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tips and tricks


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i thought it would be neat to start a thread where people could share the tips and tricks theve collected over the years with each other


im new to keyboarding so i dont have any for this instrument, but ill get the ball rolling by giving one for another:


for anybody out there whos a fellow bass player, if your looking to get a stand-up tone but either prefer playing a normal bass or cant afford one, try rubbing the strings down with petroleom jelly (clean them off after some has absorbed, playing with greasy fingers aint cool) and wad some cloth or kleenex under the strings near the bridge.


i hope i figure out some keyboard ones to share eventually but im only a week into this :D


[ 11-23-2001: Message edited by: coren5555 ]

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  • 4 months later...

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I'll try to think of some tips, but in the meantime, anyone who gets Vaseline anywhere NEAR my precious basses will be promptly neutered. ;)


Actually, the way to get an upright tone from an electric bass is to pick the notes with your thumb - not with a slapping action, but with a smooth downward motion, as though you're trying to smash a grape that's sitting between the strings. The more "thumb meat" you use, the better the tone.


Tip: save the petroleum products for your hemorrhoids. :D

The Black Knight always triumphs!


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A few pedal tips;


A Yamaha FC7 sweep pedal will work just fine on Korg synths, and they're cheaper and way sturdier than Korg sweep pedals.


To keep sustain pedals from walking away while playing, take a small flap of carpet remnant and screw it to the bottom of the pedal so it extends under your heel. Better yet, get the Roland pedal that already has a rubber flap under it. As long as your keyboard allows you to switch damper polarity, it will work with any synth.


Avoid those VFP damper pedals with the polarity switch on the bottom. If you must use one, keep a spare nearby. They're built like toys. I've never had one last more than a few months.


To keep cords from tangling up in your gig bag;


Wrap each one with a small velcro srip. And don't waste your money on those 2" strips that sell for several bucks at the music store. You can go to a fabric store (or send your wife if you're not comfortable with this! :D ) and get several feet of it for the same price. Cut it into smaller strips so you have one strip for each cord. Then after you've set up, you can use the same strips to organize the spaghetti. :)


I also like to use velcro strips to make a snake out of the audio and MIDI cables that go from the keyboards to the rack. I like this better than those plastic tubes because it's easier to replace a cord if you need to. The more cables you snake together, the more strength they have when people stomp on them while crossing the stage. (And they will. Especially chick singers! :eek: ) You can group the power cables together too, but give them a seperate path to the rack.


Also, NEVER, EVER use cheap, flimsy keyboard stands. Even if you're borrowing it. Trust me on this one! :eek::eek:


Peace all,




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Here's an old tip. Be a good team player. Take care of other people's egos.


Don't embarass your guitarist(s). Simplify the chords. Give him/them any complicated parts early. Get his/their counsel on your sounds and parts.


You'll enjoy a lower incidence of wanking and other overtly self-conscious behavior.



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If you are in a band, everyone should have their own color of tape. Every cord, cable and microphone should be marked. For microphones use tape wide enough that the soundperson can see the color for each microphone. Mark the corresponding channels on the mixer with the same tape. It makes it much easier for times that you may need a substitute sound person.


For my keyboard rig I also use a tape system but for this I use pinstripe tape. Each keyboard and percussion device is assigned a different color. Wrap each end of every cable going to that with pinstripe tape of that color. Then put a piece of tape on the back so signify what color is designated to that device. If you don't have stereo cables, then mark your left and right channel cables with red and white tape, again, on each end.




Edit - Oops. Forgot to mention, if you prefer numbers to colors go to an electrical supply store and get the stick on numbers techs use when installing computer wiring. I use these at work and the design of the lables allows me to use 3 digit numbers. Roland may be the only person here that would need three digits to identify everything in the keyboard rig. :P

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If you are in cramped quarters on stage, think about laying your speaker cabinets on their back. You'll hear them, but the FOH probably won't.


Talk to your FOH sound people. Most of the time they end up riding the keyboard players fader. Ask them to mark the most out-of-line volumes from your rig on the set list (usually a +/- 5 scale works). This will take a few gigs to get right, but you and the soundman will be far happier.


I have an extra small amp that I can run to the other side of the stage and let the other band members adjust the volume as they need to.


If you do a lot of palm-glissing, keep a small bottle of talcum powder handy - with sweaty hands it makes sliding up and down the keys much easier. Do NOT put it on the keys however (obvious, but still needs to be said).


I run the monitor console during rehearsal and at small gigs. Most of the time someone wants themselves to be turned up. If their vocal is input 2, and their monitor send is 3, I mark the top of the send 3 knob on input 2 so that it's easy to find.


Some nice, quiet summer day, take your amplification rig out to your back yard and equalize it with a pink/white noise generator (chances are you can rent one for a few $$$ on any weekday). Mark the settings and reset your EQ back to these settings every gig before. This way you are always starting "flat" for your system, and just making minor changes for the room. Otherwise, you will be making changes upon changes upon changes.

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It's an obvious one, I think, but I use my set list like a to-do list. Under each song, I'll put notes about what I need to do/not do. This is especially helpful as I play keyboards in an 80's cover band with a long list of songs, so I've got my hands full (it was a big decade for us!).


Simple things like "sing backup harmony on chorus", "sit out the bridge, but play tambourine part", "start loading sequence for next song asap", "make sure headset mic is turned on" (seriously, I forgot once when coming back after a break :bor: ).

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Put every song the band learns on paper, so that if it gets pulled it out of hibernation for a request a year or two later, you have the chord structure and your patch settings handy.


I keep a couple of small 3/x5 spiral notebooks velcroed to my top keyboard just for this purpose. On the first page, I have a table of contents which consists of the song name and a page number. Each song gets its own numbered page, with the basic chord structure and synth patches.


I can't even begin to tell you how often I have had to flip through that for a forgotten patch#, forgotten chords, etc. It works for performing new material that i am not comfortable with too.



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I apply small pieces of white tape in between every four patch buttons on my Kurzweil. Its at the bottom of the stack and is black, its impossible to see the button numbers but when I know the sax patch is the third button in the second group of four, its very easy to hit in the semi-dark.

Our new rhythm guitarist sets his amp on a 3-foot stand right in front of my rig; as its a typical open-back guitar amp I get blasted just as much as he does. I take the three towels I throw over the keyboards overnight and stuff them in the back amp opening, really quiets it down. He hasn't noticed yet, I gotta be careful about pulling them out at the end of the last set before we tear down.

Oh, and petroleum products work much better on your organ than on your piano :rolleyes:


"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will


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Plug in / turn on your synth / organ etc before playing - I know I have made that mistake before.


Also remember to check volume faders etc - I have also started playing with the Vol fader bumped up to full.



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