Jump to content


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

Using a synth on a regular basis


drohm

Recommended Posts

How many of you use an actual synth on a regular basis when playing with a band (rehearsal or live)? I find that I almost always use piano, rhodes, wurli, B3 and struggle to find good placements for synth sounds. Of course, I'm not playing in a cover band that plays 80s or later pop tunes, so that could be the driver. Even when working on originals, I don't find it natural to use a synth or synth sounds. However, when creating my own music, I love using synth sounds for everything from funk to ambient, etc. It just works then. It's the with a band that it seems hard to make it fit. Maybe my ear is just not used to it. Any tips?

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 42
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Whenever i try to use a synth patch there's always someone to complain about the sound. Always! Even if the recreation of a certain patch is almost perfect like the original, my music peers always prefer the classic sounds, cause they find the "synths" either too dated or too cheezy.

So it's almost exclusively wurlie, rhodes, clav, piano, e-piano for me (that's why i sold my Nord Lead 2 - i could almost find no room to sneak it in any of my project. In the few times i need synths, there's always MainStage...)

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many of you use an actual synth on a regular basis when playing with a band (rehearsal or live)? I find that I almost always use piano, rhodes, wurli, B3 and struggle to find good placements for synth sounds. Of course, I'm not playing in a cover band that plays 80s or later pop tunes, so that could be the driver. Even when working on originals, I don't find it natural to use a synth or synth sounds. However, when creating my own music, I love using synth sounds for everything from funk to ambient, etc. It just works then. It's the with a band that it seems hard to make it fit. Maybe my ear is just not used to it. Any tips?

 

If you want to learn to use a synth more, join a band that plays music where it is more applicable.

 

I'm in an 70s/80s rock band with plenty of songs that use synths, in addition to AP, EP, Hammond. I have a lot of ground to cover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use atmospheric synth pads all the time, even on old slow songs from the 50s and 60s. I use synth leads usually for the second half of solos, i.e. eight bars of piano, then 8 bars of synth.

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've started substituting synth for some imitative stuff. Easy ones are synth brass replacing CTA brass, or a dark pad (with envelope sped up) replacing dark comping B-3. The most creative substitution to date was replacing the piano in Black Friday with a fully synthetic voice that combines a sort of triangle wave base with short pulse for upper harmonics. To my surprise the band liked it.

-Tom Williams

{First Name} {at} AirNetworking {dot} com

PC4-7, PX-5S, AX-Edge, PC361

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play with several bands and only take out Synths for a couple of them.

 

One band does quite a bit of 80's and some newer songs that use Synth so it's worth bringing a polysynth for that gig. I was using a Jupiter 6 and sometimes an OB8 with that band for several years. Those have gotten too valuable to risk gigging with so I currently use a Juno 60.

 

Occasionally I play with an all 80's band which is very Synth-heavy. For that gig I also take the Juno 60 plus a Pro-One. On both gigs I also have a Keyboard for Piano, EP's, Organ, and other sounds.

C3/122, M102A, Vox V301H, Farfisa Compact, Gibson G101, GEM P, RMI 300A, Piano Bass, Pianet , Prophet 5 rev. 2, Pro-One, Matrix 12, OB8, Korg MS20, Jupiter 6, Juno 60, PX-5S, Nord Stage 3 Compact
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play In a Funk/Dance/appo band post 2010's songs and I cannot imagine myself without my synths, sometimes there is not even Piano or "classic keys parts...
Stage 2, C2, NL2X+TC Pedals, P08+Tetra+H9, P12+TC Chorus D50+PG1000, 2 Matrix 1K, Proteus 2K, TX802, Streichfett, Drumbrute. Guitars:G&L Legacy, Asat X2, Ibanez Artstar AS153.Bass: L2000, SR1200&2605.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These days, I've gradually started shifting away from synths except for cases where they're REALLY unique. Lots of those guitar rockers from the 80s have synth pads and counter melodies, but the sounds are kind of unnecessary. I gravitate toward B3 for pads, and E Pianos for counter melodies. They often sit better in the mix of a rock band. But my love for synths hasn't changed, I just don't see the point of using them when they're not really doing their thing. Synth leads, big SFX, huge ambient pads from mid-80s dance numbers, that's where it's at! But Rick Springfield and Bryan Adams... screw it, I'm going electro-acoustic. Save the synths for where they actually mean something!

 

Keep in mind, a lot of big hits from that period, the songs were tracked in about 2 hours, and the producer just grabbed what was on hand. B3s and Rhodes were out on repairs, so they'd sub a Jupiter or Prophet. Those old Hall & Oates recordings make me cringe on that crappy Yamaha CP30, I don't think Daryl ever touched one after he left the studio, it's Wurli all the way now.

 

Tip: "Tainted Love" = Farfisa. WAAAAY better!

Puck Funk! :)

 

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makersâ¦yada yada yadaâ¦maybe a cat?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at a local jam scene, and was really surprised that a few players STRENUOUSLY objected to me bringing my keyboard. Upon further discussion, this one guitar guy in particular said because it wasnt an acoustic instrument, I just shouldnt play.

 

As we discussed it further, the accordion (which I dont play) and the melodica (which I do play) were presenting as the only instruments I could play. Finally, as it became obvious to him that I dont have the option of bringing an acoustic piano to the jam, he conceded that playing my keyboard was OK as long as it was only piano, ep, and organ.

 

Im fine with that, I just had no idea that there were people out there with such strong objections to instruments that werent acoustic.

 

In other jam scenes, Ive been thrilled to play Syntronik synth patches, my first real exposure to high quality synth sounds. Wowee- it is of course possible to overwhelm the channel with bizarre sounding patches, but theres a Wild West of great sounding leads, pads, basses, etc., that dont have a comparable sound to my usual piano/ep/organ patches. These synth patches have been eye opening and hella fun! And, borrowing from guitarists, you dirty up a sound with the amp and distortion, and suddenly you sound like a raging guitar player- cuts thru and makes me glad that guitarists arent the only ones having that kind of fun.

 

Randy

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many of you use an actual synth on a regular basis when playing with a band (rehearsal or live)? I find that I almost always use piano, rhodes, wurli, B3 and struggle to find good placements for synth sounds. Of course, I'm not playing in a cover band that plays 80s or later pop tunes, so that could be the driver. Even when working on originals, I don't find it natural to use a synth or synth sounds. However, when creating my own music, I love using synth sounds for everything from funk to ambient, etc. It just works then. It's the with a band that it seems hard to make it fit. Maybe my ear is just not used to it. Any tips?

 

If you want to learn to use a synth more, join a band that plays music where it is more applicable.

 

I'm in an 70s/80s rock band with plenty of songs that use synths, in addition to AP, EP, Hammond. I have a lot of ground to cover.

Yep I completely agree with this, also Ed's (CEB's) related comment about playing the sound that serves the song.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On jazz gigs it's obviously rare to pull synth - almost 100% is AP or EP.

 

Covers work (weddings / corporates) require synth, as well as the good sense to select appropriate sounds and usage, which is a skill set of its own.

 

As noted above, the music is generally going to dictate the palette of available sounds you bring to the gig.

 

I personally haven't yet run into what Randelph describes - but I could see in certain jam situations, the genre focus may attract guys with that kind of narrow viewpoint as the guitar player in the story...and of course I'm presuming that guy ONLY played an unamplified acoustic all night, right?

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use atmospheric synth pads all the time

 

As do I... rarely any piano except for Rhodes or Wurly sounds. Occasional organ too, but mostly pads with left hand bass if needed.

 

this one guitar guy in particular said because it wasnt an acoustic instrument, I just shouldnt play.

 

My response to that would be, "I admire your fondness for acoustic instruments... how quaint." :laugh:

 

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends on the gig. Always play to the song.

 

^This exactly.^

 

For church stuff I use a lot of pads, and occasionally some leads or comp sounds for more dance-oriented stuff. Otherwise, it's piano, electric and pipe organ, orchestral sounds, brass and clavinet. Sometimes I add percussion too (a little reverb-ed tambourine or shaker can work wonders). Some sound effects once in a while too. I almost never use electric pianos, but I love to jam on those sounds. Just never fit in to the music, which ranges from hymns to borderline EDM.

 

Solo gigs are mostly piano, or my acoustic accordion.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Hammond: SK Pro 73 | Korg: Triton LE 76, N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3 | Technics: WSA1R

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Yamaha MX61, Behringer CAT

Assorted electric & acoustic guitars and electric basses | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the Fattest Bastards known to man.

Ill put Synths wherever and whenever I want.

I get solos all the time and use monophonic leads with left hand comps using a Code 8.

Theyre not in the song, but thats because somebody else recorded it.

 

Ive spent thousands to get the biggest fattest sound I can, its not being hauled around for pictures..

Its especially effective on Los Lobos I got loaded or any disco song.

On Bruno Mars, Timberlake and Maroon 5 songs Im playing synth Bass giving our Bassist some slapping freedom.

 

I use Rhodes, Wurlitzer, PianoTeq, Various Guitar Libraries, Jethro Tull Flute, etc.

for solos too.

But synths are the Biggest Sounding since theyre real.

 

Solaris pretty much is my evolving Pad synth.

Filter Sweeps on a 28 Ribbon Controller using Wavetables or Noise is a good effect too.

 

Dont let anyone tell you thats not on the record.

I mean they can tell you that, but you should reply thats because they didnt use me.

 

Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim Wat. I personally haven't yet run into what Randy describes - but I could see in certain jam situations, the genre focus may attract guys with that kind of narrow viewpoint as the guitar player in the story...and of course I'm presuming that guy ONLY played an unamplified acoustic all night, right?

 

Yes, acoustic guitar only, this is an outdoor patio in a bar in the Haight (San Francisco). This guy is normally friendly enough, was surprised at his strong reaction, must have had some bad experiences with keyboard players... wait, its only guitar players that are the raging egotists, right?

 

@ Hardware,

I applaud and understand your spirit. An awesome sound palette married to a great sound system and a freedom to be the one that blows everyones mind-

 

I spend a ridiculous amount of time dialing in my sounds, and have worked very hard on getting a small but mighty sound system- and when I can let er rip (when my chops and the song calls for it), its a feeling like few others, esp. with the incredible expressiveness that synth sounds can have.

 

Note: I dont do it on the above outdoor patio, I use just my keyboards onboard speakers

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course it's easier to be genre-authentic, but if you are playing a little outside the synth genres, there's nothing wrong with that. It's how new genres are created.

 

Just remember that synths are capable of a great many more overtones than most other instruments. Dial back the brightness and you'll make more friends more easily. Think about the B3 as a cousin who has learned to play nice with other instruments. Although capable of very bright shimmers, roars and hisses, when it's in the center of the conversation it's often speaking with just one or two overtones and maybe a little ping/click on the attack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aside from blues gigs or the Deadhead band I'm in, I use a TON of synths in my other projects.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen this in bluegrass or Irish jam sessions. But I pretty much always stick to AP in those (why would I wanna do anything else?). Occasionally if you get a smooth New England or OldTime groove, I'll lay down some creamy Rhodes, and pretty much everyone's happy. Keep in mind that many of these styles feel (and somewhat righty so) under fire from electric genres, so there's some emotion behind this.

 

One of my best jam sessions was with some bluegrass guys in an old mining saloon, I was so itching to play tack piano, and they had an ancient upright grand in the corner... HAPPY AS A CLAM! Freshly tuned, but still had LOADS of character. Fuck my keyboard, this was it!

 

I was playing with my upright buddy and the man they all referred to as "The grandfather of Alaskan bluegrass". Such a grand old time! Guy came up to me and said, "you must have bluegrass in your blood" ... funny thing is I've actually played very little bluegrass in my time. Played lots of New England & Old Time, used to run sound for a bluegrass band, but bluegrass is some seriously serious shit, and I don't know one lick of the protocol (I wasn't even wearing a tie), so I was VERY surprised when he said that.

 

Otherwise, I played in a crazy progressive New England-style fiddle dance band, where I would do screaming Rick Wakeman solos over Irish fiddle grooves. Best band I've ever played with in my life!

Puck Funk! :)

 

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makersâ¦yada yada yadaâ¦maybe a cat?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

 

Otherwise, I played in a crazy progressive New England-style fiddle dance band, where I would do screaming Rick Wakeman solos over Irish fiddle grooves. Best band I've ever played with in my life!

 

:o Now THAT sounds very cool. Any videos on the internet?

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Hammond: SK Pro 73 | Korg: Triton LE 76, N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3 | Technics: WSA1R

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Yamaha MX61, Behringer CAT

Assorted electric & acoustic guitars and electric basses | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the Fattest Bastards known to man.

Ill put Synths wherever and whenever I want.

Dont let anyone tell you thats not on the record.

I mean they can tell you that, but you should reply thats because they didnt use me.

 

Post of the year. :2thu:

:nopity:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course it's easier to be genre-authentic, but if you are playing a little outside the synth genres, there's nothing wrong with that. It's how new genres are created.

 

Just remember that synths are capable of a great many more overtones than most other instruments. Dial back the brightness and you'll make more friends more easily. Think about the B3 as a cousin who has learned to play nice with other instruments. Although capable of very bright shimmers, roars and hisses, when it's in the center of the conversation it's often speaking with just one or two overtones and maybe a little ping/click on the attack.

 

Good point. While Ive been really enjoying the Syntronik patches, its seems crazy to me that theres this easy preponderance of searing fizz and uppermids/highs that can blast your ears out. And so many of them seem suited for EDM, I typically find 1 patch out of 50 that seems worth working on, esp. as my idea of supersonic is on the mild or acoustic side compared to many. So many of the tones just seems so over the top metallic and harsh. But the rare good ones give an incredible range of expression, and a voice that can be breathtaking and totally unique.

 

But as I think about it, Ive had similar experiences with my 2 other iPad programs, Neo Soul Keys, and Galileo II. Along with Syntronik, Ive rarely experienced such outstanding sounds, and as much as the synth sounds can be inspiring, Im bowled over with how persuasive and complete the Rhodes and Wurlitzers in Neo Soul Cafe can be, doing the full bass and mids/leads with such authority. And now the organs in Galileo II.

 

As much rocking out with a synth and a good sound system is what were talking about, just wanted to say that fantastic quality sounds of any sort can inspire beyond expectation, much as the outlandish synth squeaks and roars and beeps and angels do.

 

Randy

 

 

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tip: "Tainted Love" = Farfisa. WAAAAY better!

 

Mind-blowing: Tainted Love is a 70s song!

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a video of us playing "46 & 2" (Tool) interspersed with some New England fiddle tunes, not great audio quality, but good set. (46&2 starts at around the 2:30 mark):

[video:youtube]

 

Here's an official music video from our first album. Not proggy in the slightest, but goofy fun:

[video:youtube]

Puck Funk! :)

 

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makersâ¦yada yada yadaâ¦maybe a cat?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah, it's basically a "MoTown"-era/style R&B track from 64 that never went anywhere. I guess the history is that in the late 70s, some punk band in Northern England found it and did a low-budget cover became a bit of a regional hit. From that SoftCell picked up on it later and turned it into the mega-hit that it is today. So it's actually a cover of a cover, but neither of the first two iterations went anywhere.

Puck Funk! :)

 

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makersâ¦yada yada yadaâ¦maybe a cat?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use mono synth sounds in a couple songs with one band that a play a weekly jam with in a Casino bar.

 

I once saw a video of Wakeman playing with a Strawbs reunion. he did a minimoog solo in a decidedly acoustic folk song, and it was awesome! it fit perfectly! Inspired by this at one point I was bound and determined to put more synth solos in, and purchased a Yamaha reface CS specifically for this. People seemed to think it was cool. It really was a matter of finding sounds that would fit. I avoided wide open filters for the most part, and found slightly more muted tones could fit in most places.

(though a big long portamento at the end of a solo always gets a response!)

Really it was just my desire to speed up set up and tear down that lead me to drop it. The CS is tiny of course, but it means packing more cables and probably a little mixer, and just doing it all with the Krome honestly works ok (though the Krome is imho weakest as an analog synth type instrument....and I LOVE my Krome!)

 

I am considering using the CS for a couple upcoming gigs, but I suspect I won't. (in other news I dug out my old Mono/poly again tonight and fell in love all over...but I really doubt I'll take it out to gig anytime. It's in perfect working condition, but it is closing in on 40 years old!)

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

Archived

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

×
×
  • Create New...