Since the first time I played piano in church at the age of 20 something, I wanted to play my arranger keyboard. Several chances came, and all the times, except one the worship team said no.

Funny, when you can add a drummer and sax player as well and many other instruments, to plain guitar or just an organist. Being told that it was not a real instrument, but only a 'home keyboard'.

These days the arranger keyboard can sample and sequence 16 tracks at a time. Not to mention they can edit all sounds just like a synth keyboard.

But, at the end of the day it is still usable and practical in worship; whether in a home meeting or full church assembly.

What do you think..............?

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Hi Allan - I've never heard of an arranger keyboard before, but I have used a guitar synth (Roland GR33) to add sax, flute, strings and synth sounds to worship. This doesn't sound any different really, and in fact ANY kind of electronic keyboard isn't a 'real instrument'.

Lol, That's like saying anything electrical isn't a real instrument, including a guitar using the GR33. In one way I agree; after learning classical piano for seven years, a keyboard is an artificial interloper.

I like the GR33, but you need to be cleaver in the usage of it ( same as a secondary )keyboard.

Anyway, an arranger keyboard would be something like a Yamaha Tyros 4 and a Korg PA3x. These KB run the same sound engines as their Synth counter part. I.E. Yamaha Motif XF and the new Korg Kronos, and these ones cost about the same or similar to the arranger KB's.

That's not to say they are the only ones, there are many others that are considered just as good or better for their roles.

One of the reasons I brought this topic up is, even though I am classically train, not every one is, nor wants to play a Digital Keyboard or piano. When you play organ the feel is very different - like the differences between an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar - they are both guitars though.

Many players feel unprofessional when they say they have an arranger keyboard to play; and that's rubbish, when you base it on the instrument and not the player.

With a Synth work station , it is designed to create new music, and it can be played live( and is) using it's arpeggiators - these are like auto loops, 4 to 8 beats long and they repeat over and over.

Where the Arranger keyboards have what is called styles, auto fills etc - these are automated phrases with other instruments in their sound, but they are styled to the rhythum you need. They are good for one man band ( or small band) uses. Still you can play the KB's just as well as the Synth's but these boards usually don't have Hammered Keys like a piano that's all.

Thanks Allan - so these arranger keyboards are a bit like Garage Band's magic band, except that you add fills etc live. Gotcha.

Re the 'real instrument' thing, I'd guess this is a logical extension of the synth. Half the art of playing those other instruments is making them sound like they were being played by someone actually using the 'real thing', and this is a tool to help with that.

As for a 'real instrument', for me I'd say that if the human interaction with the instrument goes directly to making the sound then it's real, and if it requires synthesis then it's artificial. That may also be why modelling amps etc don't sound 'right' to me ;-) Not there's anything wrong with a synth - the clue is, of course, in the name, and it's deliberately recognising that it's not a 'real' instrument since it's creating a synthetic sound. No less skill in playing one well and no less valid.

Spot on in all points I think; it IS in the application of the tool you use not in the tool itself. Although, I would agree that I get a lot of joy out of my mandolin at times.

Oh Toni, the latest top of the line synths don't do much synthetic sound these days as the sounds are now 'sample' off the original. Like guitars, organs, harps and pianos etc real sound audio that is sample in with the nuances of the original instrument. This includes fret noise, harmonics and the body tap noise of an acoustic guitar.

I don't play arranger, but I've used my Micro-X at times. Gotten some great sounds out of MM6 as well. It's not always pads/synths, but I've gotten good cello sounds and fatten up a lot of slower songs with layering I can get dual voice settings. It's not a MOTIF, but with keys not my main instrument, it was good value for $.

I think it's not you, it's the worship leader's bias or ignorance. If it comes down to it modelling is such a key part of music these days. My POD XT Live models amps. It doesn't have vacuum tubes in it. My fairly expensive Roland TD kit is a modeller as well. Yet I'd say a good portion of players are using some level of modelling in guitars, basses and to a lesser extent drumming with little or no resistance.

I've had this argument before too. Listen to like a Hillsongs United track and they might have 14-15 players. Layering of sound, like Phil Spector styles. Many people just "aren't" there yet... which is a little sad. Technology is crazy now.

It's certainly being used. Just needs to be more mainstream, hopefully in the next few years. I'd love to have good workstation player on my worship team. Right I'm "stuck" with just classically trained piano players. +_+. j/k.


Thanks Wayne, you know where I am coming from, I would love people to embrace 'other' style players.  It is also true that keyboard has taken a side seat to the great guitar players that are around these days. Due to the music being arranged for the guitarists.

Nothing wrong with that, if you can let the keyboards edit their sound and get creative in their own right; no matter what keyboard they have access to. Micro X , Korg have some nice kit out at the moment. Even the Casio have two good buck for their buck synthesizers - the XW- G1 and XW- P1, I like the P1, a bit.

I think we need just need to be patient. The advent of brit and pop rock still rule. The investment is being made in $1000+ tube amps and pick-ups to get the right "distortion" sound.

Meanwhile synth are non-existent or stuck in the 80s. We have Triton LE that doesn't get used at all along with Roland XP-30.

We just need next wave of youth bands to heavily leverage synth (like how Savage Garden did it with just 2x guys) and hopefully things will change. The modelling is incredible. Oasys is amazing. Have you played with new Roland The D-beam? More than jog+stick on the M1, I think the D beam will change things alot.

Maybe keytars will make a comeback!


I use a 

Yamaha DGX-640 (Walnut)

We usually do three songs. I usually use the arranger feature on one. 

Thanks Josh for your input, I love the weighted keys on that unit and Walnut, awesome, better than the cherry one IMO. Played an earlier one DGX505, I think, but the later ones seem to sound a lot better.


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