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Some help with Jan Hammer-style sounds

Tips and techniques for Minimoog Analog Synthesizers

Some help with Jan Hammer-style sounds

Postby doubltyme » Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:40 pm

Hi everyone.
I've been browsing the net and this board to see if I could find some programming tips for the Voyager. I'm not totally new to analog synths but I'm just learning the basics. I am a jazz/fusion player and I've transcribed a lot of Jan Hammer's Moog solos but I can't seem to replicate some of the tones he gets on Birds of Fire, especially in Celestrial Terestrial Commutors. I don't know if this is a totally newbie question (I'm sure it is) but can anyone point me in the right direction? I seem to be able to nail the Keith Emerson stuff which sounds killer but Jan Hammer's sounds elude me. Any help would be much appreciated.
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Post Subject

Postby LWG » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:34 am


A great deal of how Jan Hammer comes across on synth leads is not as much in the patch as how he bends his notes.
Jan Hammer uses pitch inflections that are common to the guitar.
Although he's said that he doesn't make a conscious effort to "imitate" the guitar, his inflections and phrasing invokes the instrument.
One must also keep in mind that he didn't always use the Mini by itself, but
effects and modules were appended to it. Among them were flanger and
Oberheim SEM.
His solo on "Led Boots" from Jeff Beck's Wired brings this to mind.
There were many "plucky" lead sounds, commonly played on the Minimoog during the seventies, with that guitar-like flavor.
One generic setting you could use for this type of patch is:

Osc 1: 10% pulse, Oct: 8' or 4' , mixer vol: 9
Osc 2: Saw, Oct: 8' or 4", mixer vol: 2.5, freq: min or no beating.
Filter res: 0, freq:about 150Hz, FEG amt: +3.3, mode: 4-pole LP, kb amt: 0
FEG A: min, D: 6, S: 5 (or 0), R:=D
AEG A: min D: 5, S: 9, R:=D, Trigger: Single, Glide: Off
LFO rate: 5.9Hz, Wheel amt: 1.9, Dest: pitch, Source: vibrato-trill or trill.

You can find your own variations from there. Hope that helps.


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Postby doubltyme » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:25 am

Thanks LWG. I love the way he uses pitch bend in his solos and I try to incorporate that into my playing. I will definately try out the setting you listed below. Do you think most of his sounds from his Mavahishnu days were pure mini or did he run other stuff through it? once again thanks!
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Postby bp » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:46 pm

Jan also used distortion on BOF.
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Pitch Bend Tension (was Jan Hammer Sounds)

Postby s16016wb » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:03 pm

I bend a lot. I developed most of my bend technique on a SC Pro-One and a Nord Lead-2. I find the pitch bend wheel on the Vger very hard to use due to the amount of tension on it.

I have removed the spring so that the PB wheel is free, like the mod wheel. I set up my Vger to be at normal pitch when the PB wheel is all the way down (using the fine tune offset), and I only use it to bend up. This works pretty well for most Jan Hammer style bending techniques. As was said in an earlier post, his bend is very guitar-esque. A guitar string can only be bent up (unless a tremolo bar is used, or the guitarist bends the pitch by manipulating the tuning pegs or bending the guitar frame inward). I find this set-up to be much much more comfortable than dealing with the factory spring

This does, create a little bit of an issue when using the Vger as a MIDI controller or with someone else's patches.

Does anyone else feel this way about the tension on the PB wheel? Has anyone else come up with any other solutions?
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Post Subject

Postby LWG » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:55 pm


The spring doesn't pose much of a problem for me. I think one key is how you have the response range set up. The default range is overly wide on some synths.
Also, (based on his own statement), Jan Hammer wasn't trying to imitate the guitar per se, but was using some inflections that fell within that instrument's domain. This is probably what differentiates the synth from others in that it allows you to use cetain nuances that are associated with a particular instrument without having to operate purely within the physical restrictions or domain of that instrument. It gives you the latitude to be more ambiguous in terms of your sound.
Joe Zawinul and Wally Badarou are very good at using that natural but ambiguous character in many of their sounds.
I find the aftertouch to be the problemmatic controller on the Vger, as its response curve is set up so its not very useable at all.


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Postby doubltyme » Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:36 am

I agree, the pitch wheel isn't nearly as expressive as on the Nords. For me, that's a big deal. That's the one thing that bothers me about the Voyager. I can live with the aftertouch, because I don't really use it in my playing, and I can just set it up for a s&h.

There's a review that kills the Voyager on Harmony Central. sounds like it was written by a 15 year old, but he did make a good point; the pitch wheel is way too tight and doesn't yield itself to natural vibrato or smooth bends.
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Postby dizz » Thu Feb 17, 2005 3:25 pm

I agree also that the spring tension on the benders is too tight. The tension on my Korg MS2K is perfect. I have an older Poly6 that doesn't have springs and have been thinking of removing them from my Moog. Is this fairly simple? (s16016wb) I'm a big J Hammer fan and was reading a Keyboard Mag article about his unigue bending style. He bent up a whole note and left it, playing from that key and bending up. You couldn't do this with a spring on the bender. He said it took some practice. (to play in key/tune) I've tried it before and it's hard to get used to but I'm no Hammer either!


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Jan Keyboard sounds

Postby nigeynige » Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:10 pm

I have been a fan of jan's for sometime and My trusty Voyager has spent a few evenings this week trying to emulate the minimoog sounds from "the First seven days".
Now that's about the time Jan was experimenting with his Mini through Amps I think.
The single oscillator square/triangle Mini sound is quite easy to replicate, but the guitar sound takes a little more than just a moog. as said in previous posts, you have to learn to use the pitch bend in both directions. One advantage to having the spring on the pitch whell is that you can continually push the wheel to create a vibrato/pitch effect.
Jan's technique involved alot of practice and patience and the ability to shred with guitar style licks. Us Keyboards players approach solos differently where notes are concerned. It's Jan's style to take the guitarists scales and incorporate them into his own style and transfer onto keyboard.
He is awesome though.
He's been on tour with Jeff Beck recently and only uses one keyboard(shan't mention it's name), but no Mini's in sight.
Has them in his studio at home.
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