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Are guitars inherently more expressive than Keyboards?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Jotown
    No.

    How expressive either instrument is will depend on the talent of the person playing it.

    I have been told that I can be equally expressive on my guitar or my organ.


    I know groupies that have been very expressive with my organ
    Don't Eat The Yellow Snow.Don't Eat The Yellow Snow.

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    • #17
      I always get a grin when I see keyboard players slamming down one of the keys and then jiggling their finger as though they're applying a vibrato to the sustained note. That ain't fooling anyone.

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      • #18
        All other things being equal, I'd pick the guitar because there is more direct control over the notes, and more ways to play the notes than a keyboard. Not to say, of course, that keyboards aren't very expressive, though - and that it really depends on the person making the sounds as to whether it's expressive or not.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Tralfaz
          I always get a grin when I see keyboard players slamming down one of the keys and then jiggling their finger as though they're applying a vibrato to the sustained note. That ain't fooling anyone.


          Nice
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          • #20
            Although Tom Scholz likes to brag of emulating keyboards on his guitar, he still has to use pianos, Hammonds, pipe organs, and Wurlitzers.

            And yes a greasy spitting Hammond/Leslie in the hands of a Hammond artist is very expressive. And that fahn cajun piano ala Billy Paine is expression you'll never hear out of a guitar.
            this sig no verb

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            • #21
              Players are expressive, instruments are simply the tools they use for that expression. The instrument in particular isn't as important as how it's being used.

              Chick Corea playing arpeggios is quite expressive. BB King's extraordinary vibrato is equally so. And so on, and so on, and so on...
              "Born to Play" MP3 album at iTunes & Amazon.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Anderton
                Are guitars inherently more expressive than Keyboards?


                NO!!!

                It's just that guitarists are inherently more expressive than Keyboardists



                Flame suit on: CHECK

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                • #23
                  it's an interesting question to be sure

                  I think it might be a good idea to separate the concepts of "artistically expressive" v "sonically expressive"

                  artistically expressive - well, I think that's up to how the artist controls the process (whatever that may be) to produce aesthetically valid work. Which I think we can safely say lies inside the artist.

                  "sonically expressive" - hmmm, this may be more what we are trying to get at
                  Wendy Carlos did mention, for instance, that the Bach selections were particularly well suited to that Mogg work b/c -
                  -They were contrapunctual (so multi mono lines were good)
                  -the synths of the time were not particualry strong at expressivo playing

                  In the same way, a harpsichord, for instance, may be seen as lacking some sonic expressiveness (limited dynamics/tonal variation) - now because of that, there is a body of technique developed to allow artistic expressiveness to be performed anyway (proper use of ornamentation, very slight arpeggiations to call to attention certain tones, doubling of key tones at the performer's discretion, etc)

                  As maybe another example, would be the manual morse code key (not a "bug" - the automated paddle that allows the keying of a dit one way and a dah the other) -- those so involved can recognize a transmitter's "fist" (style...voice) in the coding


                  conclusions? I have none, but figured that I'd offer those (unstructured at best) observations as food for thought

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                  • #24
                    This is something that was discussed a lot around the Keyboard Corner. 25 years ago you could buy keyboards like the Rhodes Chroma that were very expressive. Velocity, release velocity, bi-directions levers, multiple pedals. On top of that it had lots of routing possibilities and very good stock patches. It was designed to let the player be expressive and it was the first time I felt I could compete with guitarists on expressive solos. Then the Yamaha DX7 came out and all was lost. Sure, it had a breath controller, but not much else. The competition had even less. For years you got two wheels, velocity and after touch, but what was missing is routing possibilities. There was not much to do with bad sounding digital filters and LFO
                    My friends have big houses and new cars. I own music equipment.

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                    • #25
                      I find most of the responses to this thread to be humorously ignorant.

                      First, I am a guitar player who noodles on piano.

                      I love the expressiveness of guitars, both electric and acoustic.

                      But pianos can be very expressive. Just listen to the differences between piano on a variety of different classical pieces. Then compare it to various rock piano. There is definitely a lot of expressiveness in the comparisons and contrasts of these performances.

                      In fact, it was guitar that was largely overlooked for its' lack of expressiveness by many classical composers. I think they were misguided, and certainly they did not have the variety of timbres available in the 20th century with steel vs. nylon (gut) string acoustics, hollow body, solid and semi-hollow electrics. And, of course, an electric guitar is but half the tool for expressiveness. You can't talk about the expression of electric guitars without including the variety of amplifiers, tube vs. solid state, one kind of pre-amp or power amp tubes vs. another. The list goes on.

                      But Craig asked about the expressiveness of keyboards. A modern keyboard has so many avenues of expression and variation of the timbres it plays back, filters to process those timbres, etc., that in the hands of an expert a keyboard can be incredibly expressive with just one sound. But how many keyboard players use one sound.

                      I guess I hate this question because of the implied inferiority of which ever you don't choose. It's an arguement starter, IMO, which neither position can win.

                      They're both incredibly expressive in the right hands, and blandly one dimensional in the hands of a novice.
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                      Yeah, exactly! There's some things that maybe you DON'T want to fix at the source!! - Ken/Eleven Shadows on the Castrati, 3/06


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Anderton
                        Got the idea for this topic from an editorial by Paul White in Sound on Sound magazine. I won't prejudice your thinking by quoting what he said...but does the ability to massage strings on a guitar beat being able hit keys on a keyboard? Or maybe a sax is even more expressive than both...

                        Any opnions?


                        WOW! Are you a troll!!!!

                        OMD are Gods, right?


                        Ok, ok ok. Sure all instruments have their nice aspects to them but I have never heard a piano sound like a racecar, a screaming woman but still the guitar can just be single clear note.
                        The next time you are on your keyboard try ghost bending a note with out it sounding like you're playing some "Talking Heads ****************.

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                        • #27
                          I think at the most basic level, the guitar is inheritantly a more expressive instrument. But it ends there, as soon as you factor in the players and instruments involved, the keyboard programs and controllers, the styles of music, etc.

                          I'm a keyboard guy (and definitely not a guitar guy), but I've played plenty of pianos and synths that are extremely expressive, and I've seen some unbelievably expressive keyboard performances.

                          I've also heard some God-awful neanderthal guitar wankers, and my pitiful attempts at guitar playing are completely void of expression altogether, so I guess it just depends.

                          This was the subject of a pretty ugly disagreement between me and Henry Robinett a long time ago on SSS @ MP. I have to say I was a bit defensive about the whole assumption that guitars are naturally more expressive.

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                          • #28
                            I always get a grin when I see keyboard players slamming down one of the keys and then jiggling their finger as though they're applying a vibrato to the sustained note. That ain't fooling anyone.


                            Well, maybe if you actually knew what you were talking about you would have the right to make such a statement. But the truth is there is this invention called aftertouch, which in fact CAN be used to apply vibrato to a note when "jiggling the finger". So please, at least get the facts right...

                            Ok, ok ok. Sure all instruments have their nice aspects to them but I have never heard a piano sound like a racecar, a screaming woman but still the guitar can just be single clear note.


                            You are on thin ice friend. A keyboard does not equal a piano. Do you know what a synthesizer is? You can make a synth sound like any of those things, and even more so...

                            Obviously there are lot of guitar players here who has absolutely no clue whatsoever about what can be achieved with a synthesizer keyboard. But then again, you could say that it's beacuse the majority of keyboard players are pretty uninspiring...
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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by felix
                              I think at the most basic level, the guitar is inheritantly a more expressive instrument. But it ends there, as soon as you factor in the players and instruments involved, the keyboard programs and controllers, the styles of music, etc.

                              I'm a keyboard guy (and definitely not a guitar guy), but I've played plenty of pianos and synths that are extremely expressive, and I've seen some unbelievably expressive keyboard performances.

                              I've also heard some God-awful neanderthal guitar wankers, and my pitiful attempts at guitar playing are completely void of expression altogether, so I guess it just depends.

                              This was the subject of a pretty ugly disagreement between me and Henry Robinett a long time ago on SSS @ MP. I have to say I was a bit defensive about the whole assumption that guitars are naturally more expressive.


                              A guitar is something that takes more time to develop.
                              Hit a note on a piano of keyboard and do everything you can to bring it to a expressive peak; not much you can do. Pianos have no soul, no unique voice from player to player like a guitar player develops. If you hear a new guitar piece you can guess who it is in a few attempts. If you hear a new piano (or classical piece) the music has no defining signatures where you might know who it is.

                              unless it's some crap like Lanz or Yanni.*pukes*

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Anderton
                                Got the idea for this topic from an editorial by Paul White in Sound on Sound magazine. I won't prejudice your thinking by quoting what he said...but does the ability to massage strings on a guitar beat being able hit keys on a keyboard? Or maybe a sax is even more expressive than both...

                                Any opnions?
                                I can take my guitar anywhere I want. And a guitar in my hands gives me security And I can tune it any damn way I want.

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