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Guitar players' favorite onstage piano

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  • Guitar players' favorite onstage piano

    This may seem an odd question, but it may give me some insights.

    I'm getting a bit grumpy with my current keyboard -- the piano sound bores me. Mostly I play solo, but sometimes with bands. Any of you guitar players have a favorite piano model to perform alongside? One that can rock or sound pretty on demand. That doesn't stomp all over you or disappear into the general mush. Like that. I know this is largely about the playing, but it's also about the sound.
    Last edited by pogo97; 03-29-2015, 06:55 PM.
    There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

  • #2
    From a preference standpoint, gotta look at the whole package. Just to rant on bands (there's a lot to rant for sure) the blends are often wutcha brung and that more often than not results in blah sound anyway. And then there's the default "arrangements" because everyone is expected to play in a "stylistic" manner. (why producers, engineers, masterers, and the marketing dept are called in)
    To me good sound is a momentary thing. If the music isn't happening then wrong sound is incidental.
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    • #3
      1001gear: I expected some irrelevant answers. Thanks for getting that going.
      There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton


      • #4
        I use an 80's Korg DSS-1 using a very rare Steinway sample disc from a German company called Matrix . It is pretty good The Korg factory disks are pretty useless by comparison.
        Alternatively I use a midi controller and a software piano which I cant remember the name. I will update when I get back to my gear.


        • #5
          I've played with several keys players over the years and the only common thread has been that the great players always sound great, no matter what. Korg seems to deliver, but like guitars there isn't an upper limit.

          Aside from the "tone is in the playing" concept, the good guys know how to set them up. Make sure the keys are running in stereo.


          • #6
            I'll second. Good is good and it doesn't have nearly as much to do with the gear as the player kicking butt.

            As a guitarist that does play some keyboard, I've always had a hard time with keys, Not so much the gear as the
            keyboard being backwards for the hands of the guitarist. They don't make lefty pianos like they do lefty guitars for some reason.
            If I had to choose a keyboard for stage I like the idea of strapping it on. There's just something wrong about sitting on stage.
            Those guitar keyboard that have keys instead of strings would be the best option. Anything so I don't have to retrain my hands.

            Midi guitar is the answer to whatever a keyboard player does. A guitarist can play any tones a keyboard player does so long as it doesn't get too complex.


            • #7
              I'm using Mainstage 3 and an Axiom controller. If the sound isn't right, I just tweak it or try another.
              "Beginning Electric Guitar Design" free on Amazon Prime


              • #8
                My experience is limited to Yamaha and Roland. As a piano player, my preference is Yamaha because, to me, the sound and feel are more like an acoustic piano. I find the Roland sound a bit harsh on its own but it seems to cut through the mix really well.

                That being said, if I arrived at the gig and the supplied piano we Yamaha or Roland I would be happy.

                A couple of years ago I purchased a Yamaha CP5 and, apart from the weight and the lug, I'm extremely pleased with it. The sounds are excellent and the wooden keys remind me of the Steinway I used to play in my early days. It is a very expressive instrument and the onboard compressor and five band EQ make it very suitable for live performance in a band.
                "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame,
                how we break each other's hearts
                and cause each other pain"


                • #9
                  Originally posted by koiwoi View Post
                  Make sure the keys are running in stereo.

                  I find the Yamaha pianos sound really 'boxy' when run in mono. It's important to have them in stereo through the monitors as well.
                  "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame,
                  how we break each other's hearts
                  and cause each other pain"


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
                    They don't make lefty pianos like they do lefty guitars for some reason.
                    I read somewhere that Joe Zawinul was using a pair of synths (I don't recall the specific model but I believe they were Oberheim) playing one with each hand and he set the one for his left hand up with the notes going in the opposite direction (ie low notes on the right and high notes on the left).

                    I was able to program a patch on my Yamaha SY85 to do that as an experiment and it was fun for a while but, because of my longtime association with conventional pianos, when I wanted to play something I was hearing in my head the notes I wanted were not where I expected them to be.

                    It ended up being a short lived experiment but I realized that it is possible to have a "left handed" piano for those who are so inclined.
                    "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame,
                    how we break each other's hearts
                    and cause each other pain"


                    • #11
                      The dedicated Yamaha stage pianos always seem to sound pretty good. I've always found Kurzweil's piano sounds to be pretty realistic too. As a guitarist playing with a keyboardist, I really don't care what the piano sounds like, as long as you play your parts well. As an audio engineer, it makes my job MUCH easier if you have a good sounding keyboard to start.


                      • #12
                        It depends if I'm playing keys or guitar/bass. No...wait. It doesn't.
                        Are you talking ONLY about piano sounds? I don't really need a super-sounding piano,
                        whether I'm playing a guitar or keys.

                        My general rule is anything Roland is good. Anything Yamaha is not so good.
                        Korg is somewhere in the middle - sub par but not awful.

                        Yamaha has some good-sounding pianos. But I won't buy any more of their synths.
                        Right now my primo piano I guess is the Korg M3m stereo 4 way grand. But I'm just
                        as happy with the Roland Sonic Cell grand piano.

                        If I were gigging, I'd bring both the M3m and the Sonic Cell.
                        Pianists I've played with have used Kurzweil, Roland and Yamaha.
                        I didn't have a problem with any of them in the mix or on stage.
                        Last edited by Etienne Rambert; 04-01-2015, 06:18 AM.
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