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Please be gentle! Complete newbie needs advice! Dynamic Microphones
Old 30th December 2010
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween View Post
And you should have mentioned that you were a "chick" in your original post since you would probably get a lot of help from all the "dudes" on here.
Sorry. If I'd known this, I would have entitled my first post "Have vagina. Need help". :-0

Well, thanks for all the advice, everybody.

I'm a bit bewildered, though, as there's so much conflicting advice - from buying a Casio Privia to a Roland JunoG; from learning the Nashville Numbers system to just letting quantiziation fix my mistakes etc.

Buying a cheap digital piano does seem like a good idea for a complete beginner, so I can learn to play reasonably well, but it's not the most exciting option. Would I really enjoy just learning how to play without being able to mess around more with my equipment and have fun? The JunoG sounds way more interesting for someone who's mainly interested in using an instrument to complement her voice.

Uncle Duncan, I lived in Austin for six years, so I know who Marcia Ball is, and, good though she may be, that's not the kind of vibe I'm going for. And it would take me several lifetimes of practising to be as good a player as her!

Also, I have taken music lessons in the past (guitar and flute) and I was far from being a natural. I have a very intuitive grasp of music when it comes to singing (I can improvise like a mofo - even if I do say so myself) but that all flies out the window as soon as I start to get bogged down with learning notes and theory for an instrument (is this normal for singers?). I think I'm going to buy something like the JunoG, learn some keyboarding basics and just start writing music even if I'll never be that good of a musician.

Thanks for all the advice, once again.
Old 30th December 2010
Lives for gear
Mr.HOLMES's Avatar
Originally Posted by dirtyweebesom View Post
Like I said in the title, please be gentle...

I am a singer and, in the past, I've always relied on the musicians I've worked with to write the music for our projects (although I always wrote the melody) since I can't play an instrument myself (except guitar, which I hate playing). I'm getting tired of not having enough artistic control, and I'd like to start to learn how to play keyboard well enough to record electronic music myself.

I'm nowhere near in the league of any of the people on here (I'll be starting with, um Garageband) but I haven't got a clue where to start really.

The first thing I need to do is learn how to play keyboard reasonably well. If my ancient Mac hadn't stopped working a few months ago, I'd buy a software synth, but this is obviously no good without a computer (and is it even possible to learn how to play keyboard on a software synth?).

I know that I could just buy some crappy used keyboard but, ideally, I'd like to buy a hardware synth (with as many keys as possible - preferably weighted) that I can then use with my future new Mac. I'm pretty broke, so $500 would be about my limit.

Sorry if this is the wrong site to post on, but I didn't know where else to post.

Thanks, in advance, for any advice.
I say as trained guitar player ...

You do not have to become the best keyboard player in the world to write songs.

Arranging music is something different and there learning never stops.
Every day I arrange a song I trap into something that could been better so I try to make it better and jump off the carrousel in the right moment.

So learning basic keyboards and basic music theory as well as basic rhythms and ear training is doable.
If you have great songs one day -- I wait myself for this day --heh
I would collaborate with a talent in arranging the music.

This gives you the freedom that you can write new stuff in the time where he is arranging you past songs.

In first you always need a song that works with keyboard or guitar etc. and voice.

If you have a working song with an harmony instrument you have 80% of the rent.

All the best in 2011....thumbsup
Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
Cody's Avatar

I still think the Juno is great. You don't need a laptop to use it, but you can use it with a laptop. Either way, I'm glad you got a wide array of advice, surely it opened up some channels of thought you didn't have before.
Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
bash's Avatar

^ Yea, after checking out the JunoG it looks like a pretty nifty beginner songwriter rig.
Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
T'Mershi Duween's Avatar

Originally Posted by dirtyweebesom View Post
Sorry. If I'd known this, I would have entitled my first post "Have vagina. Need help". :-0

With that kind of attitude and sense of humor, you should go a long way in this business... heh

Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
Sky's Avatar

Originally Posted by dirtyweebesom View Post
I'm a bit bewildered, though, as there's so much conflicting advice - from buying a Casio Privia to a Roland JunoG; from learning the Nashville Numbers system to just letting quantiziation fix my mistakes etc.
I suppose either route can be valid depending on what musical styles you're working in. As mainly a singer / songwriter I prefer weighted 88 key pianos, but for dance music I'm working more in the DAW and with alternate controllers. Likewise, Nashville Numbers is arguably more for balladeers and quantization more for electronic artists. But there are no hard and fast rules in this regard.

It may be helpful for you to read interviews and technique articles with artists you like, to find out what gear they use, how they like to work, etc.

Also, if you're an iPhone / iPad user, there's a nice inexpensive app (currently free) called AppliChord Mini that lets one quickly hear different chord combinations with a couple of presses.

Best wishes for your creative pursuits.

Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
andreaeffe's Avatar
To the OP:

for a franky quite startling price/performance/features ratio (seen it in action brought in the studio by a guy and my reaction went from "Hmmm..toy?" to "Oh wow!") and for the kind of piano-like keyboard U might seem to prefer, plus the USB to computer interfaceability, plus onboard speakers, plus arpeggiator (much used in electronic music, right?), plus a really full complement of useable piano/acoustic/synth/drum sounds, I'd say get a Yamaha NP-V80 Piaggero:
Piaggero NP-V80 - Piaggero - Yamaha - United States
(check out the pdf manual at the "support" tab on the page to get a better idea of it)

It will even leave U with some spare cash from the budget U mention, and perhaps U can get a used little standalone Zoom digital recorder/workstation box, too... and start pretty much all sorted out on that road to creative freedom.

Whatever U do - don't forget to listen, ears on, and try anything U'd buy, hands on - makes more sense than the best of advice, because U're going to be using it - so only U know best if it feels right.

Happy shopping & best of luck,

Old 31st December 2010
Gear Addict
As someone who is a bit of a keyboard nut, I think you basically are going to have a problem getting a really good piece of gear and one that has 88 weighted keys as well for 500 dollars. I always found the weighted keys much more inspiring to play on, but that's because I come from a piano background. If you really want to be a synth-type player, then I would go for the Juno. It has the kind of sounds that you could still be using even if you were a big pop star.
Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
uncle duncan's Avatar

Originally Posted by dirtyweebesom View Post
...I'm a bit bewildered, though, as there's so much conflicting advice - from buying a Casio Privia to a Roland JunoG; from learning the Nashville Numbers system to just letting quantiziation fix my mistakes etc. ...
I'm coming from the perspective of a songwriter/producer. You mentioned wanting to be able to have more input when it comes to getting your ideas across to the band. Understanding the basics of theory and song structure would help you in this endeavor. Conversely, not knowing theory and song structure can have the opposite affect - making it impossible for you to communicate with the players beyond the typical "that doesn't sound right. Can't you do something different there?"

I guess the choice is yours - learn to noodle on a synth and contribute that way, or learn how music is put together and contribute that way.

If you are contributing to the songwriting in the band, check out this website. It features videos from songwriting seminars - very informative and inspiring.

Songwork | SongWork

Steve Seskin's contributions are especially eye-opening. While he's had some Nashville success, he references music by the Beatles in his teaching sessions. I only wish I'd gained his knowledge years ago. There are also a couple of women with videos on the site. Bonnie Hayes, who wrote "Love Letter" for Bonnie Raitt is there, and there's another gal I'm unfamiliar with. Let me put it this way: If learning the numbers system takes you to the top of the mountain, absorbing Steve Seskin's pearls of wisdom puts you in the stratosphere.

Re: Marcia Ball - the best thing about her is her stage presence. I saw her with her band here in Tucson a couple of years ago. After three songs (that all sounded the same) I left. (Yeah, I'm a song-snob - as if that's not already obvious. )
Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
hereticskeptic's Avatar
Originally Posted by therealbigd View Post
Got a touchy one here.
Yeah, I actually found your post to be helpful. I found articles and forum threads on all the gear I recently purchased via that very process. It is often much more helpful than starting a new thread, for sure.

Sometimes, people can be assholes when you ask for assistance in forums, but sometimes, the self-proclaimed newbie can be the actual asshole.

To the OP, I'd seriously, without any negative thought towards you, suggest that you do google that very topic. You'll find tons of useful info, in forums just like this one, including this one. Hope it all works out for you. Peace.
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