ARTICLES

Pushing All In On Red

I know what you’re thinking. “What a great Christian T-shirt slogan if it were still the 90’s! I’d print up a thousand of those bad boys with a picture of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns and proselytize on the street corners of Vegas. The masses of gambling addicts who’d lost their fortunes would now bet on red in an eternal way!” Sorry to burst your bubble but I’m talking about a very different “red”.

If I asked you to name a red piece of music gear, what would you say? You might think of a Strat or Tele or perhaps your favorite pedal. But if you’ve been in the worship music world over the last decade the word “Nord” has us all seeing red. I get it! They’re so pretty. They make your worship team immediately look much more like Hillsong or Elevation up there on stage. You almost can’t play a bad note when it’s coming out of that beautiful crimson machine. And with a low, low price of ONLY $3799.99 for a new Stage 3, why not push all in on red!?!?

It’s funny how trends go. I remember when churches had to get an Ensoniq to be on the cutting edge of the synth world. Maranatha and Promise Keepers couldn’t live without them so how could my church? Then in the 2000’s, if you were going to add an electric guitar to your band, he or she would HAVE to have a British Amp! Or at least an American made amp that copied the sound of the British amp. “Don’t come on this stage with a Fender…unless it’s a Tele!” Now, it’s the Nord. I can’t tell you how many large, modern churches I’ve been to that have that beautiful red beast on their stage. I also can’t tell you how many churches have sold me their Yamaha Motif so they could upgrade to that Nord.

Now, let’s get serious for a second. If you took a poll of your congregation, how many of them could tell the difference in sound between a Yamaha Motif and a Nord Stage? I’m guessing most of them wouldn’t even notice. If you had a Motif one week and a Nord the next, would anyone notice? I’m not knocking the Nord at all. I just want to challenge us to think critically about the way we use our church’s funds. A new Nord Stage 3 is an amazing piece of gear. No way around it. But ask yourself and your budget, would a Motif for $1000 do 95% of what that Nord will do. Or, will a used Nord Stage 2 at $2000 less do 99% of what the new one will do? I have two friends in Nashville that I talk keyboards with quite often. They tour with a couple little artists…Steve Miller Band and Garth Brooks. I asked them what their go-to workstation was over the last decade. Their answer??? Whatever is available at the time. Motif, Roland, Nord, Hammond. Each one has pros and cons but they mostly do 90% of the same things.

So, sit down, list your priorities and open your checkbook. If a new Nord Stage is the answer and your church can afford it, go for it! If you need to look for a good deal on a used one, great decision! Either way, having that provocative red box of glory sitting on stage will immediately up your street cred with the other modern worship folk! Now, make sure you leave room in your budget for an upright piano shell to hide it inside of. Oops!

*At ChurchGear, we buy and sell keyboards to churches, studios and music professionals all over the world. Several years ago we got an order for a vintage, late 70’s analog synth from a buyer in Sweden. That buyer’s name? Hans Nordelius. Yes, Mr. Nord himself!

Does your church have a storage space or closet filled with the church’s old music and production equipment…or keyboards? Are you struggling to figure out how to get the funds together to purchase that Nord you’re dreaming of? Let ChurchGear help.

Toby Walters is the owner and founder of, ChurchGear, a small company out of Franklin, TN. They buy your church’s used music & production gear. churchgear.com

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