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EQ with a keyboard player

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bassist4ever, Oct 29, 2002.


  1. What would be a good setting for my EQ with a keyboard player with a HEAVY left hand???

    right now i have it set so i get kinda an "Another one Bites the dust" type bass and it just doesnt seem to cut through...
     
  2. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    The best you can do is to chop off his left hand. The second best you can do is to ask him to ease up on his left hand (big risk he won't). The third best you can do is to EQ the bass frequencies out of the keyboard tone. The fourth best you can do is EQ your bass so that it cuts better (but how is impossible for me to say without actually hearing it).
     
  3. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    What kind of music are you playing?

    Why do you say that?
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I think the problem a lot of keyboard players have is that a lot of their training is focussed on learning how to cover all the bases - melody, harmony, basslines, rhthym (well.. sometimes ;) ) etc. That sounds great when they're on their own but doesn't cut it so well in a group (unless the group is designed to build on the foundation layed by the keys).

    To be fair, other instrumentalists, including bassists can fall prone to the same problem (especially if they've spent all their practise time working on solo bass pieces, like Wooten's Classical Thump). All those things are good, but in a band you've often got to approach things very differently to how you would on your own.

    The 'holy grail' is to produce music that is more than the sum of it's parts. Music is not mathematics - sometimes 1 + 1 = 1.5, whereas .5 + .5 = 2. Think of the band as one big instrument with lots of tones and incredible potential co-ordination between them rather than several individuals trying to show that they've mastered their instrument.

    Rather than trying to find an EQ solution to make the bass stand out (which will surely be defeated by adjustments made by the other members to ensure their own prominent position in the mix) perhaps you should all (keyboard player and the rest) work on one of your songs and attempt to produce an arrangement that fits together, giving each instrument places to shine and places to support.

    If they're not interested, then I would suggest just chilling out and playing a background role... while looking for a more musically stimulating outlet to move to.

    Wulf
     
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I have played with a few very different keyboard players, I see the types as "synth players" and "piano players". The second variety has shown a tendency to "overplay" sometimes, messing up the rythms in the bass part as they don't always synch with the electric bass and drums. I think it's ingrained with some piano players that they supply the whole arrangement (melody, chords and bassline) and have a hard time easing up on the left hand work. Others seem to come more from the synth direction and put their emphasis on filling in the sound using the right hand mostly.

    I agree that most players, especially like in our not too well produced hobby bands, overplay a lot, there is not enough "air" in the arrangment. It takes a lot of listening and a lot of self confidence to play less.
     
  6. i play at the church i attend so we basically play gospel type stuff. the reason i ask is because our leader loves to hear the bass and actually lets me start fast songs etc. but when the keyboard comes in i'm gone since they think of the piano as the main instrument and it's cranked in both the monitors and mains, (which neither of the two i'm in). so you see my delema. i've asked her to lighten up on the bass chords abit but she said it was her style to play hard...

    so any help would be appreiciated
     
  7. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    So talk about it with the leader and pianist. Saying, "it's just my style" is exactly the kind of opinion that Oysterman warned about ;) ... anyone who's skilled enough to be playing in a worship setting has got to be more flexible than that or they'll end up derailing the whole flow of the service by making everyone focus on the piano playing.

    On the other hand, if your church is anything like mine, I'd imagine your role is also supporting the team. As long as you can hear yourself well enough (a monitoring problem - I normally play through my amp, keeping it high enough for me but low enough not to interfere too much with the overall sound) there may be plenty of times when the bass won't be particularly audible in the overall mix.

    I'd still recommend the idea of working on some arrangements - for example, if the piano is going to play a major role in the verse and chorus, how about having it drop out entirely during the bridge.

    Of course, if you really want to be heard, maybe you should take up drums :cool: :eek:

    Wulf
     
  8. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    OK, so suggestion number two is out of the question then. I really think you should try to chop off her hand before doing any dangerous ventures in the land of EQ. It's a safe bet, trust me.

    ...

    Or maybe just make her turn it down a bit?

    (I really have nothing to add, Wulf and Anders said it already.)
     
  9. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I'm prinicipally a pianist, so I must defend my kind! :) What you say can be true - but we're not all like that! I guess I just didn't like the way Oysterman said that the keyboard player won't lighten up with his left hand ("big risk he won't") - as if all keyboard players compulsively overdo the left hand and will never stop. It's just not true!
     
  10. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    If someone doesn't notice by himself/herself that he/she is practically "in the way" of the music with what he/she plays and won't change their playing accordingly, they are probably not "ready" to change their style when being told to do so either. I've encountered one too many "musicians" who when given a suggestion on something regarding their playing style go "uh-huh, yeah, I'll try that", and don't change a bit.

    I KNOW all keyboard players aren't like that! It would be stupid to assume such a thing, as I have hundreds of recordings on my shelves that prove the opposite. I just had a gut feeling that THIS particular player would be... and I was right, wasn't I? ;)
     
  11. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    moley, I agree totally, it's really more a problem of playing to suit the whole arrangement, or to play only your own instrument. Any *good* piano player would be flexible and sensitive to the overall sound. Something which is lacking in this particular inidividual.
     
  12. Sit your keyboardist down and really talk with them about the role of a chordal instrument in an ensemble. Many guitarists and keyboardists like really full, root-rich voicings because they sound really great at home. However, that severely limits what the bass can do, and it also gets really monotonous for the listener.

    Have your keyboardist listen to some Bill Evans albums--the two Village Vanguard ones, with Scott LaFaro on bass, in particular--and try to cop some of those voicings. (Everybody's been trying for the past, oh, 40 years.) Evans rarely played below the F or G below middle C, if even that far down, which left plenty of room for LaFaro to play advanced contrapuntal lines.
     
  13. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I'll add Herbie Hancock to that, Pete, he's another good one. Though, Bill's chord voicings really are something else, as you say. Interestingly, his playing on "So What" doesn't capture this IMHO. Though "Blue In Green" does :) (to use a couple of examples from Kind Of Blue).

    In fact, as a Jazz piano player, I've tried to cultivate a chord voicing style in which I often don't even play the root, let alone playing it down the bottom with my left hand :) If I do play the root, it might well be higher up in the right hand. For example for a straight 7th chord, I would probably just play a tritone forming 3 and 7 (if I wasn't going to add extensions).

    However, it does depend on the kind of music - I'm talking about Jazz here - but if your band is playing rock/pop it would be a bit different - you probably would play more straight voicings, with roots in. Even so, there's no need to fill it with low roots that get in the way of the bass.