Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > ....and nobody played synths!

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gabriel79 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 08:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

it is written in the early queen albums but....is it true(that queen didn't play synths)?

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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 08:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I can't exactly answer you question (at all).. but I'm interested on what the sound is at the end of Get Down, Make Love..the part where it sounds like a game of Space Invaders..


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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 09:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

They didn't play on synth 'till The Game album. They used Electric piano, piano and many of kinds of keyboards, but not synth.
Sounds from Get Down Make Love and other has been done by Brian's guitar.
Actually, you better not ask such questions here, because you can get a lot of crap back from advanced Queen fans :)

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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 09:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's all Bri, equipped with a couple of delays, harmonizers, flangers and other effects. I think juls and Sebastian can explain exactly with what equipment he created those strange noises, but it's definitely Bri. Watch GDML on We will Rock you.
The first Synth was used on "The Game", an Oberheim, I think. It was Rog's, he was the first to get into using them.


Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 09:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Writing too long and posting too late - Serry got it first, sorry for the repetition. ;-)


Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 09:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i knew tha the 1st synth was used on the game...but in this forum sometimes you learn alot of surprises...

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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 09:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

- An hammond organ was used on Queen I. For some people it is considered as a "synth"(you can hear it well just before freddie start singing, on Liar)

- Roger used syndrums on Jazz (fun it) and live (those whirling sound on live killers (Just before Death on 2 Legs, for example)



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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 10:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i'm wondering how a Hammond organ (almost certainly a B-3) could be considered a synth. imo, an organ is no more a synth than an electric piano.

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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 10:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

An organ is not a synth. Synth creates sounds. Organ doesn`t. So neither organ or e-pianos count as synths.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 11:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Neil " MOXIE " Glover wrote:


- Roger used syndrums on Jazz (fun it) and live (those whirling sound on live killers (Just before Death on 2 Legs, for example)


Yes! And my theory is that since RT Baker had returned from work with The Cars (who used them quite a bit), it was his suggestion to play around with them. But I'm full of baseless theories like that :)

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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 11:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

the "Get down make love" effects-wank is made with a harmonizer and delay pedal. The first album is indeed The Game / Fkash which used analogue synthesizers - a Hammond organ is no way a synthesiser, just like an electric piano isn't a synthesiser, because they generate a sound on a different way than a synth, like f.e. the Jupiter. The "no synth"-statement is just to prove the listeners and the guys from the production company (as Brian said once) that everything they hear is guitar, bass, piano and drums, so nobody could say "oh that Synth sounds nice".

I don't count electric drums to synthesizers, although they are nearer to a synth in terms of technology than an organ or an e-piano.


Special thanks to Arif Mardin who arranged and produced some hot and spacey horns on "Staying Power" ;-)
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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 13:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

One thing I've always wondered, though, is from the debut album to A Day At The Races, they say "no synthesizers" and stuff like that, but for News Of The World and Jazz, it doesn't say that there were no synths.

However, it doesn't say that there were synths. Did they just not put in that they didn't use synths, or did they really use them for those two albums?


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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 14:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

they didn't use synths until "The Game"


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Posted: 21 Oct 04, 17:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

whats with all the synths debates?? :(


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Posted: 22 Oct 04, 09:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

juls wrote:

the "Get down make love" effects-wank is made with a harmonizer and delay pedal. The first album is indeed The Game / Fkash which used analogue synthesizers - a Hammond organ is no way a synthesiser, just like an electric piano isn't a synthesiser, because they generate a sound on a different way than a synth, like f.e. the Jupiter. The "no synth"-statement is just to prove the listeners and the guys from the production company (as Brian said once) that everything they hear is guitar, bass, piano and drums, so nobody could say "oh that Synth sounds nice".


That`s very true, and to add something:

Synths tend to be very under-rated in some ways, and overly so in others. Specially back in the 70s. Some people actually thought that the high "for me" in Bo Rhap was a synth, and there`s an interview to Roger in which they ask him if that`s really his voice or a synth. Now, very few people can make a synth generate a wolf howl. How could it be possible to make a synth pronunciate words and more to the point sing?

That`s why the band put the "no synths" statement. As far as I know, there`s no synth able to do the effects of Get Down Make Love either. Queen (and prog bands in general, if I dare call Queen a prog band, at least during their first 5 albums) used a lot more studio/contemporary effects, than synths. With very few exceptions (e.g. Genesis), synths were used in pop music only for the following purposes, which aren`t related at all with analog substractive synthesis:

- Bass lines (e.g. Staying Power, Body Language...)

- Pads (e.g. Invisible Man, techno music, New Era, etc)

- Robotic sounds (e.g. Machines, A Human Body, Radio Ga Ga, Styx`s Mr Robotto...)

- Arpeggiator (e.g. Duran Duran`s Rio, Queen`s Action This Day & Las Palabras De Amor)

- Instrument Impressions

By the last point I mean, for example, to do violin parts in the keyboard. That was very useful and is nowadays very popular, because, for example, in Led Zeppelin`s All My Love, they would have to hire a 40 piece string orchestra and a trumpet player just for that song; and it would cost a lot of money (besides paying the conductor, the orchestra, the instruments, the transportation, think of how many mics and amps they`d have to add to the stage, and all just for a song). So it was easier to have those sounds stored in a keyboard that Jonesy played.

Nowadays hardly more than 1% of semi-pro bands or orchestra (either salsa, pop, rock or whatever) use synths. Now they use "workstations" (i.e. keyboards in which you can`t create sounds in, but you can use the pre-sets which fullfil the already mentioned functions).

Yes and Genesis are part of the very few group of rock bands that actually used synths or samplers for effects. The rest used some of the following:

- Backwards
- Tape Phasing
- Looping
- Reverb
- Fade

Then there`s the combination of those. For example in Ogre Battle the outro has some reverb. When it was reversed (for the intro), the echo came first and then the actual part, so it was a "phantom" like effect which didn`t require synths at all.

There are also specific effects for each instrument. In piano the best known one is the Phil Spector effect (which he didn`t invent but popularized), consisting in one person getting inside the piano and plucking the strings, while other person played. That way the piano "rang" (check Nevermore at the end of the verse).

In guitar, specially electric, there are many well-known "weird" effects, most of them achieved through pedals (listen to Rage Against The Machine). A good one which I just love is the effect of using a Talkbox and start tapping, while you generate very low sounds with your mouth.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.