Wedding pianist | Keyboard player | France

The perfect keyboard?

nord keyboard box
nord electro 6 display

Is the Nord Electro 6 the perfect keyboard?

A few years ago, I found a Nord Electro 4 in a music shop. The most perfect keyboard I’d seen at that point, I bought it and my love affair with Nord keyboards began.

Almost perfect

Although many of the sounds on the Electro 4 were the best I’d ever heard, there were a few that were lacking (for the band’s set). And I had a couple of other issues, too: I couldn’t split or layer the keyboard; and when changing the sound, the change was immediate, instead of being triggered by releasing the keys and playing again.

It may not sound much, but when you’re trying to provide the very best musical experience (for yourself as well as your audience), it matters. Conclusion: The Electro 4 was almost the perfect keyboard – but not quite.

Two-keyboard solution

To help rectify this, I bought a second-hand Nord Stage EX.

This has a full-length keyboard (the Electro 4 is much shorter – which is great because I have a small car). It has the splitting and layering features I wanted. But there’s still that problem of immediately changing the sound. Plus, a new issue that (to me) the sounds are not as good as the Electro 4 (because it’s an older keyboard).

Which is why I took both keyboards out this year. I mainly used the Nord Stage EX, which has superb piano and organ sounds. And had the Electro 4 for the more recent strings and brass sounds.

One keyboard too many

Playing with both keyboards was interesting – and great for my left hand, which had to learn some parts I normally play with the right hand. But I thought there must be a better solution.

[Spinal Tap moment: When I set up for the first gig with two keyboards, I had the Electro 4 running neatly down the side of the performance area, with the Stage EX at 90º, parallel to the front of the performance area. After the gig began, this meant I found myself with my back to the band. Which made giving our stand-in singer, Andy, cues of when to come back in – and communicating with the rest of the band during some songs – impossible. I didn’t make this mistake again…]

I decided to sell both Nords and buy a new Nord Stage 3. The Stage 3 is expensive but, with all the latest bells and whistles, worth every penny.

Overkill

But one thing I never really use is the synth section on the Nord Stage I already have. I’m very happy with the Nord sound libraries and would rather play than spend time creating sounds of my own. So, really, the Stage 3 is too much for my requirements. Which is why I looked at the specs for the Electro 6.

Finally, the perfect keyboard

Shorter than the full Stage 3 (although there are three sizes of the Stage 3). With access to all the latest sounds. Splittable, layerable, with the smooth sound transitions I’ve been looking for – and cheaper… it seemed like the perfect keyboard for me.

So I took the plunge and bought my first new keyboard since 1999 (that was a Roland RD600 if you’re wondering). I did try to find one second-hand, but there are very few around. Which means… people who have bought it are hanging onto it. Not a surprise, now I’ve lived with the Nord Electro 6 for a few days… I know I’ll be hanging onto mine.

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