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Emergency Backup Gig Keyboard


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As I am ready to head out to a gig tonight, I was thinking... "What would happen if my Mojo died?"  Now, I have been playing live since 1970 and I have never had a keyboard fail on me (knock on wood!!!!). But what would happen if it did?  I do have spare power converters and cables, but am not protected against any major failure of the board. I would have no backup to play the gig. 

 

So what would you recommend for an emergency backup keyboard to play the gig?  Maybe a cheap controller to control my Korg Module?... Something that can stay in my car and won't cost me too much to replace when some crackhead steals it?

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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Two suggestions...

 

Korg Microstation... tiny, not much bigger than its 5 octaves of mini-keys, weighs under 6 lbs, easy to keep in the car. Very serviceable sounds, and it also has excellent MIDI capabilities, so you could use it as an iPad controller as well.

 

Samson Graphite 49... no sounds, slightly bigger in all dimensions and about 10 lbs, but cheaper (and still available new), with 4 octaves of decent feeling full-size keys, with aftertouch. Nine sliders so you can even do your drawbar control for your iPad organ app of choice.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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No exp pedal on the Samson. If you're needing something to get by on as an organ in an emergency - I’d still require that. So even a used MAudio Axiom would do. 
 

Backup for me might be a VR09. 

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Rod

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Whatever backup rig you choose, bring it to the stage, lean it in a corner somewhere.  If you leave it in your car, then a crackhead will try to steal it.  You'll become angry and you will slap him hard.  That will be expensive, including expulsion from the keyboard academy.

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Since I switched to MainStage and a pair of controllers, I decided to carry either a backup board or an iPad or something for emergency backup. After reading about it on here, I picked up a Casio CT-S1 as a backup board. Very inexpensive, and a good set of bread and butter sounds. 

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"If you can't dazzle them with dexterity, baffle them with bullshit."
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Since you're looking mostly for organ sounds, maybe a 61 key Hammond SK1 or XK1c?  Those seem fairly compact and also have AP, EP, and clav sounds as backup.

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Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something

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5 hours ago, drawback said:

No exp pedal on the Samson. If you're needing something to get by on as an organ in an emergency - I’d still require that.

Good point. But since there are no sounds in it and it will only be used to connecting to an iPad, an Audiofront MIDI Expression adapter might take care of that... except now you've got two USB items to plug into the iPad instead of one (the Samson and the Audiofront), which means the nuisance of a hub. So yeah, something with an expression pedal input would be preferable... and I see that that Axiom still gives you the 9 sliders and the aftertouch. So as long as the action feels as nice, yeah, that seems like the better choice.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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One of the reasons I got a Yamaha YC61!

If my Stagepiano and/or Organ will fail on a gig, it will bring me thru the evening..... and it is a nice session and travel board too!

 

Studio: Hammond XK5-XLK5, Yamaha P515, Roland Fantom 7, Prophet 5, Neo Vent, HX3-Expander

Live: Yamaha CP88, Hammond SKX Pro, Leslie 251, Roland SA1000, Yamaha YC61

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m audio code 61.  

 

11 pounds

9 sliders

expression jack 

sustain pedal

pads for percussion and c/v control 

a bunch of encoders 

usb and 5 pin midi

delightful semi weighted keybed

under $300

 

it's my emergency backup controlling a gemini module so if my PC3 goes down i would use it and i can easily get through the night.

 

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/M-Audio/CODE61-MIDI-Controller-117779100.gc?cntry=us&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=CjwKCAjwi6WSBhA-EiwA6Niok6FzCMmOPKDsop3_DnC8mPCj_Uu-FEvo-dGi6x5FCHcJ-lYud09tVBoCrPkQAvD_BwE

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57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

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I've been taking out a Casio CT-S400 recently; played it 2nd-tier over my Stage 3 the last time out. 

It covers 'bread 'n butter' sounds capably, though the organs are better used in a gear emergency.  Though I grabbed sounds from the main Tone selector for that gig, I plan to create a handful of Registrations for live back-up - in addition to the one that's set up to play the software instruments on my iPad.  

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lots of used Roland VR-09's floating around, so that could be a good bang-for-buck solution.  

 

If you're going to plan for failure, you might as well go all the way and plan for failure in the middle of a set.  Statistically that would seem to be about as likely as failure when setting up for a gig.  That's a reason to keep the backup keyboard right there with you, and that's also a reason to go with hardware over software.

 

Another reason to have a backup keyboard: you might find yourself waiting backstage wishing you had something to noodle on while you relax on the disgusting green room couch.  Battery operation come in handy there.

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Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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My advice on this would be the same as when people get a "second" pet to keep the first company: that second pet doesn't know it's second. You end up with two "first" pets.

I would recommend getting a board you would otherwise have use for in your rig or at home. If you're never going to use a controller, that's money wasted IMO. Plus you have to go through the interface rigaramole. I've never typed that word and have no idea if I'm even close.  Chrome says no. Anyway, a controller introduces new items to have stolen or to potentially replace down the line. That seems like buying a homework assignment that costs money to turn in.

I like the YC61 suggestion, or the Casio. what about something that skews more toward bread and butter keys but has *some* organ, so that it could be a legit second (really, "first") board for your set-up if you needed one? Any of the "P"s from Casio or Yamaha, for example?

Or flip side: crazy idea but what about something like an old VK-8? You could get it pretty cheap, you'd have some bread and butter plus a great-feeling organ that (only) sounds good through a Vent, and it's workable enough to sit at a desk as a "home" keyboard for learning tunes or trying stuff on. They're built like tanks. But they are not small, so would have to come into gigs with you. 

 

Either way, I'd think in terms of enhancing your rig or your workstation rather than buying a back-up chute.

 

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3 minutes ago, MathOfInsects said:

I would recommend getting a board you would otherwise have use for in your rig or at home. If you're never going to use a controller, that's money wasted IMO.

That's a good point, though I think the other criteria mentioned are also valuable... something cheap enough that you can leave it in your car without worrying about leaving it unattended... something small and light enough to not add noticeable additional shleppage of its own. Ideally, OP could find something that meets that criteria that, yes, he could also conceivably have some further use for, even if it's only something to take on vacations or what-not.

 

New thought... Since this is an emergency replacement for a Mojo, maybe a Yamaha Reface YC?

 

Some other low-cost boards that haven't yet been mentioned... Yamaha MX49 is small and light, with full-size keys and built-in sounds. The discontinued Casio XW-P1 is a bit on the large size, but not heavy, and has built-in sounds along with 9 sliders for drawbar control. In an emergency backup situation, you could immediately connect it and be playing, and during a break when you had more time, you could connect it to the iPad and trigger VB3m or whatever.

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Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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There are plenty of used MOXF6’s out there, too - and there are few things it can’t cover. In the Yamaha soft case it’s light and easy to carry locally. And even in a small SKB case it doesn’t take up much space for a travel gig. 

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Anyone had any experience with the MAudio Keystation 88? I ordered one today to try out. Would work with my Korg Module and I could use it at home in my studio. 23lbs with mod and pitch wheels, swell pedal input, etc.  If it has a decent keyboard then it may be ideal.  $250.

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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  • 1 month later...
On 4/2/2022 at 3:56 PM, drawback said:

Backup for me might be a VR09. 

 

I just picked up a VR09.  I have several use cases for it but one is to be my emergency backup board.  At only 12 pounds, it is no big deal to keep it in the vehicle in case the gig rig fails.  Apropos to the backup concept, the VR09 is pretty good at a lot of things.

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I've unfortunately had several keyboards fail or "wig out" (due to power issues I believe) at gigs.  It's one reason why I tend to have two-keyboard rigs even though I'd prefer to only have one.  VR09 definitely seems like a good candidate, not super expensive but also pretty capable.   It has a decent organ, unlike most Yamaha keyboards I've ever tried (I've owned a Motif, a Moxf8 and still have a  MODX7).  The ace in the hole for the MODX is the easy ipad integration and ability to play B-3X, that alone makes it hard to boot out of my rig!

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While I've never had a keyboard fail on a gig, I've certainly had keyboards fail at home while practicing. Got lucky I guess... but the fact is, it COULD HAVE failed at a gig.

 

I don't bring any back-ups... but with dual boards, if one fails... you get the idea.

Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Alesis Ion, Kawai K3M
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On 4/2/2022 at 3:28 PM, HammondDave said:

As I am ready to head out to a gig tonight, I was thinking... "What would happen if my Mojo died?"

...

So what would you recommend for an emergency backup keyboard to play the gig?

 

 

Buy my Mojo 61!!!  Problem solved!!!  (See classifieds...) ☺️

 

Old No7

Yamaha MODX6 ** Hammond SK Pro 73 ** Roland RD-88 ** Crumar Mojo Pedals ** Mackie Thump 12A (x2) ** Tascam DP-24SD

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This is a great thread; I've been considering the same things for backup.

Can anyone verify if the Yamaha Reface YC sends midi via the drawbars?

Tom

Tom

Nord Electro 5D, Modal Cobalt 8, Yamaha upright piano, numerous plug-ins...

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