Page's Keys

Page gave a recorded "tutorial" about his gear that was broadcast as intermission of the webcast of hte 7/3/12 show. No links to the broadcast are known.

The FAQ is currently in the process of being updated in the new system. We apologize for any inconvenience, and will be updating this page as soon as possible.

The July 2007 Relix, accompanying a cover story about Page and based on an interview with him, provides this list of current Page equipment (p. 64):

  • Yamaha Motif 8 digital grand piano
  • Moog Little Phatty analog synthesizer thru Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner; Boss FV-300 volume pedal
  • Hammond B-3 organ thru Leslie l22 amp
  • Rhodes Stage 73 Suitcase piano thru Maestro Phase Shifter
  • Hohner D5 Clavinet piano thru Vox “Wah-Wah” thru Maestro Phase Shifter thru Boss NF-1 thru Fender Deluxe Reverb amp

NOTE: The following's a bit outdated, and needs to be cleaned up a bit, but does include some gems and info...

I need to fix the graphic. The Moog Source is now on top of the Clav (on the grand), and the Yamaha CS50 ("new in 1997") is now on the Hammond.

Page plays a Hammond B-3 organ with a Leslie speaker, a Hohner D6 Clavinet, a Moog (not a Mellotron), a Fender Rhodes electric piano, a grand piano, a theremin, and a Yamaha (presumably from the Great Went disco set) added 8-16-97 and first used throughout tour in the fall of 1997. The various keys are arranged on stage as follows (stagefront at the bottom of the image):  Graphic of Keys layout

Hammond: Page's Hammond B-3 organ (used since summer '92) was rebuilt by Al Goff, of Goff Professional, Newington, CT, regarded as the best in the business, with clients including Keith Emmerson (of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer & Emerson Lake and Powell), the Page/Plant tour, Sheryl Crow, and Paul Schaffer (of David Letterman's band). Goff modified Page's B-3 to have a solid state preamp (for roadworthiness), but the Leslie has an onboard tube amp, reportedly the only way to get that classic Hammond growl and scream. For more info on the Hammond, see The Hammond FAQ

Leslie: Page uses a Leslie 122 speaker (with built-in tube amplifier), also rebuilt by Goff -- this is the speaker with the front inside "spinner" behind Page's organs. The tweeter (the horn speaker on top of the woofer) spins (speed is controlled by the organist, usually with a draw bar at knee level), deflecting the sound from the woofer in a 90-degree elbow, creating a vibrato effect on the bend and frequency of the tone as the sound goes a small distance further away and closer to the back of the cabinet. There is thus a Doppler effect, and no "sound deflector". At a concert, the sound from the speaker is picked up by anywhere from one to four microphones before being sent through the PA system. Even with today's digital technology, it's difficult to create just the right organ sound without a Leslie speaker. For more info on the Leslie, see The Hammond FAQ

Clavinet: The Hohner Clavinet rests atop the grand piano. It was previously reported as a D6, but that has a wooden case; given the black top, it is likely an E7 or a Duo (D2). (See the photos in the liner to A Live One.) It's used particularly in "Tweezer", "Scent of a Mule", and "You Enjoy Myself". For Clav elsewhere, check out the Wild Magnolias' self-titled debut album, which Josh Paxton described as "nothing but deep, deep New Orleans funk, recorded circa 1973."

Fender Rhodes: This keyboard is an antique, a valuable collector's item not manufactured since 1976. Page's is positioned directly behind him when he's playing the grand piano. The inside is like a xylophone, except that each key hits small metal rods that vibrate in front of magnetic pickups (rather than hammer-struck metal bars picked up by a microphone), sending a signal just like an electric guitar (rather than like a piano). The rods are touch-sensitive, and the Rhodes even has a sustain pedal. It's connected to a standard keyboard amp, and produces a very nice clavichordish sound. (Note that Billy Joel plays one through a phase distorter.) More info on the Fender Rhodes.

Grand Piano: Page had said he wouldn't play "Loving Cup" until he had one, and Phish began playing the song at this show. A 7'6"" Yamaha C7 "baby grand" piano replaced a Yamaha CP-70 beginning 2-3-93. As Hank noted 6/6/99, a full grand piano is 9' long.

Moog Source: On top of the Hammond B-3 is a Moog Source, built in 1981 "as a replacement to the classic Minimoog. It is a three octave monophonic synth, but it was one the first keyboards to have presets and memory in it. I only know of one famous user, that would be the synth pop band New Order, who used it for the bassline of the early techno classic Blue Monday." (Jamie Rinaldi ) "It is silver, with membrane buttons. It is a monophonic analog synth. I know many synth pop and techno/house performers use them, but I'm only sure of one recording its used on. That is the synth pop classic 'Blue Monday by New Order. (It does the whole 'um pah um pah' octaving synth bass line). Page tends to use it for leads, and some odd FX sounds (like on 'Mike's Song' on Slip Stich and Pass). 'Frankenstein' is probably the best example of him playing the synth." (Jamie Rinaldi jamie@ntplx.net> 7/23/98)

Page does not a Mini-moog (remake of the original, without kinks) but the Source (much more digital in nature) and not a Mellotron, which wouldn't fit on top of the B3.

Yamaha CS80: In summer 1997, until perhaps Summer 1999, Page used a larger polyphonic synthesizer, though possibly not always the same one. It was on the audience side and closed him into a square of keyboards. It has sometimes been confused as a Moog MemoryMoog, but is not. In the winter 1997 shows, it appeared to have the woodgrain finish and knob placement of a Sequential Circuts Prophet-5. In The Phish Book there's a Yamaha CS80 (a five-octave 250lb monster) right beside the B3. "Lots of people used the CS80, including Stevie Wonder and one of the guys from Tangerine Dream." (Jamie Rinaldi ) But __ confirmed via binoculars 10/2/99 that it's a CS-50, not a CS-80: "The CS-80 does not have quite as many of the multicolored buttons right above the keyboard, and does not have the full bank of sliders from the middle of the panel all the way to the right end." ( 10/11/99) See also vintagesynth.com.

Synths Change: "Page has been known to rotate synths in his lineup. I saw a korg prophecy atop his b in cleveland '95. The thing was a fucking nightmare to program, which might be why he got rid of it, but then again, I don't know if he programs his own synth sounds ( very few keyboardist do ), but his mastery of drawbar settings lead me to believe so. Also I have seen the flatpanel moog as seen in the Phish book and a Live One inserts slide in and out of his rig, probably for repairs here and there. Keep in mind that page has a strict taste for the real deal (another reason why he probably abandoned the korg), and aside from the piano, organ, and rhodes, analog synths constantly breakdown, go out of tune, and do strange shit at will (all of wich add to the excitement of live performance) so this explains his constantly rotating analog kit." (Brad Cramer 7/19/99)

Mellotron (for those interested anyway): Richard Melcher () emailed (10/20/96) that he "found this on the King Crimson FAQ and thought it might be of intrest to some. ...John Medeski has used this instrument...

  • The Mellotron is a keyboard instrument that provided "samples" of instruments in the pre-digital days. The white waist-high boxes seen in early photos of KC are the most common version, the Model 400. [See also the King Crimson Frame By Frame box set, with pictures of the band onstage with two Mellotrons on pages 22 and 24.]... It works by using a of 35 (one per key), 6-foot, three-track tapes, each with its own playback head. The tape strips are moved mechanically from side to side to select which track, and therefore which instrument is played when a key is depressed. A blend of any two instruments on adjacent tracks can be achieved by parking the rack so that the heads are "halfway" between the two tracks. When a key is pressed, a motor-driven rotating spindle catches the front end of its associated strip of tape, pulling it across the tape head and the instrument(s) recorded on that tape are played back in the same fashion as a tape deck. The tape length and motor speed combine to provide about 8 seconds of playback time per note. When the key is lifted, a spring snaps the tape back to its original position, ready to be played again. This system (as opposed to similar systems using tape loops) allowed each note to have it's own "attack transient". This is the beginning portion of a note played on any instrument, the most important part as far as the brain's ability to identify an instrument is concerned. In pre-sampler days, this was the only way this kind of "realism" could be achieved. ... The Mellotron was preceded by the Chamberlain, an instrument based on very similar technology, and manufactured by the same company. Other models included the Mark 1 and Mark 2, both with two side-by- side 35-note keyboards (G to F), the Model 300, (only two tracks per tape and a 52-note keyboard), and the T.550 (a 400 built into a road case). Available sounds included strings, flutes, choirs, brass, sax, Hammond organ, marimba, glockenspiel, timpani rolls, and -lots- of sound effects. Users include KC, Yes, The Moody Blues, Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and many other "progressive" bands from that era. More recent sightings include XTC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Anekdoten, Smashing Pumpkins, Soul Asylum, Garbage, Freddy Fender, Heart.... It's a Renaissance! ... For more information write to: David Kean, Mellotron Archives, 721 Michael, Moses Lake, WA 98837 USA."

Al Goff emailed (5/7/96):

  •      "When I first met the band, they had not yet been signed and were just getting ready to do the CD. They just kind of showed up at my house in CT one night after calling me regarding some work on Page's original HAMMOND M-100 organ. After I spent an entire night modifying and repairing the organ and Leslie model 760, they picked it up early in the morning and drove to the next show. I realized that this was one very hard working band destined for greatness!      "The original M-100 organ was used on the CD and up until the time the band was signed by Elektra. Page then called me to tell me that they had been signed and asked me to custom build him a HAMMOND B-3 and Leslie 122 for touring. His custom GOFF Professional HAMMOND B-3 is a late 1950's vintage organ, in it's original cabinet. It has been completely rebuilt and refiltered for the classic Screamin' HAMMOND sound. It also has special modifications to allow him to "stretch-out" and play, as he has certainly become one of the finest HAMMOND players in the world. Page features the B-3's custom percussion booster in the song RIFT. He uses it as a solo voice (with no HAMMOND harmonic drawbars added) and as an effect to give the distinctive percussion popping sound. This is a great song, played by a master HAMMOND organist (and good friend)!      "His B-3 also has accoustic spring reverb, adjustable chorus, a completely refiltered and recalibrated mechanical tonewheel generator (which creates the 91 individual sounds in a HAMMOND), keyboard inputs to allow him to plug keyboards, guitars, etc. into the organ for playing them through the Leslie, and many other special mods.      "His GOFF Professional Leslie 122 speaker (he now has two) features a rebuilt and modified tube amplifier, a new upper 60 watt driver and 100 watt woofer, and several special cabinet tuning mods to deliver the classic sound.      "I recently (4-96) had the organ and both Leslie's in my CT shop for normal maintenance work just prior to Phish playing the New Orleans . Oddly enough, I also had both of Gregg Allman's touring HAMMOND B-3's and Leslie 122's in my shop after ABB's great shows at the Beacon Theater in New York, where Page sat in for Gregg one night (due to an injury) and played with the Allman Brothers. He told me later that he had a great time and enjoyed the experience of playing along side Dickie Betts, Warren Haynes, Butch and Jaimoe, etc.      "Page has some new surprises in store for the Phish fans, but I can't say any more about them except that he may be adding a surprise new vintage instrument to his arsenal!"

Lessons? Page reportedly learned how to play Synthetic Sounds in 1997 from Aaron Manger of the Disco Biscuits.

Trey's Keys: Trey has been making increasing use of a mini-keyboard, as part of stepping back with and from his guitar, and also as part of the "new" Phish sound (post-1997). According to Guitar Player (August 2000), the keyboard is a Yamaha AN1-X keyboard synthesizer. (Steve 7/16/00) Recently, it has been seen especially in "Sand" but also e.g. during "Guyute" 10/5/00.


 

Thanks also to Alan Verostick , Bob Boster , Joe Rut "passing along info from the AOL Hammond organ forum where Goff posts", , Jonathan Dennis Kirshbaum , Mike Gallant , Erik Rowland Janus , Charles B. Gillett , Eric Fein , Jonathan Sweigart (4/15/99), Richard Tessel (11/20/97), R. Barnum (3/15/98), Douglas La Combe (5/4/98), Andrew Q. Winter (11/10/98), Stewart (5/20/99).

"Even when someone's taking a solo, it's not ever solo. I don't really think there's ever solos [in Phish performances], except the end of Squirming Coil, where Page is actually playing by himself.""
-- Jon Fishman, 4/22/92 interview with Shelly Culbertson"



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