Two left hands on keys

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by 10cc, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013

    I've heard bassists complain about the keyboard players and their left hands. I've never ran into this being a problem. Not saying that it doesn't happen but I've never really found it to be a problem. One band I'm in has keys and another has two keys. Then there is a third band without keys that I find myself wishing there were keys. Go figure.

    The first band is southern rock, the second is a art rock type of thing and the third keyless is old style country.

    Either way I like having keys in the mix, it really opens a lot avenues to explore.

    I wonder if the bassists for some of the bands like the Allmans, Billy Joel, Elton, PFUNK, NRBQ, Roxy Music ,10cc or Wilco ever had problems. Hell Skynyrd actually stepped up their game incorporating Billy Powell.
  2. Figure yourself lucky. Getting stepped over by a piano player is very unpleasant. It's like being in a three legged race with a partner a foot taller.
  3. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Our current keyboard player is good, he listens, we discuss what to do and we don't step on each others' playing. In a previous band we had a "piano player", he just wouldn't stop playing bass lines with his left hand and we clashed over chords and rhythms all the time.
  4. tomnomnom91


    Dec 23, 2012
    I've only ever been in one band with a keyboard player and she stepped on my parts all the time. It got so bad and she was so unwilling to change that I switched to acoustic guitar and we dropped the bass entirely. That lasted for about a month before we kicked her out and I went back to bass.
  5. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    Well then it should be easier on you, maybe? I can't even really say I've seen another band live and noticed that either though. Oh well I guess I'm lucky or maybe I'm being trampled and don't even know it. I'll go with lucky.
  6. Ben B

    Ben B

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I guess I've been lucky. I've played with several piano players. All of them were quite happy to have the bass present so they didn't have to hold down the low end. Once I played with an organist. We discussed in advance which songs were better suited to electric bass and which were better suited for pedals. It worked out fine.

  7. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    Well now the more I think of it rarely do any of the keyboard players I play with use a piano or piano tone from their keyboards. Hmmm...
  8. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    This isn't limited to keyboards in my experience; some guitarists like a really low end heavy sound that infringes on the bass guitar range (and I'm not even talking about down-tuned guitars). It really takes listening by all members in the band and learning how to leave room for everyone.
  9. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I once had a keys player that was pretty bad about this. Before we'd hit the stage I'd wander over to her 'board and turn down her bass knob. She never noticed during the show and we sounded solid, but I had to do this before every show as she'd "correct" her knob placement afterwards, every time.

    I also turn down the bass knob on every guitarist's amp if I get the opportunity.

    I may seem mean about it, and sometimes I have to be, but usually there's a conversation preceding or following. It's about everyone in the band having the sonic room to speak.
  10. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I've been known to engage the low cut filter and turn down the bass knob on the PA guitar channel when the guitarist wasn't looking. :)
  11. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    It would be tempting if a guitarist had an amp with toneprint on to 'take a call' on your phone when standing next to their guitar.
  12. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Yeah, often experienced that, but I'd say it was just a particular case of a bigger problem. Lots of players just don't hear _parts_ in an arrangement, don't hear the way the rhythms and pitches of the _individual_ instruments are distinct, and _combine_ to create the rhythmic and harmonic complexity of the mix. So when they're learning a tune they just grab ahold of something and play it on their instrument, whether that's the best contribution to make or not. The result is often the keys or guitar stepping on the bass part.

    One time I tried to explain the difference between rock and funk to a guy who'd mostly played rock. I told him that in rock the instruments tend to lay on top of each other and in funk they tended to occupy different spaces, forming a mosaic. Not sure he quite got what I was tryin' to say...
  13. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    I play keys in one group and I always go direct, with low cut filter engaged. My rule is right hand only unless:
    1) i play an intro alone
    2) there's a split and left hand is doing chords, little melody, or whatever
    3) I add a left hand note during guitar solos or leads, basic root not moving around.
    4) it's essential to the song, like van halen "I'll wait" or cee-lo "forget you"

    When I was searching for advice on live sound for keys, people kept talking about needing the low end, get a big amp, make sure to put keys into the subs, etc. Keyboard players seem to really have this crazy notion that the keys need to sound huge, which is not always good for the mix.
  14. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Never a problem for me too
  15. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I guess we're relating experiences to this phenomenon...

    I've run into this and after a quick conversation, it's cleared up quickly. In all cases, the keyboardist seems happy that he/she can do something else "cooler" with their left hand.

    The keyboardist in my current worship band is an outstanding player and music director for the worship team (North Texas State grad. Oh, yeah, when I can get him out of his shell, he's scary awesome!). I'll hear his left hand play the pedal tone note I'm playing (on piano), but I NEVER hear it interfere with anything I"m playing. He holds the note as long as I hold mine. If it's a quick note, his note is never longer than what I'm playing. Also, he'll cue me to go "up the neck for a bass moment" and he'll hold down the pedal note as I go the neck and do something. Man, what an ear! However, lately, the church bought a Hammond B3 (yes, a Baptist church actually bought a Hammond B3!) That's kept both of his hands busy lately! So he's playing piano, B3, firing click tracks and stems, and directing the band. I'm really blessed to be able to play with this fellow.
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Yeah, consider yourself lucky! Last band I was in, one of the keyboardists was insistent on playing the bassline with his left hand. Annoying to say the least. Even worse is he would play the wrong notes so there was a big clash in the lower frequencies. I had to compensate by turning up my volume which messes up the balance. I ended up quitting (other reasons were a factor as well). If you're gonna play in a band, learn to compromise.
  17. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    Back in 01 or 02 a band I was in opened up for Bernie Worrell in ATL. This guy had four different sets of keys all around him along with a huge rack packed full of stuff and he also had a second keyboard player on stage left with a Motif and a Nord. So a total of six keys on stage with a guitarist, bassist and a great drummer who he said was the touring drummer for Enrique Iglesias. Anyhow it was bad to the bone. But what would you expect its "Bernie"!
  18. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    It's just a matter of the 'arrangement'.
    In the case of Bernie Worrel, or whoever else, not just about six key, even if more than that, if the music and it's parts were arranged properly,... no problem between bass player and keyboard player.
  19. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
    That is very true. I will say if you can get around the right musicians most of the problems, complaints and other little concerns that I hear and read about are completely absent.
  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    I am fortunate to play with a keyboard player who also plays bass so he knows how to stay out of the way. It's really nice. There have been times where it wasn't as nice (recording session) but I was getting paid pretty nicely so I just did my thing and collected my check.
    Geri O likes this.
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