Who's using a keytar?

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by rsm, Aug 8, 2017.


  1. rsm

    rsm Member

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    I got one, had it for a year...thinking about how to use it with my gear. I use it with softsynths and my Peavey MuseBox, may get a Roland SE-02 and use it as the controller...

    it's certainly controversial, I think guitarists and vocalists are afraid to share the spotlight with the keyboardist, that's my theory at least lol. How to make a guitarist/vocalist roll their eyes? Get a keytar!

    I love it, just want to find the right synth engine to control it, nothing too complex or simple, the SE-02 is mono, I'd like a digital poly synth module of some kind, not a computer with softsynths.

    I have the Alesis Vortex Wireless:

    [​IMG]

    anyone else?
     
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  2. Jimmy_Rage

    Jimmy_Rage Member

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    Well, I think it's a great idea when you're playing leads. But at other times, I'd want to have a regular keyboard so that it's easier to play with two hands.

    What would work best is a combination of a regular keyboard plus this keytar. Since you're using midi, you could just play whichever one the situation demands with only one midi thru cable. Think Jordan Ruddess of Dream Theater.

    I've heard the Waldorf Blofeld is pretty good and it's really compact too. That would let you carry both the keytar, the keyboard and the module in one trip from the parking lot.
     
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  3. Marshall_Stack

    Marshall_Stack Lordy Mama light my fuse Silver Supporting Member

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    Good luck stormin the castle!
    Whenever the topic of keytars comes up, I have to think of the words of Bruce Springsteen, who said, "No Nils, you aren't playing keys. Now get off the trampoline."
     
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  4. stevel

    stevel Member

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    I see some have read the other thread!

    As I said there, the lead singer in our band who was a 'frontman' and had that personality - big showmanship, great attitude, lovable guy - played Keytar while wearing a kilt on stage (he actually wears a kilt everywhere aside from scrubs at work). He also played Theremin.

    He did both in a "showy" manner.

    I also played keys, but he played all the "flashy" showmanship lead parts on Keytar.

    I think, it's something that you have to play with attitude. You can either go for the cheesy/corny take, or go for the "I'm so badass I can wear a kilt and play a Keytar and YOU WILL LIKE IT". Our lead singer was the latter. I've seen 80s tribute acts for whom it was the former.

    FWIW, he just used an old Roland JV 1080.

    Really, any module will do as long as it has the sounds you want (I assume it has a physical old school MIDI put port, no?)

    In my later, enlightened and tolerant phase, I see nothing wrong with them.

    My biggest issue is not sharing the stage, but that the keyboard player in a band is usually tasked with doing things with 2 or 3 keyboards.

    But I would so love to be in a band where the keyboard player strapped on a keytar and we played "Whip It", and then we ALL strapped on keytars and played "Cars".

    But it does seem a little funky for a keyboard player with a big onstage rig to come out just to play keytar on a song or two. Again it would totally depend on showmanship and attitude, but it's kind of like a drummer coming down with an MPC strapped to them and playing it just so they could move around (but then, there's Futureman...)

    I would say, in most cases, it would be useful if integrated as part of the show, or it was a "persona" thing - our lead singer sort of like branding - so his Kilt and the Keytar were his brand. Made him unique in town. It was part of his stage personality. But, he also didn't go back and play a big keyboard rig - I did that.

    So I'd say for a keyboardist, either all the time on the keytar (or switching off on guitar, etc.) and not playing another big keyboard rig upstage. IOW, the keyboard player is a dedicated keytar player and plays no other large keys rigs - that you have another member dedicated to.

    But certainly can add a level of showmanship and with the right attitude could work in many contexts.

    But I'd say just to unnerve (or upstage) the other members wouldn't be the right reason to do it.
     
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  5. realmacaroni

    realmacaroni Supporting Member

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  6. p.j.

    p.j. Member

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    [​IMG]
    Now that's a KEYTAR!!
     
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  7. rsm

    rsm Member

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    looks like a craft project, does it even work or is it a prop? ;)
     
  8. rsm

    rsm Member

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    I dig Roland kit, I was thinking about one of the poly boutiques for keytar.


    @stevel I have two key rigs, one I use with guitar for my '80s new wave / synth pop / post-punk, the other is purely electronic (no guitar) using the Roland Aira system (most of it). In this rig, I use my System-1 as the lead keys / live keys, since everything else has sequencers and can store sequences. The keytar would be an alternative to this, as the drums, bass, and synth pads are playing, I'd use the system-1 or keytar for the "live" bits. I posted these in the "show your keys rig" thread
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  9. Devnor

    Devnor Member

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    That is Futureman. He's a drummer, a very good drummer. I have seen him play many times with Flecktones. Check him out.

    I play bass in a Stevie Nicks tribute band. We're about to start playing Stand Back live. There is an arpeggiated bass line I've been playing on a Kronos. Thinking about using a keytar instead because there is not enough stage space for 2 keyboard rigs.
     
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  10. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Member

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    So this was my rig last 4th of July:
    [​IMG]

    I bought the Vortex when it was being closed out for $99 a few years ago. One USB cable to the laptop for Power and MIDI.

    I'm no pianist but it could be the worst feeling keybed on the market. Still though for the price, and the thrill of people losing their minds when you bust out a keytar I think it was worth it.
     
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  11. rsm

    rsm Member

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    I have the wireless Vortex, got it with the "official" soft case, for a great price new on ebay...guess they weren't selling? IIRC, ~ $149 shipped.

    Just tried it again with my Peavey MuseBox (also got this at a blowout price new from SW), there's at least 20-30 sounds I dig (piano, organs, synths, mellotron, harpsicord, brass, bass) though I'm considering a Roland poly boutique, this works great.

    now I need to find 2-3 keytar songs I can do solo for a local open mic ;)

    ...now where are my parachute pants, skinny tie and Member's Only jacket... :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  12. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Yup, he's a badass.

    What he is playing in the pic is not a keytar, but it doesn't matter. It's a SynthAxe that he bought from Lee Ritenour - the same one used on this album:

    [​IMG]

    The cool paint job, drum pads, and other mods were done later.
     
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  13. kiki_90291

    kiki_90291 Member

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    Google "keytar" and go to the image results. If you can find one picture of a person who actually looks cool playing one, I will support your use of the keytar. And, yes, I've seen the picture of James Brown. Not even his innate coolness can overcome the nerdifying power of the keytar.

    :)
     
  14. rsm

    rsm Member

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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  15. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    I've seen this guy using a Keytar around town for years:

     
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  16. kiki_90291

    kiki_90291 Member

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    Ok -so this makes me want to BE a keytar. Still don't want to play one :)
     
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  17. Jr Deluxe

    Jr Deluxe Member

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    Ive got a couple. I havent really mastered it yet. I have the wireless vortex but find 37 keys to be really a few keys short. I got an old korg rk100 with like 41 almost full sized keys which is cool but it is too old to have velocity. Im thinking of getting it modded if i could find someone around nor ca to do it.

    I like what this kid does on his vortex.
     
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  18. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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  19. Jr Deluxe

    Jr Deluxe Member

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    Sorry but this is everybodies impression of keyboard players in general. To an audience a keytar is a denerding factor.
     
  20. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    Truth be told, I don't really think there's anything nerdy about either. I just like giving @rsm some grief from time to time. I'm sure he knows I was joking. I actually admire his open-mindedness when it comes to the use of all sorts of musical tools and toys.
     
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