Today on CatSynth we feature the one and only Lil Bub! She is playing on a vintage electric piano (Rhodes or Wurlitzer). Regular readers know these classic instruments are among our favorites, and often used in our own 1970s funk/jazz/fusion-inspired music.
We resume of coverage of the 2018 NAMM Show after a few days break – and a nasty bout of “NAMMthrax” – with the latest spin on an old favorite: the Nord Electro 6.
Longtime readers know that I have been a user of Nord keyboards since I got my trusty Nord Stage EX back in 2010. It has served me well, but have sometimes been envious of the features in subsequent generations, notably the expandable Piano Library and Sample Library (the original Stage does not support the sample library at all). With the Electro 6, the separation from the Stage line is much more blurred, and it calls into question the need for a Stage at all for those of us who fell in love with Nord keyboards for their electric pianos. The Electro 6 supports up to 3 layers and splits (something previously limited to the Stage). The electric piano (and acoustic piano) section is enhanced with new layering features and its own filter section that allows one to dial in different tones within a particular model. And the piano library is expandable with 1GB of memory. The organ section uses the C2D engine, and a rock organ is quite handy in a variety of situations. The sample library allows for classic Mellotron sounds as well as a variety of others. The one section from the Stage that is missing is the independent A1 synth (similar to the Lead). Personally, it is the section I use the least, so I wouldn’t miss it if I moved over to the Electro. Plus, this model would be a little bit easier to schlep back and forth to gigs.
The Electro 6 comes in three models: 61-key and 73-key semi-weighted with mechanical organ drawbars; and the “HP” version with 73 fully weighted keys and LED drawbars. As a pianist, the latter would be my preference.
If you are already fortunate enough to have an Electro 4 or 5, the 6 probably won’t be a big enough change to warrant an upgrade, especially at the high prices these instruments command. But if one has been waiting eight years, it might be the time…
From Andor Polgar on YouTube, via matrixsynth. Rhodes, Make Noise Morphagene and cat, what is not to love?
Things used in the video: vegan sausage for taming the cat (that’s her favorite), Make Noise Morphagene eurorack module, Rhodes Mark I electric piano, Expert Sleepers Disting mk4 for the reverb effect.
It may be time to experiment again here at HQ with the Nord and some Make Noise modules…
Via matrixsynth. This one is a true blast from the past, posted there only a week after CatSynth was founded 🙂
This one in via Michael. “Attached photo: Rico the cat playing a solo lead line while accompanying self on Rhodes. He hasn’t yet got the hang of the (unfinished) modular, but my other cat has opposable thumbs and is a fast learner. Putney and Minimoog on loan from Reed.”
“Video” the Cat takes a stroll on a Wurlitzer 200e electric piano. Submitted by The Wiggly Tendrils via our facebook page.
One may argue that a Wurlitzer electric piano isn’t a “synthesizer” per se. But electromechanical pianos (Wurlitzer and Rhodes) are among my favorite instruments and feline pictures with them are always welcome here!
Me too. I bought this one in Oshkosh Wisconsin years ago at the music store that time forgot. The guy was renting them out to piano students who didn’t have pianos at home. (their original purpose) I eventually talked him into selling me one. I love it. I also briefly had a Yamaha CP-70 but had to sell it when I moved from Philly to Berkeley.
I have to admit I was a bit dejected at first when I started my systematic wandering of NAMM Hall A. A lot of solid recording and computer gear, but one can only feign so much interest in one soft synth and digital mixer or latest incarnation of a popular digital workstation. My mood lightened when I came to the Waldorf Zarnenbourg.
Yes, it is just another digital modeling synth, albeit in a pretty package reminiscent of a Rhodes suitcase piano. But it was very playable, and immediately left behind the initial overstimulation and monotony by firing up the Wurlitzer electric-piano model and playing jazz/blues/funk riffs for a few minutes. In some ways it was even more convincing than my workhorse Nord Stage (although that remains an excellent electric-piano model, too). The electric-pianos were physical modeling synths, while the acoustic piano was sample-based. The effect sections are also more versatile, in particular the auto-wah. The Blofeld was connected to the Zarenbourg’s audio input so the instruments were mixed together in the piano’s built-in speakers for a fun combination of classic 70s riffing and esoteric electronic sounds. The Blofeld can get a bit intense at times, and it seems like one of the booth agents was having a little fun with the next unsuspecting soul who tried turning it on.