Help me think here: Advancing states

Sooooooo I’m starting to program for the next round of gigs. I did the first song and have it worked out pretty well to map to a single keyboard with about 6 state changes.

Here’s the thing though- I’m not feeling real warm and fuzzy about using a foot pedal. It seem like no matter what I use there can be a tendency to bounce on occasion and put me in the wrong song section. There are places where I could use a key switch or other hand operated button but many where that’s just a no-go. Maybe I just need a device like a pedal board where I can select specific states in a back/program configuration and quit trying to trust the “advance by one” mode. I’m really racking my brain for a new way to do this- like a knee switch lol

Any bright ideas?

Can you post the binding you use to advance the states using the footswitch?

Are you using any kind of sync’d media?

No, I know what you’re thinking :smiley: We have nothing to automate with, no clicks, nothing …

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Not currently but it’s just a basic controller 64 on the downpress. Instant change.

Two thoughts:

  1. You need a switch which you can rest on but has a definite ‘click’ to engage it. Chances are, you already have such a switch,
  2. I think the essential problem is the downward operation of a footswitch, Just too easy to twitch at the wrong time. Some classic organs have a sideways operating switch, usually to the right of an expression pedal. Just tried to find something online but nothing turned up.
    I reckon a sideways flick of the foot is more deliberate and less likely to suffer from the twitchies,

Just throwin’ it out there…

I know the switch you’re talking about. You can get them on Hammond sites but they are pricey. And they have to mount to something. Maybe something less like a sustain pedal and more like a stompbox switch is the answer. Or, maybe not switching on the close, but on the open- that might be more reliable.

But really, I can’t put this off any more, I have to get an FC-300. I need that expression pedal in addition to more foot control in general.

Sounds like you should stick to feet if you can or a big red button like torsten uses. You could also try using triggers to do the state change switch. It allows for a delay to placed so you can de-bounce any switches that are troublesome.

I think that’s worth a try. You can prime and release at the correct moment. You can probably get yourself in trouble with any of this stuff . Just visualized hitting the switch 2 minutes before required - and now you can’t move that foot! :crazy_face:


I’ve had exactly the same “not real warm and fuzzy feeling” with patch advancing on some pedals, and I’ve found it mostly boils down to getting a footswitch you’re happy with. I use a Boss FS-5U which always works super-reliably. I happily switch patch in the middle of patterns of consecutive 8th notes, and Cantabile switches like a champ exactly where I want, and the only time I ever get a bounce / double tap is when I notice my foot physically hits it twice by mistake.


Ah Dave, that might be the answer. Thanks. I should have thought of that…

Yeah, the big red button is out. I rarely have the time to spare to hit it.

I know that switch, I used to have one but haven’t seen it in ages. Another good reason to have the Roland, I assume it uses the same style switches.

No problem Fred, another trick is to convert the momentary switches to true buttons using a binding at song level like this

and a binding inside embedded rack (Rack 2 in this example) that you create that does the actual state change

This also ensures that a clean 127 and 0 are all that is seen by each pedal press. At least these techniques have worked for me with my variety of pedals …


Ah, that’s probably just the thing for these cheapo pedals. I’ll try that. Cool!

I went shoeless for awhile till I got used to my switches, although, I think we discussed this some time back. I am using foot switches still, and using keyboards pads on some gear, as well as key switches on other rigs.

Hey Fred,

I have a variety of state switching options in operation - mostly, it is still my red button at the center of the lower keyboard. I put it pretty much center, because that way both hands can reach it, depending on which one is less busy. Far better than my original way of using the two bottom keys as keyswitches.

For 90% of our songs (in two bands), the red button does the trick, but I also have an alternative option with a (red-labelled) drum pad on my upper keyboard, and (in those songs where I have my hands too full), the “soft” pedal on my dual foot pedal (sustain-soft-combination).

Also, I have a state-forward/state-backward button combination on my upper keyboard, for cases where something goes wrong or I accidentally hit the button/pedal twice. But TBH that is extremely rare - mostly, I need those buttons in rehearsals to get to the correct state without needing to go to my laptop.

I have created a Cantabile binding that triggers big friendly notification pop-ups on my LivePrompter tablet, so I don’t need to look at my Cantabile screen to know that I’m in the right song state - very helpful!

If I was playing sitting down, I would probably use the soft pedal as my main state switching method, but since I play standing up, and a lot of my playing is on the piano, my right foot is usually occupied with the sustain pedal - and I need the other foot to stand on…

I personally wouldn’t go for the pedal board method - requires too much looking down to make sure you select the right state - too distracting for my taste. I would guess the risk of hitting the wrong one or messing with your playing because you’re distracted is far higher than that of a pedal bounce with a single “advance” pedal.Two pedals are pretty easy to handle when sitting down.

So my recommendation for you (if you’re sitting down) would be:

  • use a second pedal for state advances
  • have a “state-back” button on your keyboard ready to correct any rare pedal-bouncing issue
  • Have the current state displayed in big friendly letters in your show notes view to make sure you have the correct one selected.



My band mates laugh at me as I prefer to be shoeless when I perform with all the switches and pedals I have - but if organists can do it… Actually I have just found a very slim pair of slip on shoes, not much wider than my actual foot which feel good and reduce my fear of hitting two things at the same time.

I’ve never been conformable with a patch advance button, and often I need to go back several states as well (as opposed to programming multiple occurrences of the same state instances in a forward direction only). So my preference is an FC300 MIDI foot controller where I can select the state I want in a “random access” manner.

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Sure - makes sense if you need this “random access” capability. And I guess if you train enough, you’ll be able to hit the switches “by feel” without looking.

I love @brad’s feature of “linked clones” for song states, which enabled me to go completely “linear” in my state changes without having to maintain separate copies of the same state when editing.

But my approach only makes sense when the state sequence stays stable across performances - if I needed to flip between states semi-spontaneously (more improvised material where I want to be flexible with sounds), I’d probably work with drum pads (easier to hit than buttons) for individual states when standing up and a foot controller when sitting down.


I use a programmable NumPad (Cherry) that sits on my keyboard.
You can switch song / rack states with s / t or choose a number and than s for song states or t for rack states.
In conjunction with seemless switching you can hold down the sustain pedal while switching and have no gap between the sounds.
My 2in1 Convertible is in tablet mode so that I can see my leadsheets for the songs.
Normally I use cloned states so that I only have to go one step further with s / t.

Side effect is that I don’t have to rely on specific controllers that the a keyboard has (or not).

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+1 for the Boss FS-5U, you can always get 2, one for up and one for down… They’re kind of industry standard in the theatre world, they’re built to last and while I don’t think any foot pedal is 100% immune to the dreaded double tap, I can count on the fingers of one hand the times that it’s happened to me and mostly due to user error…


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