How to get and play this 80s brass lead sound?

Discussion in 'Brass' started by Purpleb1982, Jun 3, 2012.

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  1. Purpleb1982

    Purpleb1982 Active Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    I really like and want to be able to play that 80s lead brass type of sound. I posted vid below of a guy on youtube playing presets for a synth that he is showing off...anyways the sound and HOW he is playing certain presets is what I am very interested in and wanting to do. The presets I like the sound of and the HOW he is playing are listed below:

    001 Power Pad
    005 Syn Brass 1
    006 Seper Waves
    017 Power pad 2
    019 Mega Big Synth
    021 Stabber Synth
    022 Saw Ens Synth
    023 Power Snap
    024 Vintage Saw
    025 Fast Synth
    032 Syn Fan fare
    035 Syn Brass 2
    036 Saw Syn Brass
    047 Vintage Key

    I know basic music theory, my musical ears are not that good yet though. The problems I am having is more on the way to play it, here are a couple of pretty simple questions I have on how to play it:

    1. It is mostly played with chords not single notes right?
    2. And usually in major keys?
    3. Are there certain chord progressions I should be looking into?
    4. Its usually played with short staccato notes?
    5. Any other tips or help to get me going in right direction?

    vid: Korg microSTATION - synth pad preset 1 to 50 HQ - YouTube

    Thanks a lot
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Truthfully, the recording you just posted is your best teacher, so if you have a keyboard from the 80's you're half way there. Use your ears and keep experimenting. If you are using VSTi, and never had the opportunity to use those synths, you cannot really know what you are missing.
    A lot of synths using stab brass sounds were layer's and yes, single notes sounded fat like this.
    The attack on brass needs to be slow and we detuned the layers. We also added reverb and chorus. And we also added timed delay's.

    Roland had the best IMO. The JX8P's had a great brass. I owned a few of those keyboards and wish I never sold them!
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Go to YouTube and search the words, "Piano Chord Inversions"

    You'll find loads of very informative instructional videos such as THIS ONE with the theory and practice of inversions. I think that will shed a great deal of light on the HOW. The ability to quickly and smoothly transition through a chord progression is what separates the novices from the more advanced keyboard players. Using inversions is the only way to get to that next level.

    Some of the other examples he's arpeggiating those chords inversions while holding the root note.

    Major, minor, staccato or not (legato) will be dictated by the song.

    Have fun experimenting !!
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