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Keyboards with no keyboard player

sarge

Experienced
Playing in a U2 cover band and we have managed to get by during live shows with the singer playing some keys and me actually using the Axe FX synth block and tap dancing through scenes at times for other keyboard parts.

Don't have any desire to play to backing tracks but would not be opposed to a solution where the press of a footswitch could play a short phrase.

Was wondering if any of you here have faced a similar situation and how you addressed it.
 

hippietim

Fractal Fanatic
The suggestion from @unix-guy is really good. I recorded this on my iPad a few years ago when I first tried out MIDI Guitar 2:


If you want realistic pianos and other acoustic instruments, some sort of pitch to MIDI solution is required. Honestly, I think MIDI Guitar 2 is the best tracking of any of them and it doesn't require any special pickup. There are things you can't do with MIDI Guitar 2 because it does not use a divided pickup but for what you're talking about doing it shouldn't be an issue. The Roland GR-33 or GR-55 are pretty good options if you're ok with the GK pickup. The Fishman Triple Play is wireless and tracks well - it's less bulky than the Roland GK wart but the Triple Play software really kind of blows.

If you just care about getting synth type tones, the Boss SY stuff is pretty good. The SY-300 can do quite a bit if you take the time with it. If you're willing to put a GK pickup on your guitar, then the Boss SY-1000 is really a great piece of gear. You can do some excellent synth stuff, alternate tunings, etc. Plus, it has some pretty nice instrument simulations - acoustic, Strat, Tele, LP, hollowbody, etc. I was using my SY-1000 and FM3 together and it was a fantastic combination. Then we decided to get a keyboard player after all.
 

sarge

Experienced
The GK3+Gr-55 has intrigued me since I found you can non destructively mount the pickup to a Les Paul with the bracket they provide. That and midiguitar 2 both solve situations where I want to switch from guitar to keys. I looked up Ableton Live and that seems like it would work for solutions where I want keyboard going on behind the guitar parts. Till now I have been resistant to the idea of using a pc and or mac as part of a live show. If there is a dedicated hardware solution that I could control via midi footswitch I would likely prefer that route, but maybe i just need to give it a try.
 

bradlake

Axe-Master
MIDI Guitar 2 is amazing for what it can do, and as Macs gets faster, it responds in kind...MG2 on an M1 Mini has no perceptible lag....it also serves as a quite effective standalone VST host...as well in your DAW, Integrates seamlessly with axefx III, the whole thing can be done via USB if you wish....I've had less success using it with iPad, but maybe I just haven't tried enough.
 

sarge

Experienced
Came across this and downloaded it.


For background keys this is exactly what I was looking for.

Was able to run it on my Mac and will try it out at practice next, but if it works I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and pick up an ipad. Would rather drag that out then my mac book. Plus I could then run midi guitar 2 on it as well.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Came across this and downloaded it.


For background keys this is exactly what I was looking for.

Was able to run it on my Mac and will try it out at practice next, but if it works I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and pick up an ipad. Would rather drag that out then my mac book. Plus I could then run midi guitar 2 on it as well.
That looks pretty cool. I will check that out...
 

slinky005

Power User
That looks pretty cool. I will check that out...
Check out Midi Guitar 2 by Jam Origin.

You can run it on a tablet or iPhone or laptop and connect it in to a loop on the Axe Fx.
Just checked out the Jam Origin site.
Holyshit. I've been out of the midi guitar game for many years.
I am totally impressed with what I see in the video.
What kind of processor would I need to track like I see in the video?
I see the app is available for the iPad, can't image enough processing power there for good tracking.
My laptop is an i5 PC.
My area of use would be using the laptop at gigs.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Just checked out the Jam Origin site.
Holyshit. I've been out of the midi guitar game for many years.
I am totally impressed with what I see in the video.
What kind of processor would I need to track like I see in the video?
I see the app is available for the iPad, can't image enough processing power there for good tracking.
My laptop is an i5 PC.
My area of use would be using the laptop at gigs.
When I use it it's been with my iPad. I've had no issues... I haven't tried gigging it yet, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

I have a few soft synth apps and also there are usable sounds included.
 

slinky005

Power User
When I use it it's been with my iPad. I've had no issues... I haven't tried gigging it yet, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

I have a few soft synth apps and also there are usable sounds included.
Tried the demo. Definitely promising. Used the supplied sounds, Had varying degrees of tracking success on my 6 core i7 Mac mini
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Tried the demo. Definitely promising. Used the supplied sounds, Had varying degrees of tracking success on my 6 core i7 Mac mini
There is a setting in there that helps with "noise" and makes things a bit cleaner. I forget what it's called, but I turn it up a bit.

Tracking is as good or better than other my Roland GR30 and other guitar midi I have tried.

The biggest issue with most of this type of stuff is adjusting your technique to work with it.

I think Midi Guitar 2 works really well with legato and hammer/pull playing which can be challenging.

Also, FYI, many of the demo sounds have a 50/50 guitar/synth mix so depending on how you're using it you may want to adjust that.
 

slinky005

Power User
There is a setting in there that helps with "noise" and makes things a bit cleaner. I forget what it's called, but I turn it up a bit.

Tracking is as good or better than other my Roland GR30 and other guitar midi I have tried.

The biggest issue with most of this type of stuff is adjusting your technique to work with it.

I think Midi Guitar 2 works really well with legato and hammer/pull playing which can be challenging.

Also, FYI, many of the demo sounds have a 50/50 guitar/synth mix so depending on how you're using it you may want to adjust that.
Ya. Played around with it quite a bit. Technology marches on. Really cool.
 

WITELITE

Experienced
There is a setting in there that helps with "noise" and makes things a bit cleaner. I forget what it's called, but I turn it up a bit.

Tracking is as good or better than other my Roland GR30 and other guitar midi I have tried.

The biggest issue with most of this type of stuff is adjusting your technique to work with it.

I think Midi Guitar 2 works really well with legato and hammer/pull playing which can be challenging.

Also, FYI, many of the demo sounds have a 50/50 guitar/synth mix so depending on how you're using it you may want to adjust that.
@unix-guy I thought you might already have experimented with this. With all the good comments about MG2 I thought I'd try using it along with the FM3 for guitar sounds and USB 3/4 into output 2 for the MG sounds. However , I noticed the MG2 latency through the FM3 is much greater than other sound cards. I may just go a software only set up for MG2 (using something like TH-U) but any idea why the USB latency would be so much higher?

Thanks

MM
 

Piing

Fractal Fanatic
Playing in a U2 cover band and we have managed to get by during live shows with the singer playing some keys and me actually using the Axe FX synth block and tap dancing through scenes at times for other keyboard parts.

Don't have any desire to play to backing tracks but would not be opposed to a solution where the press of a footswitch could play a short phrase.

Was wondering if any of you here have faced a similar situation and how you addressed it.

A keyboard MIDI Bass connected to any sound module, sequencer, etc (both laptop or a hardware module)

e.g.:
Amazon product
71w3j0K+ObL._AC_SL1500_.jpg


https://www.thomann.de/gb/fatar_mp113.htm
1631837125532.png

I've got a Korg MPK-130 under my desk, and I have a lot of fun with it. I trigger chord progressions using Cthulhu
Room01.jpg

Depending on the foot controller you use for your Axe-FX, you could also use it to trigger midi notes
 
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unix-guy

Legend!
@unix-guy I thought you might already have experimented with this. With all the good comments about MG2 I thought I'd try using it along with the FM3 for guitar sounds and USB 3/4 into output 2 for the MG sounds. However , I noticed the MG2 latency through the FM3 is much greater than other sound cards. I may just go a software only set up for MG2 (using something like TH-U) but any idea why the USB latency would be so much higher?

Thanks

MM
With my Axe Fx III I'm using analog I/O with an iPad dock where MG2 is running.
 

USMC_Trev

Fractal Fanatic
Just remember when you're playing MIDI guitar to play what a keyboard player would play. Don't play your guitar like a guitar. Keyboard licks and chords are different. For example, when a keyboard player plays a chord, they play all the notes of that chord at pretty much the same time. So, avoid strumming chords. If you sit and think about that you might find yourself trying out more two hand multi-finger tapping techniques to play more convincing keys.

GruvGear Fretwraps string dampers are essential kit.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Just remember when you're playing MIDI guitar to play what a keyboard player would play. Don't play your guitar like a guitar. Keyboard licks and chords are different. For example, when a keyboard player plays a chord, they play all the notes of that chord at pretty much the same time. So, avoid strumming chords. If you sit and think about that you might find yourself trying out more two hand multi-finger tapping techniques to play more convincing keys.

GruvGear Fretwraps string dampers are essential kit.
That's IF you want to sound like a keyboardist ;)

Sometimes I do try to play like the instrument I'm emulating, sometimes I don't.

For example, playing a flute sound in the lower registers of a guitar, or doing bends or chords with a flugelhorn sound. Or bending a piano!
 

USMC_Trev

Fractal Fanatic
That's IF you want to sound like a keyboardist ;)

Sometimes I do try to play like the instrument I'm emulating, sometimes I don't.

For example, playing a flute sound in the lower registers of a guitar, or doing bends or chords with a flugelhorn sound. Or bending a piano!
Concur. If you wanna get weird, go hard. All I'm trying to say is if your task is to do the keyboards on the guitar you have to fight your muscle memory a bit.
 
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