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Footpedal keyboard controller


vlad335

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Hello. I need some info and googled my way to this place. I know basically nothing about keyboards/MiDI so please go easy on me.

 

OK, Here's the problem... Our lead guitar player had to leave the band and it looks like we are going to have to go 3 piece for awhile. (guitar/bass/drums)Auditioned a couple people and lets just say it's not quite working out. We have major gigs to cover and cannot cancel.

 

Anyway... I am thinking I could put together a simple foot pedal/keyboard system and cover some parts. Problem is... I know nothing about what to buy. I noticed this midi controller,

http://www.americanmusical.com/item--i-FAA-MP117.html and thought I could use something like this to trigger notes or possibly even chords while hooked up to our guitar players Yamaha keyboard.

 

Would this work? Any suggestions on what to buy and how to go about this? I would greatly appreciate any and all help offered.

 

Thanks

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Yeah I know. the keyboard in question supposedly has a feature where you can play simple chords with one note. Hoping it will work.

 

Bought this tonight... http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Roland-PK5A-Dynamic-Foot-Pedal-and-MIDI-Controller?sku=700734

 

I will have to see what the keyboard I am attaching to is like. Maybe have to look into some modules.

 

Damn, I feel bad for you guys. Your gear is big money.

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Let us know which Yamaha keyboard you intend to control first, and we'll have a better chance of helping you out. If it lets you layer different programs (actually several instances of the same program detuned for your specific application) and map them to specific physical key ranges your chances are much better.

 

BTW, in case you intend to play the lead guitar yourself I suspect you'd be better off having the bass player triggering the base chords instead of you.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Thanks for the reply.

 

I don't know what kind of Yamaha it is but I suspect it is somewhat poopy. He is bringing it over today.

 

Also, I am the bass player.

 

As far as the Roland is concerned. I got a notification that it is backordered now. They did charge my card though so I have to get my money back.

 

The search continues...

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I went to a commercial website in order to have a look at the PK5. I was surprised to find that it is marketed as a controller, and yet does not allow mapping of the foot-keyboard over different MIDI channels. In other words, whatever you play on it must be sent through one single MIDI channel. It only allows the changing of MIDI channel through a footswitch, but if you consider that the user of such a device is bound to be pretty busy playing his original instrument there's no excuse for not featuring MIDI channel splits over the range of the footswitches. The way it is, this "controller" depends entirelly on the programming features of the slave device for affording use of very common performance features such as multi-tone setups, etc.
"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Thanks for the heads up on its capabilities. I guess it's limitations are not really that bad for what I want to use it for. I don't really know much so thats why I am here. I figured I could use the cheapo Yamaha for awhile before researching a slave.

 

Well that Roland is out of stock absolutely everywhere anyway.

 

Looking at this now. http://www.music123.com/StudioLogic-by-Fatar-MP113-MIDI-Pedalboard-i137959.music?mr:referralID=92681d00-ae76-4c0c-afec-25a5ac6cd5bf

 

Why is this so hard to pull off?

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HI vlad335 welcome I have the pk5 pedals use them like Taurus pedals. Just a quick tip I am also a bass player and useing the pedals and playing your bass at the same time is not as easy as it seems Guys like Geddy Lee and Mike Rutherford make it look easy. If you are not used to it it`s very easy to be fat footed and hit 2 pedals instead of 1 and there is your wrong note and beleave me it is more noticable on the foot pedals than on your bass where you can compansate with a quick little trick.

 

Look at it this way it`s just like when you first learn how to play and sing at the same time your ready to pull your hair out but with pratice you will get it and it`s all worth the agravation no discouragment intended go for it

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I hate to say this, and I don't want to discourage you, but it might be better to play the gigs strictly 3-piece for a while, until you can get comfortable with the new setup. Trying to play both at once is going to cause both things to suffer until you can get good at it. If the gigs are that important, you don't want to be fumbling through them.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey lighten up guys!

 

I plan on starting slow with these. Mostly on a couple lead breaks that we couldn't cut out. Example: the fast section at the end of Mountain Music. ( Alabama ) Alot of our covers we just did away with the lead solos altogether if they were not an integral part of the song. Our guitarist/lead singer actually can play lead solos very well but he just doesn;t like to do it. ( A very odd bird indeed. )

 

So quit your worrying and help me out here. :)

 

I cannot find the Roland pedals in stock anywhere. Alot of sites say in stock but they are not. I am considering the Fatar listed above but heard some bad reviews. Also, I don't know how the cheapo yamaha is going to work so may need to get a sound module. Keyboard gear is very expensive so I would like to get the best bang for the buck without spending 1K and finding out I need something else.

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You have a PM Ironstorm. If you don't mind I am going to pick your brain.

 

Originally posted by Ironstorm:

Look at it this way it`s just like when you first learn how to play and sing at the same time your ready to pull your hair out but with pratice you will get it and it`s all worth the agravation no discouragment intended go for it

I know what you mean. A couple months ago I came to rehearsal and there was a mic in front of my amp. I was told I would be singing backups and it was non-negotiable. The lead guitarist also had one and this turned out to be the best things that we ever did in this band. I took to it immediately and honestly, it was easier than I thought it would be.

 

I run a pretty large effects pedal board so I think I may be alright. Just need some decent gear for cheap (relatively) and then get to work.

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Ah well, people will start thinking Mike T156 and I work for Alesis...

 

Look up the Alesis Ion/Micron. You can't beat those in the bang for the buck aspect, at least regarding new gear.

 

Then again you gotta tell us what sort of sound you want to trigger with your foot pedal gear: Is it guitar chords pure and simple? Would a nice pad sound be OK instead? You see, the type of sound you wanna get is paramount to allow us to help you. I've pointed the Ion/Micron for its versatility and cost-effectiveness, but it sure does not excel on pure guitar sounds. However both the Ion and the micron are capable of playing chords (given you program them properly) and the Micron even features a very nice and intuitive sequencer/arpeggiator which could come in handy in your case...

 

So, tell us a little more about the sounds you want first.

 

P.S. Our bass player uses a lousy, 20-odd year old Taurus Pedal copycat which is good enough to trigger what we need to. Of course you should buy the best you can, but bear in mind that the beef is not in the foot controller but in the sound module you connect to it.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Right now I am looking for simple string sounds. Preferably chords. Something that plays guitar sounds is not important, right now anyway.

 

The micron looks pretty impressive. Good price. The sequencer/arpeggiator is also intriging.

 

The problem I am having is finding a foot controller to even get started. I just spoke with Guitar Center and the GC dude found a Roland PK-5a at a store in Detroit, said it was a customer renig and it is a demo on the floor. First he quoted me a price of $580 and when I said WTF, he said, "Oh... I made a mistake." Now it's 484.00 out the door and it would take a week to get it. ehhh... No thanks!

 

I think I am going to have to go with the Studiologic by Fatar. Gotta get this going with the Yamaha then look for a decent module/keyboard. The Alesis looks great. I have some of their gear and love it.

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How about a used foot controller? If memory serves me right, Korg used to have a model. And these things are pretty rugged, should last long.

 

Anyway, watch out for the sounds you want: Although the Micron is incredibly versatile, for string sounds in particular you'd find better sounds from ROMplers (and a rack would do in your case), mostly because the average modern strings samples are quite good and the EFX section is better on ROMplers than on the Ion/Micron. That's my humble opinion.

 

Listen to the downloadable demos and choose carefully.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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I can't find the Korg anywhere but I will keep this in mind.

 

I am considering a Roland JV 1080 rack mount module. I can get one for about $300. Would this work with the Roland midi foot controller?

 

Also, could i use another midi controller, (Keyboard) along with the PK-5 in this set-up?

 

Here is a scenario: I have a midi file of the Who's Baba O'Riely which I edited out all the parts except the keyboard sequenced part. Would it be possible to start the sequenced part using the roland foot controller and play the piano parts on a midi controller keyboard, ( Dum... Dum Dum) The JV 1080 has a smartdisk port in the back so I was thinking I could load the midi file through here. Would this work or would it be too hard or impossible to pull off?

 

I have a few more songs that I would like to incorporate but this is the one that springs to mind. Appreciate any help.

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Now you're going further than the initially stated "simple string parts" :rolleyes: ...

 

In case you also want to play occasional keys (not only foot pedals) and intend to make use of MIDI for some songs (and not only short sequences or repetitive arpeggios) you're coming closer to what I do live, and for that you'd be better off with a machine that could afford you good all-around sonic capabilities (i.e. a good ROMpler), had a decent keybed (one with normal sized, good feeling keys that would not impair your playing on a wing) and could store and play MIDI files of your choice. It smells a lot like a workstation to me...

 

Look up used Roland Fantoms, for instance, or any of the other manufacturers equivalents for that matter. Although not my cup of tea, the Alesis Fusion 6HD is cheap and should also fit your bill.

 

Good luck with your search for a good foot controller, I believe with time and patience you can get what you need.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Originally posted by Andre Lower:

Now you're going further than the initially stated "simple string parts" :rolleyes: ...

You noticed... LOL. I want to take this alittle further but not as far as you are going. Seems the word "cheap" is defined differently between bass players and keyboardists. ;)

 

Now getting back to my original question. What do you think of the jv-1080? Is it a good module?

 

BTW. Thanks for the replies. I appreciate the help.

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Hi vlad335 it was great talking to you sorry I could`nt help more with your question

 

Your friend Ironstorm

Alembic SC Standard slim neck taper

Warrior Signature fretless

G&L L2000 Spalt top w/Maple fretboard

Ibanez SR500

Genz-Benz Neo-Pak 3.5

Two Genz-Benz Neox 1x12T cabs

Genz-Benz XB2 4x10 cab

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I am not very familiar with the JV-1080. Googling it out I found that you can expand it with up to four SR-JV expansion cards (we can discuss which ones would suit your uses latter, in case you'll actually buy a JV series synth) and it's 16 part multitimbral. I could not find anything about MIDI ports, but suspect it features the usual IN, OUT and THRU ports. In essence it offers enough as far as sound types are concerned.

 

Now on to the bad news: It has no sequencer or arpeggiator, and does not store MIDI files on its own. You'd need an external MIDI player device to pull this trick.

 

Let me share my personal experience with you: I started out with a Roland XP-30 which offered something like this JV-1080. Then after a while I wanted to play MIDI files, and ended up adding an external device that does it. Then I wanted to use a decent sequencer/arpeggiator, and as I wanted some better analog sounds as well I bought the Alesis Micron...to make a long story short, if I knew that I would end up wanting to use all this stuff I'd have bought a workstation in the first place and get done with it.

 

Have a look at the Alesis Fusion, a used Fantom or even (maybe) the Roland Juno-G if you wanna save a little more. I suspect you'll spend better on these than on something that will come short for your plans soon.

 

Hope this helps.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Thanks, very helpful!

 

I understand what you are saying about a work station but unfortunately the cheapest one you listed is still way out of my budget. Considering I am ordering a Roland foot midi controller tomorrow that is setting be back $500 right off the bat. I decided to go with a new Roland for the warranty. I was planning on getting a Fatar or the Roland on Ebay used but if it quits working after a week I am screwed.

 

What about my laptop PC to store and play back the midi files?

 

Thanks for the help.

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Hmmm...does your laptop PC have a reasonable MIDI interface on it? If not, it's another item to buy. I am not intimate to current music software products, but am sure you can get something that allows for playing/triggering sequences and arpeggios via MIDI.

 

If the keys on the PSR-48 are good enough and it features a MIDI OUT port you could actually try using it as a controller (for the parts you intend to play with your hands) and use some softsynth to generate the sounds. This option brings about its own set of complications, but I am aware that many people is going this way.

 

BTW, I've seen used Fusions 6HD listed for some 800 bucks on e-bay. perhaps you could get one from a reputable second hand store that would afford some basic warranty on it. If you give up the idea of playing the keyboard and choose a rack synth, you could get some of the models in the Roland XV line for some 400 bucks.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Well I have the Roland pk5 and the old Yamaha set up. Sounds not too bad actually. Brings me to one major question though. ( Sorry its a repeat.)

 

How can I play a chord using one pedal of the PK5? While a single note doesn't sound horrible the ability to play a 3 finger chord would be awesome and exactly why I got into this in the first place.

 

Any modules that would do this?

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Is the Yammy multi-part? In other words, does it allow you to program more than one "sound" to be played at the same time on the keyboard? The key to what you want to accomplish is to layer three different "parts" on the yammy keybed, for instance the base tone, +4 semitones and +7 semitones apart. You see, thre three parts trigger the same sound, but if you press the C note the first "part" will play a C, the second part will play an E and the thrid part will play a G. Now if you have the foot controller triggering the C note, it will do the trick beause the C note will be also played by the other two parts you layered on your synth, but precisely +4 and +7 semitones above the note you play on the foot controller.

 

BTW, make sure all three parts receive the MIDI signal your foot controller is sending to the Yammaha keyboard. For that to happen, all three keyboard parts must be set to receive on the same MIDI channel in which the foot controller is transmitting.

 

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Unfortunately the PSR-48 doesn't do anything like this. I'm lucky to get to even play MIDI single notes. LOL.

 

You mentioned Workstation keyboards. Do you know anything about the Rolaand GW-7? I can get this new for a good price with a warranty. It has a feature called "intellegent chord" or something that allows you to play a single chord with one finger.

 

Do you think this would work?

 

Thanks for the help you are offering. I really appreciate it!

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I had a quick cursory look at the specs, and although the price seems OK I think you could get the same on a cheaper package.

 

First and foremost, multi-part capability is a very basic feature in just about any modern synth. The PSR-48 does not have it because it is too simple, too old.

 

I realize how much a warranty is important for you, but he alternative of buying a used simple workstation or average synth would afford you a lot more for a lot less. For a mere USD 300 you could fork a Roland XP-30 (the synth I have, BTW) which comes with a huge arsenal of very good sounds and would allow you to play keys as well, although it does not have a built-in sequencer. If the sequencer is important you could get for the same price a rack-format Roland XV series for the same money, albeit with no keys for you to play.

 

Back to your original question, the GW-7 could do the trick, but you do not really need the "intelligent chord" technology, for you can do the same with programming a multi-part on any modern synth.

 

You should consider the fact that a used Fantom S would afford you an excellent MIDI platform, an expandable soundbank (including SRX expansion cards capability), all you could ask as far as sequencer and arpeggiator is concerned and then some more. For about USD 600, a much better choice in my opinion. Do yourself a favor and visit a good music store that has used boards, explain what you want to the salesperson and have him showing you the options available on the store. You'll quickly realize what I mean.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Hey guys have a good thanksgiving Andre and Vlad.

Hey vlad if you get something that will let you play chords on the pk5`s let me know what and how I would like to do that very same thing aswell

 

Your friend Ironstorm

Alembic SC Standard slim neck taper

Warrior Signature fretless

G&L L2000 Spalt top w/Maple fretboard

Ibanez SR500

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I watched this thread develop a bit (I read it twice).

 

What kind of "chords" are to be programmed? Are you supposed to have a separate setup for major, minor, sus4, etc., etc.? Seems very unworkable to me.

 

Considering the unuseable keyboard, the purchase of a pedalboard wasn't a good idea. A decent keyboard would have been better.

 

With a decent keyboard, set up splits so that the bass lines and chords can done with two hands. Add the pedaboard when it is needed, if at all.

 

How does the Geddy-god handle his songs like Subdivisions? I would think he played the bass part with one hand on the synth and the synth/chords with his right hand. He could play the bass guitar during some sections of the song, however (during the guitar solo?).

 

Using auto-chord for actual music is a lameness catastrophe waiting to happen. Read the MIDI Implementation Chart and see if it is accessible.

 

I'd side with Andre and advise a dccent ROMpler.

 

Return the pedalboard, unless it's something you can afford to keep. I would have bought the MP-117. A single octave is way too limiting.

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My call on the chords thing is that he would not need more than some 4 or 5 different chords on any given song. He started stating he wanted to play very simple chords, right Vlad?

 

With that understood, it would all depend on a smart combination of part splitting and zoning on the keyboard. Another option (limited to some simple voiced patches) is to benefit from the fact that some patches do not make use of all 4 available voices on a typical Roland patch. Then you can "repeat" that part with the desired tuning offset.

 

Prague is right (and I pointed it out myself also) about the fact that you are worried with the foot controller, when the actual core of your problem is obviously the keyboard you get.

 

As for "Subdivisions", Mr. Weinrib does exactly what Prague says: He plays synth bass (actually the bass notes of the very same ObXa patch) with his left hand and the harmony with his right hand, abandoning the keyboard for his bass guitar on the guitar solo section. For the Picky ones: While at the Obie, he also reinforces some left hand work with his ubiquitous Taurus pedals. Some friends of mine swear you can actually get short glimpses of it on the infamous Video Clip, but I never managed to (although I sure can hear some deeper bass notes which I dutifully layer/map on my XP-30 performance ;) ).

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Originally posted by Prague:

What kind of "chords" are to be programmed? Are you supposed to have a separate setup for major, minor, sus4, etc., etc.? Seems very unworkable to me.

True. I was thinking of very simple chords. ( maybe 5th's) or just layered sounds on one note to acheive this end. What I want to play with this setup is in no way going to be solo or even front stage for that matter. Mostly interested in underlying textures to thicken things up. Later, perhaps setting off and controlling midi sequnces programmed for specific songs as well.

 

I admit I didn't explain this very well and my plans have definitly evolved. :) However, I do have a vision and a sound in my head for doing this. Just need to make the gear do it. The more I learn everyday about this equipment, the more I appreciate the power that it is capable of. I also understand that the PK-5 is just a controller but it's the best out there now. With my primary focus being a live enviorment, I decided against the MP-117 early because it is built cheaply and I don't want to be bending over on a dark stage to turn knobs. Also, one and a half octaves mean nothing to me as I don't plan on playing melody lines with my feet. ;)

 

That being said, I ordered a Roland GW-7 today using Easypay on Americanmusical.com

Why the Gw-7 you say? First, it fits my budget. Second it has the abilty to save 10 favorite patches to recall quickly. There is a sequencer and the ability to store midi files, punch them in and out using my PK-5, and transfer them in and out via USB. Last, I watched a Roland demo video and it sounds great.

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