Starting out on synthesizer?

Neil.C

Most Honored Senior Member
Mar 3, 2012
8,614
Surrey, England
I quite fancy the idea of a synthesizer.

I'd like to give one a try but obviously don't want to spend too much in case it is just a fad.

What's a reasonably priced simple beginner synth that is half decent?

I assume you can run one through a guitar amp?
 

somebodyelesuk

Strat-Talker
Jan 29, 2022
303
Birmingham UK
Reasonably priced - there are tons of them.

Simple? Not a one.

My recommendation, as I was where you are at the start of last year, is download a free software modular synth, such as Voltage Modular and get a cheapish usb midi keyboard - I went with a Nektar Impact LX+, but there are loads around the same price or less - and spend a lot of time on youtube synth tutorial videos.

Playing a keyboard is the easy bit, understanding the 'how it works' bit is less so, but it's well worth the headscratching. Once you get your head around what does what, you suddenly understand how/what effects processors do.

Two things that I wish I'd learned more about 40 years ago are synths and 'sound engineering'. I'd have saved tens of thousands on guitar gear, if I'd known then what I know now.
 

Hal Nico

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 28, 2012
3,711
JAMOADR
I'm not a keyboard player but use synths/organ sounds etc sometimes in my recording with basic chords and riffs.

I use a cheap USB 25 key mini keyboard into my PC and Reaper recording software and free VST synths,




They usually come with some decent synth software and even some recording software.

It's a good cheap way to get into synths and there's loads of free synth and Orchestra VSTs around to get more sounds.


I used a synth pad on this little instrumental,



HTH :)
 

Hal Nico

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 28, 2012
3,711
JAMOADR
The Alesis V25 bundle looks great value,



 

Houdi Elbow

Strat-O-Master
Aug 9, 2021
811
UK
I'd be wary of running one through a guitar amp, because of the lower frequencies of the bass notes.
A bass amp or a keyboard amp would be a safer bet. I used to have a Nord Stage Compact keyboard, and learned this lesson the hard way 👍
 
Last edited:

davidKOS

not posting these days
May 28, 2012
16,788
California
I'd be wary of running one through a guitar amp, because of the lower frequencies of the bass notes.
A bass amp or a keyboard amp would be a safer bet. I used to have a Nord Stage Compact keyboard, and learned this lesson the hard way 👍
This is one situation where you do NOT want a tube amp!

I often ran my keyboards through the PA systems. Other than that I used my SS bass amps.
 

AngeloEvs

Strat-Talker
Jan 5, 2020
312
Norfolk, UK
I have been using Roland Guitar synths since the mid 90’s. All require the addition of the Roland GK MIDI pickup. As already advised, synth voices are best played through a full range cab. A lot depends on what you want from a synth, the Roland GR1 introduced in the early 90’s will give you 200 polyphonic voices such as strings, brass, piano, etc. Then you have the GR30 and GR33 with more features.
The most versatile is the GR55 which has a 1000 synth voices, guitar and amp modelling, looper, to name just a few of its capabilities and has a user friendly computer software interface that simplifies setting up patches and accessing all its features. Just google GR55 and watch some of the demos. I use the GR55 for live work but for many years had the GR1.

Here is a demo which is pretty similar to how I use the GR55 amp/guita/fx modelling to select different amps, guitars, alternative tunings, as well as synth voices.

 
Last edited:


Top