New Gear in 2017

I have been in the process of revamping my equipment since the beginning of the year, and so far I am very happy with the results.

My first new purchase was a Hammond organ emulator. I started playing in 1972 primarily as a Hammond B3 player after becoming enchanted with the B3 from listening to albums of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Groove Holmes, and Shirley Scott to name a few. I shifted later on to playing piano, Rhodes, Clavinet and synthesizers. I never lost my love for the B3, just shifted to the instruments where most of the gigs were. So I wanted to get back into it and started checking out Hammond emulators last year. Whatever I was going to get had to be portable, have waterfall keys, sound incredible, and be relatively inexpensive. What I ended up getting was the Numa Organ2 by Studiologic. At 24 pounds, it is portable, but built like a tank. It sounds amazing! The Leslie simulation is great. It has all of the controls I need to play Hammond (drawbars, percussion, vibrato wheel, tube drive control, key click control, leakage control, and Leslie speed control) The waterfall keys feel just right. Price comes in just over $900. Boom! It is just one manual, but you can add a second manual and pedals through MIDI. It also has a Leslie plug should I want to use a real Leslie or alternate Leslie simulator.

I had been using a Yamaha MOFX8 for the last couple of years . It was a reasonable gigging board, was pretty lightweight and sounded good. But I never quite liked the feel of the keybed and just didn’t fall in love with it. I pretty much felt that way with every board I had in the last decade or longer. It was just getting the job done. About three months ago I replaced it with the new Roland RD-2000. I absolutely love it! I look forward to going to gigs just to play this thing. The action is the best I have ever played on an electronic keyboard. The piano and Rhodes sounds are off the hook! It easily interfaces with a PC or laptop to expand the sonic palette that you have available. And you have realtime control over internal and external sounds. It has a great selection of synth patches internally from the Roland library. The outputs are clean and well balanced. Hands down, it is the best 88 note board I have ever had.

I also have replaced my bouncy old X stand with an OnStage Z stand which is much more stable. I got a carry bag and a 2nd tier to add on for the Numa Organ.

This is a live recording of me using the new gear with the great Roger Humphries on drums, the great Jeff Grubbs on bass, and the great Mark Strickland on guitar. This is Sonny Stitt’s “The Eternal Triangle.” I am using the Numa organ for the most part.

This is another track from the same evening . This is “Along Came Betty” by Benny Golson. I am playing the grand piano patch that I tweaked to my liking on the RD-2000.

Revamping my gear has given me a fresh, new attitude at my gigs. I can’t wait to integrate my laptop with some of the plugin libraries I use in the studio.

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