anyone double on guitar and keys?

aziltz

Member
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1,539
I have an M-audio Keyboard controller, and I'm thinking of somehow adding it into my rig so I can double on organs/piano and guitar. I'd need a sound source or another keyboard with on board sounds so I'm looking for ideas.

what's your rig setup like? Do your signal paths cross anywhere? pictures would be awesome.
 

tibbon

Member
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1,151
I double on keys/guitar. I've honestly been moving a little more toward just keys recently, but that's because its just sooo much gear to carry around, and my hands are quite often 100% full on keyboards.

I play a Minimoog Voyager Signature Edition and a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet '08. Plus I have Ableton Live running, a Monome, a SammichSid and once I get it back from repair, my Elektron Machinedrum. I'd been looking at getting a Hammond M-3 and mini leslie, plus some 88-key weighted piano/keyboard.

Ableton isn't used for anything much except sampling, changing patches and playing occasional sequences. No synthesis or effects currently. Once I get a Presonus 16.4.2 I'm going to be using it for realtime vocal processing as well for my lead singer.
 

hanales

Member
Messages
901
I run a little alesis 25key into an iPad to do some synth work. It sounds good in a live environment, but I'm not a great keys player by any stretch of the imagination. It's a good low cost solution though, since 90% of my songs are on guitar and vocals.

I'm hoping the new wireless midi controller from Fishman works out, because then I'll drop the keyboard controller and just use my guitar for both things, just adjusting volumes as needed.
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,843
I have an M-audio Keyboard controller, and I'm thinking of somehow adding it into my rig so I can double on organs/piano and guitar. I'd need a sound source or another keyboard with on board sounds so I'm looking for ideas.

what's your rig setup like? Do your signal paths cross anywhere? pictures would be awesome.
I played in a band over the last couple of years pretty much splitting my time between both keys and guitar. No crossover on the rigs. I ran my keys into a Roland KC350 for monitoring with throughput to the PA for front of house; like I said it was completely separate from my guitar rig which was guitars and pedals into a '66 Bandmaster with a 1X15. And yeah, it's a lot of stuff to haul.

My ideal choice for organ, piano and electric piano tones in a tidy, durable package would be a Nord Electro -- very portable, excellent organ and electric piano tones and good enough acoustic piano and no need to muck with triggering samples from a computer.

If you just want to add decent organ and piano patches and use your M-Audio controller and do it all on the cheap, buy a decent used sound module -- an older Kurzweil or Roland that can be had on the cheap, or a Nord Electro 2 rack if you can find one though it will be pricier.

If you're using a big, clean guitar amp -- like a Twin Reverb or something -- you could probably even get away with a single amp for both though I much prefer something like the Roland keyboard amps where you can run 'em straight as amps or use the amps as monitors and run the signal out to the PA which is ideal for the keys really.
 

feralchild

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341
You might be interested in what I've been up to in the studio. First of all, I recommend you stick with your MIDI keyboard and find some software that you like, rather than going with a synthesizer or a keyboard with internal sounds. MIDI keyboards are infinitely more flexible.

My current studio setup includes a MIDI keyboard and I sometimes do one man looping stuff where I go back and forth between the keys and guitar. On occasion I even play both at once. I'm not a very good keyboard player but I am learning.

My keyboard is a Novation SL Mkii (49 keys). Ableton Live is my primary studio software. The SL and Live (and the Launchpad) combine to form what is basically the command and control center for my entire studio.

Ableton handles multitrack recording of audio and MIDI. It also controls Reason via ReWire, and provides effects like beat repeat, compression, reverb and delay when needed. However I rarely use any of Ableton's instruments. 99% of the time the SL is controlling Reason's Subtractor (which is then passed back through Ableton and recorded/monitored).

The SL also sends MIDI CCs to control params in Ableton AND even some of the hardware in my guitar rig. (So yes, both MIDI and Audio signals do cross paths...)

For example I use a 2880 Looper pedal and some functions can only be accessed through MIDI, so I set up some buttons on the Novation SL to control these functions.

The left channel of the 2880 output is reserved for guitar parts and is sent to my amp. It is not monitored in Ableton but it is recorded. The right channel is for percussion and misc. sound FX and it gets sent to my DAW to be processed by Ableton FX and sent to the monitors.

It is also possible with this setup for me to monitor and modulate my guitar signal in real time using Ableton. But I never do this. For one thing, sending my guitar mic output through the monitors in real time opens the door for potential feedback issues. I also can't get past the 5ms latency. So any modulation that needs to happen on my guitar signal is generally done with analog effects and sent out through the amp.

And, it just so happens I have a picture! I made it yesterday using Visio. It may be way too much info for this discussion; it is the blueprint for my entire studio.

http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/391/studiomap1242012.gif

So there are a few ways I can use this.

1. Ableton is master. Ableton controls looping and sets tempo for Guitar FX and Reason. 2880 is not used.

2. Pitchfactor is master of guitar rig. Ableton is not slaved. No Ableton looping. 2880 is slaved to Pitchfactor and handles synced looping, when necc.

3. No computer, no SL. Guitar rig is able to stand alone. Pitchfactor is still MIDI clock master. This is for mobile use. The 2880 usually stays home - I hardly ever use looping when playing with my bandmates. But when we play in my studio, I usually use option 2, so I can go over to the keyboard and blurt out some electro sounds or an organ part if I feel so inclined. It's not synced to the master but it generally doesn't need to be if I'm not looping.
 
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losergeek

Member
Messages
568
I use an Alesis QS6 and/or a Kurzweil Sp76 live. I used to have an m-audio midi keyboard into an ibook, but it was more hassle then it was worth for me and always made me nervous that the laptop was going to get broke/lost at shows so I went for standalone keyboards. I don't play keys and guitars at the same gigs now, but when I did, I ran the keys through my marshall jcm600 using an AB. Guitar amps aren't bad if you're using synths, but as soon as I wanted organ/piano sounds I opted to use my wife's bass amp instead.
 

blackba

Member
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10,791
A few bands ago, I did Keys and guitar. I didn't mix the rigs, but I thought about getting a Tech21 character pedal and running it through my keyboard amp. Here was my setup:

Yamaha S90 - > Yorkville K4 keyboard amp (Was also my PA monitor)

Fender strat -> pedalboard -> Fender Bandmster Reverb -> 212 Cab

It was a lot to carry. :(
 

dougb415

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,791
My old high school band gets together every few years for some reunion shows, and I plays keys and guitar with them.

Keys:
-2 MIDI keyboards (main keyboard has onboard sounds, but those are only used in emergencies)
-Evolution UC-33 controller used as a Hammond drawbars interface
-MacBook running various soft synths, pretty much the basics: piano, Hammond organ, pads, leads

I feed the output of the MacBook into a small Behringer mixer, which feeds into the mains mixer and my powered monitors.

Guitar:
-Fender Mustang III amp
-various guitars
-pedalboard

I use an SM-57 for miking the amp. I also have 2 vocal mics, one for each spot onstage.
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,843
I used to have an m-audio midi keyboard into an ibook, but it was more hassle then it was worth for me and always made me nervous that the laptop was going to get broke/lost at shows so I went for standalone keyboards.
That's my experience too. If you're gigging in a small set up and you're doing all the hauling and set up yourself, AND your doing that with both keys and guitar, I think it's a huge convenience to be using keys with onboard sounds or keys plus a physically durable and small hardware sound module vs. triggering samples or patches from a laptop.

Obviously if you're building entire arrangements around loops and sequences, or you need a huge array of keyboard sounds, it's a different story. But if you're just playing a pretty narrow set of keyboard sounds live and you're doubling on guitar, that's a situation where I prefer to avoid hauling a laptop and using a software based rig.
 

champion ruby

Member
Messages
1,806
I play keys 75% of the time these days. I use a Roland RD-700 and a Yamaha SK-20 synth but rarely use them both at the same time. I usually just run the keys through a delay into the P.A, sometimes with a little behringer mixer.
 

aziltz

Member
Messages
1,539
wow, thanks for all of those explanations. I think I prefer hardware myself, and something like the Nord Electro 3 would be ideal. If it could be run with my midi keyboard triggering piano and the onboard keyboard for organ, that would be awesome, but I think it can only split with an organ sound.

I think I'll start off with a laptop and soft synth though. Are there any free or reasonably priced options for soft synths (<$100) that would give organ, acoustic and electric piano sounds? at one point I tried out that maudio keyrig, but I don't think its made anymore.
 

Mr. Limbic

Member
Messages
3,100
I use synth and play lead guitar for live performances...I use an akai mpk and run it through ableton for the synth sounds....we are more electronic/ambient/rock, let me know if you have any questions
 

thesooze

Supporting Member
Messages
6,834
I've used an Alesis Micron a few times live and for recording. Sweet little board!
 

aziltz

Member
Messages
1,539
so i ended up taking an old Dell laptop, reinstalling XP and installing MAudio Key rig and Drum and Bass Rig with a few other free soft synths. I figure that should get me started. Onboard audio is a little shaky, but I have a mobilepre that I could use to upgrade it. this is not for gigging, just to try things out and get a feel for keys and guitar together.

i did find a killer Moog-emulator that was free. its pretty awesome actually!
 


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