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Author Topic: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH  (Read 13183 times)

Matt Sisco

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Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« on: May 03, 2011, 01:55:29 pm »

I run FOH for a growing cover band: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Three Vocals.  It's been going very well, gaining speed for almost two years, and now the Keyboardist is speaking up because I'm not consistently pushing him at equal level with the rest of the band.  If I did, he'd bury the mix.  Right now I've got him rolled off at 125, and bumped at 3k, with just a hint of compression at a high ceiling.  The guitarist (generally bumped in the low mids, and at 1.6k) still gets buried sometimes when he attempts a solo because the keyboardist (for example) lays into full chords with both hands on his Hammond.  I don't want to tell him how to play, so I need to find a way to even out his dynamics without killing them, or further fattening his tone.  So far the best treatment has been to know all the cues, and ride his faders.  Are there any rules to taming Hard Rock Keys?   
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2011, 02:04:12 pm »

I run FOH for a growing cover band: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Three Vocals.  It's been going very well, gaining speed for almost two years, and now the Keyboardist is speaking up because I'm not consistently pushing him at equal level with the rest of the band.  If I did, he'd bury the mix.  Right now I've got him rolled off at 125, and bumped at 3k, with just a hint of compression at a high ceiling.  The guitarist (generally bumped in the low mids, and at 1.6k) still gets buried sometimes when he attempts a solo because the keyboardist (for example) lays into full chords with both hands on his Hammond.  I don't want to tell him how to play, so I need to find a way to even out his dynamics without killing them, or further fattening his tone.  So far the best treatment has been to know all the cues, and ride his faders.  Are there any rules to taming Hard Rock Keys?

Until he gets reasonable, that's about it.

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Bennett Prescott

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2011, 02:10:56 pm »

The keyboardist thinks he's the star. Comp the shit out of him and give him a loud monitor or ears. If he hears that he's louder than everyone else, regardless of whether he actually is in the house, he will be happy.
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 03:33:10 pm »

The keyboardist thinks he's the star. Comp the shit out of him and give him a loud monitor or ears. If he hears that he's louder than everyone else, regardless of whether he actually is in the house, he will be happy.

I wonder if the GF has a part in this.  It wouldn't be the first time, obviously.

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Rich Grisier

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 05:54:02 pm »

I wonder if the GF has a part in this.  It wouldn't be the first time, obviously.

Certainly not the case- Keyboard players aren't cool enough to have GF's  8)

Kidding!

On a more serious note- has the keyboard player run sound for bands before?  Specifically cover bands?
Does he understand the concept of "sonic space" within the context of a band?  He needs to know the place of his instrument within the band.  Unless they're a Norah Jones cover band, then keyboards take a back seat to most everything- They fill the gaps.
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duane massey

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2011, 06:12:35 pm »

Speaking as a keyboard player, I have long ago accepted the fact that what I hear without the band doesn't work in a full mix. I will nearly always ask FOH to roll off the lows, and I avoid playing big heavy chords/patches UNLESS they are called for in an exposed section of the song.

For some reason B3 players can be notorious for over-playing, followed by pianists who don't have a good background in playing with a group. Stand your ground (unless he owns the PA).
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Duane Massey
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Brian Elstro

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2011, 06:32:37 pm »

The keyboardist thinks he's the star. Comp the shit out of him and give him a loud monitor or ears. If he hears that he's louder than everyone else, regardless of whether he actually is in the house, he will be happy.

Completely agree with this... they cant hear whats coming out of FOH anyway.... you dont need to please him with the FOH mix.... you  need to please the patrons (aka waterbags.... pundits.... etc). If there's a complication.... kindly (.... softly...lol) remind them that they are a supporting instrument until they get a solo.
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Robin Nahum

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2011, 10:19:38 pm »

Does he understand the concept of "sonic space" within the context of a band?  He needs to know the place of his instrument within the band. 

I think this is the key.

In my experience one of the main things that differentiates seasoned ensemble players from beginners is recognising the need to stay out of each other's way. I learnt this when I played guitar in a jazz workshop.

And we had arrangements well before jazz; the "people with wigs and stuff" worked out a long time ago how to compose so that you could hear a solo instrument over an orchestra - without PA.

I saw a band of fine young players recently - the bass, darrabukka and guitar were on top of each other and it sounded like a muddy mess. When one of them stopped playing, it improved the sound out of sight.

RN
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bruce gering

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2011, 10:59:12 pm »

I run FOH for a growing cover band: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Three Vocals.  It's been going very well, gaining speed for almost two years, and now the Keyboardist is speaking up because I'm not consistently pushing him at equal level with the rest of the band.  If I did, he'd bury the mix.  Right now I've got him rolled off at 125, and bumped at 3k, with just a hint of compression at a high ceiling.  The guitarist (generally bumped in the low mids, and at 1.6k) still gets buried sometimes when he attempts a solo because the keyboardist (for example) lays into full chords with both hands on his Hammond.  I don't want to tell him how to play, so I need to find a way to even out his dynamics without killing them, or further fattening his tone.  So far the best treatment has been to know all the cues, and ride his faders.  Are there any rules to taming Hard Rock Keys?
Matt, Does he have an amp on stage?
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 01:26:21 am »

I run FOH for a growing cover band: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Three Vocals.  It's been going very well, gaining speed for almost two years, and now the Keyboardist is speaking up because I'm not consistently pushing him at equal level with the rest of the band.  If I did, he'd bury the mix.  Right now I've got him rolled off at 125, and bumped at 3k, with just a hint of compression at a high ceiling.  The guitarist (generally bumped in the low mids, and at 1.6k) still gets buried sometimes when he attempts a solo because the keyboardist (for example) lays into full chords with both hands on his Hammond.  I don't want to tell him how to play, so I need to find a way to even out his dynamics without killing them, or further fattening his tone.  So far the best treatment has been to know all the cues, and ride his faders.  Are there any rules to taming Hard Rock Keys?
Matt, Does he have an amp on stage?

Matt said he was hitting a Hammond pretty hard so I would assume he has plenty of sound on stage from the organ, and maybe a Leslie as well. I have to think Bennetts statement combined with a GF and a huge ego may be the sum total of the problem here. Combine that with a little hearing loss and that equals pain in the ass.
 
If the stage mix is fine but the guitar player can't hear his solos it may just be positioning that is the problem. Push this dude as far left as you can facing across the stage. Look at some old Allman pictures and you'll see what I mean. Put his Leslie(s), if he has any, behind him. Have the guitar player buy a clean boost, a good one, and have him angle his amp up a little if possible. I recommend an Exotic AC for the boost, or a Klon, in that order.
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Re: Need advice in trying to please the keyboardist in FOH
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 01:26:21 am »


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