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Are guitars inherently more expressive than Keyboards?

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  • #61
    Depends on the player and the soul that is put into that instrument. To sit there and say that one is more expressive than the other is missing the point entirely. I'm a big fan of guys like Jimmy Smith, Oscar Peterson, Jordan Rudess and Stevie Wonder. On the other hand, there are many guitarists whose soloing leaves me breathless. I know of this one blues guitarist from Buffalo whom I the pleasure of playing with. Each lick he plays alters my state of consciousness. Jimi Hendrix is a major influence of mine, and I'm a keyboard player.

    With a synthesizer, the expressivity in tones can equal or surpass the guitar in many aspects, and Jan Hammer has proven that convincingly. Again, it's all about the musician playing the instrument.
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...m?bandID=73567
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    current gear list:
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    "Leave the ego, play the music, love the people.." - Luther Allison

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    • #62
      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 opinions?

      By miles.
      By Miles too. He always had great guitar players and seemed to abandon the keyboardists later on.
      But wait, Bill Evans(not the sax player). My god, he was expressive. I would rather listen to him than any guitar player ever any day.

      Yeah who knows. I hate it when synth players bend though, Yuck what an aweful sound.

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      • #63
        You're right, so true!!!

        ...Beyonce....


        Wait a minute! I play guitar. I can have Beyonce kneeling in front of me?
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        • #64
          I play guitar much better than keys and I'm first a drummer since 64 and sing lead and play bass in my band but when I get loose behind my A 100 and 147 I scare myself and wonder why I bother doing anything else, Paul.
          http://www.ameranouche.com/
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          • #65
            A couple of keyboard players posting here seemed to think that the only expressive advantage of the guitar is the ability to bend notes. But a skilled guitarist can control the attack, decay, sustain and release, and the vibrato and tremelo of every single note individually. A pianist can not get close to that kind of control over every note, synths get close, but can't do all that in real time.

            However, a good point was made that the range and polyphonic capability of keyboards provides players with other means for expression. But for me the proof of the guitars superior expressiveness is that some guitar players can be identified after playing just one note, I don't believe that is true with keyboards.
            "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

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            • #66
              Are guitars inherently more expressive than Keyboards?


              Old threads never die.

              My background: Accomplished pianist/keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist, recordist
              <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

              “Music is well said to be the speech of angels... nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine."

              ~Thomas Carlyle

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              • #67
                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?


                Easier to express pitch/vibrato on strings, easier to express soundscapes on keyboard all the notes are in front on an 88 note piano style keyboard, traditional and trigger the rest.

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                • #68

                  Yeah who knows. I hate it when synth players bend though, Yuck what an aweful sound.


                  You're absolutely right for most of them, with few exceptions, the first that comes to mind is obviously Jan Hammer. But it's true that I've heard a lot of great keyboard players fall down miserably on pitch bends....maybe because I'm a guitar player, mainly.

                  But for those skeptical about expressiveness on a piano, check some Gould or Michelangeli and then come back to talk about sound control on it again...

                  http://www.spacemuse.com/http://cdbaby.com/cd/damoranatalehttp://payplay.fm/damoranataleiTunes"Art is the magic freed from the lie of being truth."Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno.

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                  • #69
                    Until a minute ago I thought keyboards and guitars are made to express my musical thoughts and ideas.

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                    • #70
                      A couple of keyboard players posting here seemed to think that the only expressive advantage of the guitar is the ability to bend notes. But a skilled guitarist can control the attack, decay, sustain and release, and the vibrato and tremelo of every single note individually. A pianist can not get close to that kind of control over every note, synths get close, but can't do all that in real time.


                      ...and in that same token, I'm sick of these guitar players who continually associate expressivity with merely slurs, tremolo and vibrato. No instrument is any more expressive than the other. Expressivity is interpreted differently in each instrument. I'd much rather listen to a burning piano solo from Henry Butler than any loud note-bending SRV wankery.

                      For the record, synths have their own form of expression and, with channel and poly aftertouch, release velocity, joysticks and ribbon controllers, there is a high degree of control over the attributes you've mentioned.
                      http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...m?bandID=73567
                      Soul On Tap
                      The Coupe De Villes
                      Chris Beard Band

                      current gear list:
                      Yamaha MOX8, Korg Triton, Korg CX3, Korg X2, QSC K12, Rhodes Stage '73(needs new tines), Ventilator, Reason 3

                      "Leave the ego, play the music, love the people.." - Luther Allison

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                      • #71
                        I know of this one blues guitarist from Buffalo whom I the pleasure of playing with. Each lick he plays alters my state of consciousness.


                        So who is this, and does he have any recorded stuff that we can hear?

                        ~~~

                        I play both guitar and keyboards, btw, and I've been thinking about which is more expressive since this thread started. And I quite frankly still have no idea. And I just don't know that it's all that important for me to determine this. I do know that I can evoke great textures on either instrument, and that they respond very differently. Keyboards - I mean, what are we talking about? A piano? A B-3? A Rhodes? A synthesizer? What kind of synthesizer? All of those are very expressive in the hands of a great keyboardist. I don't know. Ultimately, if I can evoke textures and create an emotional performance from a guitar or a keyboard, then that's all that matters.
                        Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                        • #72
                          I should also mention that a piano can be played many different ways, not just by hitting the keys. It can be treated, played with strings or bows, scraped, plucked, struck, have different objects placed on it, etc. It can create otherworldly sounds, different sorts of eerie violin type sounds, banging sounds, hard scrapes, and many other things. And played in a traditional manner, many different sounds can still be coaxed out of it by a skilled player.

                          A guitar can create sounds by banging on it. It can be used with effects, an e-bow, various different implements, vibrating objects, etc., and someone can control quite a lot of sounds on it, even if it's an acoustic guitar. It's also a truly remarkable instrument, capable of quite a variety of sounds, not just bending notes, which is what people seem to get hung up on.
                          Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                          • #73
                            So who is this, and does he have any recorded stuff that we can hear?


                            Jony James

                            http://www.myspace.com/jonyjamesband

                            http://www.jonyjamesband.com/
                            http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...m?bandID=73567
                            Soul On Tap
                            The Coupe De Villes
                            Chris Beard Band

                            current gear list:
                            Yamaha MOX8, Korg Triton, Korg CX3, Korg X2, QSC K12, Rhodes Stage '73(needs new tines), Ventilator, Reason 3

                            "Leave the ego, play the music, love the people.." - Luther Allison

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                            • #74
                              No.

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

                              I agree.

                              Does anyone really not agree?

                              There are a million differences between guitar and keyboard for sure, but which is more "expressive" is all about the player.

                              Actually, without players, pianos basically express "Hi. I'm a piece of furniture" while guitars express "Hi. Someone in this house is mellow, hip, or rebellious" which really does, actually, express more than the piano.

                              But I take it Craig meant what the instrument expresses when played, not when hanging around your living room all by itself.
                              www.google.com

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                              • #75
                                Guys, I think this question is really unanswerable. Both instruments have different things they can do - for example, a piano has a greater range available, yet guitars have more microtonal ability. To try to quantify which is "more" is silly.

                                What's more, "keyboards" is really too broad a term to be useful. "Guitar" has many variations, yet less than they number of keyboard-driven instruments out there. If you're going to consider synths, pianos, organs, harpsichords, clavinets, etc - all of the "keyboards" - then you really should broaden the definition of "guitar" to include all stringed instruments with a fingerboard...which leaves out sitars, hmm...

                                So, if you expand the definition to include instruments strings suspended between 2 points...well, that would include most keyboards too, except for electronic ones.

                                Which one is more expressive? Well, that depends on the player. Guitars work better for me. But, to really find expression on the guitar, you have to study sax players...vocalists...and even keyboardists.

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