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As a keyboard player, do you feel like an outsider?


b_3guy

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I don't mean to sound like a downer. I live to play music. When in High School all I ever wanted to do is play in a band. After 30 years of playing in full & part-time in bands, & still loving it, I sometimes feel like a 5th wheel. Singers & guitar players are buddies, obviously bass players & drummers are buddies. Keyboard players are often added after the fact. Or is it because we are in a minority (keyboard players are fewer & far between) or is it because we are more likely to be formerly trained. Or should we think more like we are the icing on the cake, we complete the picture. Comments?

 

I think this forum is great. Wish I had of checked it out a year ago. To be able to talk about keyboard playing & gear is great. Everyone keep up the good work!

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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It's been my experience that bassists and drummers don't fratinize with keyboard players because they can be replaced by sequencers ( drummers ) and our left hands (bass players ) http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif......On a more serious note, generally the keyboard player is the one that hefts the most musical responsibility in the group. When someone wants to sing with the band the next words someone says are " tell the keyboard player so he can get your key..." Or when the guest vocalist sings Happy Birthday in 33/16 somewhere near G flat, the guitar player craps out or adjusts a string while you attempt to make the singer sound somewhat musical. I've even had to yell out transposed notes to some horn players ( on the fly ) since most band arrangements are in "guitar" keys. Also, we get the responsibility of sound checks (" well, everything you have has knobs and sliders on it, so you fix the P.A....). Then the subject of transportation comes up ( hey, give it to the keyboard guy, he's got a van...). When all is said and done, it's still worth it, because you can always do a single! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

 

"It needs a Hammond"

 

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I think it depends on the genre. In jazz or techno, the keyboardist is king. In heavy guitar rock, kays may not contribute a lot to the overall sound (note: lots of guitar rock bands DO have prominent keyboard players). Unfortunately, the keyboard player may be seen as less important in some groups for this reason.

 

Keyboardists are also constrained by their rigs, so they can't clown around as much as the guitarist and bassist. Maybe this makes the other band members forget the keyboard guy, somtimes.

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It's true that Rock is fueled by guitar, bass and drums.. but sometimes I wonder if the whole reason why keyboardists seem on the outside is just because the usual timbres in a keyboardist's aresenal don't have as much edge as electric guitar & bass. Even the types of sounds that do have the edge (like analog leads with some FM and waveshaping for real crunch) aren't looked at as belonging in metal or rock. But then I think, why not just distort everything like a guitarist does? I'm considering buying a J-Station to do just that.. to see if having good distortion (not the so-called distortion effects on a keyboard) can make me supplant the guitarist. But then again.. isn't that part of the problem? Since we don't fit in the normal structure, we want to take over the whole spotlight altogether! Maybe instead it should be seen as leveling the playing ground - so you can feel as important as "them"..

 

I was thinking about this last summer when I first saw the Fender/Squier "Strat Pak". Why isn't there anything like that for keyboards? I think if Roland made a Keyboard "Pak" that was targeted at young musicians to play rock, maybe the perception of keyboards in rock would change. Or maybe they just wouldn't sell any.

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John Lord made good use of distortion. And Steve (forgot his last name) of Kansas used to put on athletic performances. Many of The Who's best songs feature prominent synth parts. Ditto Rush. Two words: Rick Wakeman. Rock is not completely unwelcoming to keyboard players, but you have to approach rock differently than a lounge gig. Steve, I think the J-station (or similar product) is a good idea. Just don't overdo the overdrive thing. It's an orchestration thing, not a competition thing.
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