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#507880 - 03/09/23 05:14 AM Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players?
MusicalMemories Offline
Member

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 632
Loc: Arbroath,Angus,Scotland
Something I’ve noticed on both Arranger Keyboard Forums, and Social Media platforms in low member participation. Yes there are 100s of members but most of the posts are of members performances rather than actual discussions about the creative aspects of Arranger Keyboards in terms of getting the best of arranger’s and learning more about style creation and sound editing etc etc.
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#507883 - 03/09/23 06:35 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14171
Loc: NW Florida
Thing is, I have been coming here for a very long time. This forum, and I rather feel most others, weren’t ever really a hotbed of technique advice and creative use, style creation and sound editing tips and tricks.

You tended to find that mostly on single brand forums, korgforums, PSRworld, the old Roland Arrangers forum etc.

These general arranger forums tended to revolve around discussions of the latest release models, which due to the longer and longer development cycles has dropped to one or two at max every year or so. A long drop from the days if several new models cane out every year. Roland left the market altogether, and the remainders are dropping a new model only every five years or so. So, a lot less to talk about!

I think also that the worldwide recession and Covid pandemic put a fair bit of pressure on the pro end of the arranger users, and modern music keeps moving further and further away from what arrangers do best, and younger players that once would have got an arranger to gig with or home use are now moving to things like Maschine and computer driven clip launch systems, which current arrangers are only just starting to look at, with a decade or so to catch up on.

We’re a dwindling breed. I get a lot of flashbacks to the years of decline of the ‘home organ’ phenomenon. Newfangled gadgets called ’arrangers’ were coming out, far cheaper, far easier to play, far more portable, far better sounding for ‘modern’ synth heavy pop music and rock, etc.. And coincidentally, the newsletters about home organ dwindled as the player base dwindled. Not that we had the internet back then!

It’s kind of hard to hit a good balance with tips and tricks posts. We’ve got members with really basic home player skills, and others with full time pro player skills, it’s hard to balance advice for one against useful stuff for the other.

But I really feel that, if you’re looking for creative tips and a more serious approach, the single make forums are where that’s happening…
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An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#507888 - 03/09/23 07:20 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
abacus Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 5334
Loc: English Riviera, UK
Actually sound editing and style/beat creation is not unique to arrangers, but are used in synths, drum machines etc. all of which can be transferred to an arranger . (Just go for the easy stuff as arranger editing features are very limited)

Bill
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#507894 - 03/09/23 09:43 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15549
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Well, I'm still here, and the way it seems at times, I was born here. wink Most of the technical questions have already been answered at one time or another in the past. Now, I also frequent the psrtutorial.com where much of those questions and answers have been categorized and easy to find. However, the site pertains to Yamaha Users, therefore, Korg, Roland and other brands of arrangers are not covered, consequently, owners other than Yamaha will not benefit by visiting that site.

Good luck,

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!

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

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#507896 - 03/09/23 09:53 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: travlin'easy]
Ingres Offline
Member

Registered: 05/26/14
Posts: 86
Loc: FWI
Correct except about one subject :
on PSRtutorial, Ketron Event users (or interested by) find many adequate answers, despite scepticism of Yamaha Genos owners

ha a look at this, for example

Event topic on Psr

facts by real pro user
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from now on, on some forums, I make a screen copy... in case... time will tell
imagine some people you know having more power...luckily God knows best! Take it easy ... and funny!

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#507897 - 03/09/23 11:11 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15549
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Yep, that thread has been growing for a couple weeks, and thus far, offers nothing more than speculation. From what I have read thus far, the product is not yet available in the US, and most other countries. I was going to delete the thread, mainly because it had no value to Genos users, however, I let it ride on advice from some of the other moderators who thought it may be of interest.

All the best,

Gary cool
_________________________
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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#507900 - 03/09/23 11:56 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: travlin'easy]
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7277
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
I replaced the battery in my 1994 Solton MS60. I don't normally play arrangers out. I use them to create quick roughs for sound score projects.

Just for laughs, I took the Solton on a 2 hour cocktail job last week, along with a Hammond SK1, for organ sounds and left-handed bass.

The old thing performed like the gem that it is. I have 2. This one was used 4 nights a week outside for 14 seasons on a patio.

Love the drums and 13 note pedals for breaks, etc.

This thing works so good I still have the replacement; an SD-5 I got from Zuki years ago in a box.

The old Soltons are key to my sound score production company.

Russ

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#507901 - 03/09/23 11:59 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: travlin'easy]
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6685
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Originally Posted By travlin'easy
I was going to delete the thread, mainly because it had no value to Genos users

Gary cool


But then you'd have to question the value of your woodwork projects on an Arranger forum. Also, I think it's ok to mention a general health update of a longtime, well-known member but don't think it's necessary or even appropriate to share all the gory details. We're internet friends, sure, but not family members. Besides, isn't that what the BAR was supposed to be for? Bear in mind, these are just MY opinions.

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

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#507904 - 03/09/23 12:36 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15549
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
smile
_________________________
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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#507913 - 03/10/23 12:36 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14171
Loc: NW Florida
Er, Chas… not sure if you realized, but the Event/Genos discussion was over at psrtutorial site, not here…
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An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#507914 - 03/10/23 02:02 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6685
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
I did realize it Diki, and my point's the same. We're not all as dumb as you think we are.

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

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#507916 - 03/11/23 08:54 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14171
Loc: NW Florida
Not ALL… 😂
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#507955 - 03/14/23 07:44 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: Diki]
Ingres Offline
Member

Registered: 05/26/14
Posts: 86
Loc: FWI

. . .
_________________________
from now on, on some forums, I make a screen copy... in case... time will tell
imagine some people you know having more power...luckily God knows best! Take it easy ... and funny!

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#507959 - 03/14/23 03:07 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
guitpic1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 1950
Loc: Missouri
Arranger players are unique to me. They are folks(like me)that are willing to spend hours programming and editing to get an arrangement the way they want it.

Most keyboard folks I know will show up with a hammered action keyboard and play with whom ever is in the group and whatever the key signature is.

I can do this on guitar/bass/mandolin. I can’t on keyboard.

In short, piano is versatile, arrangers not so much.


Edited by guitpic1 (03/14/23 03:08 PM)
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#507975 - 03/16/23 01:54 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14171
Loc: NW Florida
I hate to point this out, but an arranger can turn everything off except the piano sound, and there you are! I’ve been using arranges as my live, gigging keyboards with bands for well over 30 years. To be honest, I find most arranger sound sets better balanced, and more practical for gigging than many a workstation with its emphasis on weird synthesizer sounds, and stuff you will never use in a million years.…!

Especially if you get one with a 76 note action, you can play full piano, or Roads, etc. in a band, and nobody will be the wiser for what else it can do…!
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An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#507978 - 03/16/23 03:01 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: Diki]
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6685
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Originally Posted By Diki
I hate to point this out, but an arranger can turn everything off except the piano sound, and there you are! I’ve been using arranges as my live, gigging keyboards with bands for well over 30 years. To be honest, I find most arranger sound sets better balanced, and more practical for gigging than many a workstation with its emphasis on weird synthesizer sounds, and stuff you will never use in a million years.…!

Especially if you get one with a 76 note action, you can play full piano, or Roads, etc. in a band, and nobody will be the wiser for what else it can do…!


...which begs the oft-asked question, then why do 99% of keyboardist in bands and 100% of 'pure' pianist's' (and organists) NOT use Arranger keyboards? I mean, they (Arrangers) have been around for about 40 years now; you'd think someone would have figured it out by now. I guess they're just 'DUMB'. Or maybe......

chas


Edited by cgiles (03/16/23 03:05 PM)
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#507980 - 03/16/23 09:09 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
rikkisbears Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 6020
Loc: NSW,Australia
Hi, arrangers have improved a lot over years so hopefully things have changed. Early days (90’s )there was a bit of a stigma attached . I was lucky enough to live 5min down the road from one of Sydney’s best known pro music stores. My home away from home😀. For a tech junkie like me, it was like living down the road from Disneyland. Getting to see the latest gear, going to the odd product launch. Gave me a part time job, just so I’d go home once in a while. 😁 Upstairs was the pro audio gear, workstations, synths ,samplers, mixing desks, amps ,speakers. The only arranger that ever made it upstairs was the Korg i3. It was all about the workstations and the synths. Things might have changed after 2000, wouldn’t know, we moved up the coast, but somehow I doubt it . Beyond me why.
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Rikki 🧸

Korg PA5X 88 note
SX900
Band in a Box 2022

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#507982 - 03/16/23 10:45 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14171
Loc: NW Florida
I think most keyboard players in bands nowadays, if they are looking for something ‘automatic’ to jam with are of the younger generation. And unfortunately, while the arranger is the go to backing tool for legacy music and us fossils, they are pretty awful at approximating today’s contemporary music.

Most of that is created using loops and clips and a workflow that doesn’t really follow played chords much. You’ll see a lot of modern keyboard players got a Maschine or an MPC type groovebox in their kit bag, and that is what has become the go to backing gear. Either that or laptops…

Again, there’s a big divide between young keyboard players playing in bands and us older types playing in bands. We tend to be in bands with our contemporaries, playing the music of our youth, and need sounds that the arranger is strong on. Young keyboard players aren’t as big into retro music, or when they are, it’s more of the jam band thing which doesn’t need the full range of the arranger.

The kids are big on retro gear at the moment… Wurli’s, Rhodes’, Clav’s, tons of old analog synths, some Hammond, stuff like that. It’s no coincidence that that’s what Nord (who you see a ton of kids playing) concentrate on. And very few arrangers can hold water against the Nord’s for stuff like Hammond, Wurli, Clav etc.. But they excel at brass, strings etc, which the basic Nord’s don’t really do well. Thing is, on the whole, modern pop music isn’t as big into string and brass and woodwinds as legacy music was. So, the young player doesn’t really feel arrangers are the right tool, I would think.

The other thing that probably works against young players digging arrangers is the huge amount of styles the kids wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole! It’s hard to get the girls going when front and center on the panel are banks labeled ’Ballroom’ and ‘50’s’ and ‘Oldies’, and nothing labeled ‘Trip hop’ or ‘Lounge’ or ‘Hardcore’!

The arranger has become the ‘home organ’ of the 21st century… pretty near irrelevant for contemporary music. The minute pop went synths in the 80’s, that was the death of the home organ. I think it’s Deja vu all over again…
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#507984 - 03/17/23 03:12 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
abacus Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 5334
Loc: English Riviera, UK
Diki has hit the nail on the head, (I have also said this many times over the years) just think about it, there used to be a boatload of home organs manufactures in the heyday, but are now down to a few, the same happened to arrangers in that most manufactures pulled out of the market, and we are left with just a few. (New releases are also few and far between)
If you look at a lot of electronic equipment most of it becomes obsolete pretty quickly, whereas acoustic instruments don't, and that unfortunately is life.

Bill
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English Riviera:
Live entertainment, Real Ale, Great Scenery, Great Beaches, why would anyone want to live anywhere else (I�m definitely staying put).

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#507985 - 03/17/23 05:17 AM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: cgiles]
guitpic1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 1950
Loc: Missouri
Good point Chas

Many stage pianists prefer hammered action.

If I we’re competent enough to play live with a group, I probably would choose a stage piano as well

For me, the advantage of an arranger is the ability to do solo gigs with accompaniment. But that takes a lot of programming time.

There’s another factor I think…

Complexity of programming for some.

I have a cousin who has been gigging solo with a stage piano for years and has done quite well.

But he has to haul a mixer, drum machine and a book for lyrics plus other stuff.

I’ve tried many times to convince him to go the arranger route and he wouldn’t need all the extra gear.

His response? “Too many buttons, too complex and not spontaneous “

😊
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#507996 - 03/17/23 02:54 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: Diki]
rikkisbears Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 6020
Loc: NSW,Australia
Originally Posted By Diki


The arranger has become the ‘home organ’ of the 21st century… pretty near irrelevant for contemporary music. The minute pop went synths in the 80’s, that was the death of the home organ. I think it’s Deja vu all over again…



Hi Diki, sadly you could be right. Hopefully not in our lifetime.
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best wishes
Rikki 🧸

Korg PA5X 88 note
SX900
Band in a Box 2022

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#507997 - 03/17/23 03:39 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15549
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
For me, switching from a 12-string guitar and lead singer in a 5-piece country band was strictly a business decision. We played a lot of weekend jobs, VFWs, American Legions, animal clubs, etc..., and I truly enjoyed playing in the group. We had lots of fun, but, they money just wasn't there. Those jobs payed $150 to $200 for a 4-hour performance, and after splitting the proceeds 5 ways, there was barely enough money to pay for the transportation expenses. Additionally, I supplied all of the sound equipment, so the other players only had to bring their individual instruments. I would hate to think of how much I spent on a 12-channel mixer with pre-amp, amps, speakers, microphones, mic stands, etc...

When I did my first performance at a senior center with my 12-stiring guitar, I was well accepted by the 100 plus audience that was there. I was paid $75 for a 1-hour performance and the job was just 10 minutes from home. Didn't have to split the proceeds with anyone, therefore, other than transportation costs, it was all profit.

It was only a few days later when I went to a restaurant with my wife and a duo called Carlos and Johnny were performing that night. They were setting up when we arrived, and the setup included a Yamaha PSR-500, a small mixer, two guitars, and a Peavey keyboard amp, which was fed by the mixer. They sounded fantastic, and the thing that stood out most in my mind, and that was nearly 40 years ago, was what was coming out of the keyboard. Both guys played an awesome guitar, but when the keyboard was involved, the overall performance was fantastic, and the crowd couldn't get enough of it - me included.

When they took a short break, I talked with Johnny and he showed me how that PSR-500 worked. I was so impressed that I purchased one the very next day from my local department store. The music store I frequented said he could order one for me, but his next Yamaha order would not be made for another 6 months. I couldn't wait.

Not long after the keyboard was purchased, maybe a couple weeks, I decided to take it out on it's maiden voyage. The audiences loved it, I loved it, and soon thereafter, raised my fee to $100. Not a single employer blinked when I asked for the raise. I did some advertising via direct mail, sent out some packages that included photo, CD, song list, excerpts from letters I received from other locations where I performed, and within days, the phone was ringing off the hook. I booked more jobs than I ever dreamed of doing, and the business kept growing from there. Within two years, I was up to 450 jobs a year and raised my price to $125 an hour for local jobs within 20 miles of home, and $150 for jobs 25 to 40 miles from home. Again, no one blinked at the increase, and in fact, I booked more higher paying jobs than I anticipated, and for the first time in my music career, I had to turn down jobs, which I hated to do. There were lots of doubles and even a few triples every month.

Now, all the band members never booked another job, or formed another band after I went solo. Most got out of performing music altogether, though we did some fun jams here at the Diamond Ranch a couple times a year.

I managed to make a good living as a solo performer, streamlined my setup, and saved enough to create 3 retirement accounts and purchase a Morgan Out Island sailing yacht, which I sailed solo to the Florida Keys and spent the winter of 2012 there performing at the various marinas and nite clubs. It was an exciting voyage, my wife opted not to go with me, stayed home and had a minor heart attack while I was gone. She ended up with a stent, and fortunately, had no ischemic damage. Those jobs paid all my expenses while I enjoyed the sunshine state, and the day after I returned from the trip, I went back to work full time at my regular gigs.

For me, the arranger keyboard was the best thing since sliced bread. I don't see any young people on this forum, therefore, I seriously doubt that I could get a true answer whether they would buy an arranger or not. Hell, I was over 40 when I bought my PSR-500, and by today's standards, 40 is viewed as an old fart!

Sorry for the rant, but I thought my story should be told,

Gary cool (A really old fart!)
_________________________
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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#507998 - 03/17/23 04:06 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14171
Loc: NW Florida
I know a few young keyboard players in my area doing the odd solo when not doing band work. They pretty much all use clip launch things like MPC’s, or go with multitrack backing audio, sometimes a combination of both, and sometimes a looper thrown in for good measure. As far as I know, I don’t know anyone under 60 playing an arranger any more. 🥲

I think in my area (where vacationers are the primary monetary engine) there are more young keyboard players in bands than solo work. Personally, I think that’s a good thing. You learn your craft playing with others and then maybe apply it to solo work afterwards. It’s pretty easy to tell if a player has next to no band experience!
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#508001 - 03/17/23 05:21 PM Re: Where are all the Arranger Keyboard Players? [Re: MusicalMemories]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 801
Loc: North Texas, USA
I probably use the arranger differently that most people. A skilled organist can simultaneously play melody, chordal accompaniment by using his left hand on the lower manual for fully-fingered chords, and bass with his feet on the pedals. I'm not a skilled organist, I've never even worked up the nerve to plug in my bass pedals, so I need all the help I can get!

I play a lot of religious music. I don't make much use of factory styles with rhythm. What I do most often is something like Yamaha's "stop accompaniment" or "free play," except that I've created custom rubato styles for other brands, especially my favored Roland. There's nothing magic about Yamaha's free play styles. They are just a special application of the built-in functionality that's been there for years. ANY brand of arranger that has sync stop OR "chord hold" / "chord memory", AND style customization can be programmed in this manner.

So when I play with both hands, it's as if I'm simultaneously playing three instruments: a melody, a chordal accompaniment, and a bass note. As far as I know, you can't easily do this on an ordinary synth (although Yamaha's Montage and MODX have chord-following arps.) At a minimum, on non-arranger workstations, you would probably have to press all of the constituent notes to convey a chord. And I don't believe that any "pro" workstations can add additional notes to your RH melody.

I'm not professionally trained, and I don't have a lot of time to practice. It's just a hobby for me, but I really do enjoy making music! Bottom line, without the notes added by the built-in "intelligence," I don't think I would play at all! So I suppose you could say that I'm an arranger player for life!!



Edited by TedS (03/21/23 02:59 PM)

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