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Tezza

Keyboardists have it easy

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Posted (edited)

So having just completed another guitar fret leveling, crowning and setup, it's made me think about the years I have spent playing guitars in bands and how high maintenance guitars are as opposed to synths and digital pianos etc. for me to play a guitar in a band, I first remove the old strings, then I clean the fret board and body, then I put the new strings on, then I adjust the truss rod, then I adjust bridge action, then check the nut action, then intonate the strings, then practice a bit to wear them in, then I put it in the case, go to practice lugging the amp and pedal board as well and all of this is assuming it won't need a fret leveling and crowning/polishing  beforehand.

The keyboardist just chucks his synth in the car with a cable, turns up to practice and plugs in to the PA.

I think I learned the wrong instrument. Not to also mention you have that heavy instrument over your shoulders all night, and it takes two hands just to sound one note or chord, while the keyboardist sits on their stool and plonks one finger down and there is the note.

Edited by Tezza

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Tell me how it feels in your later life carting a couple of 65lb keyboards in cases in and out of gigs. FYI, I’m a guitarist, keyboardist and drummer. Never carted my own drums but did my drummers with him at gigs and on tour. Other than a big amp rig, guitar is still easier :). Suck it up snowflake lol 

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I was a part time musician.

Back when I lugged the heavy 88 key controllers I didn't think I had it better than a guitarist who seemed to just pick up the thing and play it. I still remember the back aches from it.

Probably the single biggest thing for me was getting all the tech to work with no problems. Making sure I changed sounds at the right times etc. Talking through a harmonizer accidentally is not a good thing. And there really are more things happening than some might realize. With two keyboards and multiple pedals in addition to remembering the music, I remember it being a lot.

A lot of it too probably depends on whether a person is chord playing or note playing. I have seen plenty of both guitar strummers and piano chord players which is all good and well, however when you get into the more technical playing I think a musician can be pushed on both instruments.

I tried guitar on stage. I was never good enough to do it without glancing at my hands. I even had the nerve to try it with a looper. A normal trained guitarist would have done it probably with ease. I had to push myself to 110% because I wasn't really a guitar player unless you count it as someone who plays the strings and gets organized noise from it. I could do that on a good day. Bass wasn't bad.

It was the drummers I felt sorry for loading all of that kit on and off, getting in placed tuned etc.

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1 hour ago, Tezza said:

I think I learned the wrong instrument.

As a piano/keyboard player, I have the same envious thought every time I see a musician sitting under a tree in the park playing a stringed box full of air.

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7 hours ago, David Baay said:

As a piano/keyboard player, I have the same envious thought every time I see a musician sitting under a tree in the park playing a stringed box full of air.

I think I might have learned the right instrument but I just didn't realize it. In most of the bands I played in, I was the lead vocalist but never without also playing the guitar. I never saw myself as a vocalist, always a guitarist that just sung the lyrics because someone had to and that's what I did. When I think about it now, the audience saw me the other way around, as a singer that also played guitar. I would get good comments about my vocals and I would think "what about my guitar playing". Strange. I suppose as a vocalist, all you have to worry about is your microphone, some cool clothes and a cool haircut.

Once, I was walking back through the dunes after a surf and I could hear this sound, a voice, so I zoomed in on it and there was a young boy about 14-15 or so down by the pool and he was standing there on his own just singing, no instrument, he looked middle eastern and was singing in a language I didn't know but what he was singing was quite complex, he did a great job, full voice, sounded beautiful, after 5 minutes or so he got on his bike and left. I remember thinking then "wouldn't it be nice, just to be a singer" then I thought "Nah, not for me".

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I remember in high school us kids carrying the Rhodes on and off stage. Not fun.

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I say that above  as I played the trumpet in the jazz band 🤣

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Memories of lugging around my gallien krueger bass amp and cabinet. Youth is good! 

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I remember lugging a Marshall quad box up and down 3 flights of stairs when I lived in the apartments, the lady below me would bang her broomstick on the ceiling if I played to loud when practicing.

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Technology has certainly benefited everyone. Back when I switched to guitar, my mom (who was a big proponent of piano) even said, "Yeah, its hard to carry a piano around with you." Keyboards have gotten lighter over the years too, but their size alone makes them too cumbersome for my taste... either proof that I am old, lazy, or a combination of both. For me the guitar maintenance has just become habit, and is only cumbersome on a new setup. I put bass frets in guitars, and my baby was Plek'd a decade ago... just string changes since, and a 1/4 turn on the truss rod if going between 9s and 10s.

Latest addition to laziness came this past Christmas. Checking out the Kemper Profiler vs. HELIX Floor there was one very nice review by a guy who had both. The clincher in what he said was that they are both exceptional, but with the Kemper you will need FX pedals and the HELIX won't. My amp-lugging days are done (and I would never move my valve amp anyway), but I will admit that HELIX Floor is bigger/heavier than I anticipated. Stupid aside to that one... there was a crazy sale then (same price as when released with Cubase 11 Elements and Native free), BUT no one carried them... add to cart to get the "back ordered" message, but didn't get that from zZounds so I called them to make sure and was shocked to hear, "Oh yeah, we have them... 220 in stock." Sweetwater rep was rather odd about that one and said something like, "If you are really serious I can look into reserving one for you." I waited the 2 days to reply and said, "Yes, I am serious, but I already have one on the kitchen table."

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I guess it all depends on what gear you have,  but having gigged with various instruments, I would say from my experience:

Easiest:  Sax

then..

Guitar  ( 2 guitars, 2 stands, VG88,  Laney Amp )
Keys - ( 2 or 3 keyboards with stands, 8U rack with sound modules, outboard mixer,  keyboard amp )

Nowadays my Keys rig is cut-down. I can get away with one stand, a Studio Logic SL880, Korg X5D,  SMPro V-Machine, a passive mixer and a keyboard amp. 

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as a bedroom musician i don't have to lug anything anywhere haha! (altho as stage crew in my youth...)

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My air guitar is pretty light, so that's what I take with me. 😁

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Pfft. Crybabies. I hauled all this plus stood for 4 hours with an 83 Gibson Les Paul Custom Deluxe or a Japanese (very heavy/well made) Strat hung on my neck. My one shoulder still droops a good inch or two lower than the other from having a guitar hanging on me every Fri./Sat. night for 16 years straight. PLUS I was the keyboard player on some songs for a while too. The drummer got off easy IMHO.

600c.jpg.a8909da89d80ae1e49f4fb0021de8418.jpg

300.thumb.jpg.3dd43983d0ab86d65ce829ec563c10eb.jpg

These are similar but not the exact ones. (All other pics are the exact models I used to haul.

s-l1000.thumb.jpg.5865f1e6a3ed8452acad38169e8823cf.jpg

Two of these ....

sp5ti.thumb.jpg.853d7615fa15fe6b8f66217edc810b27.jpg

This was so heavy it had wheels ... It's a 2x12 combo with enormous transformers. It was a good 80lbs or more.

dual.jpg.1d2f78b695297c8728251414d3a5628c.jpg

Plus 2 guitars, plus my rack unit, and mic stand, and all the other smalls that go with all that like cables, mic, strings, picks, etc. etc.. Never had a problem with rear wheel drive in my 81 Monte' Carlo driving in the winter hauling all that crap. It was actually worse in my front wheel drive van.

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I remember the Irish gigs where the flute player would show up on a motorcycle and all of his flutes of different kinds in a small bag on back. I should have probably taken up flute. 

WAYYYY back when I played trumpet in the school marching band. You might think that instrument is easy but you would be wrong. I was constantly concerned about loosing my front teeth because if the horn gets bumped this could easily happen. I had my lips busted a few times that way. Playing in cold weather was the worst when I couldn't feel my lips and the mouthpiece is trying to stick to them because it's so cold. Then you had to make sure you were following the marching routine on the field while you played.

I was tempted to try mandolin because it's the same fingering as violin which I play.  Small light weight and easily transported. Most smaller instruments have cases though and need tuning before you pick it up to play it. NEVER leave a violin in a hot car in the case. It will ruin the instrument if it stays in there too long. And when you're holding that expensive lightweight thing it's only one mistake away from utter destruction. If I drop it, it's a gonner, if someone sits on it, it's a gonner, if I hold it the wrong way I'll throw the tuning off. If going somewhere to play it will always need to be tuned. I haven't even gone into the bow. Most violinists have a gig violin and leave their nice one at home.

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2 hours ago, Shane_B. said:

Pfft. Crybabies. I hauled all this plus stood for 4 hours with an 83 Gibson Les Paul Custom Deluxe or a Japanese (very heavy/well made) Strat hung on my neck. My one shoulder still droops a good inch or two lower than the other from having a guitar hanging on me every Fri./Sat. night for 16 years straight. PLUS I was the keyboard player on some songs for a while too. The drummer got off easy IMHO.

600c.jpg.a8909da89d80ae1e49f4fb0021de8418.jpg

300.thumb.jpg.3dd43983d0ab86d65ce829ec563c10eb.jpg

These are similar but not the exact ones. (All other pics are the exact models I used to haul.

s-l1000.thumb.jpg.5865f1e6a3ed8452acad38169e8823cf.jpg

Two of these ....

sp5ti.thumb.jpg.853d7615fa15fe6b8f66217edc810b27.jpg

This was so heavy it had wheels ... It's a 2x12 combo with enormous transformers. It was a good 80lbs or more.

dual.jpg.1d2f78b695297c8728251414d3a5628c.jpg

Plus 2 guitars, plus my rack unit, and mic stand, and all the other smalls that go with all that like cables, mic, strings, picks, etc. etc.. Never had a problem with rear wheel drive in my 81 Monte' Carlo driving in the winter hauling all that crap. It was actually worse in my front wheel drive van.

No thanks. I've already hurt my back so bad I had to shave laying on the floor. Nothing a tens unit and 2 months of healing didn't eventually fix. I helped load in at one time for portable church. The entire PA system.It was the same sort of thing. I don't plan on ever doing it again. Two HUGE speakers and 100 ft. snake, a huge heavy mixer and power amps. All the setup PLUS my keyboards.

The back is a funny thing. If it works you never think about it. If it doesn't you can't think about anything else.

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Posted (edited)

What about harmonica players? They can carry an entire orchestra in a vest.

I've been a bass player, guitar player and keyboard player in different bands. They're all weighty, but bass was the easiest. One bass, one amp, one cable.
That is if you don't help out with the PA.

AFTrans (2).jpeg

Edited by 57Gregy
Had to p
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Hey! When I was stationed in Germany, a guy in my unit bought that same pickup from DRMO.

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