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FR-4X Sound Sets

Caps

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I am looking at the FR-4X and the various sound sets. I have a FR-3S that is 11 years old and considering upgrading. The FR-4X comes with a ton of sound sets and each dealer seems to have their own customized user programs. Dale Mathis has a nice sounding set as does Faucetti. There is also an aftermarket user program set being marketed by Richard Noel and Gary Dahl. I am wondering if anyone has used all of them (or more than one) and which is the best organized for practical use. By that I mean if you were playing a "type" of music eg Italian, there would be a user program for it that would have the most useful tones and then if you switched to "Country" or Waltz or Polka, etc. there would be a user set that would group the most usable tones together. Hope this makes sense. I know its all subjective but before I plunk down $150 for user programs or try to write my own (maybe) I would like to hear the experience of others.
 

Ventura

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when was the fr4 released ¿?

gary died a little over 3 years ago

his music is still available ( the family has an authorized website )

gary was a jazz guy, acoustic accordions were his main squeeze...
 

Caps

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4X was released in 2016. Not sure when Dahl died but this is being marketed as "The essential collection" by GDTLC and is supposed to be new programming. Not actually considering this one as I couldn't find any real info on it. PS. Merry Christmas.
 
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Caps

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In my original post I misspoke . One set is being sold by Richard Noel and another by GDTLC. Separate products, not a collaborate effort. Just came out wrong. Also just found out that Dale Mathis set only comes with purchase of one of his accordions - not sold separately.
 
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Chickers

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I am looking at the FR-4X and the various sound sets. I have a FR-3S that is 11 years old and considering upgrading. The FR-4X comes with a ton of sound sets and each dealer seems to have their own customized user programs. Dale Mathis has a nice sounding set as does Faucetti. There is also an aftermarket user program set being marketed by Richard Noel and Gary Dahl. I am wondering if anyone has used all of them (or more than one) and which is the best organized for practical use. By that I mean if you were playing a "type" of music eg Italian, there would be a user program for it that would have the most useful tones and then if you switched to "Country" or Waltz or Polka, etc. there would be a user set that would group the most usable tones together. Hope this makes sense. I know its all subjective but before I plunk down $150 for user programs or try to write my own (maybe) I would like to hear the experience of others.
 

Chickers

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Hi Newbie:
I have a FR-4X from Dale Mathis. Great accordion, and a tremendous variety of voices to choose.
I've only had it for a few months, so I haven't been able to review all the flexibility, and review many
of the sound sets
I'm not playing in a group, or for an audience, so I think my 4X is more than I can handle, and more than I
will ever need.
CHICKERS
 

Caps

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Hi Chickers:
Do you find that the sound sets are arranged so that you can switch registers within a set without it sounding weird? Does the bass change as well when you switch registers? I have read the manuals but I am having a hard time with the concept of dozens of sets and 14 user programs. I also understand there is sound editor software somewhere but cannot find any manual on it or what it does. I don't play four audiences usually either, mostly just for myself and occasionally for retirement homes. Better than meditation for venting frustrations. Can't be in a bad mood when playing happy songs.

John
 

Keymn

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Editing sound sets on your FR4x is a matter of opinion. The FR4x is simple enough to create your own sound sets. But the marketing on YouTube videos seem to work and I commend those that put them out.
As for me, I use the accordion as an accordion. My keyboard for performing gigs that require it. It will expand your need as a musician.
 

JerryPH

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1 - Do you find that the sound sets are arranged so that you can switch registers within a set without it sounding weird? 2 - Does the bass change as well when you switch registers? 3 - I have read the manuals but I am having a hard time with the concept of dozens of sets and 14 user programs. 4 - I also understand there is sound editor software somewhere but cannot find any manual on it or what it does.
1 - Mostly even of 3rd party sets are not arranged very well, that is dependent a lot on who made the sets. That said it is easy to re-arrange to your tastes with a little time, patience, practice using the JAVA based computer editor.

2 - In some cases, yes... it depends on the set and who/how it is programmed.

3 - Dozens of sets of 14 user programs? Try 100 X 14 for the FR-4X, so 1400 individual settings, and you can keep thousands of even more combinations on a USB key, basically an UNLIMITED number of combinations. For example, I have like 68 sets and 37 UPGs on my FR-8X for a total of 1,470 registrations to date. Already more than I'd ever realistically need, but I make small modifications to the Richard Noel sets (change instruments, balance them better, change effects), to make it a bit more mine and honestly, I've not even felt the need to start getting heavy in to programming my own.

4 - You've not tried the most obvious location... the Roland website!

The Roland accordions really do their best with owners who love to experiment, learn and try new things. The more time you invest in learning about the 4X, the more you will get out of it. I feel that my 8X became a completely different instrument after the Richard Noel sets, and really should have come that way from the factory. Also case use is super important. Some people all they want is a digital "acoustic" accordion, where others want something that can sound like a complete orchestra (ever hear Michael Bridge's 1812 Overture?) There are extremes to everything and every possible permutation in the middle is available. The limitation is not the instrument, but the owners. :)

Enjoy!
 
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Chickers

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Hi Chickers:
Do you find that the sound sets are arranged so that you can switch registers within a set without it sounding weird? Does the bass change as well when you switch registers? I have read the manuals but I am having a hard time with the concept of dozens of sets and 14 user programs. I also understand there is sound editor software somewhere but cannot find any manual on it or what it does. I don't play four audiences usually either, mostly just for myself and occasionally for retirement homes. Better than meditation for venting frustrations. Can't be in a bad mood when playing happy songs.

John
JOHN:
On the FR-4x, only the treble change occurs when hitting a register, normally. However, I believe that you can "customize" your own
sounds-sets, and store them in memory, which will then also change the bass as well as treble by hitting a register. I have not actually
tried that feat, but that is my understanding.
Frankly, I find the more I try to understand what I can do with the 4X, the more confused I get, so like one of the other forum members stated--
he uses his 4X as an accordion, and also uses a keyboard for more variety. I don't have that kind of talent, so I play "around" with the
4X switches, and enjoy what come out. Ha ? Sometimes, I enjoy what comes out.
I'm really not a very accomplished accordionist, but I enjoy the accordion, am greatly intrigued by the versatility of the accordion, and amazed
at the complexity of sound voices especially from reed type accordions. The synthesized voices of the 4X, (V-Series) accordions as impressive in a somewhat different context. Electronic wonders.
Again, in the right hands, in the hands of an accomplished musician / accordionist the 12 bass Chinese squeeze box can sound pretty good, and the Grand Symphony in the same accomplished hands sound MAGNIFICENT.
Sorry, a lot of rambling around for such a direct question.
Also, John, knowing you're from Myrtle Beach, and I'm from Cleveland, we should get to know each other.
I hope it's O.K. to post direct e-mails on the forum----if it is O.K., let's make a connection.
CHICKERS
 

Caps

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1 - Mostly even of 3rd party sets are not arranged very well, that is dependent a lot on who made the sets. That said it is easy to re-arrange to your tastes with a little time, patience, practice using the JAVA based computer editor.

2 - In some cases, yes... it depends on the set and who/how it is programmed.

3 - Dozens of sets of 14 user programs? Try 100 X 14 for the FR-4X, so 1400 individual settings, and you can keep thousands of even more combinations on a USB key, basically an UNLIMITED number of combinations. For example, I have like 68 sets and 37 UPGs on my FR-8X for a total of 1,470 registrations to date. Already more than I'd ever realistically need, but I make small modifications to the Richard Noel sets (change instruments, balance them better, change effects), to make it a bit more mine and honestly, I've not even felt the need to start getting heavy in to programming my own.

4 - You've not tried the most obvious location... the Roland website!

The Roland accordions really do their best with owners who love to experiment, learn and try new things. The more time you invest in learning about the 4X, the more you will get out of it. I feel that my 8X became a completely different instrument after the Richard Noel sets, and really should have come that way from the factory. Also case use is super important. Some people all they want is a digital "acoustic" accordion, where others want something that can sound like a complete orchestra (ever hear Michael Bridge's 1812 Overture?) There are extremes to everything and every possible permutation in the middle is available. The limitation is not the instrument, but the owners. :)

Enjoy!
JerryPH:
Thanks for the info.
I downloaded the editor and it didn't work at first, then I realized that I needed Java on my pc for it to run then found that it didn't run with Edge so needed to download Chrome. Now it works except that I now need to plug in an FR4X to actually do anything with it. Operation seems pretty clear however, at least as far as moving sounds around and organizing the sets and user programs. I have had an FR-3S for the last 11 years and it took me a long time to organize it the way I wanted and it has way fewer options. I've also downloaded all the manuals for the 4X and am studying them. Getting ready for the next step..
John
 

JerryPH

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Next step may be to join the Roland FR-4X Roland forums at Groups.IO and read all posts that were made from day 1... I did that except with the FR-8X, and it helped me a lot, especially with expectations.

oh... editor install and setup:

Edit: Yes the accordion must be connected each time for the editor to work... that is normal.
 

Ventura

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it sounds like the 4x now has many of the programming abilities that were once reserved for the
7 and 8 series

for using the Java program, it will be helpful for learnng the layout
and interdependence between things, but some programming you
simply will need to do ON the instrument so that you can HEAR the
results more immediately, and then make fine adjustments

a basic suggestion would be to set up a simple template for future
programming fun. what i mean by that is learn how to first set a Bass tone
you like and that is very versatile (like a simple upright bass) and a chord
tone that works with most everything (like a fender rhodes sound)
select a simple treble sound like L or master

set a conservative ambiance for the template patch as well
(you can always rev up the Reverb later)

save that

copy it to other locations and THEN begin to explore the treble options

in other words, if you have a basic Left Hand universal patch to start with,
it makes life a lot simpler and you can focus on the right hand sounds and
combinations, saving the ones with promise

you can always change the Bass and Chord stuff later, or keep it and just
move on to the next programming idea

think of your patches in terms of SONGS that you know

like, i have patches that were designed with my brain remembering
Wienachten music i heard in the Heidleberg christmas market, with
the sound echoing around the streets and bouncing off the Kirk in the square

or take a song like "in the Mood" and try to come up with a patch
that really lets you play it

or pick some great old 50's song you have been singing in your
head for 50 years now... make a sound that lets you play it !

like i have sets on my FR7 that go through a 60's setlist so that i
can just move up the shifts between each song, and the sounds
for each patch are tweaked to support the specific song

Rhythm of the Rain
Mister Blue
for my Lady
Downtown
how Sweet it is
Apache
My Girl
My Guy
my Boyfriends back
Be My Baby
Runaway
Black is Black

taks a setlist like that, make a patch for each song...
like Downtown i can switch between a Piano (for the hooks) and a good Accordion sound for the melody
and How Sweet is back and forth between a Sax and an LM tone
Runaway is a good, quick Organ with percussion
Be My Baby is just a full on "Wall of Sound" (tip of the hat to Phil Spector)

then take 12 Jazz songs you like to play and make a setlist and patches for them

you get the idea

if your programming is focused on a specific result, you may find it less tedious
(at first) and of course, just drifting off into the ether is fine too, but not being frustrated
is bimportant until you get good at it

good luck and have fun !

ciao

Ventura
 

Caps

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Thanks ventura,
That makes sense. Hope you're doing well. We haven't chatted since we moved from Virginia to Myrtle Beach. I still have my old Sonola and it works well. The midi LT Excelsior was sold a few years ago. It just never felt as good as the sonola. The Fr-3s still works great but doesn't have the quality of sound the 4X does. Next time I get up to Virginia perhaps we can get together - if all this Covid crap dies out.
John C.
 

Chickers

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JOHN C
as mentioned before , I recently purchased a FR-4X from Dale Mathis of Crown Music.
I'm in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and travel to Myrtle Beach quite often---but not this past year.
If you would like, I would be open to conversations on the 4x by e-mail.
jg4tools@gmail.com
CHICKERS
 

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