I talked to one of the PR guys at Yamaha a decade ago about the makeup of the consumers for arranger keyboards. He said it's very similar to the makeup of those who previously purchased organs. Less than 1/10th of 1-percent are pros and semi-pro musicians, the remainder are home players. And that's who every keyboard manufacturer markets to - not guys like us on this and a few other forums. We are nothing than a speck of fly crap in a mountain of pepper. In fact, I'm amazed that Yamaha and other manufacturers has responded to our wishes as much as they have. For the most part, they have granted nearly all our wishes during the past 20 years.
Bill, I'm amazed that there are not more OMB entertainers in NJ using arranger keyboards. Granted, there's only a handful of us in my part of the mid-Atlantic region, but I would think that there would be far more in your area, mainly because of the number of retirement communities and assisted living centers. Down here, in the frozen wilds of Maryland, retirement communities are springing up all over the place, and the demand for guys like me is incredible.
In the Florida Keys, especially during the height of tourist season, there are hundreds of places that have musical entertainment nearly every night of the week. For the most part, it's "Have Guitar Will Travel" entertainers that by and large, are not really very versatile. Consequently, when an OMB entertainer that can sing well, and has a reasonably good arranger keyboard, and can read an audience shows up, the guitar guys usually take a back seat. I talked with a friend in Washington State that also has more jobs than he can handle, and he charges about the same as I do.
Now, I don't use many mid files and absolutely no MP3 backing tracks. And, I only know of one OMB guy in my part of the mid-Atlantic region that does, and he only performs once a week at most. Those of us that pretty much use the onboard styles and can sing fairly well are working 5 to 7 days a week, often doing a fair number of doubles and a some triples. That has to tell you something.