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* Local bands need keyboardists more than guitarists *


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Seems if one is going to pursue an instrument to play professionally, there are scads of guitar players and not so many keyboard players. You think this is right? Assuming bands want keyboard players. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif

 

This question pertains to bands playing rock, pop, oldies, country. Nothing heavy.

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I think that is correct. A lot of keyboardists tend to play isolated at home and in the studio. Maybe that has to do with sequencing and the ability to "become" the whole band. Guitarists and drummers are much easier to find and seem to be really popular instruments. Techno is such a big trend in keyboard playing these days and it doesn't always lend itself to live playing.

 

Finding singers might be even more difficult.

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>>Seems if one is going to pursue an instrument to play professionally, there are scads of guitar players and not so many keyboard players

 

No shit! Right on all points. No keyboard players. We're looking for one in Kansas City right now. I'd really think that you key folks would enjoy getting out there and playing, and I don't mean in some sequenced thing or as a lounge pianist.

 

Bass players too...drummers to a lesser degree.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Big Time!!! I know of a very very talented group of musicians (11) that will not take a gig because of the lack of a keyboard player. There are numerous players, but non that really want to put forth the time that is required to add to the mix. In specific B3 players...... are these lost artisans?? The City I'm referring to is Seattle, and the group of musicians are truly an extremely professional lot... they draw a great number of players, but not the caliber we have seen in the years past......

 

It appears that the 'Lute' has taken over as the instrument of choice.. be it because of desire to master or some lessor need.

 

Mo

 

You can also build a very strong case for Bassist's

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I'd bet they do, Smedis, as I'm a guitar player who's frustrated by trying to find a keyboard person. Like being six years old and asked to color something and being given a box of crayons with no blue crayons in it. Keys are a vital color in the mix, and a band sounds aurally "color blind" without them. My opinion, anyway.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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In the fact that I'm just returning to the music biz (locally) after about 15 years out, I'm finding that, yes, B3 playing is a lost art. Playing the fills, learning the timbres & harmonics, and more importantly using jazz voicings in a blues/rock environment. Listening to Benmont Tench & Gregg Allman have helped immensely

 

Jay

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Benmont Tench and Gregg Allman! If you ever decide to move to Kansas City, get in touch, y'hear?

 

Actually, is playing a B3 a lost art, or is lugging one around for bar gigs the real problem? I mean, I would think you'd have to have a helluva good gig to consider lugging one of those beasts (not to mention a Leslie or two) around.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Actually, I'm in the process of coming as close to a B-3 sound as possible, with a Yamaha S80 and the Native Instruments B4 software emulator. With a Roland KC-300 amp (and maybe a 2nd one to run stereo)it's 52 lbs & 38 lbs respectively. The sound is VERY close, and although I don't get the feel of taming a monster sitting behind the B-3, the sound is the thing. Also, even with fully-weighted keys on the S80, you'd be surprised what can be done.

 

jay

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Originally posted by Tedster:

>>Seems if one is going to pursue an instrument to play professionally, there are scads of guitar players and not so many keyboard players

 

No shit! Right on all points. No keyboard players. We're looking for one in Kansas City right now. I'd really think that you key folks would enjoy getting out there and playing, and I don't mean in some sequenced thing or as a lounge pianist.

 

Bass players too...drummers to a lesser degree.

 

 

I fully agree Tedster, as a guitar player myself, a blues player in particular. I would love to hook up with a good B3 player, or a good keyboard player in general. But such is not my luck, not a keys player to be found, that isn't already gigging that is. and there are only a few of them!! Same for a good bass player, their out there, but already gigging. That's too bad as I LOVE the sound of a good B3, and synth/piano in general. I love jamming with them but WHERE ARE THEY???? Not in the Quad Cities, USA obviously. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/frown.gifhttp://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/frown.gif Too bad.

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With most pop music (except techno dance and hip hop) being so simplistic and guitar oriented it's hard for me to find steady work in PA. I do a lot of studio work for bands and will freelance special live gigs for them, but it seems that bands around here consider keyboardists mere filler. I have great equipment (VK7 & A Triton housed in a B3 body, QS8, 122 Leslie etc. - all the bells and whistles), I have always gotten great press on album and band reviews, I can play prog rock, pop, jazz and blues quite proficiently and can play pretty decent guitar to boot and can kick bass if need be(I'm an old school B3 guy). Besides that, I'm a nice guy. I enjoy being a sideman and I don't get in anyones face. But, I can't find anything steady even with bad musicians. Maybe at 45 I'm just too over the hill. Or maybe we only wish we were loved like guitar players. Bass players are the most wanted of all. I don't know why people don't want to take up bass. It's one of my favs.
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B3Wiz...if you ever get tired of PA...you've got a gig waiting for you in KC. Ain't perhaps the best gigs in the world (we're all weekend warriors, so those who want to earn their living by playing would get disgusted with us fast), but we have fun. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

I think you hit on something, though. A lot of keyboard players get into stuff that's not really selling commercially, like prog and fusion, etc., so they'd rather do their thing on sessions than do the S.O.S. in the clubs.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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I think a whole key to it is playing with guys you like. Saw "Behind the Music" the other night on Huey Lewis, and he admitted that he would refuse to fire someone that the label wanted him to because he liked him, and of course eventually they melded into a top-notch unit.

 

At my age (44) I'd love to play with real proficient guys that are also nice, but sometimes the twain don't meet.

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I live in PA also and am having a heck of a time finding like minded musicians to play with. The bands around here still consider synths as fillers. It's a shame because I have originals written, sequenced in and ready to go. I would love to find other musicians to add their touches(hell, they can rewrite parts if they want) or have music already made that I can jam on. I know that I can go ahead and record everything myself but I enjoy concocting music with other musicians(drummers,bass players, guitarists,kazoo players, other synth players etc..) I have also discovered it is a bit more difficult being a woman in this business--Why Is This??
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Originally posted by KorgThrasher:

I live in PA also and am having a heck of a time finding like minded musicians to play with. The bands around here still consider synths as fillers. It's a shame because I have originals written, sequenced in and ready to go. I would love to find other musicians to add their touches(hell, they can rewrite parts if they want) or have music already made that I can jam on. I know that I can go ahead and record everything myself but I enjoy concocting music with other musicians(drummers,bass players, guitarists,kazoo players, other synth players etc..) I have also discovered it is a bit more difficult being a woman in this business--Why Is This??

I am optimistic that the demand for keyboard players is going to change. Everything goes in cycles and the 2 guitars, bass and drums music of the 90's has milked about all the creativity that such a configuration can inspire for this time around.

 

I agree with you that there is nothing like creating art with other musicians. My son's band writes everything this way. They call themseves No Separate Self © and musically live up tho their name perfectly. I am extremely jealous of what they have. The good thing is that they know there is something very special going on. I see you live in Pottsville. They are in the Bloomsburg-Lewisburg area. Check them out if you see them around. Really interesting, deep, emotional stuff.

 

As for the woman thing, in my opinion, I believe women's rights have been set back 30 years in the last 5. I have 2 boys and 2 girls and I see the women their age (14-21) taking on a much more subserviant role today than I can ever remember. There really does seem to be a lack of respect toward women-not just in music, but in general. It's a complex problem with coplex reasons and complex answers, but I am very surprised that I don't hear much complaining about it. I address my boys about their treatment of women and my girls about how they so willingly let guys treat them like crap. They all say it's just the way it is.

 

There you go, girl....put on that prophetess cloak and start singing about it. My wife is a blues singer and she is beginning to turn the stage into a pulpit addressing domestic abuse issues and we are in the process of writing some material about it right now.

 

About work--have you tried advertising on parocks.com? good luck. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

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B3Wiz,

Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it and agree with you on all the topics covered. I will definitley check out No Separate Self! Thanks for passing along the info on Parocks. Please pass along a thank-you to your wife from me concerning speaking out for other women and issues through music!

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I totally agree....For some reason, kids seem to want to play guitar and drums more than anything else, but at some point some of them realize that for every one SRV out there, there are about a million more guitar players looking for regular gigs. I have been able to make a living as a keyboardist due to simply being versatile...I play Hammond B3 as well as piano, and have mastered the styles necessary for live performance...Taking this time has made me a well-rounded and in-demand musician in my area, so I am never out of work, and can call my own prices for sitting in.
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  • 1 year later...

Well, I joined this forum because I've always had a demand for a good keyboard player, but I can't find them. People are acually amazed when they see a good keyboardist in a live setting.

 

WANTED !

Where is the Gentle Giant / Yes / Tull keyboardist in Seattle? I think the keyboardist should have as much prominence in the band as anyone. If I played keys better, this would be my dream band.

 

Have you e-mailed me yet? We are ready!

 

Paul

paostby@aol.com

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The town I live next to (Evansville, IN) is like 130,000 souls so not a big urban area at all. I play keys as well as reeds and I would describe myself as being a pretty good keyboard player for a sax guy-and a pretty good sax player for a keyboard guy! IOW pretty much a utility player. But since I can read, have a good grasp of theory and a pretty OK ear as well as being able to do a bunch of styles at least OK I'm one of about 5 guys in this little town who are able to play music full time, playing everything from Bob Dylan to In The Mood. However I can definately see it going away- I'm 45 and while it hasn't cut into my work schedule most of the bands that are coming out new here are your basic 2 guitars/bass/drums and maybe a frontman. Kinda sad really- all that stuff sounds the same to me after a while.

Bob Green

Area 51 Recording Studio

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Here in Dallas there is a demand for utility keyboardists, but most bands are guitar bands. It's Strat/Tele country, depending on your persuasion. The utility roles keyboardists play are two fold, the usual "be a horn section" types of things as well as newer "make us sound like portishead" or "play a loop for us to jam over" things.

 

There's still precious little good music out there that requires keyboards to be played in an idiomatic keyboardish way.

 

Oh well. :rolleyes:

 

Jerry

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It is too bad that there isn't a lot of demand for "real" keyboard playing out there. It's kind of a chicken and the egg scene right now. Does little demand lead to the fewer keyboard players available, or has the lack of available keyboard players led to the minimal usage of keyboards? Of the few players I have talked to, none want to play in a band of any consequence. They just prefer to stay at home. A disappointing trend in that keyboards, as an instrument, are not producing performing musicians. Rather, alot of stay-at-home types are playing keyboards. It almost seems to be a sub-demographic of the home computer market.

 

I have an opening for a "real" keyboard player, but there is no one available (yet, I hope)!

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So Cal has a glut of talented musicians of all stripes, and I get told all the time how in-demand keyboard players are.In the surreal resort town in which I live, that demand decreases in proportion to how much I expect to be paid to lug my rig around.

 

In the casual scene (casuals, for the uninitiated, are private gigs like weddings and corporate parties) the money goes client -> booker -> bandleader -> musicians. Sometimes the booker and bandleader are the same person. Everyone in this chain is trying to maximize what they put in their pocket, so it helps if you can multitask: Sing, play left hand bass, control the lighting with your left foot, whatever. I've seen so many high-dollar gigs where "there's no budget for a keyboard player" but there is one for two guitarists (because somebody is somebody's pot-smoking buddy or whatever) it's not funny.

 

My area may be the exception to what things are like in the rest of the country, but at one level, the idea of a "band" is secondary to the paradigm of a bunch of individual musicians all trying to get the gig. I do better than most local cats in this regard, and it still feels lean.

 

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread. Just venting after a somewhat off holiday season.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Well in Phoenix, I haven't found any problems finding work as a keyboardist. I understand what Tusker is saying, but you've gotta create a niche for yourself. I find that I'm most useful and necessary more as a 'texturist' than I am as a soloist, because, like Texas, the guitar typically gets that honor.

 

Rick

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Ditto here on the "texturist" thing. One thing about it that always cracks me up though is if someone needs something charted, or vocalists need some harmony ideas,etc., it seems like everybody's looking to my side of the stage. This is not intended to in any way dis the musical contributions of guitarists/bassists/drummers et al it just seems like the default attitude is "theory stuff? better get the keyboard guy". So needless to say being able to come across w/chord charts, horn arrangements, vox parts etc. definately helps the employment situation

Bob Green

Area 51 Recording Studio

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Rick and Area51 ...

 

Props to you. If doing the textures, covering the horns, scoring etc. opens doors, then I'm all for it. There's no arguing with economics.

:D:thu:

 

For me personally, I'm in it as an idealist, not a professional gigger so I can afford to have impractical notions.

 

I think that the textures area will become guitar enabled soon (and laptop/controller enabled). If it isn't already. Both our guitarists have Roland VG and GR synths. One of them does some lovely textures with delays, string rubbing and E-Bow. They both do a great job of playing horns and strings for the occasional cheezy orchestral song. I score parts. They read them, as do the real horns. :thu:

 

I'm not resentful. Nor am I waving an "up with keyboards" flag.

 

I just want to make a distinction in my own mind between playing and accompanying a guitarist. It's too easy (given the frequent difference in capability between guitarists and keyboardists) to ask the guitarist to play what come naturally to them and ask the keyboardist to play what makes the guiatrist sound good.

 

It's not that I want to play lead or rhythm. I think that some keyboard idioms are worth being aware of. And we will lose them if we completely retreat to textures. I'm not suggesting that we evolve towards Moog solo-fests again. Just that a well rounded rock band will occasionally have central keyboard parts.

 

Cheers,

 

Jerry

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Originally posted by area51recording:

One thing about it that always cracks me up though is if someone needs something charted, or vocalists need some harmony ideas,etc., it seems like everybody's looking to my side of the stage. This is not intended to in any way dis the musical contributions of guitarists/bassists/drummers et al it just seems like the default attitude is "theory stuff? better get the keyboard guy".

Very true. I've also been a situation where I was dissed after the arrangement was done! :mad: I spent all this time working with the singer, and coming up with an arrangement, practicing the changes with her (she had a great voice - but no timing) to have her say that she felt it sounded better with guitar-bass-drums.

 

Result? The drummer and guitar player were my buddies, told her to fuck off, and she ended up doing the song with a guitar player only strumming the chords. So much for the big impact she wanted. :rolleyes::thu:

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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Try not to take these things personally. You did your best, and it was not what your 'client' wanted - and that is OK! Unless she called you an idiot or something, I fail to see how she 'dissed' you. Your buddies clearly dissed her though. How sad.

 

Originally posted by Rod S:

Very true. I've also been a situation where I was dissed after the arrangement was done! :mad: SNIP to have her say that she felt it sounded better with guitar-bass-drums.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Seems like it would all depend on what music was in demand. If everyone wants to hear alt-rock, then there's not much demand for keyboards. I also think it's true that if a band can make do on a guitar/drums/bass lineup, they will (fewer people to get along with/split the money with).

 

I would agree that for cover bands/retro bands that a demand would exist - and with so many guitarists out there, keyboardists would be harder to find.

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