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#240331 - 08/19/08 10:19 AM Arrangers vs other keyboards
hammer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2253
Loc: Texas
After playing my Yammie PSR3000 for about 2 years it has dawned on me I spend hours and hours auditioning styles to match up with songs. I am very picky about the styles I use and it seems to get worse as time goes on. So, what do all of you do with your arrangers? Are you also a slave to the "find the best style" addction or do you use just a few genre specific styles for all your gigs?

If you were going to replace your arranger with another keyboard for gigs what would it be - a motif perhaps?

If I wanted to experiment with something other than an arranger what would be a good place to start? The question always comes up what can you afford- well I would want to buy a very good keyboard that is gig friendly but not necessarily the TOTL model.

What, in your opinion, are the pros and cons of the non-arranger keyboards as compared to the arrangers? Again - think of gigging.

Just wondering about all of this.

Hammer

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#240332 - 08/19/08 01:14 PM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
A lot of people don't realize that using SMF's has changed a lot in the past few years. The majority of arranger users always pointed out that the flexibility of an arranger gave them the option to change the form of a song as needs dictate, and to make spontaneous medleys more easy to do.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and keyboards with the ability to restructure SMFs, and to either load and play them instantaneously, or even having dual sequencers to crossfade or switch between them have made many of those 20th century bottlenecks moot...

For someone with an addiction to having the most accurate style for each and every song, well, the point is, I guess, the most accurate style isn't a style at all! It's a sequenced backing But add in the Markers ability (and some keyboards' ability to sonically revoice it on the fly, for quick orchestration changes) and you have the best of both worlds...

My needs for a keyboard are tough... I gig heavily, I play a wide variety of musics, and I play in a wide variety of musical ensembles, from the rare solo, through my regular duo with a guitarist, to full bands, to studio work. I want one keyboard to cover it all, and that is a hard job to fill!

You ask what other type of keyboard other than an arranger would you use, and my answer is, I wouldn't! In fact, I don't. BUT... my choice of arranger is very specific to the task. The G70 is by no means the best arranger on the planet (it's not the worst, though, either!), but it is FAR better than any WS at being an arranger. It is not the best WS on the planet, either, but it is not the worst either. And as a live gigging keyboard, well, there I have to give it the thumbs up

Most WS's are very poor when it comes to making a lot of patch choices and effects decisions on the fly. I guess the main thrust of their use involves setting up as much as possible in advance, rather than grabbing it on the fly. All well and good IF you have the time to do this, but if you do a lot of pick-up gigs, or like to get a little creative on the gig having the ease of arranger operation goes a long way.

It's all about choice, and the choice of using arranger mode, or just the drum section, if you want, goes out the window the minute you change to a WS.

So what, exactly, are the WS's strengths? Why do so many use them? Here's the rub... On the whole, they are voiced and looped for VERY contemporary music. If you are doing primarily modern music, they are almost your ONLY choice, as arrangers are voiced far more 'classically' (as in 'classic' rock!). Sure, WS's have the older sounds, but apart from the vintage keyboard sound so popular now (Wurli's, Rhodes', B3's etc.) they are not really set up that well for older genres. So, probably the main consideration of your decision should be 'am I doing mostly hiphop, dance, techno, that sort of thing, or am I doing older stuff?'

You see, the main things from a WS are in the better arrangers... SMF playback, great sounds, a fair bit of flexibility, but the main thing from an arranger (the arranger!) is nowhere to be found in a WS unless you are comfortable with the 'loop' type musics. And their ability to follow chords well is primitive, compared to arrangers. Forget about fills, forget about Intros or endings (they really aren't part of that hiphop style, anyway), forget about inversions and slash bass lines...

As to the 'find the best style' addiction... well, what IS the best style? Is it the style that you have in your head, or is it the exact same style as the record, or could it be something else? I often approach my arranger as if I am playing with a bunch of real players You know, they often have a mind of their own when it comes to how THEY want to pay a song, and sometimes it turns out that, although it isn't what YOU wanted to do with it, it is still pretty cool!

But if you are a stickler for the original groove and feel, well yes... you can spend hours trying to find the perfect style. Or, you can make an SMF from the closest available style, and then edit the sequence until it is as close as you want it, but STILL, with Markers, be able to rearrange it on the fly. Or you can get a commercial SMF (and you still have to edit 90% of those, IMO ) and use that.

But, in a nutshell, I think that the things that you LOSE by moving to a WS outweigh the things you gain, unless very contemporary music is your main thing...

Mind you, as a Yamaha PSR user, one thing you WOULD gain would be a keyboard built better than a Costco toy!

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#240333 - 08/19/08 04:43 PM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
hammer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2253
Loc: Texas
Hi Diki,
First thanks for the reply - I thought it was very well stated and right to the point. Perhaps the real problem is my anal approach to having everything just right before I take it on a gig. It has been years since I gigged seriously but my calander is beginning to fill up rather fast as word gets around that I am playing again. That means not enough time to do the things I want to do with my keyboard to get ready for the gigs. I also haven't done much to learn how to get the most from my PSR3000 and that seems to be the real secret to becoming a real professioal with the arrangers. I hope others jump in here - it could be a real interesting thread.
Thanks again Dikifor your thoughts.

Hammer

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#240334 - 08/19/08 05:21 PM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
cassp Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/21/03
Posts: 3694
Loc: Motown
Diki, well said. I have nothing to add.
_________________________
Riding on the Avenue of Time
cassp50@gmail.com

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#240335 - 08/19/08 05:37 PM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
bruno123 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 4033
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
Diki,
That has to be one of your posts, a pleasure to read.
John C.

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#240336 - 08/19/08 05:59 PM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Quote:
Originally posted by bruno123:
Diki,
That has to be one of your posts, a pleasure to read.


Thanks, guys...

I guess none of you have Wersi's

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#240337 - 08/19/08 07:54 PM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14302
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Hammer,

Diki's reply is pretty much on the money. The only thing I can add is to spend more time digging into the bowels of the keyboard's operating system. At this point I have accumulated nearly 40,000 styles, many of which are song specific. Obviously, I cannot play that many songs, so there are loads of duplicates, some of which are extremely good.

The best advice I have is to work with the styles you have onboard, those that you have downloaded, and then work them into your performance in a manner that fits your needs. This takes quite a bit of time and dedication, but in the end it's well worth the effort.

Good Luck,

Gary

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Travlin' Easy
_________________________
PSR-S950, Bose L1 Compact, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, Morgan 33 Out Island Sailboat, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#240338 - 08/21/08 09:44 AM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
IL Parrothead Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 22
Loc: Orland Park, IL, USA
I'm coming from exactly the opposite direction. I've been playing in bands for 20+ years -- playing with various synths/workstations (Roland, Alesis & Korg). I'm getting to the point now, however, where I'm getting frustrated with trying to keep 5 or 6 guys together and coordinate schedules. I'm thinking about paring the line-up down for jobs where the budget isn't big enough. Thinking about an arranger that can double as a workstation. That way, when I have time, I can sequence things myself, I can run SMF's, or -- when I don't have time -- I can use styles. Who knows? I might even try a few OMB gigs!

As to your original question, IMO the best workstations right now would be the Roland Fantom, The Korg M3 and Yammie Motif.

It's my first post, after a long time reading all of yours. I really enjoy this site!

------------------
Mike
_________________________
Mike

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#240339 - 08/23/08 08:42 PM Re: Arrangers vs other keyboards
Fran Carango Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 8971
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
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