Play Like a Pro: Get funky with the clavinet

KEYS WEEK 2023: It's our Play Like A Pro series! Here we are highlighting some of the best techniques to make you a better keyboard player, and this time we're getting deep, down and dirty with the clavinet. 

Perhaps the funkiest of all keyboard instruments, the clavinet responds well to short staccato playing. We’re using Pianoteq’s excellent Clav CL1 Basic preset in the video above, with some compression added to harden up the attack of the sound. Start by forming a G major triad (B, D and G) with the right hand.

With your left hand, form an octave on two low E notes, effectively making an Em7 chord when both hands are played together. Imagine playing bongos with a 16th note pattern, but only connect with the keyboard on some beats. Alternate between the two notes in your left hand, working them into the rhythm individually along with the right hand.

Now split the chord in your right hand between your thumb on B and your index and pinky fingers on D and G, then rock between the two halves of the chord. The key to a good clav part is the ‘bounce’, hitting the keys with short, clipped strikes. 

Finally, once the basic rhythm part is established, we can fill the gaps with right hand riffs and runs from the E minor blues scale.

Get funky with your clavinet technique

(Image credit: Future)

Looking for more great keyboard gear and technique? Get all our reviews, news, features, tutorials, tips and more at our Keys Week 2023 hub page.

With contributions from
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine