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uk_lefty

Keytars.. who owns one or has played one?

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Having been born in the early 80's I grew up thinking long hair and keyboards were cool. They were when I was a kid. Now I hate keyboardists and can't grow long hair anyhows, but I am drawn to the keytar. I love 80's music of most types and would love a keytar to add to the visual effect of nothing more for my covers band. 

Question is this... I have read loads about midi controls and all this stuff I just don't understand. Is it not just something I can plug in and play? Does anyone play them live here and how does that go?

Or if you saw someone playing a keytar live would you shake your head in pity and just walk away?

Thank you

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9 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

 

Or if you saw someone playing a keytar live would you shake your head in pity and just walk away?

 

this :D

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37 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

Question is this... I have read loads about midi controls and all this stuff I just don't understand. Is it not just something I can plug in and play? Does anyone play them live here and how does that go?

You can get keytars which are effectively just MIDI keyboard controllers - I.e. they don’t produce their own sound and can only be used to control other gear such as an external synth module/software synth on a computer. Example: https://www.alesis.com/products/view2/vortex-wireless-2

OR you can purchase a full blown standalone keytar synth which produces all of its own sounds and still gives you the option of controlling other things via MIDI. This is obviously the more expensive option but it’s more convenient as you can just plug & play. Example: https://www.roland.com/global/products/ax-edge/

 

The Roland (standalone) is over 3 times the price of the Alesis (controller) so personally I’d go for the Alesis and pair it with a decent inexpensive little synth. You’d still come in significantly cheaper than going the standalone route, although it will require more effort to setup.

Edited by CameronJ
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I used to play in a covers band where the keys player used to be hell bent on getting wireless and walking about with his keytar. It's all a bit cringe really. If you gig calls for it, like a big 80s theatre show where you can really ham it up, then hell yeah, go for it. Otherwise, yeah... cringe city. If you want to do synth bass, the coolest thing to do is get a small setup running into mainstage and get some dirty 80s synth virtual instruments on the go.

If you are still going to go for it (the keytar thing), there's two things to consider... either use onboard sounds, or use it as a MIDI controller to control an external module. If you want to go wireless, then you can use a standard guitar wireless type system... if you want to use it as a wireless MIDI controller, you'll need to get something like this - http://pandamidi.com/ - same guy who makes the Future Impact I believe.

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36 minutes ago, uk_lefty said:

Having been born in the early 80's I grew up thinking long hair and keyboards were cool. They were when I was a kid. Now I hate keyboardists and can't grow long hair anyhows, but I am drawn to the keytar. I love 80's music of most types and would love a keytar to add to the visual effect of nothing more for my covers band. 

Question is this... I have read loads about midi controls and all this stuff I just don't understand. Is it not just something I can plug in and play? Does anyone play them live here and how does that go?

Or if you saw someone playing a keytar live would you shake your head in pity and just walk away?

Thank you

Step. Away. From. The. Keytar. Slowly. :secret:

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Well it looks as though I am the only person here with actual experience of owning a keytar.

Garage-1985.jpg

That's me in 1985 in my synth-rock band (like a synth-pop band but all the lead instruments went through distortion pedals). I'm playing a Yamaha KX5 which was the first affordable MIDI keytar costing about £350 IIRC. It didn't make any sounds of it's own being simply a MIDI controller keyboard. Mine was attached to a Casio CZ5000 keyboard. The first batch of MIDI key tars in the 80s weren't really ready for serious live use. My band had to quite a few modifications to ours in order for them to be reliable enough to gig, most notably replacing the MIDI DIN connection with a locking XLR and finding something more durable for the ribbon controller covering. Of course while we had them apart for these modifications we also took advantage of the fact to paint them some more interesting colours. Mine ended up gold, and my band mate's red and black tiger stripes. 

I think that photo is from the first gig we did using the KX5 so I'm still concentrating on playing it rather than throwing too many rock n roll shapes. Also being the support band at that gig I seem to remember there being limited stage space. On a well-designed keytar the performance controls will add a lot more expressiveness to the sounds - IMO the ribbon controller was far more useful than a pitch wheel in that it let me do "hammer-ons" as well as conventional pitch bending. 

The KX5 got sold a couple of years ago after sitting 25 years unused in its flight case. If I was going to get another one, I'd be looking at Alesis Vortex Wireless. I wouldn't consider getting one with built-in sounds as they are too limiting. Using a controller keyboard means you can choose the sound module you like rather than what is built into the keytar.

Owen from The Birthday Massacre uses a keytar to great effect live and it fits in perfectly with the band's dynamic stage performance.

 

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I used to use a Yamaha DX100 for playing synth bass live - at least with that one you could choose between playing it as a traditional keyboard or putting a strap on it and playing it that way. The DX100 is long gone now but I believe you can get a strap-on kit for the new Yamaha Reface range of keyboards and do the same thing.

Edit:

https://www.gear4music.com/Keyboards-and-Pianos/Yamaha-reface-CS-Synthesizer-With-Yamaha-Bag-and-Strap-Kit/28PK

https://www.gear4music.com/Keyboards-and-Pianos/Yamaha-reface-DX-Synthesizer-With-Yamaha-Bag-and-Strap-Kit/28OL

 

Edited by darkandrew

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4 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Well it looks as though I am the only person here with actual experience of owning a keytar.

Garage-1985.jpg

That's me in 1985 in my synth-rock band

 

That's all you need to read. 1985 people, 1985.

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5 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

That's all you need to read. 1985 people, 1985.

OK here's Owen from The Birthday Massacre. This is only a couple of years ago:

0e81e9befc0eed612ffca2afab632abe.jpg

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5 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

OK here's Owen from The Birthday Massacre. This is only a couple of years ago:

0e81e9befc0eed612ffca2afab632abe.jpg

He looks unwell. More vitamins required :)

...or sunlight.

Edited by Teebs

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15 minutes ago, Teebs said:

He looks unwell. More vitamins required :)

...or sunlight.

I think his health and vitality were left in 1985.

He also looks like a wedding guest that nicked the keytar off the guy in my old covers band.

That's also some pose to play a single D.

Edited by EBS_freak
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I picked one up that was left ready to go in the demo room in Bonners,

within a minute I was thrown out 😃 🤣 😲

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4 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

That's also some pose to play a single D.

Aaah, but he does it with such...style & panache!

Wringing out his very soul to produce that one note on behalf of his adoring audience - the tortured artist at work!

Or something... :)

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3 minutes ago, Teebs said:

Aaah, but he does it with such...style & panache!

Wringing out his very soul to produce that one note on behalf of his adoring audience - the tortured artist at work!

Or something... :)

I'm trying to figure out if his makeup is an injury, or an attempt to colour coordinate with the painted plastic ivories....

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4 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

I'm trying to figure out if his makeup is an injury, or an attempt to colour coordinate with the painted plastic ivories....

Aaaah - accessorising - clever!

The injury was actually caused earlier at the very same gig when our hero attempted to play 'G'.

Edited by Teebs
sbelring

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1 minute ago, tonyquipment said:

???

367F53C3-2311-4126-8AB0-268E9CA30562.jpeg

When given the option, The Niffler would steal the keytar... a selfless act to save us all.

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3 minutes ago, tonyquipment said:

???

367F53C3-2311-4126-8AB0-268E9CA30562.jpeg

I like Venn diagrams.

And ducks. :)

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Wouldn't a keytar have the significant advantage of keeping the keys player's left hand away from the bass notes, compared to a regular keyboard?

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6 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

And not one of them is plugged in.

You notice this ^^^, and not the fact that none of them have fingers!

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