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Hello. I have been searching the forum for an answer to my question and can't find any answers. Im probably not typing the correct question to search, so I was hoping the good folks on the forum could help me out with their wisdom.


I play bass in a couple of bands and have been playing piano for a while, but Im still learning. I have a Korg TR keyboard and I was hoping to add it to the bands I play in. I have not had any problem learning the songs we play on piano, but I seem to be having a hard time figuring out the proper sounds to match the songs Im learning. I have read the manual and know how the unit operates and how to modify the voices etc. I just cant seem to make the keyboard sound like the recordings. Can anyone give me hints on how to figure out the proper sounds used on recordings so I know where to look on the keyboard? I dont want to have to rely on people telling me exactly what voice to use on each song. I would rather be able to figure it out myself. Im getting very frustrated and I dont want the frustration to keep me from learning and playing the keyboard.


Any hints or help would be greatly appreciated.



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I can't really answer your question, but I can explain some of the reasons for your frustration and, in the process, perhaps help reduce it a bit. Here goes:


First, from the beginnings of electromechanical keyboards and analog synthesizers until now, literally hundreds (thousands?) of different hardware and software instruments have been released and used in various music recordings. You need to simply dispel yourself of the idea that your one keyboard is capable of faithfully reproducing all of the sounds that those many, many instruments made. So, first piece of advice: Your goal is not replication. Rather, it is "close approximation."


Second, some of the sounds that you hear on recordings are processed to the point that the actual "raw" sound coming from the keyboard may sound quite different from the sound on the recording. So, even if you have the actual synth that was used to make a record and are using the very same patch that the original artist did, it still may not sound the same as the recording.


That said, with a decent ROMpler like a Korg TR series workstation, you should be able to get many sounds that are at least, as my guitar player likes to say when he's tuning, "close enough for rock and roll." The key, however, is knowing what certain basic common instruments sound like and understanding a bit about analog and other types of synthesis as well.


For example, there are certain keyboard instruments (beyond the piano) that are simply pervasive in popular music over the past few decades (Hammond B-3 organ, Rhodes electric pianos, Wurlitzer electric pianos, Hohner Clavinets). You simply need to know what these instruments sound like so that when you hear one on a record, you can say to yourself, "Oh, that's a Rhodes" or "Oh, that's a Wurli." Then, if you play that song, you know to bring up a Rhodes patch or a Wurli patch, and half the battle is over. If you do a search on this forum for "Rhodes songs" or "Wurli songs" or "Clav songs," you are likely to find at least a few threads identifying famous songs that include those instruments, which you can use to build your knowledge.


Next, learn more about synthesis by reading and playing with synths. (Do a google search for "analog synthesizer tutorial" and read one or more of the articles that pop up.) There are folks on this forum than can hear just about any analog synth-type sound and tell you how it's contructed (e.g., two saw waves, slightly detuned, filter wide open, etc.). I'm definitely not one of those guys, but this is actually an area that I very much want to get better at. My belief is that the more you know and understand how sounds are created (e.g., what a saw wave sounds like compared to a square wave, how a filter envelope can affect a sound, etc.), the easier it is to hear a sound on a record and know how to replicate/approximate it.


Anyway, good luck to you. Hope this helps at least a bit.



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