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Hammer Time: keytar advice from Jan Hammer on BBC’s Rock School, 1987
08:44 am

Here’s one for all the synth geeks out there: keyboard maestro Jan Hammer on the BBC TV show Rock School 2 in 1987, giving some advice on how best to play the keytar, or rather, his Yamaha KX5 remote keyboard.

Learn it and learn it well, children. As Jan is careful to point out, the key to getting his trademark note-bending synth style is not about a specific kind of keyboard or synth:

it’s really not [about] a particular instrument or a particular patch, it [could be] something with a sharp attack, with a reasonable amount of sustain, that is going through some sort of distortion device or an amp. And then it’s about what you play.


Most people only know Jan Hammer through his work on Miami Vice, but he was responsible for some brilliant music before the era of the-white-suit-with-rolled-up-sleeves.

‘Don’t You Know” by the Jan Hammer Group from 1977 is a classic break and a gorgeous tune in its own right, a beautiful slice of psych-funk that will wipe the smirk off any Hammer-doubters listening (even if it leaves his unfortunate comb over intact):

Thanks to Philip McEachen.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
08:44 am