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What makes you in-demand as a musician?


stoken6

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Some idle thoughts that passed through my head...

 

Compared to many of you, my rig is fairly modest (NS2/73, controller, stand, three pedals, IEMs). One sound source, no rack, no mixer, no speakers.

 

And yet - I work quite hard to program the Nord to suit the song. I'm by no means a ninja black-belt synth programmer, but I try and make an effort. For example - I work with an 80s soul/funk/disco band, who were struggling with "Ain't Nobody" (Chaka Khan). I had tempo-synced the arpeggiated figure at the start with a hollow FM patch with rapid decay, etc. We tried it at rehearsal, everyone dreading the worst, and it went really well, I got props for "not having a Fisher-Price* keyboard".

 

I also spent 5 minutes loading the Uptown Funk samples in (thank you Nord User Forum), but I also beefed them up with extra brass and combo organ. That was appreciated - I'm always asked "can you send me the samples you use" (so that other subbing keyboard players can do what I do). Filter sweeps in "Somebody Else's Guy", delays in "The Way You Make Me Feel" - small things, but they show that I'm not just phoning it in.

 

Plus I try not to have an attitude, and to stay positive. One guy the band used to work with was really negative and disparaging about everything - good player (I did a gig with him), but the band had enough. Whereas with me they always ask "when are you next with us?".

 

That's it really.

 

Cheers, Mike.

 

*Toy brand in UK, not sure whether they're known outside UK. They're part of Mattel I think.

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I play keys and show up prepared. That's all you need in a small market. Also, I'm not a dick. Most of the time.

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

 

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I love the sound of your rig. Simple but effective. I'd rather have one good keyboard and use it to its full potential than have 3 keyboards that I only skim the surface with.

 

To answer your question; Be prepared and reliable. I mentioned in a thread last week that I was offered more gigs with a new band I depped for because I turned up to rehearsal (first there after the band leader) and knew the stuff: parts, sounds and had in depth notes. The songs I didn't know well (different version) or weren't aware of I had ready for the gig on Saturday.

 

The comment from the band leader was "Wow, it makes a change having someone who's done their homework".

Nord E4 SW73

Yamaha MODX7

Mainstage 3

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Cphollis wrote a great post a while back about this which really resonated with my experiences, with the idea of "bringing game" to a band. IIRC if you brought game to a band you brought a combination of chops, sounds and general professionalism which meant that the band became noticeably better with you in it. If you can improve a band rather than just showing up a playing the parts, people will notice that.
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I have a couple main projects that keep me busy, but I also freelance a bit. I get call backs because I come in prepared- both with sounds and learning the parts. I'm also pretty good at keeping my ears open and playing appropriately for the tune, which is how I get a lot of my blues gigs where there isn't any rehearsal.

 

And like Wes said, not being a dick helps a lot lol. (though I suppose some of my friends would disagree with whether I'm a dick!)

 

 

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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Ha!! I'm willing to repeatedly embarrass myself in public for little to no money. And smile about it. I'm on everybody's short list for "got a shitty gig and nobody willing to play it", so I often get the call.

J.S. Bach Well Tempered Klavier

The collected works of Scott Joplin

Ray Charles Genius plus Soul

Charlie Parker Omnibook

Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

Weather Report Mr. Gone

 

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I played in Pittsburgh for 20 years before I moved away. There are great keyboard players in that market, just fewer of them than there are guitarists, bass players and drummers. You always fall into the right side of the supply and demand curves. I haven't lived in Charlotte long enough to have a really long term view of the market here.

 

However, in both cases, I very rarely took much interest in joining into many bands, especially the bar band type. Too much guitar centric sound, too loud and the band leaders couldn't adapt their song selection and setlist to introduce songs that made proper use of the keyboard, so it was me who wasn't getting much out of it.

 

Eventually, I started my own band in Pittsburgh before I moved with like minded players who wanted to play the same stuff... Steely Dan, Toto, Boz Scaggs, you get the idea. We were doing great together when I moved and they are still going at it, but never found a replacement keyboardist.

 

In all of these markets, there is also an upper echelon of jazz players who play above my skill level, many of whom do music as a full time endeavor, teach in university settings, etc. Maybe I sit in for a tune at their gatherings, usually I don't. But they are not taking the type of offers for work that come my way.

 

Add in the combination of professionalism -- showing up on time, doing your homework, having great gear/instruments/amplification of course, making the band sound better. That gets me into some good offers for work. I dress nicely for the venue. I'm polite. I tip the staff. I offer to help the rest of the team load or unload. I'm not much of a drinker, never have more than one on the gig. So there's good karma for that when you work with others.

 

Lastly, the Viscount Legend Live was a good grab for me. Having a dual manual organ clone has prompted a few hits my way to get requested as an organ player.

Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 8, Yamaha YC88, Nord Stage 3C, Nord Wave 2, Viscount Legend Live, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2, Arturia V Collection 8, Komplete 13 Ultimate

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I'm not the best player in town.

 

I'm not the best sound programmer in town.

 

I'm not the best looking guy in town.

 

But, I play good enough, always get as close as I can on the sounds (which is usually pretty damn close), look the part on stage, and on top of that I can sing well, and fill in other instruments as needed like guitar and sax. That makes me a good all around swiss army knife to fill the job. In a market short on keyboard players, where most only check one of those boxes, that keeps me in demand.

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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Punctuality, good instincts and good gear. I just am selective about what I do now. Life is too short to play with bad drummers. Some people in town can call me in a pinch so I try to be open to that.

"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'm not the best player in town.

 

I'm not the best sound programmer in town.

 

I'm not the best looking guy in town.

 

But, I play good enough, always get as close as I can on the sounds (which is usually pretty damn close), look the part on stage, and on top of that I can sing well, and fill in other instruments as needed like guitar and sax. That makes me a good all around swiss army knife to fill the job. In a market short on keyboard players, where most only check one of those boxes, that keeps me in demand.

 

Yup, sounds like the same reasons why bands seek me out.

 

You took the words right out of my mouth.

(famous Meatloaf quote)

 

Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Alesis Ion, Kawai K3M
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There's a line out there somewhere.

 

If I'm being asked to sit in, or am otherwise clearly a temporary member of a band, I try to play my role to the best of my (often limited) abilities. Be pleasant, be professional, be accommodating, be musical, etc.

 

E.g. I try not to suck too much.

 

Then, on the other side of that line, you're now invested in the band and its outcomes. You go above and beyond the role of just another musician, and you start addressing things that impact the band as a whole.

 

E.g. I try to help the band not to suck too much. Less about me, more about them.

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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I'm not the best sound programmer in town.

 

You're pretty damn close I'd say. I've seen stories of the lengths you go to nailing certain patches and sequences.

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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Everyone here has said the right answers already. My observations about what has worked for me:

 

-I do my homework learning tunes. Much more than most guys in town.

-I act like I've done this before and don't put out anxious energy or ask too many questions.

-I do my homework programming my boards for tunes. Much more than most guys in town.

-I'm a good reader.

-I'm on time (I could still improve on this one actually)

-I'm fluent in pretty much every genre of keyboard playing

-I get along great with everyone.

-I wear the right clothes to the right gig

 

Like others said: I'm not the most handsome, I don't sing (wish I did), I'm not the best player, but in all things the sum total effect is that I make it the easiest thing in the world for whoever I'm playing with.

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 spend most of my time in the theater world, where:

 

-I know how to teach singers

-I know how to accompany

-I know how to rehearse singers

-I know how to rehearse a band

-I know what needs to be fixed, and what we can let slide in order to deliver the best show we can with the time/talent resources we have

-I know how to help actors/singers feel emotionally supported and confident, while retaining the ability to constantly push their performances/comfort levels

-I know how to read a score or piano/vocal arrangement and translate it into something useful for rehearsals, and then something different for performances

-I know the show is never about me

-I know how the gig works, and can do my job with a minimum of support from others

-I am a neophyte re: sound design/programming compared to some on this board, but I have the gear to meet the requirements at a professional level, the skill to use that gear, the ear to know what's right and what isn't, and the knowledge to understand what a score is asking for in the first place.

-I understand vibe/genre/styles, so can hit the right tempos/feels for various songs.

-I treat my bosses with respect and deference, even if I think I know better.

-I listen to my band members and cast members, value their experience and input, and strive to give them an environment in which they feel that their skills are valued

-I'm modest to a fault ;)

 

. . . and I play well enough. In many ways I'm behind a lot of other players I know in the area (though I've been dedicating myself to solving that problem), but a lot of the things above are, it turns out, not as universal or easy to achieve as one might think.

 

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Great responses folks, thanks for contributing.

 

How did you create the arpeggio?
Nothing too complicated, really:

  • Synth program, FM, algorithm 821, about 200msec decay from memory
  • Master clock 106bpm
  • Add a tempo-synced delay (three sixteenth notes I think)
  • Turn on the arpeggiator, direction UP, press Hold
  • Play (lowest to highest, covering a span of 2 octaves) E-B-d-e-e' - hold down all the notes simultaneously. You'll obviously have to play in the right register to make it sound authentic

I added a morph to allow me to fade it out with the volume pedal - that way I can bring it in for choruses and out in the verses.

 

Cheers, Mike.

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We all play good and strive for the best sound or we'd be at home.

Ive been automating vocal fx for years.

Presets are stored in scenes and parameters can be modulated in real time.

Only been back to Nevada for 10 weeks and saying Id love to but Im booked is like old times again.

In case others are interested its easy.

TC Fireworx are cheap, durable, cascadable and meant for vocals.

I even bring along a wireless KSM8 which is a boadcast quality dual diaphram mic.

 

Sometimes you need to show people what they need.

Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
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I spend most of my time in the theater world, where:

 

-I know how to teach singers

-I know how to accompany

-I know how to rehearse singers

-I know how to rehearse a band

-I know what needs to be fixed, and what we can let slide in order to deliver the best show we can with the time/talent resources we have

-I know how to help actors/singers feel emotionally supported and confident, while retaining the ability to constantly push their performances/comfort levels

-I know how to read a score or piano/vocal arrangement and translate it into something useful for rehearsals, and then something different for performances

-I know the show is never about me

-I know how the gig works, and can do my job with a minimum of support from others

-I am a neophyte re: sound design/programming compared to some on this board, but I have the gear to meet the requirements at a professional level, the skill to use that gear, the ear to know what's right and what isn't, and the knowledge to understand what a score is asking for in the first place.

-I understand vibe/genre/styles, so can hit the right tempos/feels for various songs.

-I treat my bosses with respect and deference, even if I think I know better.

-I listen to my band members and cast members, value their experience and input, and strive to give them an environment in which they feel that their skills are valued

-I'm modest to a fault ;)

 

. . . and I play well enough. In many ways I'm behind a lot of other players I know in the area (though I've been dedicating myself to solving that problem), but a lot of the things above are, it turns out, not as universal or easy to achieve as one might think.

 

That is because musicians are self-destructive. Great post by the way.

"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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Well for me, I got in with the right bunch of fellows, and I can make sounds loud or mellow.

 

Instead of taking what they're giving, and dreading manic Mondays, I decided I'd rather work for the weekend,and put on my boogie shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

and boogie with you

 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not unfun to have on a gig, and I am nice to venue-staff.

 

I overprepare.

 

I am the first one to any gig.

 

I've got pretty good ears.

 

I have kind of secretly gotten very good at organ, and singer-songwriters love organ. Also, a corollary: I am very good at playing with other songwriters, and lately prefer those gigs to most others.

 

I'm pretty versatile, and also generally smart enough to know which gigs I'm not up for. No latin or straight jazzbo, yes soul or funk or aforementioned singer-songwriter. I like pop too.

 

I have been known to have soul. Sometimes. Other times...where'd it go??

 

I'm good for at least one smoker of a solo per night. The difference between me and greatness, is what happens the other times. #riffsoup

 

Now if you start a thread about weaknesses, I can fill the next three pages.

 

 

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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