#1
My band plays predominately classic metal. Lately we have been getting into more progressive Pink Floyd type stuff. We have been adding some midi backing tracks for keyboard parts. It's kind of a pain. The rest of us do not play keyboards so having one of us tackle it isn't really an option. So we are thinking about finding a keyboard player. But most of our set requires no keyboards. So my question is what does your keyboard player do on songs that don't have any keyboard? Should we try to add some synth or something? I don't want him to just stand there and look stupid. Anyway what does everyone else do?
#2
Have him turn it down a little and just do the chords? That way he'd be contributing and doing stuff whilst not drastically changing anything.
#3
Quote by pete-c
Have him turn it down a little and just do the chords? That way he'd be contributing and doing stuff whilst not drastically changing anything.


I was thinking that but I have a hard time hearing in my mind what that would sound like.
#4
I don't think it would sound too out of place or anything, musically it'd be 'right' enough so it wouldn't sound bad, neccesarily.

A band that comes to mind is Pearl Jam, turns out they have a keyboard player quite often but he's so quiet it's not obvious that there's keys there, but there's moments where you can hear it and it sounds good enough, adds to the sound (though we're talking different genres here... still, the concept is the same).
Last edited by pete-c at Jul 23, 2010,
#5
Depends on what he can do. Some songs will sound better with keys for added texture, but some won't. He can harmonize on some songs too, just think of him as a more versatile second (or third) guitarist.
#6
yea dude i had the same question but like for instance, ozzys keyboard player i think thats what they do with the chords.
#7
Quote by Morgothik
I was thinking that but I have a hard time hearing in my mind what that would sound like.


so let the keyboardist come up with his own stuff?
#8
how many guitarists do you have? If it's just one (and assuming you can find someone who also plays guitar), he could double on rhythm guitar. If its two, he could double on rhythm guitar, allowing some harmonized lead playing


There is alot that he could do besides that. Auxiliary percussion etc.

Another option, is for one of you to just learn piano
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#9
cowbell.
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#10
Why not just have a sort of "guest keyboardist" whenever you need it? We have a guy who comes in and records it for us when we need it.
#11
Quote by XgustofX
Why not just have a sort of "guest keyboardist" whenever you need it? We have a guy who comes in and records it for us when we need it.


I guess I just picture us spending a lot of time together practicing and what not. So naturally when we play a gig I want that person to be part of the band.
#12
Quote by Morgothik
I guess I just picture us spending a lot of time together practicing and what not. So naturally when we play a gig I want that person to be part of the band.


yeah.. I'd try to keep a keyboardist during the entire set just for the sake of keeping him /her in the band. Me personally.. I wouldn't do a show if I was just playing one or two songs out of the whole set, unless you paid me.
#13
If you're just looking to add some stuff here and there a sampler might be a better option. You're drummer could just trigger the midi samples that way.
#14
Keyboards have the same role as any instrument capable of harmony and melody, except that its a million times more awesome than those instruments because it can easily do both at the same time and has a huge range (all the way from below bass to above treble). Just be creative. If all of your songs already always have a lead melody/riff played by 1 guitar and the chord progression played by the other (in which case I don't see why you need a keyboard, but my band has keyboards, synth, violin, 2 guitars, drums, bass, and a trombone so I guess I can't criticise that choice), then you have to be really creative to have keyboard parts that don't sound unneccessarry, muddy, or silly (silly keyboards are when they play the exact same thing as the guitar, which is good used in like 1 song, but makes you sound stupid when used all the time, not just bad, specifically stupid).
But if you don't play the keyboard, so you can't write for it, why even ask? Let the keyboardist you get write his own parts, and if you don't like them criticise his writing and you're band will learn from trial and error.
#15
Hey OP,

You say you play classic metal? What do you mean by that? NWOBHM? Metal on th everg eof hard rock? Deep PUrple/Led Zeppelin influenced?

I play keyboards myself and could give you a few pointers, but I'd need to know what kind of music you have already written to really provide you with something useful.

Greetz
#16
As a keyboard player, get him/her to use his/her knowledge of their instrument and decide what is best. If they are a keyboard player, they should think like one, and have experience functioning as one. That is the best person to make that decision.

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#17
Well yes. We play Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Priest, Maiden, Sabbath and even but even stuff like Pat Benatar and Sheryl Crow. And we just started into original material.

But let me get more specific. What would the keyboard do in Living After Midnight or Paranoid? (I know it may be hard to describe). Thanks.
#18
Quote by Morgothik
Well yes. We play Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Priest, Maiden, Sabbath and even but even stuff like Pat Benatar and Sheryl Crow. And we just started into original material.

But let me get more specific. What would the keyboard do in Living After Midnight or Paranoid? (I know it may be hard to describe). Thanks.

I think he would sit out during the verse and he would just play a sort of backing chords thing in between each verse, and then double you for the solo, sorta like what Children of Bodom would do
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#19
Paranoid he could mimic vocal melody, do chords for turn arounds. Living after midnight he could do a sort of arpeggio similar to the keys in surrender by cheap trick, just do a chord for LOADED, Loaded! A good keyboardist will know what sounds good.
#20
If all else fails, just put some distortion on the keys and have them double the guitar part. Some sounds work better than others with this, obviously. For example Hammond organ tones sound great with it; just listen to some Deep Purple.
#21
Get a keyboard player who is super charismatic and has good stage presence so he can pump up the crowd while they're not playing. Ideally, they should play some part in each of the song you play, like for emphasis, but for the rest of the time: clap, dance, move around, backing vocals, sing along off mic to get the crowd to join in. This video kind of expresses what I'm thinking of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbCH2kcDB8k
(The Keyboardist looks like Mario)

That song is from their first album that didn't feature keyboards, so essentially he's adding keys to a song that didn't originally have them like you're trying to do. While your sound is most likely heavier, this band still features distorted guitars, heavy bass and drums, so it's not completely different than what you're trying to put keyboards to.

As for the songs you gave as an example, I can easily hear an organ playing behind Paranoid and Living After Midnight, since the guitar in the verses is relatively basic, I could see a skilled piano player hitting their version of Power Chords during the vocals and little licks in between.

Hope that helps.