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How do you make your rig look good?


cg1155

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It's great to play out and all but the thing that drives me nuts is all those cables going everywhere! I mean, a killer keyboard rig just doesn't have the stage presence of a great grand piano or a real B3 now does it. How do you deal with the clutter/ugliness of a wild rig?

 

-Casey

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recently,instead of having my cables go everywhere, i've got some of those clicky ties sort of thing - the ones, oh don't bother i can't describe them. i bunch all the cables from my 2 keyboards and tie them to one part of the keyboard stand. the good thing is that most of the cables are on the right hand side of the keyboard, but you do get the power and or L/mono & R on the left hand side. and instead of letting them hand out the front, i stick them down the middle of the keyboard frame between the front and back supports and then out nicely to the side. it at least makes things look nice (but probably everyone does this already don't they?).

another thing i did was to replace all the cables on various pedals of mine to the same type - not the thin ones that curl up lke noodles, but thicker ones that will consisantly roll up when you want them too. by keeping all the cables the same type (and colour), it makes it look better still.

 

some people stick gaffer's tape over their keyboard names - why is that? like a copyright thing?

 

pray for peace,

kendall

"Consider how much coffee you're drinking - it's probably not enough."
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Make sure the cables are long enough to path along the arms and legs of the keyboard stands. Use velcro strips to group and bind the cables to your stands. You might want to choose colors that blend rather than neons. The closer your keyboards are on a rack, the less "air" space you have between keyboards to highlite the spiderweb of cables. Depending on the type of stand an rig you have, a tapestry can be mounted on the back to hide the keyboards.

 

It would help if keyboards were a little more consistant with placement of power cables, midi and sound jacks. If you are serious about the look consider making a cover for the back of each keyboard. I have seen some nice looking black plastic covers that keyboardists use to hide the cables. It needs to be about the same height as the back of the keyboard (usually around 5" on average). You string the cables along the back of the unit until the cable reaches the legs of the stand. The thin black cover is valcroed to the back of the unit and curves over the cables. This is much easier if you do not use Midi cables on stage. Buy sound cables with 90 degree 1/4 inch jacks on one end. That keeps the cables closer to the back of the keyboard where they are easier to hide.

 

I never bothered with a cover, but I did use velcro and gaffer's tape to group and bind cables. And, I always used black cables.

This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by jimbyjoe:

some people stick gaffer's tape over their keyboard names - why is that? like a copyright thing?

 

If I am correct, it is a 'free' advertisement thing. I think some channels or shows may require some type of compensation for the manufacturer's name to be televised on air. So to circumvent that issue, they cover up the name. Either that, or the musician doesn't want to advertise for the manufacturer or for people to know what they play to get their "sound".

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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Casey:

Why would gigging with a laptop look "pretentious"? All idm/ambient bands and performers have done just that for years now. Some performers only use their laptop and a midi controller. You can debate the merits of whether or not that actually is a "live performance" in the classic sense - but some of the acts have a pretty devoted following....Matmos is even touring with bjork and produced her new one. Besides, if it's sleekness, portability and ease you're looking for...you can't beat a laptop and a phatboy. ~nel

*

 

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For power cables I took a power strip cut the cord down so it is as close to the power strip as I can get it . Then I take tie straps and strap it to my cross bar [ quik lok 726 l ] . I have two tiers and I made a shelf that fits on the top tier. I have my s-80 , triton rack, xv5080, mackie 1202, and my jbl's conected to the power strip ,also I cut my audio cables down to custom fit the rig.
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I sometimes use these velcro cable tie things to keep it neat. And sometimes I don't.

 

BUT... My rig is built around a Hammond, so it always looks great regardless of cable clutter! :)

 

 

Originally posted by cg1155:

It's great to play out and all but the thing that drives me nuts is all those cables going everywhere! I mean, a killer keyboard rig just doesn't have the stage presence of a great grand piano or a real B3 now does it. How do you deal with the clutter/ugliness of a wild rig?

 

-Casey

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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The Container Store has those black thingies that look like a hose pipe that has been cut end-to-end. You just stuff your cables inside them, and then they are easier to keep together. It works pretty well if most of your cable points (audio, midi, power) are bunched close together on the back of your synth.

 

Regards,

 

Jerry

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I took an old BC Hammond Cabinet (early B3) and gutted it. I routed it out to fit my VK7 and my Triton rests on top of the VK. I play most of the Triton stuff on my Fatar SL880. Everyone thinks I am playing a real B3. I really impress them at the end of the night when I pick the whole cabinet up by myself. :D

I took aluminum angle and screwed a sheet of heavy gauge alum to it for the floor. All my cables come down 2 of pieces of plastic tubing that take the place of the old copper wiring tubes that came with the Hammond. From there they are wired into my Volume pedal, Trek II Leslie preamp and/or to my 1202 Mackie.

 

All I have to do is connect the VK and Triton as I slide them into the cabinet and run the lines from the Mackie to the DI's and the leslie cable, plug the cabionet mounted power strip to an ac source and I'm ready to fly.

 

Believe it or not, although you need a van to haul it around, the cabinet really isn't that hard to carry around and it doesn't take up any more space on stage. It is rock solid and it makes me more popular than the guitar player...which, of course is what it's all about anyway. :D

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Casey... you could always go in the other direction.

 

Too many years ago to mention, I saw a local band in Philly called Beru Revue. Straight ahead, kind of Kinks-y rock and roll.

 

The keyboardist had what I thought was a rather novel approach to the problem you're describing. He mounted his two keyboards on top of an old chrome shopping cart, and apparently stuffed all sorts of cables, effects, and any other type of spare equipment he could find in the basket. There were cables galore hanging out all over the place!

 

He came off to me like some sort of mad scientist or something, although I believe I was tripping on acid at the time, so who knows...

 

The best part? When he would do any sort of solo or extended fill, he would roll the whole rig forward towards the front of the stage. Solo ending? We'll he just rolled right on back!!!

 

What the hell, Casey. If you can't solve the problem...be a part of it!

 

Steve

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I've been working on a solution to this problem as well. I currently play three boards in a stack for my basic club rig: K-2000 above Roland VK-7 above Yamaha S-80. Part of the problem is finding a stand that'll keep three boards in a nice tight cascade. Your basic QuikLok three-tier leaves way too much space between them. Think I may have to go custom here. For me, it's worth the investment, as I do so many gigs that I'd really notice the cleanliness and saved time setting up and striking.

 

As for cabling, I gang my power cords together with cable ties and that plastic hose-like stuff, I've got three unequal-length cables that line up with the keyboards and then are equal on the power-strip end. For audio, I'm currently working on a custom snake... six channels, spiral wrap, with a DB-25 connector that will hook into a custom panel on the back of the rack which contains my mixer and K-2500.

 

Somebody ought to make a stand with connections built in. Let's say you have a stereo in on each tier, so you can use really short cords to connect your synths. Then, at the bottom of one of the stand's columns is a panel with all the outputs. Run a cheap Hosa unbalanced snake to your mixer and you're ready to go. Waitaminit... we could build a power strip into this thing too. Great, I'm wearing a rayon shirt and now I've got hard nipples!

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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Originally posted by cg1155:

It's great to play out and all but the thing that drives me nuts is all those cables going everywhere! I mean, a killer keyboard rig just doesn't have the stage presence of a great grand piano or a real B3 now does it. How do you deal with the clutter/ugliness of a wild rig?

 

-Casey

If you don`t want to deal with tying up all your cabling, you could try hanging a banner to hide that section from the audience. Get a nice cloth one with your bands logo on it so that your bandmates will have to chip in on the cost. Casey

 "Let It Be!"

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Originally posted by SteveFortner:

Your basic QuikLok three-tier leaves way too much space between them. Think I may have to go custom here.

 

Steve, after years of never really getting my keyboards in the "right" spot, the piano board is just a little too low, the 2nd tier is not on the right angle & too high, & trying 4 different stands (with the QuikLok you can't even get the 2nd tier level) I bought an Apex IQ-2000 MEDIUM DUTY X-STAND. Here's the link.

http://www.ultimatesupport.com/mainframe.htm

Even though live I only use 2 boards, for an extra $20 I bought the 3rd tier, just to have if I ever needed it. Fairly steady, & I can get the boards exactly where I want them. The only down fall is when you collapse the stand, the 2nd tier or 3rd tier has no system of telling you how to get them back in the same position you had them. So I put some black tape on the tiers to mark their position. I slide them back until they hit the tape. Keeping cables neat looking is still a hassle, but I can get the boards exactly where I want them.

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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This is one area where a large 88key controller really works if it's designed well. My Rhodes MK80, like the Stage Mark II & III, has a flat top which allows you to place another keyboard directly on top of it. Even if I didn't like the sounds of the MK80, I'd retain it as my MIDI controller for that "flat-top" feature alone. Add a 2nd tier to the stand it's on and your 3-keyboard cascade is tight indeed....

 

Originally posted by SteveFortner:

I've been working on a solution to this problem as well. I currently play three boards in a stack for my basic club rig: K-2000 above Roland VK-7 above Yamaha S-80. Part of the problem is finding a stand that'll keep three boards in a nice tight cascade. Your basic QuikLok three-tier leaves way too much space between them. Think I may have to go custom here.

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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As for the three tier problem, I'm currently using a Standtastic keyboard stand. It's by far the most stable (and I've tried them all) for large keyboards since it opens in a scissor mechanism to whatever width you need, and it's more of an A frame style so you keyboard won't see-saw when you "lay it down," but unlike A frames it can take any length board because the tiers project from the front legs instead of being part of the front legs. The reason it sounds great for your I-can't-get-these-keyboards-close-enough problem is that each tier is fully adjustable in height and angle - absolutely anything you want from practically sitting on each other to enough space to pass a turkey through. And did I mention it's a snap to set up? I guess more people aren't using them because they don't have the market penetration in the US or a good supplier here. I ordered mine from the manufacturer. They have an ad in keyboard.

 

-Casey

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Thanks for the suggestions. Very helpful...

 

B3guy, I checked out the IQ-2000, and the problem you're talking about was kind of a deal-breaker for me. I'm glad you've got a workaround. I noticed that when you loosen the adjusting screw on any of the tiers, you've loosened three axes worth of motion. No way to adjust one at a time. Too bad, because the components are definitely higher-quality than QuikLok.

 

Casey, I've been curious about Standtastic for awhile. Musicians' Friend has it online, but I've found nowehere I can test one out. How deep are the tiers? Could you fit, say, a K-2600 on the bottom? Do you have a two or three-tier stand? If it's a three, is the top tier height-adjustable too?

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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Steve, the tiers work on a hinge system that's so strong I can do suspended pushups from them (I have). You set the angle from 5 available by removing and reseting a pin (takes 2 seconds). It's all solid welded steel (no tubing here) so it's a bit heavier than your standard x-frame but it is absolutely the best. All tiers are width adjustable to about 24+ inches (I don't have it here to measure, but a K2600 should fit fine). The frame itself can be adjusted from barely open to almost as wide as my S80. I have the 48" high model which fits 3 tiers sitting or 2 tiers standing. The 60" model I think is best for 3 tiers and the tier mechanism is the same for all tiers so you can adjust the height for each of them completely (you can even have it on a slant if you want). My major complaint is that the slide mechanism they use for opening it can get stuck after about 6 months of use but that can be fixed by just opening it correctly (which I wasn't) or spraying some graphite lubricant in there. Like I said earlier, I've never found a more stable stand or one that is more customizable for such a reasonable price (mine was $160 ish) considering what's out there. I guess the major competitors would be an Ultimate Column stand which is much less stable IMHO and leaves you little pedal space (did I mention that the WHOLE underneath is completely open to pedals?!) or the multitier x-frame stands that are much less stable, give you no knee or pedal space since they don't open very wide if you're standing and therefore provide less keyboard support. I've even heard of people breaking the spine of their boards on x-frames! Anyway, you can see I'm a fan so there's little else to say, let me know if you have any other questions.

 

-Casey

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Originally posted by kcbass:

 

You got a jpeg to back that up? Casey lol

 

Hm, the way I read that is: "I make my rig look good by standing next to it, because in comparison to me anything looks good".

 

:D

 

If you want a good-looking rig, become a trucker! Those chromium reclining-nekkid-lady mudflap things always add a touch of class- how about stapling a couple of them onto the back of say a Korg Karma to hide the name and the cables from audience view?

 

Underrated cool keyboard looks-

 

Rattan

Bamboo

Tikki

Gingerbread Castle

Warm Salted Mayonaisse D'Jour

Faux Stone

Real Stone

Wrought Iron

 

-CB

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I had an IQ-2000-style stand for years. (It was a Quik-Loc). I was never confident with the tiers staying put, and I had one fall over once. The third tier is almost useless - I had a CZ-101 on it, and they don't get much smaller than that. They are cheap, though. You have to velcro the cables to the X-stand.

 

I also have an Apex. This is a great stand, except the sustain pedal has nowhere to go. I wouldn't put a third tier on this - it is a little shaky with two tiers already. The cables go in little clips behind the keyboards, very trick.

 

I was in a band with someone who had an A-frame for his synths. I probably wouldn't gig with this stand. There are too many parts to lose, and setup takes too long. I would love to get one for my home studio, though.

 

If I were to play a gig with three synths, I would probably use an Apex on the side and an X-frame facing the audience with the 88-key synth on it. If I didn't have the space for this, I would probably use just the Apex and lose one of the synths.

 

Try velcro and plastic cable ties (disposable but cheap and sturdy) for cable routing. Also, black utility tape is great for losing the logos and making cables disappear.

 

Hope this helps, -jl

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I've been interested in the Standtastic stands for a while but I've left messages and they've never called me back. I'm glad someone out there thinks well of them - they seem like a good design.

 

I still use the Invisible Keyboard Stand that I bought back in '85 (replaced a USS A Frame stand). It's done the trick for years, but it is a bit unstable with 88 key boards and only allows for 2 keyboards. Setup isn't bad, and I bought a second one used a couple of years ago to keep at a rehearsal space and for spare parts (though my main stand is black and the spare is chrome... very 80's). It's pretty much a streamlined look and has plenty of space below for my pedals (2 volume and a sustain) and you can also sit and play without having your legs compete for space with the stands legs (for the most part, at least).

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This is not an irrelevant topic. Very often the keyboard/piano player is facing an audience that sees what? A thin slab sitting on a cross legged device and the pianist's knobby knees (in some cases, more).

 

Seeing me in a club, a bride "auditioning" me for her wedding reception, asked me if I couldn't put some kind of cloth over the bottom part. (Lady, I'm a musician, not an interior decorator.)

 

In any case, apart from the practical matter of tangled patch cords, has anyone discovered a sensible, effective way to address the cosmetic issue?

 

Sam

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This is not an irrelevant topic. Very often the keyboard/piano player is facing an audience that sees what? A thin slab sitting on a cross legged device and the pianist's knobby knees (in some cases, more).

 

Seeing me in a club, a bride "auditioning" me for her wedding reception, asked me if I couldn't put some kind of cloth over the bottom part. (Lady, I'm a musician, not an interior decorator.)

 

In any case, apart from the practical matter of tangled patch cords, has anyone discovered a sensible, effective way to address the cosmetic issue?

 

Sam :(

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