Is it bad to have a backbone?

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Is it bad to have a backbone?

Post by thestreets » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:58 pm

Is it bad to rely on one piece of "backbone" gear? Of my 21 tracks 19 of them feature the electribe. 8 of them were written on the 'tribe. Who else has a backbone to their sound, what is it, and do you think its bad?

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Post by cbjlietuva » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:31 am

it can go either way IMO.

some people do have a signature sound and backbone instrument- fine example is Vangelis. I don't know about most people, but I don't get tired of the beautiful tones from a CS80, especially when played by him.
And i don't know if it's the same instrument- but Kraftwerk has a very recognizable bass sound, plucky, sharp and shallow, used on almost all the tracks on Computerwelt AFAIK.

on the other hand, the sound or piece of gear could be a crutch and a cheeseball 'effect' if you will.

IMO i think having something to tie in your tracks, especially on one album is a key to unity, though mixing it up and having the instrument more prominent on one track and less on another, etc, couldn't hurt either. And for those of us with a collection smaller than that of Mr Rich :) necessity is the mother of invention.
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Post by Taxidermy » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:35 am

You have 2 out of 21 of those songs that don't have electribe on them. I wouldn't necessarily call that a backbone so much as an instrument you really like to use. All of my music is done in some part with an MPC1000, and I wouldn't consider in a backbone at all.

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Post by Panurge8 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:14 am

Most modern synths are pretty versatile, and using the same one all the time might not even be noticeable. When working with my bandmates as a keyboardist (I switch between keys and guitar) I only use my Ion and Hammond, sometimes I switch out the ion for my MS2000r (yes, there are people who like both) and sometimes I add a piano if there's one nearby. I always use the Ion for lead sounds, and use the MS2000 if I need pads. I've found that in a band setting listeners like to easily identify which instruments are making which sounds. This does not seem to be the case for more synth oriented music :wink: .
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Post by killedaway » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:24 am

my EMX-1 is where all of my songs (since i've owned it) have begun. my older tracks all began life on the EA-1/ER-1/ES-1 trio.

like someone else mentioned above, considering that today's synths are capable of so many different sounds, not only is there nothing wrong with using the same one in every track you make, but most (if not all) people will never even know. i often see people say stuff like, "i love the MS2000 (or whatever), but i'd never use it for complete tracks.".... why the heck not?

short answer: no, it's not bad.

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Post by shaft9000 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:13 am

of course you must be capable - got to have the right tools....but once that is taken care of everything comes down to just preparation and your musical performance.

i guess my tracks depend more on inspiration, not gear. If a synth is inadequate I'll move on to the next. if the power is out and an idea hits me i bang it out acoustically and write it down or record on the mp3 player. whatever gets it done is all that matters.
As long as the feeling gets across and the gear doesn't get in the way it's all good.

in the end it doesn't matter what you use to do what you do, just that you did it.
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Post by West_Berliner » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:20 am

my nord modular is my backbone synth, maybe that's because the two synths that i have are the nord modular and a nord lead 2...I dont know how that would work if I had a Virus for example. For the longest time, before I had my nord modular, the lead 2 was my backbone synth, and I still like having it around, as it's quicker to create a lead or bass...i use the modular more for sequences and noises.

and i agree totally with what was said above my post :) Im the same way. ill get up in the middle of the night if i have a melody or idea in my head, grab my guitar, play the melody on there, and write it out note-by-note or chord-by-chord so that i dont forget it by the morning. once that's down, its pretty much easy sailing from there on!
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Post by Tyler2000 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:52 am

My backbone is the Siel MDP-40 for drum sounds, and the HS-60 for sounds.
so what do I put down here now?

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Re: Is it bad to have a backbone?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:26 pm

thestreets wrote:Is it bad to rely on one piece of "backbone" gear?Who else has a backbone to their sound, what is it, and do you think its bad?
I've always been a workstation/master keyboard guy...for over 15 years an SQ-80 was the center of my rig and various MIDI modules came and went. Today the core is a Motif ES.

I don't think it's bad at all to have one instrument at the core of your music. In fact I think the opposite is bad...owning an instrument just for one or two sounds seems silly to me.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Post by Panurge8 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:31 pm

...owning an instrument just for one or two sounds seems silly to me.
I could go either way on that one. One could say that the point of all those knobs/buttons/menus/whatever is so that you have a large range of sounds to choose from. On the other hand, acoustic instruments are generally limited to one sound and a large dynamic range, so the use of the same sound on a synth, theoretically, is reasonable. I think this is why the minimoog is so popular; you have a lot of control over the sound, but it will always sound like a mini.

My thoughts on this matter are shaped by the fact that my introduction to synths was watching Wakeman perform (on DVD, never seen him live :cry: ). Part of the excitement when watching him play was that you knew that you were about to hear a killer solo whenever he went over to the mini.

In conclusion, I just wrote two paragraphs and never made a point. Drive safe.
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Post by Uncle Screwtape » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:21 pm

I look at it like a rock band. In a four piece you might have 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. Bands (usually) use the same gear for each song. The only difference is the effects for each of the string instruments. Drums are always the same. That has seemed to work for quite a long time.

Each different patch is like having an instrument. So one synth can end up being an orchestra of instruments when compared to a band. A Band is like using 3 patches (+ effects) plus drums.

To Sum It Up: No. Having a staple piece you always use is not bad. It's the way you use it that matters. A staple riff would be bad. As long as your songs are different, it shouldn't matter.
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Live performance

Post by MarkShovel » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:34 pm

If you find one device is critical, you should have a backup unit for live perfoemance.

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Post by crufty » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:59 pm

led zepplin used only a couple of guitars each album...comments about backup units are valid though if you are going on tour etc etc.

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Post by Synthetic Solace » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:10 pm

Tom shear of Assemblage 23 uses his Access Virus b in most of his songs and he says its his "workhorse" and i love his sound and his stuff deffiently doesnt sound like the same stuff over and over.I'll agree with someone else in here that said that modern synths for the most part are versatile enough to that if you program half way decently that people won't even notice that its the same synth!I just got a emx-1 myself and am loving it,its most likely where all of my songs will be starting now.
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Post by JUGEL » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:25 pm

Using let's say ... the JP8000 supersaw as your backbone. .. not good.

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