Sound Check Go Huge with the Clavinet
posted by May 15 at 12:34 PMon
Keyboard player Jared Bell of the Phoenix, AZ drum and keys duo Lymbyc Systym gets mountain sized chunks of sound out of his keys. You would never know there wasn’t a guitar player on stage with them. Jared spoke from New Hampshire enrout to Montreal.
I used to carry around a Fender Rhodes, but I just recently replaced it with the Nord, since it can also replicate Wurlitzer and Rhodes piano in one.
What pedals or effects are you using to get such a huge sound?
My pedal setup is really simple. I just use a Line 6 delay pedal, an Akai Headrush looping pedal, and a volume pedal. Most of the “huge” sound, comes from my Clavinet.
The Clavinet is a mechanical keyboard that basically works like a guitar. It has guitar strings and pick-ups inside, so when you press down a key, you are actually striking a guitar string which then resonates above the pickup, just like a guitar. I run the Clavinet through a volume pedal, then into a delay pedal, then to my amp. I generally use really heavy delay.
How do you achieve that signature Jared *Jrod* sound?
The Clavinet. It’s magic. The clavinet was really made famous by people like Stevie Wonder on “Superstition” and Herbie Hancock on Headhunters. It’s the really robotic sounding keyboard on a lot of 70s funk albums.
Unfortunately, not many people experiment with the instrument beyond that “funky” sound, which I think is a travesty. That sound is totally played out. Imagine if every guitar player had the same tone. It would be ridiculous! The Clavinet is mechanical and works just like a guitar, which means there is an almost limitless array of ways to experiment with it.
A main part of my live sound is me messing around with and controlling feedback. The Clavinet has amazing feedback, just like a guitar. I also do a lot of dramatic swells, which are created using my volume pedal in combination with heavy delay. I really like to use delay that slowly shifts out of pitch over time. It creates a really ominous, yet beautiful sound.
What do you like best about your set up?
I like that it is simple. Not many pedals to mess with, or get in the way of things. I think the best tones are created by keeping things simple, and just being creative using what you have around. Any instrument can sound good if you work with it. I experiment as much as possible, and try to find new textures and tones I haven’t heard before. I really like using keyboards I’ve never seen or played before, and just intuitively messing with the knobs without paying attention to what they are supposed to do.
What do you like least about your set up?
Setting it up and tearing it down.
Where did Lymbyc Systym play last night?
We played in the basement of the Peterborough, NH Public Library. It was kind of crazy to play in a library. It was a really old building.
Did you rock the ‘Science Fiction Section’?
We rocked all the sections pretty much. But I’d say we rocked the Mystery Section the hardest.