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Rocker experiences costly MIDLIFE CRISIS; please help!


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Title: Title: * Rocker experiences costly MIDLIFE CRISIS... PLEASE help! *


Hi Guys and Gals! I am new here. I appreciate all of the info. Forums like this are where the internet shines! I'm VERY sorry for the length of this... but I have lots to say. This "idea" has been stewing for years. (If you DO respond, perhaps I can help you someday.) Just hit "Back" if you get tired. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif


SHORT VERSION: I need a keyboard and I know limited pianao; go to bottom section for description of Yamahas I have looked at.




I'm going through a midlife crisis. I have convinced myself that at this point in my life, I'm going to turn myself into a 1-man-show party dude. I'm 47 and holding and music (and golf) are what turn me on. I eat, sleep and breathe music. If I had it all to do over again, I wish I would have gone into the music business in some fashion way back when. Oh well... there's always the mid-life resurrection.


Here's the deal. I want to work up an act to play parties or small gigs. Seems this forum is a bit slanted to jazz types and "serious" musicians and you might poo-poo my idea... but hopefully, a few of you can identify. Personally, I just love music, especially rock music. Especially anthing live. I also appreciate ENTERTAINMENT. I know a guy whose musical skills are limited (piano player) but I guarantee you, whoever's listening is enjoying because his repertoire is FUN stuff and he knows how to entertain. Long live fun music.


Being a product of the 60s and having lived thus far through three more decades of the changes in music, even including with a conversion to a lover of country music, my music tastes are fairly varied. I'd say pop, rock, country. I even like classical. Nothing real heavy, though. About as heavy as my tastes get would be something along the lines of Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin or Stevie Ray Vaughan. But I love the sappy 50s stuff and doowop music, too. Heck, I even bought a CD one time of The Carpenters! Ultra yikes! If you looked at my music collection, it's all over the place. My favorite musician(s) of all time: The Beatles.


As I'm listening to my radio (all day long), each time I hear a song I like, I jot it down. Then I go my music tab books and my computer files where I have my song repertoire stored and make sure I have that tab. If I don't, I get it or note to try to pick it out on my own. I also "code" the song with "EG" or "AG" or "KB", meaning electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard... meaning the main instrument that's highlighted in the song. So, I'm slowly building this HUGE collection of songs. It's now over approaching 500.


My idea is this. I love to have fun, I love music and I can show off when I have to. I just have this idea that I could have a blast (and help other people have a blast) by creating my "act"... "celebrating music." Sometimes I'll even hear a song that I think has ideal party potential. Some I will note seem to offer good crowd participation. Hand-clapping, sing-along, shouting, whatever. I'm building a list of those types of songs.


I can play a lot of songs on guitar. Heck, I could do an entire evening of nothing but Beatles songs.


And I have this idea that I could "share" music stories about the music and people would like it. Just jabber a little bit about each song. I love it when musicians do that. Tell a tidbit about the song or the musicians before they play it.


I should mention my music experience.


I have played acoustic guitar for 35 years, since age 13. Just this week, I bought a Fender Strat and a small tube amp so I can get into electric guitar. I have LOTS to learn there. It'll probably take me six months of practice to "convert" my acoustic skills to electric skills. I have very limited "lead guitar" skills. Very limited blues skills. I'm working on it.


When I was age 10-12, I took piano lessons. I quit when peer pressue from my football-playing buddies made fun of me. Dumb move. But later, at age 14, the band director hit me up to join the band. He pulled it off by having my quarterback idol, who also played in the band, to give me a pep talk. I joined the band and had a blast. Started out on trumpet and then was recruited for drums. That's where I spent my band days. Playing drums.


Over the years, I've continued to play acoustic guitar. And occasionally bang on a piano. I can't read "regular" music very well anymore (other than real slowly). But I remember the basics.


About three years ago, I was dared to sing a karaoke song. Incredibly to me, the crowd went nuts. I was converted. Since then, I've sang karaoke quite a few times. Apparently, it's pretty good from the crowd reaction. I have surprised even myself. Pre-karaoke, I had never sung into a mike before and I'm amazed how much better you sound when amplified. I did sing in the high school choir, though.


I've got lots to learn. Not only electric guitar stuff, but piano again. I have good rhythm and a good ear. I can pick stuff out pretty well. I just need some theory and technique. (I guess.)


I've ordered some guitar instruction stuff and today, I ordered a piano instruction series (I saw on this forum) done by David Sudnow. It looks great.


I need a keyboard. I have no clue what to buy. I went to a music store and the guy showed me Yamaha. The Yamaha PSR540 is $500. It sounded great and had some cool effects. Heck, I was plenty impressed with the 540 for only $500. The piano sound, I thought, was outstanding! It offers plenty to keep me busy for awhile.


BUT... the PSR740 for $1100 could also do some vocal harmony stuff. Then there's the PSR9000 for a few grand, which I guess does more, more, more. Also, they all allowed you to buy disks of popular music and it would even display the words on the screen. I think with the 740 you can pipe it out to a monitor for karaoke for the audience. If wise, I'd bite the bullet and buy the high-dollar model, although I'd prefer not. What do you think?




1. Remember, I'm essentially starting piano again as a newbie. I can get on a piano now and play some stuff by ear but that's about it. I don't know whether to buy a lesser keyboard model or one that I could "grow into." I'm pretty serious about this, so I don't think there's much chance I won't go through with my plan.


2. Should I get something with more keys? These Yamahas have 61 keys.


3. The vocal thing... the higher-end models... you can sing and the thing will generate harmony. I've never heard it do it, so I have no idea if it's worth a flip or not but it sure seems cool. For a 1-man-show.


4. I am an experienced computer user. (I have a nice laptop.) Learning what all this Midi stuff is and how to exploit the effects and stuff for keyboard (and guitar)... I have no idea where to start. How the heck does one learn how to do all this stuff? The keyboard alone, how do you learn how to do all the stuff? Just experiment?


5. Seems to me hanging out with other musicians would be invaluable. But I live in a small town and that's a bit limited. But is that super important to learning / advancing?


6. I have this idea of something I've never seen, although surely somebody already does this. Seems it would be way cool to strap on a Strat, stand in front of the keyboard and play the guitar parts and reach forward and play the keyboard parts when they come in. Even something simple like Bryan Adams' Summer of '69, my theme song. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif Is that a silly thought or what do you think. Seems it could get pretty impressive if you got good at it. Simple guitar, simple keyboard riffs... and nostalgic lyrics. Entertainment.


7. I'd prefer to buy something upgradeable.


8. I have no reservations about buying used, if you think that's wise.


9. Other models other than the Yamaha?


10. I also need to do drum parts for my 1-man-show; are drum tracks sufficient?


11. Are there any forums for 1-man-shows? http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif


Thanks so much!

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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As I read through this, 2 things came to mind:


If that's what you want to do, GO FOR IT! We are not ALL pro musicians, (read: SERIOUS) I'm in computer management for the State of GA. A musician is "serious" if music means a lot to him, in any respect, so don't feel you have to justify it to any of us.


The second thing that came to my mind, was: Alesis QS7.1 or 8.1 They're the same synth, but the 7.1 has 76 organ-style keys, and the 8.1 has 88 piano-type keys. There's a bunch of sequencing software that comes with them, and you can burn sequences onto Flash cards to take with you to gigs. That means that you can travel fairly light, and still bring everything with you for a full show. Have all the rhythm tracks on the sequences, leaving you the leads to keep you busy whilst playing, or any combination that fits you. Best of all, if you buy used, I have seen the 7.1 for ~$600.00 and the 8.1 for ~$900.00.


Oh, BTW: The karaoke thing? Well, in 1990 I tore my vocal cords and didn't know it for 6 months. By then the damage had been done. Now I go to karaoke every weekend in order to keep any semblance of a singing voice. The DJ (A vocal major in college) even sets up my songs for me, easy ones at first to loosen me up, and then starts to push me a little more. Keeps my throat chops up, so I don't apologize to anyone for it. I just wish I knew what was coming every time I go there. He never tells me what I'm going to sing. Last week he nearly killed me with "NY State of Mind" by Billy Joel!

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Can't answer everything, but I'd like to help http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

Buy a pro keyboard with a sequencer. Most will allow you to import midi files that you can download just about anywhere. Find midi files of the songs in your repetoire or create them, and bingo, you're a one man band! Don't know much about those vocal processors you mentioned, but they might provide an interesting element to your act. Maybe the midi files can trigger harmonies to fatten up your show.

I say go for it. You gotta express yourself, man http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

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I only quickly read over your post, but here are a few suggestions for technology to look into:


While the Yamaha PSR series are definitely geared towards your type of goals, there are other options. Besides the synth and computer paradigm mentioned by joe in using an Alesis QS keyboard, there are other all-in-one packages that could be a bit more fruitful for you. First off, there is a pair of keyboards made by Roland that are at incredible deals right now: the EM-2000 and the G-1000. They are both termed "Intelligent Arrangers" and have lyrics displays as well. But the difference is that these come from Roland's Professional line and have excellent sound and really cool controllers. I think the basic difference between the models is that the first has 61 keys and a style-morphing function, and the second has 76 keys and no style morphing. They both have zip drives and SCSI ports and optional lyric to video converters. The best part is the price: they didn't do so well so Roland slashed the cost in half. They both listed for around $3,400 but now go for something like $1300. Here are links for each:


Korg has a similar line, called their "i" series arrangers. I think the current keyboard is called the IS-35. They also have a keyboard called the PA-80 which has largely been overlooked, but has some incredible sounds and a cool guitar processor. It is rather expensive ($1999) but its sounds are on par with pro-keyboards. There is also the Korg Karma workstation, which has a similar sound engine but the way it responds to your playing is very different. It might be too complicated for you, but the results can be much more creative and organic than those from a backing keyboard. This is a brand new keyboard and should be in the stores within the next month.. it goes for around $1800.



One last thing: you might want to consider a DJ-type paradigm in place of the one-man-band outfit. Even though that may seem focused on Techno/Electronica music, it does fit for rock as well. If this interests you in the slightest, do yourself a favor and buy the Sonic Foundry program "Acid-Rock". It's only like 60 bucks and it gets you familiar with the concepts of looping audio and arranging audio into tracks, and it uses a whole bunch of Rock samples. If you get into that kind of thing, it can take some of the load off your keyboard skills requirements and let you play guitar of synth above the mix you're creating with ther devices.

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Thanks, Steve. Instantly, it SEEMS that those Roland deals are hard to pass up. I mean, geez, that's my kind of deal! On those, the one that does style-morphing... can you explain what that is? And the other one has 76 keys. Do you feel the more keys is important?


Since I'm thinking of the one-man show idea, the Yamahas offer that voice harmony thing. You sing and it pipes out harmony, too. As I said, I haven't heard it, but if it's any good, that could be invaluable on some songs. Any thoughts there?


The Acid-Rock program you mentioned... is that software that I could use with any of these models, including the Yamahas?

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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