Arranger keyboards such as the Ketron Auyda and the Roland G70 are becoming immensely popular, especially since the organ market is all but dead. The arranger keyboard will provide you with an automatic bass line, which is adequate for most keyboard players who want to stick to basic seventh chords and triads. With a MIDI pedal board, you can decide which bass note in the auto chord system you want and still keep the rhythmic bass line or you can play your own bass line and turn the auto chord off.
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 five top tips on how 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 pressing the bass pedal with your foot, use your ankle to make the pressing motion and not your leg.
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 David Shaw runs music websites http://www.mikesmusicroom.co.uk