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#187707 - 08/21/01 05:41 PM How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
Coming from a background of playing acoustic piano, I was a bit surprised to discover that there aren't a lot of arranger players here who come from a piano playing background. It seems that the largest percentage of arranger players here come from a background in organ playing. It also seems that a number of forum members are accordian players as well.

I started playing acoustic piano at 4 (classical lessons), getting into rock in jr.high school and jazz type bands in college. Being both a vocalist and piano player, I needed a way to make money performing solo and found the arranger keyboard the best way to achieve this. Before the arranger, I gigged SOLO (playing the piano & singing) with custom made midi backup sequences playing back via my laptop computer. This soon began sounding rather predictable.

Prior to my discovery of the power of arranger keyboards (4 years ago), I had a lot of negative pre-conceived prejudices about them as tacky shopping mall toys for kids and non-legit musicians only. This all changed of course and now I love the arranger keyboard because it permits flexibility and spontaneity: being able to change the number of chorus/verses played, changing styles mid song, adding spontaneous drum fills, and throwing in tasty chord substitions to fit the spontaneous mood of the moment. The arranger keyboard just 'cannot be beat' for a LIVE solo or duo act.

I'm now interested in hearing from other forum members about YOUR music background and HOW you got into arranger keyboards. Also, how has your unique musical background helped you in transitioning to arranger keyboard type playing? - Scott
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#187708 - 08/21/01 11:29 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Uncle Dave Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 11945
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
I have always thought of myself as a singer that accompanies myself. I never liked the piano as a kid, but fell head over heals for the Fender Rhodes, and Hohner Clavinets! I started as a bassist in larger bands, with a background on guitar as a child. I never even touched a piano (with serious intent) till high school.

I was a reed man, doubling on clarinet, sax & flute when I decided that singing was more important to me. The logical move was to play piano, so I could "lead" the band. I borrowed some cash from my sister, bought my first Rhodes and started a trio with a bass player and a drummer. That grew into larger bands, and when drinking/driving laws started to change the face of the club scene..... the bands started to shrink in size. When I was the last one left, I was using a Rhodes, a Moog bass on top, and a cheesy Korg drum machine (analog). That was the beginning of the solo act for me. My vocals were strong enough for me to compete with a lot of the larger bands in the area, and I worked as much as I wanted to all through the 80's and into the 90's. The only real reason I ever bought an arranger was to get a built in drum machine. Back then, I was set up in rooms for 5 or 6 nights at a clip, at least for a few months...if not longer. It wasn't till the early 90's that I decided to do more one night stands. That's when the arrangers came in handy. I stopped stacking the boards up, and using 5 or six amps, and downsized to a "one keyboard" rig. and that's where I am today.

I still enjoy the simple, live trio sound I get when I play left hand bass lines, and right hand chords, but I DO use the arranger when it can be helpful. The real important elements of my show are the vocals, bass and drums. I never get requests for "larger arrangements" or "more backing parts." It's just me, the crowd and the tunes. That's all that matters. However you get there is the way to go. Some of my BEST shows were with the old Rhodes and Moog! The arrangers just made it all fit into a smaller package for me. Now, with MD's and sequences... it's getting less and less important to have the best arranger on board. As long as I have a few good "staple beats" I can take any request and make a lively, interesting show with just me and my throat....of course, the harmonizer has become my best friend! (4 friends!)

Right now - it's back to the Korg i5s till something new pops up!

[This message has been edited by Uncle Dave (edited 08-21-2001).]
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#187709 - 08/22/01 07:12 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
sk880user Offline
Member

Registered: 01/26/01
Posts: 1255
Loc: United States
Well, this is what they used at church when I was young and I always liked it and dreamt about it. Even before I ever played music, I was dreaming about music.

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#187710 - 08/22/01 07:39 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Ketron_AJ Offline
Moderator

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3241
Loc: Middletown, DE
sk880user - I believe you and I are in the same boat in this case. The Marist Brothers had a TECHNICS KN250 (later upgraded to the YAMAHA PSR 70 & DSR2000) in my school (Sacred Heart College) and on one early Saturday during choir practise, the principal asked if anyone could play a keyboard (then, I was 11yrs old). My friend lifted my had up, and while I was trying to pull it down (since the only notes I could play was part of the Xmas carol - 'Joy to the World' - since all keys were in progression), the principal spotted me and asked me to come up. Ofcourse all I generated that morning on the TECHNICS was noise! I had no idea of what my left hand had to do wrt my right, and with all those LEDs infront of me, I was as confused as can be. However, I believe he saw something in me that I didn't for he immediatly scheduled rehersals with me every weekend (while others were out there doing manual labour), and that was my begining.

AJ
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#187711 - 08/22/01 08:22 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Vic01 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/12/00
Posts: 275
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin USA
I guess the whole concept of arranger keyboards has been attractive to me since the late 80's and my little casio mt540. It was like a scratch pad for new song ideas. I went through many years since then doing most of my song writing using sequencer software. On occasion though I'd even break out my old Yamaha acoustic guitar and bang out some stuff. When I came across the arranger forum a little over a year ago something sparked inside of me that this was the way I needed to go to get the songs out of my head quickly where my wife and I could practice together and eventually start playing for others. I guess the biggest thing that pushed me over the arranger edge was I couldn't play the music I was hearing in my head on my Yamaha 6-string guitar. I'd hear whole arrangements and wanted to have those playing as well. We tried singing to CD backing tracks, but we both felt that was too restrictive. With an arranger you can be like the Energizer Bunny. You can keep going and going and going... Itís definitely been an interesting road.

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#187712 - 08/22/01 08:47 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
lukitoh Offline
Member

Registered: 08/15/00
Posts: 550
Loc: Hayward, CA, USA
started with organ (Yamaha electone), playing simple tunes. Shortly jumped to piano, memorizing classical pieces Fur Elise, etc to contemporary songs.

Then I became a Christian and felt called to serve in music - bought YAMAHA PSR keyboard that has arranger functions. Then I saw one guy who was really good(he was my model) using a ROLAND arranger E-series. From that point, I got hooked on arrangers and bought the high end arrangers until today. Shortly after getting into arrangers, I found that manual bass playing add more customization and feel - so I ditched the arranger functions and just use the trios(bass, drums and chords) just like Uncle Dave.

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#187713 - 08/22/01 08:34 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
RJMiller Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/99
Posts: 35
Loc: Minnesota, USA
Took about one year of piano lessons when I was about 10, but didn't practice much. Stopped lessons when I started playing trombone. Played tenor and bass trombone (non-professional) - in orchestras, concert bands and my own dixieland band for over 40 years.

Started entertaining at care centers about 25 years ago - vocal with wife accompanying on piano. But, noticed the bed ridden or dementia residents weren't able to attend.
About 9 years ago bought my first accordion (my Dad had played accordion, but I wasn't interested in it growing up) and started to teach myself to play so I could bring the entertainment to all the residents.

Eventually had a MIDI kit installed in my Excelsior acoustic accordion. Bought an Orla dedicated "accordion" module and then the X1 when it 1st came out.

I use the X1 as a back up band to my vocals. My keyboard technique is limited to playing full chord melodies - not able to ad lib as I could if I were playing trombone. My left hand technique is limited to triggering the auto-accompaniment chords. My audiences seem pleased with a recognizable melody played in rhythm with the accompaniment (I have heard accordion players who don't play in rhythm with the auto-accompaniment) and my voice.

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#187714 - 08/23/01 12:10 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Dreamer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/23/01
Posts: 3849
Loc: Rome - Italy
When I was a teenager I played the guitar in a band made of friends; gettin golder I lost all my contacts in the music world due to my job and so turned to the keyboards. To have a backing of some kind for my tunes I used to spend a lot of time simply recording rhytm tracks and saving them as midifiles on my Akai MPC 60. When I bought my first arranger (Roland E20) I realized what a waste of time that had been. So I can say that arranger keyboards really helped me to concentrate on music and to free my (however limited) creativity.
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Korg Kronos 61 and PA3X-Pro76, Roland G-70, BK7-m and Integra 7, Casio PX-5S, Fender Stratocaster with Fralin pickups, Fender Stratocaster with Kinman pickups, vintage Gibson SG standard.

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#187715 - 08/23/01 06:28 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Tom Cavanaugh Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/06/99
Posts: 2121
Loc: Muskegon, MI
I was playing professionally in a big band. I was carrying around a Hammond and an external Lesile speaker. I needed a 5 by 7 foot trailer to carry the stuff around. I was really tired of moving the stuff all the time. I was repairing organs for a couple of music stores and I went to the NAMM show in Chicago. I heard the PS6100 from Yamaha. The sound was no where near as good but I could fold it up, put it under my arm and walk out of the gig. I was hooked. I bought a set of SLM bass pedals and shazamm I had a two manual organ with pedals. I built a little reverb/vibrato box for it and used it until I bought my PSR740. I used the 740 for three months and bought my X1 from Don.

Tom
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Tom

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#187716 - 08/23/01 09:29 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
DonM Online   elvis
Senior Member

Registered: 06/25/99
Posts: 16177
Loc: Benton, LA, USA
The PSR6100 was my second arranger. The first was a PSR70 I think. I used a DX7 for lead sounds, and a drum machine midied to the PSR Later added a piano module and a Yamaha effects unit (for vocal harmony). It wasn't an automatic thing like the Digitechs. I used a midi foot control to assign pitch shifts. I made settings that shifted a third, a fourth and a fifth. You had to know what key you were in, what note you were singing, and what interval was appropriate to call up with the foot control.
If you used to high a pitch, it sounded very "duck-like", but with enough effects it was like having a female harmony singer (who occasionally hit bad notes when I hit the wrong midi button(. This rig replaced a 3-manual Yamaha organ, leslie, etc.
The first arranger I had that I felt didn't need external sounds and drums was the Technics KN2000. (I earlier had an 800 and 1000). By this time Digitech had introduced their Vocalist.
The PSR8000 was the first arranger I had that eliminated need for the external harmonizer. I'm playing that again now, after getting an X1, PSR 740, PSR9000, and Korg PA80, and it still is a wonderful keyboard.
I sold the X1 mainly because the fill buttons were on the wrong side. The 740 vocal input and harmonizer were not up the quality of the 8000. I traded the 9000 for the Korg, then didn't like the harmonizer on it. So I sold it while it was still very new in order to get as much value as possible from it.
I'm looking forward to trying the PSR2000 next. I'm intrigued by it because of the light weight, 4 variations, Cool Sounds and improved harmonizer (over the 740). If that doesn't work it's probably a 9000 Pro, or by then maybe GEM will have a new offering to consider.
DonM
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DonM

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#187717 - 08/23/01 09:36 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
DanO1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/01
Posts: 3602
Loc: Maryland
Baritone horn was my 1st instrument . My family did have a piano in the house . I would always tinker on the keys . I have not had any formal piano lessons . I am self taught .I was singing in bands by the age of 14 .
I started paying arranger keyboards back in 1987 .The 1st was a Yamaha PSR70 . I bought a Yamaha X4500 ( pSR4600) to use in a band . Than I bought an MS60 , X1 and soon the SD1 will be sent . Dano
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https://www.reverbnation.com/danoneil?profile_view_source=profile_box

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#187718 - 08/23/01 04:15 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Eric, B Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/15/99
Posts: 1952
Loc: Ventura, Ca, USA
Hi
my first instrument was a guitar. I played in a couple of bands and played with some friends once in a while.
Of course playing guitar all by yourself isn't that much fun, so I bought a Technics KN-100 (?) in the late 80's. Then I bought a picture book with the harmonies and began practicing....
Next was a Technics organ I don't remember the model# . I really liked the idea of having a whole band at my fingertips, ready to play when and what I want.
I had to sell everything when I came to the US and lost completely touch with whats out there. Then I saw a Casio KB in a store and I thought to myself: " maybe a fun little toy to play around with".
Next came a Psr-530, Psr-8000 and of course the Pro
For those of you that I might have lost along the way, I shall recapture: Guitar, Keyboard, Organ, Keyboard.... who Knows?
Eric
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Genos, PSR-S970, TC Helicon VoiceLive3, Mackie 802-VLZ3 Mixer, 2 Bose L1 Compact, Electro-Voice ZXA1 Subwoofer

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#187719 - 08/24/01 05:04 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
pschimmel Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/31/01
Posts: 13
Loc: Stevenage,Herts,England
I had piano lessons, but then let it slide, then after a few years I got involved in playing in a church music group. I used my Ensoniq SQ1 because it was portable, but unbeknown to me I was slowly programming it to emulate an arranger eg left/right splits, drum patterns. I then acquired a Hammond tonewheel T-500 which got me into chords, then eventually a friend lent me his PSR8000 and I found out what I'd been missing, this put the various pieces of the jigsaw together and was soon followed by the purchase of a PSR740.

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#187720 - 08/24/01 09:13 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Beakybird Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/27/01
Posts: 2219
It all started in a rural hospital in Mississippi, back before they had all them electric contraptions. I worked the nightshift in a ward for vegetative and comatose patients. The only way to tell if they were having trouble breathing was to go up to each patient, but I was lazy and wanted to spend time picking at my acoustic while the ward was empty at night.

So I came up with the genius idea (At least I thought it was so) of sticking an instrument in each patient's mouth. I put a harmonica in one mouth, a clarinet in another, a slide flute in another, a whistle in another. Then it was easy to tell who was breathing! My supervisor liked the idea so much I got a raise. I would spend the night picking the guitar to the music these patients were making, and I'll tell ya. You never heard music so good!

I wanted to do an act on the road, but my supervisor wouldn't let me take these guys. So I had to develop a one mand band. I played organ pedal with my right foot, a fretless bass with the toes of my left foot, I played an organ with my right hand and electric guitar, Stanley Jordan style, with my left hand. I inserted a marraca into my orifice and when I gyrated, I had some percussion.

I travelled all over the South, made some good money. The only problem was that I was getting headaches from slamming my head against the cymbals.

I went back to the hospital because I missed the music I was making with my comatose friends, but by that time, they had intensive care units and there was a new supervisor. Times change.

My headaches seemed incurable until a voodoo doctor in New Orleans told me about arranger keyboards. I realized I could get all of these sounds just using my fingers. Holy mole! What a miracle!

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#187721 - 08/24/01 09:41 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
Beakybird,
Your "Southern fried" story sounded 'finger pickin' good.
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#187722 - 08/25/01 10:34 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
shiral Offline
Member

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 146
Loc: IL, USA
I started to play drums in a band when I was in the 9th grade. I was also playing the guitar. While in college, I joined a college band to play the bass guitar. Somewhere down the road, I started to play electronic keyboards. After playing in bands for more than a decade, I loved to have a band at my finger tips than playing alone and turned to arrangers.

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#187723 - 08/25/01 07:32 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
MR Bulk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/01
Posts: 191
Loc: Mililani, Hawaii, USA
Hello,

Still new to this board (this is like my third post).

I started acoustic piano lessons when I was 10 (this was 39 years ago) and after 6 months I could see the direction the lessons were taking me was purely classical. I finally quit because I wanted to play pop music (or whatever passed for pop at the time).

I learned basic chord changes by having someone teach me how to play Cole Porter's, "More", found I could play almost any song I heard using the chords from that same song, and then pretty much figured out the rest from there over the years.

I got into songwriting in 1975, and one of the big things about it is producing an acceptable demo to send out to publishers/producers, etc. Most other writers have demos that sound like records, although at a cost of $250-$300 and produced in professional studios. I could not afford that, yet needed to remain competitive, and finally discovered arranger keyboards.

I went by the local Yamaha store one day where I had bought one of their acoustic pianos a few months prior, and the guy showed me the new PSR5xx line with the latest auto accompaniments. I was blown away, did not know such a thing existed up till then. So I plunked down $550 for a new PSR510 (didn't want the disk drive, what a mistake that was) and I was on my way.

I still have the 510 today, still plays perfectly, still looks new (never left the house), and just got a new 740 a few weeks ago.

Thank God for arranger kbs.


------------------
Regards and Aloha,

Charlie
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Regards and Aloha,

Charlie
http://artists2.iuma.com/IUMA/Bands/MR_Bulk/index-1.html

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#187724 - 09/15/01 05:23 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
[/dragon\] Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/12/01
Posts: 20
Loc: The Netherlands
Might sound silly, but the first instrument I played was a recorder (must have been very young), anyway I didn't really like it and stopped after two years.
A few years later (still very young) I remembered buying a Casio (SA-something) keyboard at a local toy shop.
Years later I bought my first "real" arranger keyboard, a Yamaha. I liked the idea of being able to play so much different instruments.
And that's how I got into playing an arranger keyboard.

- Dragon -
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#187725 - 11/22/10 08:19 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
As It's been over 'nine years' since this thread was initiated, thought it worthy of bumping to the top again. Would love to hear from more Sz members on how they got into arranger keyboards. Please tell us your story.
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#187726 - 11/22/10 09:01 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
btweengigs Online   crying
Senior Member

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2142
Loc: Florida, USA
Nice to see you back Scott.
Just a wild guess here...but I think Archivist fits your internet personality.
Like I said...just a wild guess.
Eddie

Oh yeah...my first arranger was a Technics, can't remember the model number. But, I got it for its integrated drums. Looking back, it really was cheesey...but it got the job done for those days.

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#187727 - 11/22/10 09:25 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
vangelis Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 395
Loc: FLORIDA
Arrangers are a sign or change of the times, as more and more clubs close and more downsizing occurs the keyboard player is forced to do a lot. I have gotten into arrangers the last 10 years with the GEM WK8,KORG I3 and I2 and also coming from a background of organs with pedals like the KIMBAL being my first and then a HAMMOND B200 organ at the age of 14, but also have taken piano lessons through the years, still, there is no replacement of a live musician because of the different musical talents they offer,to produce the quality LIVE sound.
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#187728 - 11/22/10 09:31 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
leeboy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 2428
Loc: Ocala, FL USA
Playing organ,
Wurlitzer, Conn, Thomas & then Yamaha....up until 1987.

I would robably have a new Yamaha organ today..IF they imported them into USA.

THANKS YAMAHA!

Don't care for the Lowy's and Rolands.
So, arranger with lower kbd is the nearest thing...but not as good.

Lee S.
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Lee S.

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#187729 - 11/22/10 09:52 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
Quote:
Originally posted by btweengigs:
Nice to see you back Scott.


I never really ever left, but simply chose to remain on the sidelines for a while. I assume you did the same, so glad to see you back as well.

Quote:
Originally posted by btweengigs:
I think Archivist fits your internet personality.


You may be right Eddie , but whatever Archivist attributes I have, unless I'm needlessly provoked , is to promote a 'positive' forum purpose.
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#187730 - 11/22/10 10:20 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
mdorantes Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 1187
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Thank you Scott for this post.....is been a VERY LONG time that the forum has positive and informative info.
I missed that from this forum, well, perhaps now is the time for the "good" cycle.
I have kept a low profile for the obvious reasons.

Getting back to the post, I began playing (4yo) mandolin, guitar, banjo, violin and other Hispanic musical stringed instruments, then the accordion.

As the oldest son (total of 3 kids), when my father passed away (I was 12), I started playing accordion and mandolin at a restaurant with my school Gym teacher(he sang and played the guitar),since I played in all the School festivities, all teachers knew that I had a nice repertoire... we sold the big house we had, purchase a small one, and with some acting on my part, I got my mother to invest on an organ ACE TONE model TOP 1 (this company later became Roland) and a Golden Gate combo amplifier.

Later the first Yamaha Electone D2B, E10AR, Hammond X66.....Yamaha FX1, 2 HS6 with modules and disk drives, EL90, Roland RA95, Solton X1, SD1, etc....T3, PA500, etc.


------------------
mdorantes
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mdorantes

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#187731 - 11/22/10 10:59 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
brickboo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 2068
Loc: Fruita, Colorado, USA
Well it is the fault of these people including you Scott. DonM, Uncle Dave, Gary, Cavannah, Donnie, Beakybird and Pete Charlesworth from the Korg forums. He and I were on the phone at 0ne o'clock in the morning at one time. He lives in Australia. Hope I havenít left anyone out. Sorry if I did!
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#187732 - 11/22/10 12:29 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 6858
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
When I noticed my long-time music partner/B-3 player beginning to slow down (right hand-arthritis), I worked in a set of miked vibes; then a little Whirlitzer piano to do solos he once did, along with guitar solos.

When he retired, I started doing singles on guitar. I bought an Auto orchestra-a contraption with bass pedals and "band-in-a-box" features to use with guitar. You chose your pattern, held the right bass note and keyed minors, maj7th's, etc. with the heel and toe of your right foot when operating the volume pedal. I continued to practice keyboards and gradually worked them into the act.

An early keyboard job with a group was on B-3 at the Campbell House in Lexington. The manager was Tony Lovello, who had played accordion with the Three Suns. He played an early version of a Solton (now Ketron) auto accompaniment box, purchased from Joe Petosa, from Seattle. Joe visited and showed me the MS-60 I still have, along with a back-up.

I shortly began using the MS-60's for one-nighers where a full band sound was appropriate. It got me more work.

Now, while 60% or more of my work is guitar or trio work, the arranger has a real place in my performance arsenal; particularly since I was hurt in a break-in a few years ago and have limited use and feeling in my left hand.

Works for me!


Russ



[This message has been edited by captain Russ (edited 11-22-2010).]

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#187733 - 11/22/10 12:56 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
DanO1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/01
Posts: 3602
Loc: Maryland
Quote:
Originally posted by DanO1:
Baritone horn was my 1st instrument . My family did have a piano in the house . I would always tinker on the keys . I have not had any formal piano lessons . I am self taught .I was singing in bands by the age of 14 .
I started paying arranger keyboards back in 1987 .The 1st was a Yamaha PSR70 . I bought a Yamaha X4500 ( pSR4600) to use in a band . Than I bought an MS60 , X1 and soon the SD1 will be sent . Dano



Just reading this stuff from 2001 makes me laugh. Thanks for the 9 year bump !
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https://www.reverbnation.com/danoneil?profile_view_source=profile_box

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#187734 - 11/22/10 02:17 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
124 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 2120
Here's my progression from the age of eight (not necessarily progress:-) - that's a different thing).

Acoustic piano,
Hohner Pianet N,
Watkins Telstar organ (about the same size as a current 61), way cooler than a Vox Continental or Farfisa Compact Duo,
Hammond L-102,
Hammond M-102+Micromoog,
Roland E38,
Korg i30,
Korg Pa1XPro.

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#187735 - 11/22/10 03:14 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
tony mads usa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 13557
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
As I've said in the past, I started out playing accordion ... then came the cordovox ... one day an uncle of mine, who played classical piano, told me he had purchased an 'electric piano' but he didn't care for it ... he asked me if I wanted it ... I said "sure" and then found out it was a Fender Rhodes ... lugged that beast around to gigs for many years with the band ... After we moved to "li'l rhody" I didn't play gigs for about 7 years .... We had an upright piano from when our daughter was taking piano lessons so I started tinkering with that ... eventually I bought a drum machine to accompany me - like Uncle Dave, I more accompanied my vocals with the piano, than I was a "piano player" ... I heard some other musicians playing arrangers so I thought I would look into that ... tried a technics kn1000 and that was that ...

Quote:
Originally posted by btweengigs:


Oh yeah...my first arranger was a Technics, can't remember the model number. But, I got it for its integrated drums. Looking back, it really was cheesey...but it got the job done for those days.


Eddie ... what year was that??? I never considered my kn1000 "cheesey" and none of the other subsequent kn models were either ... IMHO
t.
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t. cool

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#187736 - 11/22/10 03:21 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
DonM Online   elvis
Senior Member

Registered: 06/25/99
Posts: 16177
Loc: Benton, LA, USA
I had a KN800 and 1000, but it wasn't until the 2000 that I felt the drums were good enough to eliminate the outboard drum machine.
The Yamaha drums didn't get good enough for several more generations. In fact . . . .

DonM
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DonM

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#187737 - 11/22/10 04:47 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
rattley Offline
Member

Registered: 11/14/99
Posts: 773
Loc: Punta Gorda Florida USA
Started playing cornet in grade school in 3rd grade.

Family bought Lowrey Console organ when I was in Jr High School. It had no automatic anything, so I learned left hand chords and rhythm and right hand melody with harmony. I remember those cheesy "Magic Organ" LPs advertised by Ktel on TV. Always wanted an organ with auto rhythm and auto chords.

Right after High School, 1978, bought my first portable keyboard. May have been an early PSR??

Sometime around 1982 I first saw MIDI stuff at a local music store. I was immediately hooked. Soon after had a Casio CZ101, Yamaha TX81Z, QX5 sequencer and finally a DX-7. WOW.................those were the days!!!!!

Later...............PSR1000, PSR2000, Korg i40M, Roland SC8850, PSR3000, Tyros2, Tyros3 and now Tyros4!!


................and the journey hasn't ended yet, I hope!! Here's to the future! -charley

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#187738 - 11/22/10 05:30 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
btweengigs Online   crying
Senior Member

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2142
Loc: Florida, USA
Tony, I think it was a KN700. In order to select a style you had to hit a quadrant of buttons. As I remember, 3rd party styles could not be utilized. Preset styles very limited by today's standards. Key feel was non-existent. Piano sounds were so thin I added a Roland E20 to the setup.

It was next to impossible to keep a performance seamless for all the necessary button pushing.

I never had a KN 1000, but a few of my buddies did and it was a major leap for Technics.

Eddie

[This message has been edited by btweengigs (edited 11-22-2010).]

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#187739 - 11/22/10 06:01 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
zuki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 4356
Loc: Michigan
Yes, organ since early on. (Dad was an organist). A natural progression of learning chord theory works well.

Dad bought me a Farfisa way back. In bands, I played that and eventually the B-3 and Rhodes.

While away from music and in the corporate world for 25 years, I ALWAYS made sure to have a keyboard at home, albeit a grand piano, D-20, etc. Mostly, I was intrigued with workstations (sequencing). Never did I lose my playing skills.

As an industrial chemical rep, manager, etc, I frequented music stores more than I should have. It was my true love - always. I fell in love with the Technics KN7000 and VA-7 and maybe 5-6 years ago, finally stumbled into the arranger world. My first purchase was the PSR200O.

I went independent a while back and while doing the chemical sales routine, I decided to buy my first arranger (2000) and play my first gig, just for giggles. Well, the rest is history, because I now play full time and make a fairly good income. (As long as my wife works, I can do this ).

Life is good, as the technology allows me to solo like a band, including the harmonizer. Working up material in my studio is pure joy. I haven't played bands for a while, but am totally content to use my skills and imagination on an arranger.

There is sooooo much to learn in the music field and soooo many projects to do. It will never get tiring and I hope to continue life's work journey in this venue
_________________________
Korg PA3X / PSR SX900 / MTM monitors / QSC 8.2s / Zed mixers / Blue mics

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#187740 - 11/22/10 07:02 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
montunoman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 2527
Loc: Dallas, Texas
What a great thread! It so neat to learn about other folks backgrounds.

I started off on drums. My HS band director had a great music program. We learned music theory, had a great jazz band, orchestra, marching band, and show orchestras. I ended up learning mallet percussion, tympani, drum set and Latin percussion. In college I kept on doing music and took group piano classes. I was lucky to have very good teachers. After two years of group lessons I took a jazz piano harmony class taught by Dan Harlee. I got good enough at jazz comping that I played in some jazz combos and even a jazz trio. I also became really fascinated with latin styles and got the nickname "montunoman"

In 2000 I bought an old upright piano and I've been practing on it ever since. Around the same time I started a latin group with my wife. I played percussion and marimba and she sang. Eventually I started making midi files because it was too hard to maintain an 8 piece band.

I had always thought that arrangers were toys for home use. I heard a Tyros a few years ago and it blew me away. In my dou, I do just keyboards now and hardly use midi files. I love freedom that the arranger gives use.

I still have a lot to learn but I love the journey!
_________________________
It not the keyboard, it's the keyboardist.

www.youtube.com/channel/UCV94i--V-A8kZShmGTKyDOw

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#187741 - 11/22/10 07:23 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Stephenm52 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 4848
Loc: USA
I started with piano lessons at 11 didn't have much real interest but still took lessons, didn't learn much, quit at 14 or 15. Then at 18 after hearing Keith Emerson, I started back in a did a few years of some serious practice. When reality struck I'd starve if I had to depend on playing music for a living I wound up buying a 6 foot Samick grand piano to play at home and a B3. Ironic, because my career in sales gave me the $$$ to buy the toys and frustrating because those toys could never earn a living for my wife and I.

Fast forward to my early 50s and for one birthday about 6 years ago my wife bought me a $149 Casio arranger I just laughed and said "ya gotta be kidding!" I got this great piano and you bought this toy. I was all set to return it then realized it was a fun instrument, took it to a few parties, then one thing led to another and I sold the Samick bought a couple of different Clavinovas CVP series, I still have the 307 Clav, it never goes out of tune like the Samick did when the seasons changed. I'd never go back but in the meantime my left hand technique ( what little I had ) has gone away. But I'm having one hell of a time playing the arranger.

[This message has been edited by Stephenm52 (edited 11-22-2010).]

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#187742 - 11/22/10 08:21 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
Wow, I'm thoroughly enjoying reading about everyone's fascinating backgrounds as it provides a deeper understanding & appreciation of one another, where we come from, and where we may want to take future forum discussions.

Please keep the member background stories coming. Thanks - Scott
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#187743 - 11/22/10 11:12 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
rikkisbears Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 5505
Loc: NSW,Australia
Hi,
started taking piano lessons at age 20 for about 1 year.. Was told I was too old to ever play properly. For the next 15 years or so, I'd have the odd spurt of playing for a few months, then dropping it again.

Then I also got involved with synths & midi files & keyboards in the late 80's.

best wishes
Rikki

[This message has been edited by rikkisbears (edited 11-22-2010).]
_________________________
best wishes
Rikki

SX900, P121 Piano, Band in a Box 2019
V Arranger/Ketron SD2

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#187744 - 11/23/10 10:13 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
miden Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
I started Piano Accordion lessons at 7, went through to 14. Studied not only the "normal" accordion, or Stradella, but I also concurrently studied the, at the time new, Classical Accordion. And of course, ugghh!! Theory...Every Saturday afternoon, two hours of theory lessons....LOL, most of which I cannot remember now. Same as all that maths S@#t at school

This is where the bottom three rows of the chord buttons were transformed to single notes, allowing the playing of classical style music. It was in this form I won the Australian title when I was 13.

I gave up music for about 7-8 years, before being talked into joining a three piece combo, BUT I had to play "normal" keyboards. So I bought a Rhodes Flat-Top mk II with the Dyno-My-Piano kit installed. Adding a Roland JX-3P a few months later, which started my involvement with electronic keyboards. This led me into the world of piano keyboards, and I progressed as most do, through many different models and brands after that.

I then played in a few bands over the next 23 or so years, arriving to a point where I had given up bands, but I still wanted to play music. So I looked around for solutions to how this could be achieved.

It was at that time I discovered the Roland RA-50, and IT was the start of my arranger career. Coupled it with the A-33 controller.

When I look back at that start I realise just how far arranger keyboards have come. And really, in my view, the difference between them all now is so close, we can have the luxury of allowing "personal taste" to sway our decisions.

I am still looking for my "nirvana" in an arranger keyboard, one that does everything in one box, but that day is still to come

Dennis


[This message has been edited by miden (edited 11-23-2010).]

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#187745 - 11/23/10 11:49 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 2047
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Started piano at 10 . Wanted to play trombone but my father said play piano you can always work alone. Great advise. Started gigging at 16 with my red Farfisa. went through all the changes up to a Hammond B3 with pedals, a Rhoades, Synths and the whole deal with a kick a** trio. Eventually wound up with just me and a drummer. When he left for Florida I went solo with a drum machine. Went through a few girl diva singers and wound up solo again. Still played two keyboards, pedals and drum machine. Started checking out arrangers at my friends music store and fooled with a few. Bought and hooked up an RA90 to one of my synths, had fun with it and then bought my G1000. I still have it and two others. I miss playing everything "Live" but no one minds and its a lot less to move. Still use styles for the freedom and cannot bring myself to sing over backing tracks as so many are doing now.
Its the thing to do and the wheel has turned but I think I've got a flat HA!

Bill in NJ
_________________________
Bill in SC --- Roland BK9 (2) Roland PK5 Pedals, Roland FP90, Roland CM30s, JBL Eon Ones (2) , EV mics, Apple iPad (2) Behringer DJ mixer

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#187746 - 11/23/10 02:46 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
spalding1968 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1241
Loc: United Kingdom
i started playing the guitar at age 10 and sang with my sisters as a family singing group though my teenage years. Took up the flute for a couiple of years but it didnt really grab me. I loved composing songs and felt that keys were a better fit to me. i was about 20 and went into rackhams ( are department store in the UK) in Birmingham and on the top floor roland had a display of home instruments and highend electric/digital pianos. A guy was sitting at the keys of a roland EM2000 playing Michael bolton s song ' how am i supposed to live without you ' and i was stunned that such great music was coming from this one instrument. As a song writer it was a dream come true and i was literally moved to tears.

I was a student with no money but i worked all through the summer holidays coaching basketball and saved up until i could buy my first arranger which was a casio HT 5000 i think. Then i bought a technics KN1000 which was awesome and then the yamaha psr 8000. Many years later a client of mine who was a jazz pianist agreed to teach me to play jazz piano if i gave him free financial advice. Musicians are typically terrible with money ! Anyway he is now a very well off retired musician and i now have a life time love for arrangers , jazz funk and blues. Just finished a DVD for my choir with 9 songs on it all played live on my PA1X and if i get clearance i will put excerps up on yutube for you all.

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#187747 - 11/23/10 08:12 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Songman55 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 892
Loc: Baltimore, MD USA
I grew up playing organ and piano at home. Piano was my favorite but all of my opportunities for work came on organ. At 15 I started playing organ, Hammond B3 at the Navy Chapels in the Key West area. My first band jobs came shortly after that where I used a Farfisa Organ. I became a OMB artist in 1971 after watching a guy playing a cordovox with a drum machine. This is also when I became an entertainer. I noticed this guy was really working the crowd and that's why he had the job. I bought a Lowrey organ and a drum machine and a Shure vocal master and I was off and running. Great vocals have always been an important part of my show. I later graduated to B3. Several years later in Baltimore I started playing keyboard bass and either piano or another keyboard. This worked well for several years. In the mid 90's I attended a contemporary worship workshop where they had a Roland G 800. It was love at first sight. I bought one immediatly. Then it was a G 1000. Currently I play a Tyros 1 and have an S900 in my studio as well as a Ketron Midjay and Roland RD 700 piano. For me, everyday with an arranger is better than the day before.

Joe

[This message has been edited by Songman55 (edited 11-23-2010).]
_________________________
PSR S950, PSR S900, Roland RD 700, Yamaha C3 6'Grand, Sennheiser E 935 mic, several recording mics including a Neuman U 87, Bose L1 Compact, Roland VS 2480 24 Track Recorder
Joe Ayala

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#187748 - 12/08/10 06:37 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
124 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 2120
Quote:
Originally posted by spalding1968:
Just finished a DVD for my choir with 9 songs on it all played live on my PA1X and if i get clearance i will put excerps up on yutube for you all.



Cool! Is it up on YT yet?

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#187749 - 12/09/10 05:08 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
spalding1968 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1241
Loc: United Kingdom
nope not yet. The DVD is still being edited but it looks fantastic and sounds great even if i say so myself ha ha !! There are some issues we need to resolve but hopefully i can get clearance to upload a snippet or two just for a short while. Stay tuned.

Just been working on a new arrangement of the song "how great is our God" I have programmed the style almost from scratch and just need to make sure it sounds good in the majority of chord variations that could be used. Will most likely use the style in our next performance. I will record that separately if i can so you can hear how it works in a live setting. I make all my styles directly on the keyboard so this would be a good example of why the Korg is a stand out instrument as opposed to other arrangers that really need to connect a computer to it to make styles.

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#187750 - 12/09/10 06:21 AM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? !
Riceroni9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/15/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Glen Rose, TX, USA
Great Topic, Scotty:

Beaky's southern fried hospital story is a "visual" worth filming. Gee whiz, what an imagination. Loved the line about the Doctor "prescribing" an Arranger... LOL!

I know a playwrite who would probably have a slobbering fit over that story.

I graduated to an Arranger from a care-worn ukelele and a chromatic harmonica... LOL!

Merry Christmas, fellow "Arranger Zoners!"

Dave Rice http://www.ShowCaseYourMusic.com/DaveRice/
_________________________
Do your best to be invisible... and kind.

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#318924 - 03/10/11 08:46 PM Re: How did YOU get into Arranger Keyboards ? ! [Re: Scottyee]
casiobot Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/05
Posts: 132
Originally Posted By: Scottyee
Coming from a background of playing acoustic piano, I was a bit surprised to discover that there aren't a lot of arranger players here who come from a piano playing background. It seems that the largest percentage of arranger players here come from a background in organ playing. It also seems that a number of forum members are accordian players as well.

I started playing acoustic piano at 4 (classical lessons), getting into rock in jr.high school and jazz type bands in college. Being both a vocalist and piano player, I needed a way to make money performing solo and found the arranger keyboard the best way to achieve this. Before the arranger, I gigged SOLO (playing the piano & singing) with custom made midi backup sequences playing back via my laptop computer. This soon began sounding rather predictable.

Prior to my discovery of the power of arranger keyboards (4 years ago), I had a lot of negative pre-conceived prejudices about them as tacky shopping mall toys for kids and non-legit musicians only. This all changed of course and now I love the arranger keyboard because it permits flexibility and spontaneity: being able to change the number of chorus/verses played, changing styles mid song, adding spontaneous drum fills, and throwing in tasty chord substitions to fit the spontaneous mood of the moment. The arranger keyboard just 'cannot be beat' for a LIVE solo or duo act.

I'm now interested in hearing from other forum members about YOUR music background and HOW you got into arranger keyboards. Also, how has your unique musical background helped you in transitioning to arranger keyboard type playing? - Scott


I didn't get into arrangers for arranging-I got into them because they were WAY less than "Pro" keyboards at the time.

For $300 at Costco, I had at least a very passable piano sound. It wasn't perfect......it was a start....

I sold THAT Casio for a CT-670 and used it for the next five years......


After that, I picked up a WK-1350 at a loss and it has lasted TWICE as long.....


With the WK 7500, my total cost of keyboards would be less than $1400........

In 20 years, you could spend so much MORE, with the "Pro Stuff"......

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