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Keyboard player stepping all over guitar and bass?? What to do?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jaysbass2002, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. I have been working in a four piece band for around 8 months now. We gel very well and get great feedback from our followers.
    But here is my concern. Our keyboard player uses 3 keyboards live. Korg triton, Korg Karma, and a nice digital piano. The sound levels are never consistent, "one sound ripping your head off and the next can't hear him" Some of the sounds he uses interact with my bass tone and get this horrible cycling, mushy sound on stage. Hard to hear my own rig.:rolleyes: He also plays all of the time. Just can't sit back and harmonize "though he does have a great voice". Has to be throwing something in even if it is not there to begin with. We have a great guitar player. He plays the hell out of Stevie Ray Vaughn material, but our keyboard player plays the chugging guitar licks and such???? Instead of just playing the Hammond parts? We were knocking out twilight zone the other night, and when it came to the cool bass part in the middle he jumped right in with this cheesy synth sound and took the wind out of my sails!:mad:
    So to wrap up all my complaining, how do I approach this issue? I give him tones of solo parts to trade off with guitar player and he still indulges where "I think" he should sit back and coast.

  2. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
  3. Register_To_Disable

  4. Already thought of that. He is a great guy, but does not get subtle hints. I have tried but goes unheard.:rolleyes: He is also best friends with the drummer.
  5. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre Supporting Member

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX

    Doesn't sound like he is adding much to the mix.
  6. correct. Much clutter at times. Just to much going on and we lose dynamics. In the vocal department he adds a lot.
  7. WillInDenver

    WillInDenver An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure.

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Some keys players are used to being all of the music. In a band, these guys have to cool it with the left hand (or else conflict with the bass player) and be careful about the comping with an ear toward what the guitarist is doing. Sounds like your guy isn't doing those things.

    I'd suggest approaching him nicely, compliment his playing, and ask if he would be willing to adjust some of his parts to account for the presence of the other guys in the band.
  8. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    He's a regular Keith Wakeman, eh?
    Ask/tell him to stick to the arrangements. There'll be plenty of space for him to solo - just at the right times. Tell him there's no cheesy synth in the bass driven section of Twilight Zone and honor the SRV stuff too.

    Just tell him how it is. Subtle hints aren't getting it done.
  9. Good idea, I have tried in a round about way but not direct enough. I like him, he is a great guy, we just need to get things under control. Every song seems to be a jam to him. I play very basic with the keys and guitar in the band. I wish he showed the same restraint.
  10. Record your shows/practices. It'll become pretty obvious what works and what doesn't.

    As someone who gigs on keys and/or bass, nothing gets under my skin as much as this. The only time I'll go low on keys is if the bass is going up higher or if I'm doubling a bass part EXACTLY and with a complementary sound (e.g. smooth distorted organ along with the bassist's clean punchy sound). Maybe ask him if you guys can sit together to make sure your tones mesh well together .

    Also, talk EQ - a nice low cut on the keys and maybe an upper mid cut will let you and guitarist come through while he still can add to the overall mix and feel. Music is all about space!

    edit to add: another neat trick he might want to try is taking his left hand off the keys and keeping it on the volume control. This isn't just to get him out of your range; I really like placing the keys under and above the mix at various points depending on the dynamics. With organ and synth sounds, you don't tend to get a lot dynamics from the velocity sensitivity of the keys. So riding that volume control can really make the music open up when it's supposed to be sparse and then pop when it gets big. I especially love leaning my whole arm on the lower keys using a whirling Leslie-ish organ sound and bringing the volume up from nothing and then doing a glissando up into a dynamically bigger part. Sounds awesome (and looks pretty cool to boot!).
  11. Ask/tell him to stick to the arrangements. There'll be plenty of space for him to solo - just at the right times

    We give him plenty of solo time trading off with the guitar leads. that in its self should suffice.
  12. Thanks natw. That's why I came here. Lots of great advice. I will read through all of it. Thanks for the support and suggestions.
  13. No problem. I don't have the chops on keys that I should have (or used to have for that matter) because I love bass that much more. But people like gigging with me because I make the parts fit the song not the other way around.

    Hmmm... sounds like something a bassist would say doesn't it?
  14. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 I think a band meeting is due.
  15. jdwinva

    jdwinva Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2005
    Leesburg, VA
    Happens a lot! This is the difference between an okay keyboard player (typically over plays) and one that uses his ear and is part of the whole.
  16. Good point. I do hear sour chords here and there. We are just a cover band, and we do play a couple of originals "keyboard players songs" LOL. He is very good and adds to the band. Just "to much"!
  17. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Eastern Wisconsin
    If you don't want to have super cluttered music and get stepped on constantly, why do you have a keys player in your band?
  18. BrentD

    BrentD Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    Does he have his own amp? If he doesn't and he runs through the PA, can you slap a limiter on him? That would take care of the volume inconsistencies.

    Further, if he is not in control over his volume, you could just turn him down.

    If that doesn't work or if he has his own amp, jack his monitor up until it blows his head off. Then maybe he'll cool it on the playing.
  19. Well it is like this. I was invited into the band along with the guitarist. The drummer and Keyboard player were already in another band, and wanted to start a side project. Which in turn Imploded the other band.
    The guitar player and I are on the same page as far as "leaving space in the song, Play your parts, we are obsessed with our tone, and dynamics. We also seem to be the only ones hearing what is going on with the keys???????
  20. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Volume reduction. Sounds like in addition to the busyness of his playing, he's probably so loud he can't even hear the rest of the band! Probably can't hear the arrangements he's stepping on.
  21. He is using a Roland Keyboard amp with 15" driver and horn. Great sounding amp with the correct sounds. He runs two signals to the board, Stereo I think. But his programmed volumes are not level. I have suggested using my db meter and adjust the levels, but he is not jumping at it.