EXACTLY what you mean and if there's any drum machines or sequences you can create that can do that I would like to hear about it too. The very best thing I've heard in this area is Band In A Box's Real Drums. Those are real studio recordings of drummers playing full phrases not just quick loops, on a real acoustic drum kit and they sound great. The problem is for what you're describing is the songs have to be created first in Biab then you take the created RD track as an audio file and set that up as a prerecorded drum track for your song. The newer keyboards allow you to plug in a thumb drive with audio files on it and just hit play and off you go.

 

When you do that you're locked in to how you arranged the song in the first place so you're still playing along to a prerecorded audio track. If you in the middle of the song get distracted and go to the bridge too soon or something like that then the drum track with it's fills and variations is now out of sync with what you're playing so you really have to pay attention to how you recorded that track.

 

But on the positive side a Biab created RD track really sounds great because it is a real drummer playing so you do hear those subtle things a drummer does during a groove and no drum machine I've ever heard can touch that ambient live sound.

 

I don't want to turn this thread into a PG Music discussion so if you want to consider this feel free to PM me.

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
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I appreciate the link to that page Scott :) cheers!

 

Yeah I agree, the subtle nuances and especially the samples - two top criteria for me too!

 

Dennis

 

PS: I do own a Yamaha MOXF, however Yamaha in their "wisdom" only allow footswitch changes to arp patterns (ie select ANY pattern at any time) for the XS module, and have never allowed it for the Motif keyboards.

 

All one can do on the keyboard is cycle through patterns in numerical order. It may yet work out that I can figure out something to use the moxf in the same fashion as the DR880...But I am still considering other options out there hence the interest in the DR880...

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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True but I am not looking for all that much variety - More subtle variations like a real drummer would employ...One of the biggest naff things I see arranger players do is try and use as many drum patterns as are available in a style...but I always say to them, listen to songs, there is not a lot of difference in the beat of many tunes, but the drummer employs many subtle variations to keep it interesting without the listener even realising the variations are there.

 

Do you get what I mean?

 

I know EXACTLY what you mean and if there's any drum machines or sequences you can create that can do that I would like to hear about it too. The very best thing I've heard in this area is Band In A Box's Real Drums. Those are real studio recordings of drummers playing full phrases not just quick loops, on a real acoustic drum kit and they sound great. The problem is for what you're describing is the songs have to be created first in Biab then you take the created RD track as an audio file and set that up as a prerecorded drum track for your song. The newer keyboards allow you to plug in a thumb drive with audio files on it and just hit play and off you go.

 

When you do that you're locked in to how you arranged the song in the first place so you're still playing along to a prerecorded audio track. If you in the middle of the song get distracted and go to the bridge too soon or something like that then the drum track with it's fills and variations is now out of sync with what you're playing so you really have to pay attention to how you recorded that track.

 

But on the positive side a Biab created RD track really sounds great because it is a real drummer playing so you do hear those subtle things a drummer does during a groove and no drum machine I've ever heard can touch that ambient live sound.

 

I don't want to turn this thread into a PG Music discussion so if you want to consider this feel free to PM me.

 

Bob

 

Thanks Bob - fwiw I do own BIAB and I agree the Real Drums are pretty damn good! Albeit a bit "noisy" in production with a lot of samples/recordings not having recording artefacts cleaned up. But for the most part they are brill!

 

However they still, as you correctly noted, require a strict "song" based format, and when playing live (especially left hand bass and then keys and vocals) it can be oh so easy to miss a bar or a fill :DNOT a good look :blush:

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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The KARMA function on the Korg M3 has a parameter for the drum sequence that lets you set the amount of randomness in the drum pattern, from no variations at all to all-out free improv drumming. I'm sure you could assign this parameter to an expression pedal or something. I'm somewhat sure all the usual non-rock, non-dance drum styles are represented (swing, waltz, bossa nova, more exotic ethic styles).

 

However, I found KARMA fairly difficult to learn though without the House 101 DVD sold by Karma-Labs. If you love menu-diving, you'll love programming KARMA stuff. The DVD shows the drum randomness parameter controlled by one of the sliders on the M3. If you already own a workstation that has KARMA (eg. Korg Karma keyboard, M3, Kronos, etc. or, I think, some Yamaha Motif models), then it might be worth learning to use for breathing some life into your drum sequences.

 

Otherwise, perhaps you could investigate using the LFO method for sequencing. This was the technique synthesists used in a time before synths were commonly made with built-in sequencers. The factory presets in the Moog Voyager (which has no onboard sequencer or arpeggiator) that sound like sequences or arpeggiators were done using this method. This video includes an example of using a mod wheel to make a drum sequence more dynamic.

 

[video:youtube]

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I appreciate the link to that page Scott :) cheers!

 

Yeah I agree, the subtle nuances and especially the samples - two top criteria for me too!

 

Dennis

 

PS: I do own a Yamaha MOXF, however Yamaha in their "wisdom" only allow footswitch changes to arp patterns (ie select ANY pattern at any time) for the XS module, and have never allowed it for the Motif keyboards.

 

All one can do on the keyboard is cycle through patterns in numerical order. It may yet work out that I can figure out something to use the moxf in the same fashion as the DR880...But I am still considering other options out there hence the interest in the DR880...

 

I think you have been misinformed, I dont think the dr880 will allow you to do exactly what you want either. Hoping trapper jack will get back to us on its functionality

We are all slave's to our brain chemistry!

 

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Check out this video then read my comments below it. This is on the Krome, but other keyboards have the same or similar features.

 

[video:youtube]

 

So what I would do is start with the most basic drum pattern assigned to a key and set to endless. You could also assign more intricate changes to high hat or ride to another key on endless to bring in and out variations. Assign fills to other keys set to "once" so that at any time you can hit that key and have a single fill in time. Even if you want completely different patterns, you can assign to another key and hit it simultaneously to the one currently playing to stop the one and start the other. You can build very complex arrangements on the fly this way, but if you are busy playing something else and can't get to a key to trigger something else, no big deal, the basic beat keeps going until you stop it.

 

On something like the Kronos, you can combine this with Karma. Want some variation in your basic beat. Have karma randomize the position on the snare head with each beat by having the snare be a multisample of different head positions and assign a controller to cross fade, which Karma modifies.

 

The possibilities are endless, but it DOES involve planning, programming, and practice. It is not like an auto-rhythm on an arranger. But it is very flexible,

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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Thanks Dan - I have seen vids on RPPR before, and even tried it for a while on a Kronos I once owned...didn't really work for me.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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I did some quick drum tracks recently by playing a closest existing XW-P1 pattern into a PC DAW sequencer (Reaper) then using the 'dynamic splitter' tool to separate the individual beats on a new track, recombine them to make fills, then insert the different fills every 4th bar.

 

I've used this method before and it's really quick to get a scratch track which doesn't sound like a drum box, and you can easily tweak it later if some better fill ideas occur when you've played over the track. I usually keep the basic drum track and fill track separate so it's easy to see where the fills need adjusting.

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