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Viewing topic "Who Are the Best Synth Players of All Time?  Please!"

   
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Posted on: August 04, 2017 @ 02:03 PM
zpink
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If we’re moving away from synths, may I then also suggest the rather influential organist Ray Manzarek? ;-)

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Posted on: August 04, 2017 @ 02:13 PM
5pinDIN
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lastmonk - 04 August 2017 10:54 AM

We might need multiple criteria, or different categories of ‘Best’

Indeed.

It was suggested to me that with Wendy Carlos on the list, Isao Tomita deserves to be as well. I’ll let you decide how to “best” categorize the work of those two.

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Posted on: August 04, 2017 @ 06:33 PM
lastmonk
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philwoodmusic - 04 August 2017 12:41 PM

3 more of note:

Howard Jones
Nick Rhodes
Jeff Lorber.

Jeff is possibly more a of a rhodes and piano guy but there is a tonne of Jeff Lorber fusion synth stuff.

Also something you could think about is who is the most sampled?

That’s the ultimate accolade for me.

Jeff would score high on that with Rain Dance for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNqfnZ24pSg

Sampled use:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWC79TcWWsI

Wow, Jeff Lorber, haven’t heard that name in a minute.  Yea, back in the day he use to put it down.  Okay so here’s an updated list.

Don Airey
Tony Banks
Richard Barbieri
Wendy Carlos
Suzanne Ciani
Julian Colbeck
Norman Cook
Chick Corea
Billy Currie
Deadmau5
Thomas Dolby
Geoff Downes
Anne Dudley
George Duke
Keith Emerson
Brian Eno
Edgar Froese
Dave Greenfield
Jan Hammer
Herbie Hancock
Howard Jones
Jean-Michel Jarre
Mark Kelly
Thijs van Leer
James Lloyd
Jeff Lorber
Gary Numan
David Paich
Steve Porcaro
Roger Powell
Prince
Trent Reznor
Nick Rhodes
Jordan Rudess
Hiromi Uehara
Vangelis
Rick Wakeman
Edgar Winter
Steve Winwood
Stevie Wonder
Bernie Worrell
Joe Zawinul
Hans Zimmer

I

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Posted on: August 05, 2017 @ 07:47 AM
philwoodmusic
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Two more very big names.

Vince Clarke

Parts of Vince’s studio:

http://eatdrinkplay.events/wp-content/uploads/vince_016.jpg

http://eatdrinkplay.events/wp-content/uploads/vince_008.jpg

Also, not sure how I left him out:

Greg Phillinganes

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Posted on: August 05, 2017 @ 10:34 AM
5pinDIN
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lastmonk - 04 August 2017 06:33 PM

[...] Okay so here’s an updated list.

Don Airey
Tony Banks
Richard Barbieri
Wendy Carlos
Suzanne Ciani
Julian Colbeck
Norman Cook
Chick Corea
Billy Currie
Deadmau5
Thomas Dolby
Geoff Downes
Anne Dudley
George Duke
Keith Emerson
Brian Eno
Edgar Froese
Dave Greenfield
Jan Hammer
Herbie Hancock
Howard Jones
Jean-Michel Jarre
Mark Kelly
Thijs van Leer
James Lloyd
Jeff Lorber
Gary Numan
David Paich
Steve Porcaro
Roger Powell
Prince
Trent Reznor
Nick Rhodes
Jordan Rudess
Hiromi Uehara
Vangelis
Rick Wakeman
Edgar Winter
Steve Winwood
Stevie Wonder
Bernie Worrell
Joe Zawinul
Hans Zimmer

I

So Carlos makes the list, but no love for Isao Tomita?  :-)

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Posted on: August 06, 2017 @ 04:57 AM
lastmonk
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OMG 5pinDin thank you so much for this name.  I had never heard of him, I spent 45 min or so on youtube checking his stuff out., this dude is FN Awesome!  Of course imo Tomita
should be on the list @PhilWoodMusic, right Phillinganes how could we forget him?  and I went to the same high school (Cass Tech) in Detroit.  He was a senior when I got there. 

Don Airey
Tony Banks
Richard Barbieri
Wendy Carlos
Suzanne Ciani
Vince Clark
Julian Colbeck
Norman Cook
Chick Corea
Billy Currie
Deadmau5
Thomas Dolby
Geoff Downes
Anne Dudley
George Duke
Keith Emerson
Brian Eno
Edgar Froese
Dave Greenfield
Jan Hammer
Herbie Hancock
Howard Jones
Jean-Michel Jarre
Mark Kelly
Thijs van Leer
James Lloyd
Jeff Lorber
Gary Numan
David Paich
Greg Phillinganes
Steve Porcaro
Roger Powell
Prince
Trent Reznor
Nick Rhodes
Jordan Rudess
Isao Tomita
Hiromi Uehara
Vangelis
Rick Wakeman
Edgar Winter
Steve Winwood
Stevie Wonder
Bernie Worrell
Joe Zawinul
Hans Zimmer

It may seem trivial to some who already know all of the synth players on this list.  But to those who haven’t been exposed this list is a treat.  TBH I’m only familiar with about 1/3 of these folks, I’ve been spending the last couple of days on youtube checking out some incredible sounds, solos, interviews OMG!.  I can honestly recommend to anyone that wants a crash course in synthesizers and the music behind it to spend a day or so checking out the people on this list. Wow!  @philwoodsmusic thanx for your very appropriate suggestions.

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Posted on: August 08, 2017 @ 07:27 AM
MrMotif
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Ryuichi Sakamoto should be on the list. His body of solo work speaks for itself but his early work with YMO was groundbreaking and had a huge influence not only on synth pop but also game music and subsequent and related genres.

MM

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Posted on: August 09, 2017 @ 04:48 AM
lastmonk
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MrMotif - 08 August 2017 07:27 AM

Ryuichi Sakamoto should be on the list. His body of solo work speaks for itself but his early work with YMO was groundbreaking and had a huge influence not only on synth pop but also game music and subsequent and related genres.

MM

Wow, MM, Another cat I had never heard of., I’ve been listening to his stuff.  This dude is bad.  We have been talking about what we might use to get our kind-a-van-cliburn-of-the-synthesizer (Synth God) competition measurement stick, It seems like taking solos or complete songs from the body of work of these synth players might be a good place to start.  On the piano virtuosity is sometimes measured by how well a pianist can play certain repertoire.  Can we use a similar measure on Synths e.g. Take stuff from Sakamoto’s body of work:

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

or Keith Emerson’s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRYx0ySEhjk

or Herbie’s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whi2fm2hzXg

We’re thinking that in our Synth God competition the player would first have to be able to faithfully recreate some famous solo/piece(s) and then must significantly add to it in some way using synth techniques
i.e we use performance of certain significant synthesizer repertoire as a base line for the competition.  This Sakamoto dude has some nice stuff to pick from LOL

Here’s the new list. There are some amazing players in here. I don’t know if this list represents the best synthesizer players of all time, but it has to be pretty close.

Don Airey
Tony Banks
Richard Barbieri
Wendy Carlos
Suzanne Ciani
Vince Clark
Julian Colbeck
Norman Cook
Chick Corea
Billy Currie
Deadmau5
Thomas Dolby
Geoff Downes
Anne Dudley
George Duke
Keith Emerson
Brian Eno
Edgar Froese
Dave Greenfield
Jan Hammer
Herbie Hancock
Howard Jones
Jean-Michel Jarre
Mark Kelly
Thijs van Leer
James Lloyd
Jeff Lorber
Gary Numan
David Paich
Greg Phillinganes
Steve Porcaro
Roger Powell
Prince
Trent Reznor
Nick Rhodes
Jordan Rudess
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Isao Tomita
Hiromi Uehara
Vangelis
Rick Wakeman
Edgar Winter
Steve Winwood
Stevie Wonder
Bernie Worrell
Joe Zawinul
Hans Zimmer

And to be fair the competition would likely have multiple categories, not just the performance of synth repertoire, but reproduction of certain famous synth sounds (in real time) e.g start from a saw, or triangle, and build it right in front of the judges (on the clock) LOL.

There would have to be a category for best Synth Wizardry in loops, arpeggios, and sequences.

A category for best new synth voice that would look for motion, layering, nuance, efficient use of polyphony, etc.

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Posted on: August 09, 2017 @ 07:06 AM
zpink
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If you haven’t stopped looking yet, you may want to check out this guy.
Usually he plays and arranges on synths/workstations, but this piano performance is rather impressive.
https://youtu.be/4s88vxHjWrs

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Posted on: August 09, 2017 @ 12:57 PM
philwoodmusic
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I was wondering how Florian Schneider, and indeed Kraftwerk fit into this.

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Posted on: August 09, 2017 @ 02:59 PM
MrMotif
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Fit in snug as a bug I’d say. Florian’s Kraftwerk were hugely influential in terms of legitimizing the synthesizer’s hit making potential. Autobahn was not simply a hit record, it opened eyes, ears and doors for a whole new generation of bands from Adam and The Ants to Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and others for whom synths became a key (as it were) sonic ingredient.

MM

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Posted on: August 09, 2017 @ 04:48 PM
lastmonk
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zpink - 09 August 2017 07:06 AM

If you haven’t stopped looking yet, you may want to check out this guy.
Usually he plays and arranges on synths/workstations, but this piano performance is rather impressive.
https://youtu.be/4s88vxHjWrs

Zpink, I saw a lot of piano stuff for him, do you have any good examples of
his synth playing?  I seen plenty of others covering his songs with synth, but not much from him…

@philwoodmusic yea its gonna be hard to leave kraftwerk out :-)

Don Airey
Tony Banks
Richard Barbieri
Wendy Carlos
Suzanne Ciani
Vince Clark
Julian Colbeck
Norman Cook
Chick Corea
Billy Currie
Deadmau5
Thomas Dolby
Geoff Downes
Anne Dudley
George Duke
Keith Emerson
Brian Eno
Edgar Froese
Dave Greenfield
Jan Hammer
Herbie Hancock
Howard Jones
Jean-Michel Jarre
Mark Kelly
Thijs van Leer
James Lloyd
Jeff Lorber
Gary Numan
David Paich
Greg Phillinganes
Steve Porcaro
Roger Powell
Prince
Trent Reznor
Nick Rhodes
Jordan Rudess
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk)
Isao Tomita
Hiromi Uehara
Vangelis
Rick Wakeman
Edgar Winter
Steve Winwood
Stevie Wonder
Bernie Worrell
Joe Zawinul
Hans Zimmer

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Posted on: August 09, 2017 @ 07:58 PM
MrMotif
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Joined  10-02-2002
status: Administrator

lastmonk, this is your baby so up to you but I think it would be ‘legit’ to have as your base level criteria simply all of the aspects that go to make up a ‘synth player.’ As distinct from being a ‘keyboard player,’ in other words, which comes with some presumption of piano, organ, and traditional keyboard skills.

What makes playing synths so interesting, and challenging, is that while it’d be hard to pursue much of a career armed with but a ‘one finger’ playing technique, playing synths is less about physical keyboard skills but to some extent has to encompass the skills of sound design, orchestration, electronics, production and (recently at any rate) computer wrangling.

A synthesizer does not even have to have a keyboard, nor any recognizable physical controller. In fact, freeing us from the 12-note keyboard was one of the most exciting aspects of early synth design and remains one of the most exciting aspects of the current fashion for EuroRack.

To be a good/great synth player you simply (well, ha!) need to know how all these various bags of tricks fit together and work alongside other instruments and players. If you happen to have flying fingers as well, that’s always impressive of course. But digital dexterity is not, imho, the most crucial factor for this particular and indeed peculiar breed of instrumentalist.

MM

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Posted on: August 09, 2017 @ 11:20 PM
zpink
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lastmonk - 09 August 2017 04:48 PM
zpink - 09 August 2017 07:06 AM

If you haven’t stopped looking yet, you may want to check out this guy.
Usually he plays and arranges on synths/workstations, but this piano performance is rather impressive.
https://youtu.be/4s88vxHjWrs

Zpink, I saw a lot of piano stuff for him, do you have any good examples of
his synth playing?  I seen plenty of others covering his songs with synth, but not much from him…

Well, I guess he’s really more important as a keyboard player and for his orchestra arrangements with Dimmu Borgir.
It was the fan boi in me that made me suggest him. ;-)

I still think that Ray Manzarek should be considered, but it’s your list. :-)

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Posted on: August 12, 2017 @ 02:32 PM
exsequor699
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You should add to that list Derek Sherinian, Patrick Moraz, George Duke ,Kevin Moore, Kerry Minnear, Tom Coster, John Novello and Jens Johansson.

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