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Arranger Keyboards and MIDI Bass Pedals

Arranger keyboards such as the Korg PA1X and the Yamaha PSR S900 are becoming immensely popular, with a little help from the dwindling electric organ market. If you want an automatic bass line along with an automatic virtual band, then the arranger keyboard will provide this, as long as the chords you are playing are fairly simple. The new arranger keyboards however do allow you to turn off or divert the bass line so you can choose your own bass line using a MIDI pedal board. All exercises in this article should be practised on a one octave pedal board and you should be sat down at a keyboard with the MIDI pedal board placed directly underneath the keyboard.

The pedal board should be placed so that top C on the pedal board is level with Middle C on the keyboard. Depending on the length of your legs, you can make small adjustment to the placement of the pedal board to suit. You should be able to play bottom C and top C with out any discomfort.

So here are the five top tips to help you to play the bass pedals. 1 Line your left leg up with G on the pedal board. You can then use your leg below the knee to swing to the left of G and play bottom C then swing all the way back up to play Top C. Try to keep the top part of your leg, above the knee, still.

2 When playing the bass pedal with your left foot, keep your leg still and use your ankle to make the pressing motion. 3 Play slowly, on the pedal board, C major scale, C minor scale and a chromatic scale starting with bottom C. Play these scales up and down and repeat ten times.

4 Play this sequence of notes on the pedal board starting with bottom C. C, D, E, F, D, E, F, G, E, F, G, A, F, G, A, B, G, A, B, G, C. Repeat ten times. 5 Play a chromatic scale on the pedal board with left hand chords.

Starting with bottom C, play chromatically up to top C and back down again. Repeat ten times. The important thing to remember when practising the above bass pedal exercises is to play the bass pedals slowly and stay acurate.

If you play to fast to start with, you will learn to play the bass pedals wrong. If you start slow and accurate, speed will come later but you must be patient. If you practice the above exercises every day for six months, you will be playing the bass pedals like a pro.

Michael Shaw is an organ and keyboard teacher and sells sheet music and tutor books at his websites http://www.keyboardsheetmusic.co.uk and http://www.mikesmusicroom.co.uk

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