They guys at Electro-Harmonix have really stepped up their ‘voicing’ game over the last few years, especially with their B9 and C9 organ machines. I knew they were on to something when you start hearing the chatter from many guitarists interested in this pedal, which I was a bit surprised and confused at first. EHX now has the Electro-Harmonix Key 9 Electric Piano Machine, and I had a chance to play one.
So, I’ve never played keyboards – besides the crappy casio for messing around. Don’t know how to play piano, etc, but I’m familiar with some of the classics sounds from the Wurlitzer and Rhodes on various recordings. When approaching this pedal, I had to scratch my head a bit. I think there are 2 types of musicians that will get into this pedal. The first type – people that want to emulate those sounds for songs that do not have an electric piano player in the band, and the other type, the person that just wants to create different and unexpected sounds. So one is true to the pure electric piano tone, and the other, experimental.
My first thought playing the unit, I’m always impressed with how well Electro-Harmonix stuff tracks. It’s amazing. The tracking is excellent. For those of you not understanding tracking, it’s when the processor can’t decide what octave/pitch/etc it needs and bounces and stutters around. I HATE that. You can hear that on older octave pedals with chords. This thing tracks like a dream.
The Electro-Harmonix Key 9 Electric Piano Machine has a simple layout Dry / Keys which controls the ‘mix’ CTRL 1 and CTRL 2, which is dependent on the Mode you have selected. There is a rotary mode knob that allows you to select the type of electric piano – Dynamo, Wurli, Suitcase, Mallets, Eighty Eight, Tri-Glorious, Vibes, Organ and Steel Drums.
When I tried to emulate electric piano, I made it sound like as if I played piano.. which, if you hear me play piano, it’s not good, but the tones were amazingly spot on, so I started to tweak. Hours later, I was blown away by the sounds I was able to muster for guitar. The creative potential is super high, and I was excited about the prospect of using this as a creation tool for some interesting tones for guitar.. not just emulating electric piano. I have to say, it was some of the most fun I had in a while messing around with guitar.
I want to include their official video for the Electro-Harmonxi Key 9 Electric Piano Machine so you can see how accurate/close this thing can sound to famous electric keys out there:
The Electro-Harmonix Key 9 Electric Piano Machine is available for only $221.30 on Amazon.com right now. If you’re looking for the electric keys/piano sound or looking for something to get you out of a rut, this might be a great tool. Check it out!
If you own the Key 9 yourself, please let us know what you think by commenting below!