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BK9 Newbie questions
I have purchased my first arranger keyboard for solo and duo party gigs and, after a short tour with a buggy Ketron SD-40, purchased a BK-9. I plan to take advantage of the chord looper feature heavily to blow saxophone/flute/acoustic guitar over the top of simple tunes.
I am currently trying my hand at writing styles in the Rhythm Composer. I have a question for some of you that have been doing this far longer than me:
It's taking me a very long time to jump through the menus to accomplish tasks in the Rhythm Composer, like deleting all of one ACC instrument, copying drum tracks, etc. Would the iPad app speed this process up for me or does that have nothing to do with the rhythm composer? Also, is there another way to create these styles quicker than using the onboard program?
Thanks much. I look forward to contributing to your community as time goes on and sharing some homemade styles.
Gruß aus Deutschland,
There's a quick way to create styles out of other styles. If you like one style's drums, another's bassline, another's guitars, etc., you can copy the whole Part from one Style to another. The manual steps you through it...
BTW, don't forget you can save Chord Loops after you make them. Sadly, there's no automatic Link to a Performance (God, I wish Roland would have added that!) but you can still fairly quickly load them after you call up a Performance (if you use this a lot, you can navigate to the My Chord Loops folder, and then every time you press the USB MEMORY button, that folder will open up first until you go somewhere else).
Have you exhausted all the legacy Roland styles floating around on the web, and the many sites that host them? Unless you are looking for note for note copies of contemporary songs or rote versions of classic rock and pop tunes (in which case, using SMF's with Markers allows you to sound authentic without giving up being able to restructure it on the fly) you ought to find something at least close... And using a style a bit different to the original often helps you stamp your own signature on a familiar old tune.
I totally missed the part about saving Chord Loops. That's awesome! That will make throwing down a horn solo quite a few steps easier, thanks.. Totally bone-headed on Roland's part not to allow them to link to a performance, however. Wow!
Certainly not looking for note-by-note copies, however getting into the general ballpark would be nice. Sure takes awhile with the Rhythm Composer to mute out unwanted parts, etc. :/
Today I tooled around a bit with the organ on this puppy. WOW. Guess I won't be needing to bring my Hammond clone to the gigs.
Thanks for the reply Diki! I've been reading your posts for a long time and appreciate the help.
I spent about 4-5 hours total messing with a BK-9 in a local store. I was seriously considering the purchase. My conclusion is that Rhythm Composer had some significant bugs to the workflow. One of the worst bugs had to do with the total note duration (for example the number of measures times the number of ticks.) All of the values had to be input with the rotary selector- they should have programmed a pop-up numeric keypad.
I didn't have the latest firmware with me to update the keyboard on the store display. So I never found out whether those bugs were resolved. Frankly I doubt it.
The days of a "version 3" are over. It seems like Roland just dropped support for the BK's and moved right on to the E-A7.
Bottom line I kept my E-50 just to facilitate style creation, and a BK-7m connected to my Tyros to incorporate some of the Roland styles and sounds. I like to create / tweak my own styles, and I wasn't about to pay $2400 for something that seemed half-baked. Sad, because the chord recognition was spot-on, sound quality was great, and I can really see the benefit of the chord sequencer. Sad.
You also do have SMF import (and several programs that could do that too), so honestly, if attempting to do step entry of Parts, I'd do that in a DAW/Sequencer and then import the SMF.
You also have assembly from other Roland styles. If the E50 allowed you to do step sequencing how you wanted, there should be no issues using the E50 created style to be assembled in the BK-9.
For me, at least, I'm a bit of a two handed freak! Grew up playing live keyboards, fully using both hands for multiple parts, and I have never got comfortable tying up my LH doing mere rote repetition of chords. No matter what little niggles the BK-9 might have, if I play in style mode, I must have a Chord Sequencer. Get used to using it, it is close to impossible to go back to not having one...
One thing Roland's don't do (Yamaha do, not so sure about Korg) is traditional 'rootless' chord voicings. So you will have to make some adjustments in your chord shapes depending on whether you need bass inversion recognition or not. Me, I've never been a fan of rootless recognition, simply because many of them could be several different chords, depending on the bass, and there is no bass player to know what it's supposed to be! You'll just have to retrain yourself to use voicings that include the root, whether inversions or root at the bottom. It shouldn't take that long...
The BK series though, has a 'Pianist2' recognition mode for normal piano playing that is head and shoulders above the other brands. While standard '3 notes played before a new chord is recognized' Pianist Mode has been around forever on all brands, the BK's added the wrinkle of having 'And 5 notes played before a new chord is recognized if the sustain pedal is down' Pianist2 mode, which allows FAR better normal pianistic playing without freaking out the chord recognition.
I use this a LOT, even for normal LH chord playing, simply because it allows me freedom to play the chord with 3-5 notes and then still do other lines and voicings on the LH sound by sticking to playing 2 notes or less. And in normal piano playing, the combination of Pianist2 and the Dynamic Arranger and Bass Inv ON gives you an almost religious experience of having the impression the rhythm section is actually listening to you!
You have caught on to one of the best ways to practice chord recognition and quickly hear when and how you are messing up, by having no sound played on the keyboard. A few weeks of this, you'll be getting your chord shapes, voicings and timing pretty much down. But be prepared at first for a bit of adjustment. Like I said... It is its own thing, nothing like you'd play normally in a band (or even solo).
I've done my share of playing LH bass for bands, but on the whole I've never been much of a fan of putting the chord recognition zone to the UPR Parts and playing LH bass because of my bad habit of doing a lot of passing notes etc. in the RH, which can freak out the chord recognition if you are not careful. The sole exception to this is reggae, which tends to have complex melodic basslines but pretty static chord playing in the rhythm section. I'll sometimes move recognition to the right side for this.
But one thing you learn quickly with arranger playing is, there are no rules! Whatever actually works for YOU is what is always best...
Make the Chord Sequencer your friend! Make it second nature to exploit it. The minute you can turn the chord recognition over to the CS, you regain all the freedom you used to have playing live keyboards.
I have a habit of playing the head the first time quite simply (which helps if you are singing), but often using alternative inversions, but with Bass Inv OFF (so they are normal sounding while I play) and recording the Chord Loop. Then, on subsequent verses if I feel like changing things up, I can leave the loop playing but turn BASS INV ON, and get an alternative bass-line without doing anything different!
You can also do things like record the verse and chorus, turn it off for the bridge, then turn it back on again for solos over just the verse by hitting PLAY twice (which stops the loop and restarts it at the beginning) in the last bar of the verse. You can load an existing, pre-recorded loop and do the majority of the song on it, then hit REC and play a vamp, and then loop that for the song's ending.
The CS is also handy when trying to do a sequence of a style by recording the entire song using it while slowed down as much as you can get away with, so that any timing errors are minimized, then record the sequence while the CS plays (still slowly) which will give you two hands to make sure button presses for Variations, Fills and Intro/Endings are timed perfectly. This will save you a ton of time editing! Then you can speed the sequence back up to full speed in the MakeupTools afterwards and then work on your overdubs.
Make the CS your friend!
Question for you: I'm going to be taking the BK-9 out to some gigs as the only keyboard, but there will be some gigs where I will be placing it on top of an acoustic piano. I think there is a way to do this, but is there a way to have different setups for different type of gigs, other than creating an entire duplicate/re-worked performance folder? Do you do anything similar? Cheerio!
I am not sure I understand your question fully... You are saying you need different setups for when you use the acoustic piano and when you don't, but you don't want to use different Performances?
You CAN copy an entire Performance List in one go to a new List (manual spells it out) and then there's a new List that you can alter as to how you'd use it. At least this way, most of the work is already done and you just have to make the minor adjustments (muting Piano Parts, alternative lead sounds etc.) you need for that setup. But a 'one size fits all' adjustment for the piano show? I'm not really sure what you want to do...