A technical support community for Apple Logic Pro users.

Neil Gregson
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:49 am

Looking for a stock keyboard patch for ballads.

Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:29 am

Hi guys,

I'm a newbie so please be gentle. I'm writing a song for my wife in the style of the Backstreet Boys; she absolutely loves their music. I'm struggling to find a decent stock keyboard sound for a similar vibe to the chorus from "I Want it That Way".

Can anyone suggest some sounds that would at least get me in the ballpark, please? I've been looking for about an hour now, and just can't seem to find anything that sounds decent.

I also have the software that came with Arturia Minilab, but that just scares the bejeezus out of me.

Thank you very much for your help.

Posts: 433
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Looking for a stock keyboard patch for ballads.

Thu May 07, 2020 9:19 am

Hi Neil,

Welcome to the world of music production! It. Is. A. Niiiightmaaaaare.....! But it is a lot of fun, which cancels out a lot of the negative :)

I know that track, it's been with me since they released it, it's a Max Martin production, and he's a great producer who knows how to get the sounds he wants.

Listening (again) to that song I'd say the chorus instruments (minus the obvious bass and drums) consist of
- the guitar from the start now strumming chords (EXS24 Guitars -> Acoustic Guitar)
- a piano doing simple on-beat chord thickeners (EXS24 Piano -> Grand Piano)
- another piano type sound doing a simple downwards 3-note arpeggio (EXS24 Piano - Grand Piano)
- an electric guitar strum like the piano from line 2 - (EXS24 Guitar - Electric Guitar -> Twangy Electic : put it through a guitar amp Amps&Pedals -> Amp Designer and flick through a few of the Clean presets until you find one you like)
- strings doing mid-range pad stuff (EXS24 Pop Strings - EXS Strings 2 is a good place to start)
- a higher more synth-ey choral sound doing pad stuff (Retro Synth - Presets-> 02 Synth Pads -> Electric Choir + some reverb is good starting point)

To get the Piano and Pad playing at the same time, select the Piano and Pad Instrument tracks and hit cmd+shift+d and select a Summing Stack. Now when you select the Summing Stack (name it something sensible, don't leave it at Sum 1), the MIDI signal generated from your MID keyboard are fed to both piano and pad instruments. You might need to drop the volume of the pad, but that's up to you.

I hope _some_ of that helps :)

If you want to write with these instrument I'd probably started with a piano+string pad sound so you get the attack of the piano but the sustain of the pad. Then you can get your basic chord structure down. From there you can add your little arpeggios and strums where it feels right, probably near chord changes and bar lines.
Late 2014 iMac 5K, 3.5 Ghz i5, 24GB memory - OS 10.14.6 - Logic 10.5.1 - Scarlett 8i6
Late 2012 MBP, 2.7 Ghz i7, 16GB memory - OS 10.14.6 - Logic 10.5.1
Posts: 1006
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: Looking for a stock keyboard patch for ballads.

Tue May 12, 2020 3:57 pm

Also maybe worth commenting that the musical arrangement in the verse is quite a bit different – and, very much "less complex" – than the chorus. There are also some rather-interesting "swoop things" going on in the measures that take us from one to the other. (And then, "back again.") Really a very tight and still exemplary project.
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA