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Keyboards: Creating a Piano Patch

Ian McIntosh


In this lesson Ian teaches the basics to creating a custom piano patch that can be tailored for use in worship specifically at your church.

Keyboards: Creating a Piano Patch

Ian McIntosh

No matter how great a player you are, if you don’t have a great patch it isn’t going to come across right.

A lot of times the best pianos to play are the ones that don’t sound perfect. Often store-bought pianos are very bright in sound.

The 3 (bad) types of patch sound:
  1. “The ultra pretty patch” – great for classical music. Perfect, the lows and high are really clean. You can play across the range and it sounds pretty and full.

  2. “Fake sounding” – a sub-par example of what a piano sounds like. Can be great if your just playing a rhythm. Overall, for a patch this one isn’t great.

  3. “Way too much character” – too distinguishable, anyone who’s played it knows what it is. Very clean and pristine sound. Winds up sounding like a toy – it doesn’t sound real or quite right. This lends to compensating and playing quite awkwardly.

The patch Ian prefers – has really lond sustain, gritty and dark, doesn’t sound perfect, not clean, almost distorted. This is the same patch he showed in number 1, “the ultra pretty patch” but it has been put through EQ and compression.

  • takes the initial attack of the piano, and drops it down to the same level as the sustain, on the tail end it will make it a little louder.
  • It will go on for as long as the patch goes.
  • The compression allows you to hold out the sound for a lot longer. When recording in a mix with a band it would sound bad if the piano could not sustain as long as the other instruments. s a pianist you need to be able to fill the space that you have.

This patch does a great pattern-type sound.

Reverb has been added to the patch too. Reverb simulates the sound of a room. Reverb adds a little extra depth.

Use built-in effects. Add compression – turn the threshold down to low, turn the output up. You might need to take the EQ and darken the high end – from 3k on. Find a reverb sound you like that sounds vibey and cool – not perfect.