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Keyboard-like guitar-like strap-on thingy


LiveMusic

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Roland makes one of these things. What do you call such a device? The keyboard thing you strap on like a guitar. Any other manufacturer? Does Roland still make theirs?

 

Are these hard to play? I know one local guy who uses one in his band and he said it was hard to learn to play... that you aren't accustomed to playing with your hands extended down like that. I'm learning how to play my Yamaha PSR740 keyboard now. If I could find a used Roland whatever-it-is, that could be cool to mess around with.

 

I saw Alan Jackson in concert this past weekend. Jamie O'Neal opened. Her keyboardist had one of these things; I didn't think to see if it was Roland. Anyway, I wondered if she had this thing for the visual effect... she could put it on and walk up to the front of the stage and walk around... or if it has any "real" advantages over a keyboard other than mobility.

 

What would be the advantage of such a thing compared to a keyboard? (Mobility, obviously.) Could this device also be hooked up wireless?

 

I created a post asking about a guitar-like thing that offered keyboard-like auto-accompaniment. Does this Roland device offer auto-accompaniment?

 

Sorry, I don't know much about this stuff.

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I'd call it "a strap-on keyboard controller", the Roland model was AX-1 and they occasionally show up used for $500 or so.

 

You'd need to adjust the strap so that your wrist is straight, then it looks comfortable to play for the right hand. The left hand has pitch and modulation controllers, depending on the particular model could also included a button for sustain and a patch select button. You could use pedals too of course.

 

The controllers provide MIDI out only, use your sound module of choice or hook it up to a regulard keyboard to get sounds.

 

There are also some 5 octave keyboards that are small enough for a big dude or dudette to play with a shoulder strap on. Kawai K-1 for example. Using one of these would allow two-handed keyboard parts, and your choice of audio or MIDI out.

 

A few years ago I saw a review of the Aquilla adapter belt pack to take MIDI in and provide an audio output that could run over a guitarist's wireless instrument rig. A decoder by the receiver took the scrambled audio and generated MIDI out. Don't know if anything like that is still for sale.

 

Some players might enjoy the different technique on a strap on keyboard, but I think the main thing is to look cool to the audience by walking around stage while playing.

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duke,

 

roland make one called an AX-1 (please correct me if i'm wrong, i mean it's nearly 1am and i've just finished night shift). yamaha used to make a little ,mini-key PCM (not very good sound quality) version - looks a little like a toy but i've got one and it makes you look very 80's. it is a midi controller. don't know exactly what the roland one does. i'm sure some of the other fella's here will help out. i don't think the ax-1 has accompaniment, but you can just run midi from the keyboard-guitar to your PSR.

 

pray for peace,

kendall

"Consider how much coffee you're drinking - it's probably not enough."
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the AX-1B has now been replaced by the AX-7, which Roland showed at Winter NAMM.

 

It's Pearl white, with 45 velocity sensitive keys, a 3-digit LED display (raised and tilted for easier viewing), has a D-beam controller, Expression bar, Touch controller, assignable data entry knob, sustain (hold) button on the neck...

 

Anyway, just to point out that there's a current model. Not sure if it's shipping quite yet.

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The old Roland AX-1 has be released again as the AX-7. I once owned a Yamaha that was connected to my DX-7. Honestly, they are more for show than anything. The only time I used mine was during a period of playing keyboards for an R&B group. It is nice for playing either synth or one-hand organ leads, but I probably came across as "the white dude with no steps". A friend also had one that was used some when we played together. Then it's primary use was to allow other members/singers to access the DX-7 without me having to move away from the keyboards.

 

You could do like Garry Wright (Dreamweaver, My Love Is Alive) did 20+ years ago and strap on a real keyboard.

 

Robert

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They're ok, but it's a little unnatural to play w/your arms and wrists at that angle. As long as you're not planning on playing anything wickedly difficult, it's pretty easy to get used to. There are plenty of used ones out there as well, such as the Yamaha KX-5. But for the full aesthetic, you've got to go w/the Moog Liberation. It weighs a ton (this ain't no controller--it's a real analog synth), but it's worth the back pain to have that cool guitar-neck thing at your disposal.

 

The Roland is the only current model I am aware of, except that I saw an interesting article in Keyboard about 6 months ago that promised something new. I can't remember the details, but Keyboard had an article on a top-name keyboardist posing with a new strap-on design. It had TWO keyboards, a 3-octavish keyboard where you would expect it, and then a one-octave keyboard shooting off at an angle for left-handed work. It looked both ridiculous and cool.

 

If memeory serves, the journalist doing the interview asked whether it was for sale, and the interviewee said that he was going to market it through his website. I went to the URL, but couldn't find anything on this keyboard.

 

I haven't provided many specifics here, but maybe somebody else saw that article and knows more about it.

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You can do a search for Wireless midi on this forum and see what people had to say about it including the Aquila wireless system (which I don't think is made anymore). I would second other opinions that state that the whole strap on keyboard thing is mostly for show or mobility. It would be nice to get out from behind all that gear once in a while.

 

-Casey

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Duke - I posted some more info re Dano's wireless question... Re your questions about using a keyboard remote controller:

 

Yes, it's tough to get used to for many people. It's a different angle and you have to think differently when you're using it - but I took to it like a fish to water, once I got the hang of it and you might, too. Depends on your gigs.

 

It's best for leads or one handed chords. If you're expecting to perform a complex 2-handed piano style part, think again. And although many people hate the small KX5 keys, I grew to love 'em, because my remote was lighter (better for the back), and I learned I could play faster with the small keys in this style of playing sideways. I also recommend a "comfort strap" like guitarists use, and - I often used a guitar stand to hold it onstage.

 

I love the freedom of getting out from behind the boards and interfacing directly with the crowd - which is something singers and lead players get to do all the time, and us poor keyboard players and drummers usually don't.

 

There ya go!

:cool:

lz

www.lauriez.com

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Maybe I'm just feeling surly today, and I tried to stop myself from writing this (I really did), but...

 

Those things are so freakin' stupid looking and dated that I think they are the ultimate definition of "cheeseball"

 

But other than that, they're cool. Or something. Just my opinion. Doesn't really matter. :D

 

- Jeff

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Yeah that's the big problem with it -- it looks cheesy. Although No Doubt's keyboardist was using one during the Superbowl broadcast and he managed to make it look cool . . .

 

Maybe non-keyboard players would be more accepting of it but it does sort of scream "I wish I had a guitar right now" IMHO.

 

-Casey

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Originally posted by cg1155:

Although No Doubt's keyboardist was using one during the Superbowl broadcast and he managed to make it look cool . . .

 

Except that's even the funnier part. He's not the keyboardist. He's the guitarist (Tom Dumont), hence the comfort level in standing and playing in that format. The tune ("Hey Baby") has a lot of parts for keys on it and no guitar, so he was filling in parts that weren't being sequenced or played by the guy standing behind the keyboards.

 

- Jeff

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