Us and Them at open mic this week

Our open mic project this week is “Us and Them”. Someone else will be playing the piano, my assignment is Hammond. I’m leaning toward VB3 II / IK Leslie but hoping a Pink Floyd expert might have tips on how to get that shimmer. VB3 1.4 again might be the way to go?

Came up with this (playing sustained part on upper):

EDIT (next day) The above sounds good - I’ve figured out that the organ part is a snap and only needs one manual. What would be tough is playing the piano part at the same time.

Us and Them went so well we were asked to return to play a Pink Floyd set next week.

  1. Money
  2. Breathe
  3. Another Brick in the Wall
  4. Us and Them (again)

I suggested we skip the cash register samples but they really want me to provide that. Should I just use media player or should I find a VST I can assign sound clips to keyboard notes?

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Good for you! I would use the mediaplayer. If you want, you can set it as non-master/non-slave and then simply assign any button or key to it to play the file. No need to use a separate VST.


Cash Registers certainly add to the intro and fans will expect it. Key issue will be can your bass player start at the right time point. I’ve worked with bass players who get it no sweat, and others who always struggle.

Also the question is how will you cover the sax part? When Pure Floyd was a four piece, I came up with a synth sole using a big fat square wave patch on my Nord G2 (first) and plenty of pitch bend, and just got the vibe of the notes the sax player was hitting at certain points. No point trying to replicate it accurately (keyboards are no sax facsimile).

Greetings from another Floyd nut, who is digging deeper than ever into how Rick Wright played this parts (never the same way twice!).

As hermanoantequera says, you could easily grab a turnaround of the into, put it in a loop (whilst you hold a key), and drop it in a media player. Or creating a single non looping WAV with enough turnarounds and have a single non looped sample.

Thanks for the advice - I’ll go with the WAV. I think I found the actual clip on a website by Kit Rae:

Another mp3 on his site is the (mostly) isolated Hammond on Us and Them which was really interesting to listen to. Fun to read and listen to the interviews with “The Hat” and Puddie Watts etc.

Our open mic volunteers included a good sax player who already knows the part. We’re not N4N but the spirit of the song comes across pretty well.

Yep, I would grab the loop right off the cd and just assign a start/stop key to it.

Edit- well never mind, I guess that guy saved you the trouble! :smiley:

I’ve always found the media player too restrictive for anything more than basic sound clips or backing tracks. For most of my samples, I either need to be able to “play” them across the keyboard (e.g. shaku in Sledgehammer) or apply a bit of fade-in or fade-out when I release the key (e.g helicopter in The Wall).

I’ve tried a number of free and commercial samplers for the most light-weight and convenient option; these days I use sforzando as a simple sampler. Far easier than using a big gun like Kontakt for simple sound clips.

The only downside: you need to learn the “language” of sforzando - it’s not GUI-based but uses a script to build instruments from basic samples. But the scripts are pretty simple to get, at least for basic use.



Thanks for the heads up on Sforzando. I’m going to get up to speed on it.

The bass player and I practiced today to get the timing on the start for Money. It’s strange because it comes in on the 3 of the cash register "beat’.

BTW, the Lounge Lizard BFly Rhodes Mark V into the Kuassa Efektor WF3607 set on type Wah type AX with everything else at default sounds fantastic for the Money keyboard part.

Question - Comfortably Numb has been added last minute. I never knew until today that they used an orchestra. Can anyone recommend a VST plugin and patch for the strings? I think I’m just going to use MiniMoogVA for the brass part but any recommendations on something better would be much appreciated.

Hi Doug

I am using Hybrid " 09 Nice Strings" patch in my 3-piece experimental band. Works very nicely, and light on resources. I am, by no means, trying to do an exclusive tribute thing, but it cuts thru and sounds great. I don’t have enough hands and feet to re-create the real deal (I also play the guitar leads).


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They counted the loop in 4 until the bass actually came in. THEN it goes in seven. :wink: Actually I count 9 beats, and the loop comes in clipped anyway. I think they just did it by feel. As long as the loop is going you can count in anywhere, really.

Great suggestion on using Hybrid “09 Nice Strings”. Just the simple solution I was hoping for. Thanks!

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You mean the strings for the 1/16th pattern in the chorus, I assume? I use Korg M1 with one of its strings patches (use the patch category search for strings) - but I tweaked it to get the attack right (that’s the crucial bit for me) and EQed it to make it sit right and still cut through. Also, I mostly play the strings 1 octave higher - helps cut through better in a live situation.

Plus two blended M1 string / pad patches for the fundamental pad sound. But we don’t play CN very close to the original, so I actually add a piano to the pad - heresy, I know…

But what brass part do you refer to??



I think there is some brass - for instance at 4:08 but it’s so subdued I’m going to join you in the “what brass?” question :grinning: I think it’s french horns doing a wha-wha right after he sings “the corner of my eye”.

Last question - being asked if I can do something for the steel guitar slides in the beginning. It’s so drenched in effects I’m thinking some synth can probably substitute?

I use pitch wheel on strings for the guitar slide intro. I have a slide guitar vst, but it wasn’t as effective as just using the strings. Again, doing this 3-piece with no backing tracks, and no sound files was quite a challenge, but I managed pull it off.

I use a Hive patch with the modulation envelope controlling the pitch. I built this as a “fire-and-forget” one-shot sound, so I use a drum pad on my upper controller to simply fire this off. The trick is to use ModEnv with a negative impact on pitch and use the release phase to create the slide (back to original pitch). Fine tune the slide amount via modulation depth in slot 1, then adapt release time for both modulation and amp to taste

With a bit of reverb, this works nicely.

Then I’ve assigned a drum pad on my upper keyboard to fire a full chord, so I can trigger the whole slide with a single touch:

I leave out all the other nice little slide ornaments - far too busy playing the main part and singing. There’s only so much you can do as a single keyboardist with lead vox duties - the chorus gets pretty busy; chords in left hand, solo strings right hand, plus “there is no pain…”

Additionally, I’ve created a nasty little “scream” sample patch in sforzando for the “there’ll be no more ‘aaah’” - far cooler than the too-civilized choir “aaah” :wink: That’s another drum pad.

Overall, my CN setup looks like this:



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Ah, another Hive user… It is a fine synth (as all UH-E synths are). :slight_smile:

Interesting to see how non backing track users are pulling it off. We use backing tracks, but they need redoing, which is on of my jobs this year.

There is something there, and I use an Oboe sound for that part. It is all orchestrated on the original.

There is brass (mainly french horns by the sound of it) in the song but it’s very soft and pad- like. Really, any soft synth sawtooth brass works imo.

Thanks for all the detail about Hive - love the preset name!. I looked at Hive last December when they added wavetable capability and thought it might be a fun synth plugin to own. I’ve always loved trippy psychedelic soul, funk and rock (Billy Preston Outta Space etc) and it seems like Hive would be good for creating sounds for that.

I almost bought myself this Rondo Music lap steel for Christmas - SX Lap 8 Ash NA 8 String ($190 US) after I saw bassist Kris Dale playing one. I have too much on my plate to start learning that right now :sunglasses: There’s a niche, playing lap steel in a Pink Floyd band.