googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Fourth of Several Blogs on Having a Successful Band – Keyboards

The Fourth of Several Blogs on Having a Successful Band – Keyboards

In many ways, the keyboard player or rhythm guitarist is the adult of the group. I have discussed the necessity for the accurate alignment of the leading edge of the waveform between the bass and kick-drum. Now we must add the keyboard. To do this requires a lot of listening and the listening process between an electronic keyboard and an actual piano, like a Steinway Grand is radically different. It helps to have a good feedback stage monitoring system. Otherwise place the keyboardist as close the bass amp as possible without losing any hearing. Officially the keyboard is a percussion instrument, so following the bass player’s tempo is critical. The best rhythm sections sound like a well-oiled machine that listens. They cook.

But the keyboard must also create and maintain the harmonic structure of the band. The bass player creates a foundation, but the keyboard makes the bass note make sense. The chord progression is defined to the audience by the keyboard. The more difficult or unusual the chord progression becomes, the more it’s necessary to put the keyboard out in front mix-wise. The keyboardist should strive to provide clarity to the song. While the lead guitar is doing the splits with his axe behind his back, the keyboard player is playing notes that the guitarist should be soloing over and thereby making him or her sound good.

The good news is that, in rock ,the keyboardist sometimes has the option of hiding or being lazy. The keyboardist’s more intricate work can be buried under power chords and slamming beats. On the other hand, most larger professional acts are led by the keyboardist. He or she sees the whole picture and is in the best position to control what’s happening on stage tempo-wise and harmonically.

Therefore when choosing a keyboardist, it’s important to not get an introvert who adds very little to the band and tends to hide. You want a diplomat. A know-it-all can be twice as bad. There’s no use keeping a keyboardist who yells at the guitarist, “That’s a Cmin7, stupid” (even when he’s right). This is why the he or she must the adult of the group. Sometimes it’s good to give a keyboardist solos just to keep him humble. The guitar solo almost always wins unless the band is built on the keyboards. Seeing the whole picture, there is a tendency to stifle on-stage creativity. So the big picture person must also be sensitive what’s happening between the audience and the band and be prepared to respond to make it work. He or she must know when hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em and when to run.

In jazz, however, the pianist carries the whole weight of the band. The drummer can coast and few people can tell what the bassist is doing beyond keeping time. In top groups this not so, but even then, the tendency is there.

A keyboard is a fabulous composition instrument and you’ll be happy to know that whatever you write on a piano sounds better when played by a real band. Do everything necessary to make the band sound better at this exact moment. Be sure to move the audience. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Randall Peede


Directors Clip, Inc.

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