Author Topic: Live Piano Sounds in the Reggae Scene ca 1970s  (Read 509 times)

Offline armstrongsound

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Live Piano Sounds in the Reggae Scene ca 1970s
« on: April 09, 2018, 12:00:34 PM »
Maybe this is a long shot, but you guys are some of the smartest SOBs on the net so here goes...

So I'm a reggae guy first, and have been gigging out with my reggae band for the better part of the last year. I've been wondering:

One of the foundational sounds of reggae music is obviously the percussive "skank".
This is normally achieved with the electric guitar, and then backed with an electric organ 'bubble' and a percussive piano "skank" on top. Now I'm not old enough to remember the 70s (lol), but in the 70s when you needed to gig with an authentic piano sound you had a few options, but most of the time it came down to three (as far as I understand it):

1. Rhodes or Wurly
2. CP70
3. Any of the "electronic" pianos (Crumar Roady, Yamaha CP 30, Roland EP10, etc)
OR
4. shlep a whole piano on to the stage

I'm hoping someone is a little more familiar with the live reggae scene of the 70s, because I'm wondering what did the Reggae guys play on stage?

I know for a fact that Earl "Wya" Lindo of the Wailers preferred a D6 sitting on top of his B3. I also know that the Wailers generally toured with a second keyboard player who would play a Rhodes with a Prophet sitting on top.
With this in mind, I'm led to believe that they didn't use an instrument that authentically captures that acoustic piano timbre. I have to wonder, did they just put the Rhodes in that role?

My current setup is a Roland VR-09 (for my tonewheel and clav sounds) that lives on top of a Kustom 88 electronic piano (incredibly built "electronic" piano that has pretty convincing acoustic piano sounds once in the mix.) I looooooove the Kustom for the piano sounds but the thing weighs a ton.

I also have a Rhodes, but throwing the Rhodes skanks on top of the guitar skanks don't quite do it for me. Missing that "clank" from an acoustic piano. But, I wonder, is that actually how they did it?

There are a few layers to this question here, ultimately though I guess I'm also asking for opinions. Should I start using the Rhodes the way the guys in the 70s were doing it? (Believe it or not the Rhodes is quite a bit lighter than the Kustom 88)

Call me a snob, but I am trying to stay away from plastic keyboards from the modern era. I caved in and got the VR-09 for my organ sounds (I was literally considering shlepping around my T series for a little bit...) so I know the obvious answer is to get a digital piano for the piano sounds, but there isn't exactly a whole lot of mojo involved in that, now is there?  ;)


p.s the VR-09 is absolutely awesome.

p.p.s sorry if this isn't in the right thread!
1970 Fender Rhodes Mk I Seventy-Three Suitcase (no suitcase amp)
1968 Fender Vibrolux (aa864 circuit)
1947 Hammond CV
1947 Hammond DR-20
1970s Leslie 760
1969 Hammond T202
1956 Hammond S6
1982 Kustom 88
90s Young Chang Upright
Hohner Melodica

Offline Jenzz

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Re: Live Piano Sounds in the Reggae Scene ca 1970s
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 05:53:43 AM »
Hi .-)

This is from '83, but you can see a typical Reggae keyboard setup from the past here:

Rhodes + Organ

Cp-70 + Clavinet + Prophet on top

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_n0ODIBxS4


Regarding Wya, i think he often uses an auto-wah on the clav (played with its damper bar down!) to get more 'clank':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkndVzfOeRc


I have a tape cassette of 'In crowd' where the keyboards are organ, wurly and Solina string, so i think they use what fits in their style and what was available...

In the 'younger' days, i often saw Reggae keyborders using the piano sound of the Korg M1.


regrads, Jens :-)




« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 12:44:50 AM by Jenzz »

Offline armstrongsound

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Re: Live Piano Sounds in the Reggae Scene ca 1970s
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 09:38:19 AM »
Jens,
Awesome. Third World was definitely one of the best acts to come out of the Reggae scene. That is one hell of a setup he's playing on!

Can you imagine how much it would cost these days to rock that exact setup?! Not to mention the shlep factor.

The Korg M1 is interesting. This is the sort of thing I'm looking for. Trying to gauge what people considered a "practical" setup vs. a "dream setup" like the Third World guy's. 
1970 Fender Rhodes Mk I Seventy-Three Suitcase (no suitcase amp)
1968 Fender Vibrolux (aa864 circuit)
1947 Hammond CV
1947 Hammond DR-20
1970s Leslie 760
1969 Hammond T202
1956 Hammond S6
1982 Kustom 88
90s Young Chang Upright
Hohner Melodica