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The Joy of Playing Your Own Gear


Brad Kaenel

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With all the GAS available at our fingertips, and sometimes even the overwhelming pile of stuff we may already own, I find it all too easy to forget how much I enjoy playing on *that one* instrument that just gives me joy.

 

The last couple of months Ive been in rehearsals for a musical production of A Christmas Carol, and for the sake of convenience and easing the schlep factor into an exceedingly bad venue load-in scenario, Ive been playing piano on my unweighted VC73, and also a Privia 160 that was already on-site.

 

Because the run of the show was going to be short, I had decided to just use the Privia rather than haul in my Forte, but at the last minute I changed my mind because, when possible, I just always prefer to play my own gear.

 

Man, Im *so glad* I didnt give in to the temptation to use the backline gear, just because it was easy. Although Id been playing the music for weeks on the other boards, dress rehearsal on my Forte was almost a religious experience. It was *my* piano that I love playing, and like magic it made me play better and feel so much joy in making music.

 

Tip o the hat to those here who tour and must constantly play on instruments that are not their own, and still get it done. And note to younger musos who may not yet realize the value of having a personal connection to a particular instrument find one you love, and *always* use it. Youll play better, and enjoy it so much more in the moment. :keys2:

Legend '70s Compact, Jupiter-Xm, Studiologic Numa X 73

 

 

 

 

 

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A sidebar? I frequently get invited to informal jams and open mics. The tell me "don't worry, we have a keyboard here for you". Uh-huh, right. I don't even bother asking questions about what they might have, because no one pays attention -- except a keys player.

 

Same situation shows up with acoustic pianos, e.g "we have a piano here". Really? Does it have all its keys? Is it tuned? No one knows anything.

 

I'm not dissing people, just agreeing with you that -- yup -- I'll bring my own gear if I'm going to play, thankyouverymush.

Want to make your band better?  Check out "A Guide To Starting (Or Improving!) Your Own Local Band"

 

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A sidebar? I frequently get invited to informal jams and open mics. The tell me "don't worry, we have a keyboard here for you". Uh-huh, right. I don't even bother asking questions about what they might have, because no one pays attention -- except a keys player.

 

Same situation shows up with acoustic pianos, e.g "we have a piano here". Really? Does it have all its keys? Is it tuned? No one knows anything.

 

I'm not dissing people, just agreeing with you that -- yup -- I'll bring my own gear if I'm going to play, thankyouverymush.

+1... And no one bats an eye when guitarists almost always show up at jams with their own guitars, Starship Enterprise pedal boards, and often wheel in their own amps.

Gigs: Nord 5D 73, Kurz PC4-7 & SP4-7, Hammond SK1, Yamaha MX88 & P121, Numa Compact 2x, Casio CGP700, QSC K12, Yamaha DBR10, JBL515xt(2). Alto TS310(2)

 

 

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+1, I play mine or I don't play. I did that one time with a "perfect keyboard" at a rental rehearsing place: U20, dirty like hell, mark/burn of cigarette, keys broken....

I told myself, never again!!!!

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.
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I can relate to this too - I am deeply in love with my own 'boards and avoid backline where I can (not this weekend though).

 

So much so that a couple of months ago I was offered a backlined keyboard at an outdoor festival, but chose to use my own IN THE RAIN! Worked out OK but I'll be honest and say I was questioning my decision and my sanity at more than one point that afternooon.

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I really don't care for my current rig, the MODX8 and Krome73. They do the job, but I can't say I feel a connection with either board.

 

I dig my VI's more, but can't be bothered to bring my laptop every time.

 

local: Korg Nautilus 73 | Yamaha MODX8

away: GigPerformer

home: Kawai RX-2 | Korg D1 | Roland Fantom X7

 

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Well, I sure do play better on my CP4 then any other electronic keyboard that's "already there" or "provided". The Grandstage is the one I play on a regular basis while subbing at a church. And for me there's NO comparison with regard to having the more nuanced control and a rounder, less grating tone of the Yamaha.

 

The "connection", or "joy", is dramatically enhanced in having the TT08As running in stereo and using my JMK Audio JM-110 preamp.

 

The real "joy" would to be able to play on my piano at every gig. :cool: Man am I spoiled or what ?! ;)

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I feel that every time I was forced to play on someone else's instruments, or rented stuff, I haven't played at my best. Sometimes you just have to, though.

 

Acoustic pianos are another matter. I learned very early that pianists have to be very adaptable animals. I have heard great pianists playing mediocre instruments, and obtain a great sound despite the limitations. It's an art in itself.

 

Over the years, I have developed some simple exercises to do a a new piano, when there's little time to familiarize, in order to acquire a feel for key balance, retrigger point, etc.

 

 

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I'm going to take the contrarian position. I think that it's a valuable skill to be able to play on anything. Beyond that, I have at times found inspiration on instruments that sound and feel different because they take me someplace new.

 

Maybe a better word than joy is "comfort". Those are 2 very different things.

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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