This question made me wonder what the consensus is: Store only voice in PSR keyboard memory bank

The question has been closed, re-opened, and is in the close review queue again. I did a quick search through meta, and it doesn't look like anyone has asked whether questions about specific pieces of electronic music equipment are on-topic in MP&P.

What do we think?

2 Answers 2

  • Yes, questions about electronic music instruments are on topic.

  • Yes, questions about the use, care, and repair of instruments are on topic.

  • Yes, questions about specific instruments are on topic.


Yes, questions about electronic music instruments are on topic.

We don't discriminate against certain types of musical instruments here. If it is an instrument that can be used to make music, it is welcome here. We already have lots of questions tagged , , and .

Yes, questions about the use, care, and repair of instruments are on topic.

From our FAQ:

What topics can I ask about here?

Musical Practice and Performance Stack Exchange is for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. If you have a question about...

practice & performance technique
music theory and notation, history, or composition
instrument maintenance
usage of specific music software

... then you're in the right place to ask your question!

Yes, questions about specific instruments are on topic.

By specific instruments, I'm referring to a particular make of instrument, rather than the type of instrument; for example, asking a question about my Flea ukulele rather than not telling people which ukulele I have and making the question as generic as possible.

This seems to be the controversial one, but I'm not sure why. Of course, we want the question to contain as many details as are needed to be able to provide a good answer. In my ukulele question, if I hadn't specified which ukulele I had, no one would have known that it has a plastic bridge, which is unusual for ukuleles, nor would anyone have known that the manufacturer of that particular ukulele has a very generous warranty on their instruments. In another answer on this question, Alexander Troup indicated that he would vote to close a question about modifying a guitar if it included a particular make of guitar. It seems unthinkable to me that we would close an otherwise good question because the asker gave too much detail about their particular situation. A good question has lots of detail; a bad question has little or no detail. I don't know much about the Ibanez Universe 777, but if there is something unique about that guitar that makes scalloping frets a different process than with other guitars, then it is an important detail, and should definitely be on topic. Often, the asker doesn't know which details are important (because they don't know the answer), so we want to encourage as much detail as possible.

With some instruments, make is less important. For example, most trumpets are similar to each other, no matter who makes them. (At least I think so, I actually don't know much about trumpets.) With other instruments, especially electronic instruments, every make is different. Sure, keyboard synthesizers all have keys laid out in a piano pattern, but all of the other buttons are different on every keyboard. When asking a question about keyboards, the specific keyboard being played is crucial information.

At one time on Stack Exchange, questions could be closed for being too localized. The idea was that we want questions and answers to be useful to more than just one person. However, this is hard to judge. How do you know that no one else will ever have the same question? Sure, you might never buy a PSR i455 keyboard, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other people that do have them. Stack Exchange has since gotten rid of "Too Localized" as a close reason network-wide. There are other reasons to close, but the question we are talking about doesn't meet any of them: the question is not a duplicate of another one, it is not off topic, it is not unclear, it is not too broad, and it is not primarily opinion-based. Therefore, it should remain open.

  • While I agree with you, if an answer is ever "Check the manual" or "I looked in the manual and it said ..." then at least I think it is not a good fit for the site because the user could have easily found that information on their own. A perfect example is the giving question and your answer. Do we really need a question that the answer is something that should have been done in the first place?
    – Dom Mod
    Feb 18, 2014 at 13:44
  • @Dom The OP may not have had access to the manual or couldn't find it. I can tell you that the answer wasn't the easiest to Google, and this is evident by the fact that the question sat unanswered for a year (an earlier commenter tried and failed). Questions like this should be ontopic. Some questions are easy, some are hard, and both should be welcome on the site. We aren't going to run out of room on this site; in fact, we need more questions. Why close an on-topic question just because some think it too easy?
    – Ben Miller
    Feb 18, 2014 at 14:27
  • It's the first result when you search "yamaha psr i455 user manual" and of course we should care about the quality of questions. Why do you think we have a review queues? This question suffers from a similar problem where the best answer would be "Take it to a shop." but that answer in my mind is just as unacceptable as check the manual. We don't have to lower the quality of the site just because we want more questions. Quite recently we have been trending up in questions asked and they have good qual.
    – Dom Mod
    Feb 18, 2014 at 14:51
  • 1
    @Dom I didn't mean that the manual was not easy to find with Google, just the answer to the question. And I agree that quality of questions is important, but "easy" does not always equal "low quality." The keyboard question is clear, easy to understand, and contains all information needed for an answer. The "guitar untunes itself instantly" question has none of those qualities.
    – Ben Miller
    Feb 18, 2014 at 15:44
  • 2
    @BenMiller Thanks Ben. Your reasoning is well structured, convincing and well thought out. I agree with you now that it is an ambiguous area, but being that the asker may not know which other instruments have the same traits as their model it's completely acceptable for them to give their specific make and model. I'll leave my answer there to give context to the comments here, but I now agree that the question in question is unquestionably on topic :D Feb 20, 2014 at 16:10

I was the one that voted to close this time around. I think advice on specific pieces of equipment Is in the same category as asking for recommendations on a piece of equipment, because the question grows obsolete quickly, and is only of use to someone with that piece of equipment.

I think any question pertaining to a single model of kit should be on the close candidate list, unless the question is one which applies across the instrument as a whole.

For example, a question on how to scallop frets on an Ibanez Universe 777 would be a closer, but re-fitted to be "how do you scallop frets on guitar" would be fine.

Adding to comments made

as far as practice and performance goes, why focus on the specific instrument and not on the group it applies to? for example why ask about the pitch bender of a specific keyboard than the pitch bender on all keyboards?

  • 3
    I disagree. Asking a question about a specific instrument is nothing like asking for an instrument recommendation.
    – Ben Miller
    Feb 16, 2014 at 12:22
  • Why not? In the sense that the answer grows obsolete as tech advances or changes I believe they're the same. Feb 16, 2014 at 12:23
  • 3
    Not at all. The answer to a question about a specific instrument, whether it's the PSR i455 or the Ibanez Universe 777, will never change. The answer to "Which guitar is the best to buy?" will change. The two classes of questions are nothing alike.
    – Ben Miller
    Feb 16, 2014 at 12:32
  • I completely disagree. And in the electronic music field a lot of this kit is far from obsolete. In fact its much sought after. Feb 20, 2014 at 9:47
  • @Simon but as far as practice and performance goes, why focus on the specific instrument and not on the group it applies to? for example why ask about the pitch bender of a specific keyboard than the pitch bender on all keyboards? Feb 20, 2014 at 9:55
  • @Alexander I agree to a point .. Actually I think I agree entirely, but where it gets tricky is when you have performance parameters that are related to one device or a group of devices. Not all synths for example have a an LFO, and tweaking that is a great performance control for sound sculpting. It's a tricky one. I take your point about pitch bend or classes or control as such. Feb 20, 2014 at 9:58
  • How is the asker supposed to know what "the group [the question] applies to" is? That seems more like answer territory to me, though it could certainly make sense to retitle questions in light of the scope of their answers.
    – SamB
    Feb 9, 2015 at 23:46

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