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Who covers multiple parts on a single keyboard?


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Following up to yesterday's question (and thanks for all the awesome replies), who out there prefers to bring a single keyboard to some (or all) gigs and covers multitimbral parts on it?

 

Talking about going beyond the piano/bass split that might be all you need for some casuals, and getting more into cover-band diversity of sounds.

 

David Sancious has always preferred this sort of setup, as he's said in a couple of Keyboard interviews, and I'm wondering who else does, too.

 

So, again, what are you using and how is it set up?

 

One keyboard plus a module (including things like laptop or Receptor) is allowed. Thanks!

 

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Since my Electro 4D/61 has sampling capability, that covers all my needs. Primarily organ, EP, and a touch of brass and strings.

 

(I also carry my iPad and a controller keyboard just in case.....)

 

Jake

1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

 

"It needs a Hammond"

 

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I run triple splits out the wazoo but I still bring a second board, especially is the gig calls for organ.

 

A typical triple split on the S90XS for me would be on a song like I Want U Back by Cher Lloyd where I run a bass synth on the bottom bread and butter synth layers in the middled of the board and a synth lead in the top octave and a half. Splits are what makes 88 keys a must. For the Pop rig I only used a single board until I added the FA-06 just to get for the sample player. The S90XS is pulling the heavy load. Not enough time to go back and change the exist performance setups.

 

I like the idea of a single playing plane and the clean look of one controller board if I an live with a single action type.

 

 

[video:youtube]

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I was in a 70s/80s cover band for 5 years running a single Fantom G6. I had up to eight splits/layers going on in plenty of songs with things mapped all over the keyboard, including sampled bits of guitar for background stuff (Hold the Line rhythm chords during the guitar solo, 2nd lead line in Carry on Wayward Son during the intro, etc).

 

I am using a Kronos 61 on top of a Kurzweil PC3K7 for my Genesis tribute band, but I can actually play the entire show on the Kronos 61 (except for the intro to Firth of Fifth) if need be.

Korg Kronos 61 (2); Kurzweil PC4, Casio PX-350M; 2015 Macbook Pro and 2012 Mac Mini (Logic Pro X and Mainstage), GigPerformer 4.

 

My Genesis Tribute Band: www.sellingfairfaxbythepound.com

 

 

 

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I've never "preferred" it, because I've always wanted to have both piano and organ on my palette, and there is simply no way to do adequate justice to both on one keyboard.

 

Balanced against this is the convenience and elegance of one keyboard. Sometimes those virtues win out.

 

The best one-keyboard-for-multi-part rigs I've had have been:

 

Kronos 61, which, despite being unweighted, was not too bad for playing piano parts,

 

and a Nord Stage 76, which is sort of the inverse -- weighted but not horrible for organ.

 

IMO, the Nord Stage has always provided the best implementation for playing splits live, hampered only by the preset split points (which was never a deal killer for me).

 

 

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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I have been playing in cover bands for many decades and in most situations with a top 40 / pop / dance music component, multi-zone splits have always been a necessity for the majority of the songs. Most pop productions have some combination of piano, brass, strings, bells, specialized synth or other keyboard sounds and I just strive to get as many going over the course of the song as I can. And I always use two keyboards as I mentioned in the other thread. Most often, the "bottom" board will have a single sound and the top board a song-specific split. I usually am charged with playing the sax or flute solo as well if there is one so that will get a carefully pre-defined zone. In fact one of the most consistent and always fun challenges is to figure out just how to arrange your split so each patch will be able to get the amount of keyboard real estate it needs to execute the lines. I don't consider myself that much of an improviser, although I can make it through a solo or comp to someone else's; I am more of a "parts player" and carefully programmed splits/layers are a huge part of that.

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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On a single Yamaha Motif ES8, I cover bass (acoustic, electric and synth) as LH split along with EP (Rhodes, Wurli and DX Tines), AP and organ.

 

Some of the splits consist of layered pads, strings or brass with the EPs and APs for a thicker sound. Don't worry, I'm not putting string or brass players out of work. :laugh:

 

During instrumental breaks where I'm not playing KB parts, I'll trigger samples and percussion. In a small band configuration (trio or quartet), it provides a more full sound.

 

Most of the heavy lifting is done on a single KB. Eventually, I'm going to cop a Moog Little Phatty to complete the Low End Theory. :D:cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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In praise music I use one keyboard for everything whenever I can because it's much easier to read and handle sheet music that way. Things are usually semi-permanently set up so it's not a matter of slogging a second keyboard to a gig. Currently I'm doing it all from a PX-5s.
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In my Genesis trib I use several splits on different songs.

 

One in particular is on the Kronos 73 for Blood on the Rooftops. I play a Mellotron at the "bass" end which is off board on a Fantom XR; grand piano in the middle on the Kronos and a "bells" sound at the top, again on the XR. - I also have in play an oboe sound on my XP30.

Another typical split is for Mellotron Choir at one end and Mellotron Violins at the other with transposing as required.

Yamaha CP70B;Roland XP30/AXSynth/Fantom/FA76/XR;Hammond XK3C SK2; Korg Kronos 73;ProSoloist Rack+; ARP ProSoloist; Mellotron M4000D; GEM Promega2; Hohner Pianet N, Roland V-Grand,Voyager XL, RMI
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Not for playing music as such. But I trigger multiple bits of foley from one keyboard (typically running a laptop) for stage productions occasionally.

 

Back when I used to do covers, I used an XP50 and an XP30. Roland's performance mode is intuitive for quick layers and splits.

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In my wedding band, I used to run everything off of my RD700NX. 4 layer/split capabilities was often plenty, but if a song needed several more parts I'd have a patch with an additional 4 layers/splits set up in the next user set. The keyboard has patch remain, so it was easy to be playing 4 parts, switch to another patch for 4 bars, then move back to the original layered patch.

 

The thing was too heavy though, and I downgraded to a tiny Juno Di. Doesn't look too great, and sonically it ain't gonna blow purists away, but it does everything I need it for, even though it only has capabilities to split/layer 2 things at a time (unless I'm in performance mode, in which case I can have 16 sounds playing at a time, though they can't be split). If a song requires more than 2 splits, though, I either create another patch in the user bank next to the one I'm in, or just adjust my part in the song accordingly.

 

Regarding your other thread, within the next month or so, I plan on buying the FA08. I'll use that with the DI on top, mainly for the synth action on certain patches or to use it for 2 MIDI channels so that if I need to use up to 16 splits for whatever reason, they aren't all being squashed onto the FA. Also, because the DI is 16 part multitimbral, I have some nice sounds on it that I'd like to keep in my rig even when I get the FA, so there's that. And I'd use it as a MIDI slave for my Galileo organs, anything else on my iPad or even the MicroKorg when it gets used. In most cases it's a hunk of junk, but the Di has grown on me and I wouldn't like to gig without it.

Nord E4 SW73

Yamaha MODX7

Mainstage 3

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On a single Yamaha Motif ES8, I cover bass (acoustic, electric and synth) as LH split along with EP (Rhodes, Wurli and DX Tines), AP and organ.

Don't worry, I'm not putting string or brass players out of work. :laugh:

 

Uh oh. You might be putting a bass player out of work. :P

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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I cover multiple parts on my S70XS using layers and splits, but I still prefer to bring at least two boards to a gig, just in case one goes tits up on me.

Live: Roland Jupiter-80; Yamaha S70XS (#1); Mackie 1202VLZ4, IEMs or Traynor K4

Home: Hammond SK Pro 73; Yamaha S70XS (#2); Wurlitzer 200A

Quik-Lok X stands!!!

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I'm a two keyboard man. I have always hated playing with splits, primarily because I have never been able to retrain my hands/brain to remember where the splits are. I guess if I always played exactly the same parts in exactly the same arrangement this would take care of itself, but I've never liked to do that either.

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

-Mark Twain

 

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I've used a Kurzweil PC3 to do multiple parts in cover tunes.

 

With 16 zones and 128-voice polyphony, switches, sliders, riffs, and multiple expression pedal inputs, I had options aplenty. However, most tunes had me doing very few part switch-ups, and for those, I used a switch to turn zones on and off.

 

I think my busiest tune was 7 or 8 layers, with one-shot percussion sounds, riff triggers, and narrow key-range sounds at the extreme ends of the keyboard. The piano was confined to maybe a 50-key range, but the "left-hand" zone was transposed down an octave and doubled. More notes, fewer keys, even though my hands were close together. Messes with your head!

 

With practice this all becomes very do-able, and serves the purpose, although it does make me feel more like a machine operator and less like a musician.

 

 

 

I make software noises.
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For a couple of years recently I played in a classic rock band that covered Genesis, The Who, Elton John, Rush, The Rolling Stones, and everything in between.

 

I played 99% of everything using a Yamaha Motif 6. Pianos, EPs, organs, strings, horns, guitars, leads, bells... everything. Almost.

 

I also had a Virus TI on stage, that I needed for a few things, like those trippy synth/vocalish bits in "One Thing Leads to Another", the sequenced ostinato parts in "Baba O'Riley", and the big synth intro to "Funeral For a Friend."

 

The great thing about the Motif instruments is the ability to have 16 presets available at the touch of a single button. Change banks, and you've got another 16 presets available. This always allowed me to easily use 4-5-6 sounds in a single song, using just the Motif, without missing the proverbial beat.

 

 

Michael

Montage 8, Logic Pro X, Omnisphere, Diva, Zebra 2, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

 

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I always use 2 keyboards for my classic rock/funk/r&b band. The bottom keyboard is a casio Px3 which I use primarily for EP and acoustic pianos. The Acoustic piano is usually one of the onboard sounds. For EP sounds I use the Px3 as a midi controller to trigger lounge lizard programs.

 

Top keyboard is a Kurzweil PC3 which I use primarly for Organ, Clavs, horns and pads. Oh, and the PC3 has a mean blues harmonica patch which I use to cover harmonica on a couple of Grace Potter and Tom Petty tunes. Then I also use the PC3 as midi controller for organ sounds via GSi VB3, and clav sounds via PianoTeq Stage. Leslie speed is mapped to the sustain pedal and VB3 volume to the mod whee. My dream is to be able to do all this using one keyboard, getting the same quality of all sounds using onboard programs...and the keyboard must weigh less than 30 lbs. Dream on!!

 

www.thetonepeddlers.com

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On a single Yamaha Motif ES8, I cover bass (acoustic, electric and synth) as LH split along with EP (Rhodes, Wurli and DX Tines), AP and organ.

Don't worry, I'm not putting string or brass players out of work. :laugh:

 

Uh oh. You might be putting a bass player out of work. :P

Sh8t happens. That's one less guitar to compete with in the FoH mix. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Yes, Im very often (more than not with my 80s band) NordStage 2 and rack (Jd990/Fantom/Motif/Receptor). It works great for execution. For spontaneity, its NOWHERESville. Thats a big reason I like having a dedicated organ. But for the 80s band, theres really not room for inspiration to strike and make some music happen; its just scripted. So for those scripted type situations, yeah, one keyboard. But Ive been doing the one-keyboard-to-rule-them-all approach for 20 years. Thankfully the rigs have shrunk over the years, from a pair of 16space shockmounted flight racks (full) to a 12space SKB case with 4 empty spaces (which allows me to store my cable snake in the rack, while attached).

 

Im going to start trying to program the whole gig on the FA08 and see if I can eradicate the rack.

 

 

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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I've done a lot of gigs with nothing but a PC3 and a V-machine running VB3. With all the assignable controllers on the PC3, it's like having a third hand. Want to change setups with my feet, or a key? Check. Tap tempo with a button, start a riff with another or activate/deactivate zones with aftertouch? No problem. Use sliders for VB3 control while sweeping synth filters with the ribbon? Sure! The PC3 is unrivaled in this department.
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I gig with two keyboards. My top keyboard is a vintage analog Korg CX-3 so it is just the go to keyboard for organ (no midi... but a good on trick pony).

 

My Privia PX-5S (replaced a PX3) is a work horse and for our rock/funk quartet cover band I make extensive use of splits. Tunes like I Wish (EP/brass), What I like About You (piano/harmonica). We do Burning for You and I have four zones on the Px-5s (distorted guitar, choir, 80's synth brass, and lead guitar). For Pick up the Pieces my right hand is two layered horn patches, and left hand is the "plucked" guitar in the song.

 

Maybe a large band with brass section, two guitars would not need extensive splits/layers but I would be lost without the capabilities of the PX3 and now PX-5S.

 

I tell people that keyboardist are often like Snoopy in the Christmas play (he had to be all the animals...). You have to be whatever "other" instruments are in the songs. I find it to be a lot of fun!

Korg CX-3 (vintage), Casio Privia PX-5S, Lester K, Behringer Powerplay P2, Shure 215s

http://www.hackjammers.com

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I play originals in a band and I currently rehearse and gig with a single Fantom G6. I use it's Live Mode to layer/split up to 8 parts. I use it with three pedals, expression on the left, live set advance on a small pedal in the middle, hold pedal on the right. I usually "step though" setups for different parts of the songs so for example I'll have Live Sets called "song name" and then 1,2,3,4 etc to step though the setups for each part of the song if required, using the middle pedal. This also gets me around the 61 key limitation as I can just step to the next setup and have the octave changed in that one. Sometimes I'll go though live sets such as 1 organ 2 EP and synth 3 Synth then back to organ. The Fantoms seamless switching with FX makes this possible. I couldn't live without it. I also use it's sampling to get around anything missing in it's ROM (mellotrons, classic synths etc). I also use RPS clips on the pads to control certain things that Roland haven't provided way of doing, and it means it's ultra customisable. I also use the RPS to trigger off things (like Rotary speed) from the keys if my hands are full and hold is used in a split for something else, e.g. I map the RPS phrase to a keys I won't play in a section of music to change Rotary speed in a patch with organ on the bottom and piano on top, so I play Dm and use F# to change the speed. The Fantom is also my main controller/keyboard at home. I may expand with MainStage again soon as it has Audio/MIDI over USB and I miss the EVB3.

 

All works well and for gigs with only line checks and 10 minutes setup, I can be up and ready to go within minutes. I only have a 100mb or so samples to load off my USB stick and it seems to load quickly enough, in about a minute. Very flexible.

 

Prior to this I did a similar thing with MainStage and a MIDI controller, which I didn't like so much. The Fantom seems less hassle (not as much programming time ahead in some cases) and I didn't like the MIDI controllers at all. Before that I used to do some gigs with a JP-8000 and JV880 which worked fine at the time as it was mostly synth, with some piano and organ and fast setup times at gigs.

 

As for the question about preferring one or multiple keyboard rigs, I like this setup as it's compact for gigs and fast an reliable but I would probably prefer the G6 and a weighted controller too, but it's all about speed and schlep factor for me. The G6 has a very high build quality level so I feel very confident playing it. In hindsight though I sometimes wish I had bought an 88 or 73 key nord or Fantom X7 back in 2004 when I was doing a lot of gigs, but shekels were tight at the time. The Fantom G7 is just too big and heavy, but 76 keys would be great. I am also considering pairing the G6 with my D-70. But again the G6 can do it on it's own. I was interested to read in Keyboard that Tom Coster gigs a single Kronos 61 and David Sancious a Kronos 88. I agree with the simplicity and ease of setup factor but on a 61 you need to jump through some hoops, which is why the Fantom G6 and Kronos are probably great choices.

Roland Fantom G6, D-70, JP-8000, Juno-106, JV-1080, Moog Minitaur, Korg Volca Keys, Yamaha DX-7. TG33, Logic Pro, NI plugs, Arturia plugs etc etc
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Using my Yammy PSR-S710. When not using auto comp(customized) I record all rhythm tracks(drums, bass, guitar/piano, horns/strings) than set up different split/layer scenerios for the tune. Ex. Low brass/ muted trumpet..strings/jazz guitar..tenor sax/ clarinet. Usually have tenor double up on pre-recorded bass trk. Then save the 4-5 registers to a tune so as its going the audience hears different tone colors emerge through out. Gives a live illusion. Especially fun and.challenging in a dixieland groove where I try to give ex. Trumpet and clarinet their own independant lines. Thats some of my tech

 

"A good mix is subjective to one's cilia." http://hitnmiss.yolasite.com
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With Bidule on my laptop, I can set up any kind of split (including non-contiguous), layers and transpositions. When I was doing more weddings I needed to do this for some of the top-40 tunes. I'm committed to having a one-trip schlep and I'll do almost anything to keep it that way.
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In terms of ONE keyboard set up:

 

 

For me, that happens typically when I'm playing solo singer/songwriter shows. I'll just have my Casio and a mic through a PA.

 

I also only use one when playing in musicals. The Kurzweil K2500 is more than perfect for the job - making setups, zones, ect..(which I will be using it for early next year).

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I'm a two keyboard man. I have always hated playing with splits, primarily because I have never been able to retrain my hands/brain to remember where the splits are. I guess if I always played exactly the same parts in exactly the same arrangement this would take care of itself, but I've never liked to do that either.

 

+1

Im not into spending hours figuring out how to programe multiple splits / layers what ever, but I also have the luxury of pretty much being able to play whatever I want, if I decide to do it with a Rhodes 1 night, then next time do it with Hammond, I can, Im not doing gigs with specific sounds / parts...

"Ive been playing Hammond since long before anybody paid me to play one, I didn't do it to be cool, I didnt do it to make a statement......I just liked it "

 

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