Bands with keys...

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  • Rowby1Rowby1 Frets: 662
    It’s about serving the song again. Drummers who play the song and not the drums are great. Same with keyboard players. Same with guitar players.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 21966
    I'm currently going through this with our singer, as after seven years gigging together she's suddenly remembered she can play the piano (and she really can), but I'm still having to instigate a glare-based training programme to get her the shut the hell up.

    I've played with plenty of pro keys players who are a joy and an asset to a band, but amateur keys players tend to just ruin everything by pounding away with all ten fingers all the bloody time.

    It's the age old question of letting school instruments into a rock 'n' roll band. 
    I've played in bands where the guitar, bass and drums are thundering away while the three brass guys are counting 30 bars of rests while staring at bits of paper on the floor. 

    "We just want 'baaa-do-bap!' after the first line of the chorus, can't you bloody feel it without counting it?!"
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  • Rowby1Rowby1 Frets: 662
    p90fool said:

    "We just want 'baaa-do-bap!' after the first line of the chorus, can't you bloody feel it without counting it?!"
    I’ve done a lot of stuff with brass band types over the last few years. They seem to fall into two camps. 

    One group who have to count 30 bars of rest between brass stabs which are really obvious if they bothered to learn the song. Working with that type has improved my ability to read music no end.....I can now tell when they’re playing it as written......which they’ll do even when what’s written in obviously wrong!!

    The other type know how to improvise too, but they just won’t shut up!! 

    There are a few exceptions :)
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 3328
    Keys can be great, but avoid those players that are used to accompanying themselves with both hands on the keyboard.
    It requires both guitarist and keyboard player to learn to keep out of each others way, the mid heavy guitar tone of yore can help. Let the bass player handle the low end and then make the arrangement work. Do you not play guitar if it's a keyboard song? You probably strum away anyway, Joe public just like to hear thier favourite song and the arrangement is less important to them than it is to you.


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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2457
    Rowby1 said:
    It’s about serving the song again. Drummers who play the song and not the drums are great. Same with keyboard players. Same with guitar players.
    I can't remember the track, but there's a King Crimson tune from the Fripp/Wetton/Bruford era where Bruford doesn't play on it but has a writing credit. According to Fripp, that was because Bruford had the sense to recognise his part for this was to shut up. 
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 6595
    I suppose it depends on what style of music is played but generally for our sets of covers we basically play exactly whats on the record so there's not really any arrangement issues .. I play the guitar part that's on the record, keyboard player will do the keys parts. Quite often when you really listen to something there's more keys on there than you think. These parts tend to be panned to steer clear of the vocal so flipping the phase on one channel of the stereo Wav will expose them. 

    Also Keys can be used to add better backing vocals. Any non time based backing vox oohs and Ahhs are easily sampled and triggered ..... if your drummer can play to a preset BPM ... doesn't have to be on a click but needs to keep on the right BPM then there's literally nothing you can't do with a good keys player and a workstation. 


    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 688
    edited May 2
    As Danny says - it helps if you choose material that has both keys and guitar in it - then you can learn the correct parts.

    The problems come if you get a piano player who learns the correct part but adds the left hand if there isnt one.  Or synth players used to being on their own that might play 5 or 6 notes in a pad (the main chord plus a couple of low octaves) to fill it out where its not needed with a full band.... Or if you make material that has no keys as most player will try and find something to do.

    We do 3 that didnt have keys on originally (or some version of at least)- and thats it.

    Of those 3, Crazy little thing gets a piano - but only because without it and with only 1 guitar the song looses energy when the solo and little flicks come in.   Whats up gets a slow, QUIET string/pad underneath everything else  just to provide a sonic base to build on - which again stops it from feeling it lacks fullness compared to the rest of the material.  Faith doesnt get any keys - because (apart from the intro that we dont do) there isnt any - and theres nothing suitable that wouldnt ruin the song.... It DOES need extra percussion - so thats tambourine and BV duties for me that song.

    I play in another project - and we play happy hour - again no keys bar a tubular bell run in the middle.   I get to sing that one.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 5810
    edited May 2
    slacker said:
    One of the 'best' players I have worked with started on a mono synth and could just about play chords. It fitted in with what the rest of us were doing.
    How do you play chords on a mono synth? I've been trying for ages, and I still only get the sound of a single note 
    If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.
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  • TeleMasterTeleMaster Frets: 3971
    edited May 3
    Thanks. I’ve got a fair amount to think about and assess when/if this person does join. They may or may not be good enough/suitable, but I think it’s clear we probably want to go with keys in any case. 

    I think with the mono synth the person probably played broken chords. 
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 1461
    edited May 3
    I take the mono synthesis comments. They bought a real keyboard later. The point was that they started from playing one finger not grade 8 piano. 

    I played in bands with classically trained pianists and all but one were useless in a band.


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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 5810
    edited May 3
    slacker said:
    I take the mono synthesis comments. They bought a real keyboard later. The point was that they started from playing one finger not grade 8 piano. 

    I played in bands with classically trained pianists and all but one were useless in a band.
    I made that cheeky little comment for a reason, some of my favourite bands feature single note keyboard lines which work well with guitar based music. Love Will Tear Us Apart is a great example, as are most things by the Cure (e.g. the piano in Just Like Heaven). Sometimes, when I am feeling extravagant, I will add a 3rd or a 5th to a root note 
    If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 1461
    Play a 7th I dare you.


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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 5810
    edited May 3
    slacker said:
    Play a 7th I dare you.
    I think that's a step too far! But maybe ok on pads  ;)
    If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 21966
    slacker said:
    I take the mono synthesis comments. They bought a real keyboard later. The point was that they started from playing one finger not grade 8 piano. 

    I played in bands with classically trained pianists and all but one were useless in a band.


    Same here, and I honestly thought they'd know more theory than me, but all I get when I say "It's not a straight D, it's a Dmaj7" is "That's a guitar chord". 

    The point is that classically trained pianists have the facility to play in bands but they usually just don't know what to do. 

    It's pretty obvious that Jon Lord could play pretty much anything, but when he played simple 5th/root diads in unison with Ritchie Blackmore it was immensely powerful. 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 5323
    This discussion emphasises how much of a difference there is between ability to play an instrument and ability to play in a band. 

    Most of us prefer 1:1 lessons to group teaching. I once watched two primary school children, one on guitar and the other on cornet. Different instruments, notated in different keys. Each of them was a few months into learning, and could play half a dozen chords/notes. Yet, because they’d each been taught in groups, they could play perfectly together. Their focus was on each other’s sound and timing, not on their own fingering. 
    Known here as Old Misery Guts or the Big Bad Classified's Sheriff. Also guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 6486
    p90fool said:
    slacker said:
    I take the mono synthesis comments. They bought a real keyboard later. The point was that they started from playing one finger not grade 8 piano. 

    I played in bands with classically trained pianists and all but one were useless in a band.


    Same here, and I honestly thought they'd know more theory than me, but all I get when I say "It's not a straight D, it's a Dmaj7" is "That's a guitar chord". 

    The point is that classically trained pianists have the facility to play in bands but they usually just don't know what to do. 
    As always that depends very much on the classically trained pianist in question - most people who learn the piano don't bother learning theory and therefore are lazy when they dismiss things as a guitar chord. They think they are being snobby or whatever but they are actually being lazy.

    I'm a classically trained pianist and I would be embarrassed to hear anybody say that
    I want to be forgotten, and I don't want to be reminded
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 6595
    I generally find the keys players I work with are very good at altered chords, inversions and slash chords. I expanded my chord vocabulary by watching one of them and the cool voicing he got on some changes.

    Regarding the left hand thing, the trick there is to brutally high pass the keys, 200Hz sometimes if needed. But roll it down if the keys start anything on their own, otherwise sounds a bit thin. Once the band all come in roll it back up. I use my left hand all the time as well as it kind of helps me get the right feel. 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2457
    p90fool said:
    slacker said:
    I take the mono synthesis comments. They bought a real keyboard later. The point was that they started from playing one finger not grade 8 piano. 

    I played in bands with classically trained pianists and all but one were useless in a band.


    Same here, and I honestly thought they'd know more theory than me, but all I get when I say "It's not a straight D, it's a Dmaj7" is "That's a guitar chord". 

    The point is that classically trained pianists have the facility to play in bands but they usually just don't know what to do. 

    It's pretty obvious that Jon Lord could play pretty much anything, but when he played simple 5th/root diads in unison with Ritchie Blackmore it was immensely powerful. 
    They might know more theory than you about their own particular field, but not the theory they need to communicate effectively with you in a band context. I can't believe a jazz pianist would call Dmaj7 a guitar chord. Not that I know any! They use chord charts just like anyone else in that field, don't they? 
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 688
    edited May 4
    Dont think Ive ever used a chord chart personally, and if I did it was very early on learning guitar.  Certainly dont use them as a keys player.     

    If you know how chords are made up - on a theoretical level, and know what fret/string/key produced what note - theres no need for them on keys.    The point I think in that example - is the keys player was either lazy - or didn't actually know any theory.
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2457
    Dont think Ive ever used a chord chart personally, and if I did it was very early on learning guitar.  Certainly dont use them as a keys player.     

    If you know how chords are made up - on a theoretical level, and know what fret/string/key produced what note - theres no need for them on keys.    The point I think in that example - is the keys player was either lazy - or didn't actually know any theory.
    Apologies to the OP for the temporary hijack.

     I was meaning the sort of chord chart that you'd find in something like The Real Book, a sequence of chord names showing the chord progression underneath a tune. I didn't mean the boxes showing frets, strings and fingerings that you get in some guitar song sheets. I've never played with a jazz pianist, but I assumed they'd use something like that as a basis for comping over a jazz standard - rather than reading the score - if there even was one to read available. 

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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 6486
    Dont think Ive ever used a chord chart personally, and if I did it was very early on learning guitar.  Certainly dont use them as a keys player.     

    If you know how chords are made up - on a theoretical level, and know what fret/string/key produced what note - theres no need for them on keys.    The point I think in that example - is the keys player was either lazy - or didn't actually know any theory.
    Apologies to the OP for the temporary hijack.

     I was meaning the sort of chord chart that you'd find in something like The Real Book, a sequence of chord names showing the chord progression underneath a tune. I didn't mean the boxes showing frets, strings and fingerings that you get in some guitar song sheets. I've never played with a jazz pianist, but I assumed they'd use something like that as a basis for comping over a jazz standard - rather than reading the score - if there even was one to read available. 

    Yes that's usually how I would do it, unless I already had an idea by ear
    I want to be forgotten, and I don't want to be reminded
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 688
    I get you. 

    Tbh, I dont use those either lol.  I work stuff out by ear ..  but yeh.  Theory dorsnt help you there
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 6486
    I get you. 

    Tbh, I dont use those either lol.  I work stuff out by ear ..  but yeh.  Theory dorsnt help you there
    I don't think I could play by ear without knowing the theory I do though, to be fair!
    I want to be forgotten, and I don't want to be reminded
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  • TeleMasterTeleMaster Frets: 3971
    Thanks for the replies guys. Interesting derail, no worries there chat away

    I think I've got some food for thought and have discussed with the potential person. He doesn't have a workstation, but if he's good enough perhaps we can see how it goes.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 5810
    edited May 5
    I've always thought Christine McVie was good at the playing keys in a band thing, and she had some classical training.
    If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.
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