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Is it worth buying "x" for live gigs?


ksoper

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We may have discussed this before but it's fresh on my mind.

 

The other night at a gig we were discussing the purchase of gear for concert use. I suppose I'm in what you'd consider the minor-major leagues as far as gigs are concerned, and I do use newer and decent sounding gear. But now I'm considering the purchase of a Hammond XK-3 and Leslie cabinet and I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it.

 

We haven't been using amps on stage for a while because it interferes with the artist's monitor situation. I use the Motion-Sound R3-147 rack simulator with my VK-7 and it's...okay. I'd love a Leslie and a better organ. But when I asked the artist recently if he'd mind if I brought a Leslie out he said, and I'm not kidding, "What would you use it on?" So I rattled off all of his own records that have organ. He thought it would be okay. But he has zero organ in his mix and only a little piano. So the guy who signs my paycheck has no clue what I do on stage until we review the board mixes. And then, of course, I'm buried behind the vocals, drums, and guitar.

 

And if the artist himself has no idea what my gear sounds like, and if I'm so buried in the house mix that the audience can't tell the difference, then all I'd be doing is spending $3500 (cases included) for about nine songs a night.

 

Granted, I'd be getting my rocks off nightly with new sounds and the band would certainly enjoy it, but the guy I'd like to impress the most (the one who has the power to use me on a studio album if he desires) doesn't know the freakin difference!

 

Is there something you'd like to buy for live gigs that'll impress no one but you? And is it worth the money?

 

k.

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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If it ain't heard in the live mix and it ain't heard on recordings, there's no point in spending that kinda $$$. It's just one more costly thing to get broken by roadies.

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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Ken,

 

I feel your pain. You don't have a gear problem, you've got an artist problem ...

 

How about a 'marketing' approach to gently raise some awareness in the artist about organ parts. Point out a few licks that add punch and show him how organ can add fullness to the mix without dominating over his voice. Maybe you could enlist the help of one or two other musicians.

 

You'll have to be subtle, otherwise you'll sound like a whiner. But maybe the artist is so consumed with his own performance that he's neglecting your contribution.

 

Best of luck.

Casio PX-5S, Korg Kronos 61, Omnisphere 2, Ableton Live, LaunchKey 25, 2M cables
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Precisely why I bought my Nord Electro 73. Fabulous Hammound, electro mechanicals & a halfassed acoustic piano weighing 20lb. Ready in 5 minutes - sacrificing nothing - according to the band. Save the gearing up for when it's all about you.

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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If the guy you are currently working for doesn't appreciate/care what you're doing for him/her, then just use them for your resume-building and buy whatever will make YOU sound the best no matter who you wind up playing for now or in the future. Do you really want to be known as an organist? You should have a nice organ rig in that case, but personally I find that organ sounds are among the easiest and most common keyboard sounds to produce so I'd rather have a serious multi-purpose keyboard than just an organ. You'll be ready for your next gig without going through more gear angst if you buy something that can cover a lot of bases. :cool:
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I sympathize....it's not easy to be making great sounds from behind your keyboard and be buried in the mix!

 

It sounds like "the law of diminishing returns" is at work here. While a leslie and the new Hammond would make us keyboard types drool, the other 98% of the population would shrug their shoulders and probably not even notice the difference (sad, ain't it).

 

So, I'd suggest that you either save your money for a future project, or buy the new stuff strictly for your own enjoyment & personal satisfaction.

 

Good luck!

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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Great responses.

 

Yes, raising the artist's awareness of my contribution can and should be done, and yes, I do submix into in-ear monitors, so what I hear is studio-perfect.

 

I don't really need anything like the Nord since my RD-700 handles all the piano/ep/strings/synthy stuff. Set-up isn't an issue since I have a tech.

 

And yes, I do like to be known for my organ chops, but Nashville really isn't a town where traditional organ chops are particularly revered or needed. There's organ on just about everything these days but the parts are rudimentary as to stay out of the way. Keyboards in this town are spice and icing, not meat and potatoes.

 

Maybe if Hammond needs another endorsed artist...

 

:D

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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Ken, I can tell you that when I started using a 122, EVERYONE took notice. I've tried it all and there just ain't nothin' like speakers spinning inside of wood to inspire the sock off of you. I don't know how much different it sounded to the others, but it took my inspiration into a whole new paradigm. Now, when there isn't room for the leslie, I don't even bother with the organ. There is that much difference. I still need to mic it into my stage monitor for most concert gigs. I put a 57 behind and in front of the horn and an audix something or another on the woofer. I pan the front and back mics. I run a 1604 VLZ Mackie mixer and a pair of SRM 450 Mackies for monitors. I use a trek11 preamp although those speakeasy's are the way to go from what I hear. To me, having a leslie for my organ is like having the right piano sample. It can make all the difference in the inspiration I need to perform at my max. Sometimes I have to wheel it in and out myself, but there is really no hassle as long as you have a good strong hand truck.
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Ken. If he missed the ACM's this year or caught it on television, he may have missed this: they staged a B3/147 that was used by at least half of the acts that night.

 

I'd buy the XK-3/leslie if I were you. I'm amazed at the country artists who have a B3 all over their albums, but have one buried in the mix or not at all live! As you know, you're working in a guitar players town. Keyboards are almost an after thought. The better you sound and the more presence you have in the mix, the better off you'll be.

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Originally posted by KeyMan035:

Ken. If he missed the ACM's this year or caught it on television, he may have missed this: they staged a B3/147 that was used by at least half of the acts that night.

Staged is the key word. Everyone played to tracks that night. Another artist I worked with didn't care one iota about the sound of the instrument, but he loved to see the furniture. It's sad.

 

The better you sound and the more presence you have in the mix, the better off you'll be.
This is true. And to keep the FOH mix free of interfering frequencies our engineer uses bandpass filters. My keyboards get the tops and bottoms shaved off, and the stereo spread is narrowed. The only place I'll have more presence in the mix is in my own monitors.

 

I'm not being argumentative--I'd love nothing more than to buy a new organ rig. I'm just experiencing a little frustration right. You spend years and countless thousands of dollars to get your sounds and technique up to world-class standards, then the artist confesses he's not listening to you.

 

And I'll probably spend the money if for no other reason than to make myself that much happier on stage. But it's a bunch of cash to drop just for wankage. :)

 

k.

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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Forget about purchasing something for the singer or for the improved sound quality. Purchase what makes you feel good while playing and what works well for you. If a B3 and Leslie make you fell special, then buy it and that feeling will probably have a positive affect on your playing. If you like the ability of carrying a Nord Electro from gig to gig, to home and to friends then go that way. Hammonds and Leslie cabinets are nice but you don't get to take them home at night.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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