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#395770 - 11/12/14 05:36 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: Mark79100]
cgiles Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 5831
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Originally Posted By: Mark79100
We don&#146;t need better arranger keyboards. We need better musicians to play what we already have because the law of diminishing returns, reference arrangers, is finally beginning to surface. Really.....the only thing left is for the manufacturer to stock up the OS with pre-set songs so you can just press the stop for whatever tune you want and move your hands like you&#146;re playing.



Mark, I've been saying some variation of this for a long time now but that just gets me accused of being an "arranger hater". Why me and not you? Can't say, really. Must just be my 'winning personality' smile.

Truth is, I don't 'hate' arrangers at all, I just don't view them as professional instruments that are normally used in your average professional venue. I think Gary's post bears this out. Truth be told, what I REALLY find annoying is the number of narcissistic chest thumpers who pass themselves off as musicians ('pro' at that) yet can't play a single instrument at even a semi-pro or advanced amateur level. Their trademark is the constant clamoring for more and more 'self-play' features (so as to better fool the public, I imagine). No matter how much you deny it, the use of specific song styles, SMF's, and MP3's just makes you a glorified Karaoke act with perhaps, better visuals.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not that Arrangers CAN'T sound good in the right hands (witness people like Marco Parisi) but it's because these guys are MUSICIANS. Nearly everyone here talks about this or that 'amazing' feature, but we rarely if ever hear a discussion about playing technique, arrangement concepts, practice regimens, or even artist (musicians) that they admire (most topics are about themselves and how they 'wowed' their audiences).

Personally, using arrangers for 1hr NH gigs is perfectly acceptable and makes good economic sense for those who can't keep a bunch of old folks entertained for one hour on an acoustic piano, but please, leave it there; don't take those things into upscale country clubs (unless you're booking it as a karaoke act) and fine dining venues. Leave those for the 'starving musicians' who've paid their dues and actually learned to play their instruments (and rarely brag about it - ever notice how people that are really good at something are the most humble about it).

Don't get me wrong. There are certainly a handful of 'pro-quality' musicians on this board - Russ, Al, DonM, to name a few, for whom this 'rant' does not apply, and have shown many times over that they are capable of 'pro-quality' performances, but sadly, they are a minority in the world of Arranger keyboard players and EACH is more than proficient on another 'legitimate' instrument.

So, will we soon see the end of the Arranger keyboard? Does it really matter? Good music will continue to emerge (but probably not from arranger keyboards). JMO.

chas
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"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#395771 - 11/12/14 06:50 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: cgiles]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 1948
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Chas

I agree that better musicians should win out but they don't. Its market driven and what sells is "Entertainment" not musicianship for the most part. I can play acoustic piano and sing pretty well but will I get hired anywhere, no. As I said in my other post, there are two guys just playing piano here and they are both world class. A few people notice their fine playing but most are there for dinner and really don't care.
I've gotten a big education since moving here and have decided to give em what they want. I'm moving into the dreaded SMF's, but they do sound fuller than anything I could play live. Its economice too. 6 piece bands are down to 2 or 3. Solo acts need to sound like 3 or 4. Saw a new duo the other night Guy with an old Korg 01w keyboard, computer, and a really good female vocalist. Even his keyboard solos were pre-recorded. did anyone care, no. They appalauded and danced as thought there was a really good live band there.
I used to use two keyboards and bass pedals with a live drummer. Love to do it again but those days are gone. Its a strange business these days. I like you don't like it but it is what it is.
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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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#395772 - 11/12/14 07:00 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: travlin'easy]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 1948
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
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.

Gary

Your killing me. I gotta move !!! I really don't want to do NH but have tried. They just don't pay musicians. One large one told me her entertainment budget for the month was $150. She offered me $50 for an hour and said she would give me another $25 out of her pocket. I politely declined. Others just rely on what they get for free. This business relies a lot on where you are and the demographics.
Maybe "The Villages" in Fla. is the place to be.
_________________________
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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#395773 - 11/12/14 07:32 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: Dnj]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
You definitely don't want to be at The Villages in Florida - too many retired musicians that will play for free, which is pretty much the case with most of the west coast of Florida. Much better along Florida's east coast, the keys, and panhandle where Diki lives.

Of course, you could always set up a weekly gig similar to the one that DNJ has been doing for many, many years. I would do it down here, but that means you would not be able to take an extended vacation, and no matter what, you have to work that night, 52 weeks a year. In the right location, this can be quite profitable, but it does take a lot of legwork in order to get it up and running.

I could easily do this down here, and have been asked by many seniors to do this. It's a matter of finding the right location at a bargain price, then advertising the weekly dance event, doing a lot of promotion in targeted locations, spreading the word. Both DNJ and his wife Nancy keep this weekly event going and work very hard to make it successful. Depending on how you set things up, this can be quite profitable. There are a half-dozen larger halls and catering services that have done this down here, most charging about $8 to $12 per person, including snacks and soft drinks. The cost of the snacks and beverages is minimal at best when purchased at one of the warehouse grocery outlets. If you have 200 people a week, that translates into a hefty profit. Add to that a couple NH/assisted living jobs a week, and the income becomes livable.

Hope this helps,

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

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#395776 - 11/12/14 08:05 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: cgiles]
tony mads usa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 13262
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
Originally Posted By: cgiles

Personally, using arrangers for 1hr NH gigs is perfectly acceptable and makes good economic sense for those who can't keep a bunch of old folks entertained for one hour on an acoustic piano, but please, leave it there; don't take those things into upscale country clubs (unless you're booking it as a karaoke act) and fine dining venues. Leave those for the 'starving musicians' who've paid their dues and actually learned to play their instruments (and rarely brag about it - ever notice how people that are really good at something are the most humble about it).
chas


chas ... you sometimes paint with too broad a brush ... I know quite a number of excellent musicians - piano players mostly, and even one fine jazz alto sax player - in the New York/New Jersey area who after spending years honing their craft and making considerable money entertaining people by singing and playing - most with small combos - are now arranger players ... WHY?, because that is what is NOW keeping them working ... unfortunately, the opportunities to play gigs with 2 or 3 other musicians are becoming less and less, so they now play an arranger using bass, drums, and maybe guitar backing ... and the general audience in these upscale country clubs and fine dining venues actually ENJOY it ...
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#395777 - 11/12/14 08:10 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: travlin'easy]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 1948
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Gary

I've thought that over a lot. I did those type of gigs for years for other people who ran them. Central Jersey Singles and the Nifty Fifties, gotta love those names. They're just not enough people here to support it or who will pay a decent admission fee. As I said , demographics. Donny has the largest active adult population in the state concentrated in his area. In the one develpoment alone where my inlaws lived there's over 1200 homes. And there's lots more all around as in your case with NHs.
The local VFW here gets some Ballroom dancers and Line dancers in on Fri nights and the DJ cateres to them. Its free music for them although the rest of the crowd, including me, is bored to death with the same songs every week. When he plays "Sex On the Beach" I feel like Lou Costello -- slowly I turned, LOL !
I fill in there ocassionally and they will drive you nuts with constant requests for the same songs. You can't be too rude but they totally got me off my pace and I didn't enjoy the night.
The only decent hall I can find is in a firehouse but the least they will let it go for on a weekend is $500. Regular price is $700. And there's no bar which I think is a plus to draw any people.
I'm going to try the newspaper ad thing next.
_________________________
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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#395779 - 11/12/14 08:26 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: Dnj]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
$500 is a heavy hit - down here the local fire hall will let me use the place for $100 a night. Of course, I have to do the cleanup afterwards, but that's not a big deal. At this point, I just want to spend more time sailing, fishing, playing with the grandson, and less time working.

Bill, take a look at Goog Maps for some Assisted living/retirement communities near you. You may find something that will work out for you.

Gary cool


Edited by travlin'easy (11/12/14 08:27 AM)
_________________________
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#395784 - 11/12/14 09:19 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: Dnj]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 1948
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Thanks Gary

It is a lot but the place is really fantastic. Just did a party there. Super big stage, large kitchen and room for 250. With the price you get a janitor/manager and you have to take him. They don't allow any party without their supervision and down her I don't blame them.
I've been updating a list of facilities so we'll see.
_________________________
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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#395785 - 11/12/14 09:34 AM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: tony mads usa]
cgiles Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 5831
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Originally Posted By: tony mads usa

chas ... you sometimes paint with too broad a brush ... I know quite a number of excellent musicians - piano players mostly, and even one fine jazz alto sax player - in the New York/New Jersey area who after spending years honing their craft and making considerable money entertaining people by singing and playing - most with small combos - are now arranger players ...


Tony, I probably do ("paint with too broad a brush") from time to time, but I tried to make it clear that I was not talking about the "excellent musicians" playing arranger kb's, but the posers using arranger keyboards to pass themselves off as "excellent musicians".

Let me state loud and clear; for those who truly depend on the music business for a livelihood, I say "do whatever it takes" to get the job done, BUT, for those that really don't need the money but opportunistically use the technology to satisfy one's ego or realize some teenage fantasy of performing before screaming, worshiping crowds (let's face it; you're NOT going to get the girls anymore smile ), but are not willing to put in the (musical) work (why practice, let the computer do it), I say, leave the true performance venues (CC's, jazz clubs, fine dining venues, etc.) to legitimate musicians playing legitimate music on legitimate instruments. In that scenario, people like Bill Lewis and Mark would have a much easier time finding work.

Just sayin'

chas
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#395874 - 11/13/14 07:53 PM Re: Is this the Beginning of the End for Arranger KBs? [Re: cgiles]
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 11580
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Originally Posted By: cgiles
don't take those things into upscale country clubs (unless you're booking it as a karaoke act) and fine dining venues. Leave those for the 'starving musicians' who've paid their dues and actually learned to play their instruments (and rarely brag about it - ever notice how people that are really good at something are the most humble about it) chas


Dues ... Schmooze - I've paid more than my share, and the instrument had nothing to do with it. Starving musicians do not deserve any job I can handle because I'm smart enough to play what the client WANTS TO PAY for. I will never starve ... in music, or elsewhere. I do plenty of upscale events on my arranger keyboard, and it's nobody's business how much is automated or how much is manually generated. There is a place for solo, acoustic players and most of those places won't pay much because they don't GENERATE enough income from the addition of that "seasoned, albeit starving" pro player. You have a lot of nerve telling anyone what to play or where it's appropriate.

The relationship between a client and a performer is based on need and value. You provide a service worth selling .... and people will buy it. Econ 101
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Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... these are are all my private tutors ... 24/7 for free, and all I have to do is listen.

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