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#275686 - 11/14/09 01:22 PM Re: Why an arranger?
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9673
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
I originally started playing "arranger" keyboards, in the early 80's (1981)..

I purchased a then Top of the line Casio CT405, I believe..

I immediately seen advantages of using such a keyboard...but at that time,
there were too many limitations,
such as low polyphony, limited variation of sounds and drum patterns..

I continued to buy "arrangers" as they improved..

I actually started my Musical instrument store at this time (1982)...
Now I realize it was started for my self satisfaction..then a business..
Good thing..cause I didn't make much money...

The early years I tried the Roland E-20 and also the Yamaha Porta Sounds..
They were cool for the times, but not enough for me to stop using my multi keyboard set ups,
and drum machines.


Basically I wanted more than a single 61 key "arranger"..

In the mid 80's, I was using a pair of Roland Juno2's ,
a Roland SH101 for bass and a Roland TR707 drum machine..
I was content with this setup..

I changed things up as time went on..
Yamaha DX7 replaced a Juno2 and Roland JX8P replaced the other Juno2..

1985 Roland came out with the JX10..and it soon became my all time favorite (then)..

I was able to split the board , play left hand bass..
and still used the TR707 drum machine..(replaced by the Yamaha 120..in 1987).

I used this set up for a few years..adding some Yamaha modules...

When the Roland D70 came out (1990) I switched from the JX10...

Now I had 31 polyphony and used the Yamaha drum machine..
I was a happy camper...a single keyboard (76 keys), and a drum machine..

Shortly after a year or two later I switched to a Roland JV1000...
This board had everything for me..I had been into sequencing since the 80's.
.and the JV1000 gave me the tools to use sequences on stage..

In 1993-1994, I added the Roland E66 "arranger" keyboard..
in combination with the JV1000...This was my first winning combination using arrangers.

.I had my "arranger" goodies / and real time drum machine..
The E66 also allowed me to play seq's, as my JV1000 did..

The gigs went very smoothly with this combination..

The JV1000 gave way to the Roland XP80, and the E66 gave way to the RA800 eventually.

Around this same time Roland came out with the G-800...WOW..that did it for me...
Since that day I became an "arranger" only preference player..

A few years later, I moved up to a G1000, 9 years later the G70....
In each case the keyboard got better..They all had the 76 key and feel I wanted..
Arrangers give me the flexibility to do anything I could do with the multi keyboard setups..

Interchanging between left hand bass/piano/ and color sounds with a great drum pattern play..
.or a full "arranger" mode..
Sequence play available at all times..and lyric read too...

What isn't there to like..or prefer over the "workstations"?

Arranger keyboards has been a no brain-er for me since 1994..

I also enjoy the new offerings as the Prelude ..function wise (MP3,wave, SMF, aiff..player).

I can't wait till Roland or other brands incorporate the new features in a great feel ,
76 key..Top of the line, keyboards..


I should add..I have owned and liked a lot other arrangers..
from Casio, Yamaha, Ketron,Siel and Roland..
The Casio MZ2000 and Ketron X1..were 2 of the best "other" brands boards I have owned..


Sorry for being long winded.....but you know how it is!!!


You guys did miss me...right?..
_________________________
www.francarango.com



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#275687 - 11/14/09 01:37 PM Re: Why an arranger?
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10606
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Of course we missed you, Fran...good to see you back.

I had a JX-10...what a lovely synth that was...everything about it was top class, especially the hardware....had a thing called "Chase Play"...sort of a really cool delay....sumptuous sounds galore, especially the strings and brass and electric pianos.

I believe the Roland E-series woke everybody else up...they were the first arrangers that didn't talk down to you.

Sure had everyone scrambling to catch up.

I got into auto accompaniment with the Yamaha Electone, and the then new PS-series (1980)...based on Electone technology...limited in poly....you basically had to use them with another keyboard.

Things have sure come a long way since the early days.
_________________________
Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#275688 - 11/14/09 02:07 PM Re: Why an arranger?
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15566
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Ian,

At one point I had a 5-piece country band, we played a fair number of jobs, mostly VFWs and American Legions, the money was lousy and I had to put up with drunks and cigarette smoke. (Some of the drunks were in the band.)

Switched to a drum machine and 12-string Yamaha Guitar, which eliminated the drummer and allowed me to go solo playing honky-tonk bars. When I got my hands on my first arranger keyboard, the guitar went into the case and pretty much stayed there. I never looked back.

HI FRAN,

Gary
_________________________
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

K+E=W (Knowledge Plus Experience = Wisdom.)

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#275689 - 11/14/09 02:53 PM Re: Why an arranger?
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10606
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by travlin'easy:
the money was lousy and I had to put up with drunks and cigarette smoke. (Some of the drunks were in the band.)

When I got my hands on my first arranger keyboard, the guitar went into the case and pretty much stayed there. I never looked back.



Yep, that's when it's tough...when the drunks are in the band...I know, I was one of them drunks...then I had to deal with them myself later on after I quit drinking.

How did you find out about arrangers...what was the first one you saw? First one you used?

First ones I ever saw were Yamaha PS-3(tiny keys) and PS-30, bought a PS-55 (PCM drums!) and then later on a PS-6100, which I ended up using for quite some time...it had that folding keyboard lid, the inside of which, was actually the panel.

Also had a PSR-70 that let you program styles...three I think? And another mini-key little monster called the MK-100

Think of it? Back then...64 styles...tippy-tappy ones at that...today, we can access hundreds, that sound like an orchestras, swing bands, rock groups...and re-program like a mad scientist!




[This message has been edited by ianmcnll (edited 11-14-2009).]
_________________________
Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#275690 - 11/14/09 02:55 PM Re: Why an arranger?
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5514
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
I started out with a B3 and a drummer in the 60's. The drummer kept getting drunk or not showing up, so I got a Kreuger bass, an Echoplex, and Rythm Ace. That was fine for awhile, but a pain to move around. I left my rig at a restaurant I played six nights at. In the early eighties, I got a Roland E-70 ? and a D50. This was more like it, and the start of my arranger path. The reasons are the same as above. I didn't look back either. I,also, had a Yamaha with a lid on it,(PSR6000?) similar to the KN7000 I have. It was no comparison to todays boards, but good for it's day.
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#275691 - 11/14/09 03:06 PM Re: Why an arranger?
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10606
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by Bernie9:
I,also, had a Yamaha with a lid on it,(PSR6000?) similar to the KN7000 I have. It was no comparison to todays boards, but good for it's day.


Probably this one, Bernie the PSR-6300(looked like the PS-6100, too)...I had one after my PSR-70...touch sensitive keys! Wow!

_________________________
Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#275692 - 11/14/09 03:07 PM Re: Why an arranger?
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14207
Loc: NW Florida
I think my first arranger was an RA-90 module. At the time, I was primarily sequencing what little non-live band stuff I was doing, and felt like adding a Sound Canvas module to my arsenal. I was also doing a fair bit of drum machine programming (HR-16's, Yamaha RX series, that sort of thing) and was always frustrated by how tough and time consuming programming up decent drums were, or how difficult drum machines made running them on the fly.

Then I saw a friend using a Roland arranger (the one with the short keyboard, I forget the model#) and, while I wasn't that big into the arranger side of things, thought 'Hmmm... there's a drum machine with really USEFUL patterns (you ever listen to the ROM patterns in a drum machine from that era? ) that does two patterns and two fills, and I can run it on the fly with a footswitch! Score!'.

So I got me an RA-90, MIDI-ed it to my monster rig (WAY too many keyboards back then!) and had Sound Canvas sounds for playing live band, but also a preset drum machine that was interactive (nothing else much was, back then), and a happy camper I was...

Well, a bit later, started to use a few arranger things (mostly to rough out sequence work and songwriter demos) and got to like the speed of making roughs, liked the Roland sound, and saw a G800. LOVED the action (same one still in the G1000 and G70) and thought it was getting to close to the point that I could drop all the old Ensoniq samplers and ROMplers and a ton of that older gear, and just use the one keyboard for gigging. Still playing primarily full band, but also a fair amount of duo and the odd solo gig, too. The one piece of gear did it all. Live band (fairly decent for the time), duo sequenced work, some live drum machine and LH bass, but still little full arranger... It didn't last all that long, as I got a great deal on a G1000 when it came out (almost a straight swap) and it had the Zip drive. No waiting, no loading, everything ready to go, and some seriously better Super Canvas sounds (great piano and sax). Two upper sounds for layering or switching between, two lower, and glitchless patch changes (that one is absolutely essential for me). All a growing boy needs for live Everything from full band to a solo... one keyboard!

Used that sucker for about ten years (still had Kurzweils and Tritons, you name it for studio, but I tried doing a live band with a K2500, and it was a PITA to run live unless you had everything set up in advance), then the G70 rumors started. FantomX piano (my favorite!), Roland VK-organ (finally! Drawbars and a real Leslie sim ), TD-series multi-velocity drummer approved drums, and a 128 voice engine that was incredibly snappier than the Sound Canvas one. How could I resist..? Probably a good job I got to play it and fall in love with the sounds before I noticed the Chord Sequencer was missing

Since then, no complaints... OK, well of course there are complaints But nothing that so far makes me want to migrate.

Why an arranger...? Well, for me personally, even for playing in a live band (the majority of my work this year, and still the majority over my career) I find arrangers, and particularly the G70, the easiest to setup and run on the fly. I do a LOT of pickup work, and never know what sounds, splits, layers and all that stuff I am going to need until the bandleader calls the title and the key (if I'm lucky!), so having something that is a snap to configure on the fly is essential. WS's simply are NOT setup that way. Incredible depth of programming, but total PITA's to do anything quickly.

Now add to that live band ease something that does everything from sequences with markers, a drum machine with FOUR patterns and six fills that I can totally run hands free (with an FC-7 pedal), and full arranger, and once again I've got something that I can take to ANY gig, not have a clue what they'll need of me until I get there, and be confident that the G70 will cover it all, and have guys with TOTL WS's going 'What the hell is THAT?! It sounds AMAZING!'

What more could a boy need? [img]http://www.synthzone.com/ubbs/biggrin.gif[/img]
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#275693 - 11/14/09 03:11 PM Re: Why an arranger?
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10606
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by Diki:
I've got something that I can take to ANY gig, not have a clue what they'll need of me until I get there, and be confident that the G70 will cover it all, and have guys with TOTL WS's going 'What the hell is THAT?! It sounds AMAZING!'

What more could a boy need?


A PSR-910 would be a nice addition...he he!

Good to see you back posting, my friend.
_________________________
Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#275694 - 11/14/09 05:05 PM Re: Why an arranger?
rikkisbears Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 6020
Loc: NSW,Australia
Hi Ian ,
great topic.

I was a lousy piano piano player, at least with an arranger keyboard, the tunes I play are sort of recognizable . haahaa

My first arranger keyboard was a Yammie also. Can't remember the model, (mid 80's?)
It read some sort of a card with sheet music printed on it.
My next one was the KN800 ( approx 1988?) From memory, I think I actually managed to midi it to my Yamaha Disklavier piano.

It was great when Roland & Korg eventually brought out arranger modules. Hubby was happy not to have keyboards taking over our living room.
They were moved to a spare room, the module stayed with the piano.
Really miss having arranger modules, even though my beautiful piano's are long gone.

best wishes
Rikki

Quote:
Originally posted by ianmcnll:
Probably this one, Bernie the PSR-6300(looked like the PS-6100, too)...I had one after my PSR-70...touch sensitive keys! Wow!



_________________________
best wishes
Rikki 🧸

Korg PA5X 88 note
SX900
Band in a Box 2022

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#275695 - 11/14/09 05:26 PM Re: Why an arranger?
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10606
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by rikkisbears:
Hi Ian ,
great topic.

My first arranger keyboard was a Yammie also. Can't remember the model, (mid 80's?)
It read some sort of a card with sheet music printed on it.
My next one was the KN800 ( approx 1988?) From memory, I think I actually managed to midi it to my Yamaha Disklavier piano.




You probably had the Yamaha PC-100(small keys) or PC-1000(regular keys)...we sold a lot of them...they were very popular, and actually helped keyboard education.




There was also a Yamaha portable that printed music...sort of like the roll in a cash register...weird, but, actually, very handy. it was called the Yamaha MP-1.



Here is the score writer in the above...simple but very effective...and inexpensive.


It either printed immediately all played notes, or printed the recorded contents of an internal sequencer...cool.

I remember seeing and playing the Technics KN-800 (I'm pretty sure that's the model)...I also remember thinking how advanced it was at the time...I believe it had features like ON BASS chording (you could play slash chords like F/G, or C/E ) and PCM sounds...I don't think Roland or Yamaha had those features, at the least the former one) and also the styles were simple, but were they ever well programmed.

You had a Disklavier? Awesome...remember having to adjust for the 500ms delay?

There was a control on the piano, just for that purpose.

I was at the showcase for the very first one (a grand)...it had a little wagon (looked like a heater) that held the electronics.

A lot of recording studios still use them.

Do you play gigs?



[This message has been edited by ianmcnll (edited 11-14-2009).]
_________________________
Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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