What’s Old is New Again.

Keyboard Setup Based on Vintage RMI 300B “Electra-Piano”

Remember me saying that Tom, the guy who sold me the Pax tape echo chamber is pretty cool?  Well … periodically he texts me links to good local deals on second-hand gear.  He seems to know exactly what kind of equipment I’m interested in, and he has a real nose for good deals.  I have added him to my contact list as “Tommy Tape Echo”.

A little over a month ago, he tipped me off to this really cool vintage keyboard from RMI (“Rocky Mount Instruments”).  I picked it up from a guy in Oakville that day for a couple hundred bucks.  Then, a few weeks later, when I finally got together with my experimental jam band, I put together a setup that looked like this (click the image to enlarge):

Retro Keyboard Setup

Korg MS-20 (Kit), Arturia Microbrute, Mackie 402 Mixer, EHX Small Clone Phase Shifter, Boss RE-20 Space Echo Pedal. All supported by the monstrous RMI 300B "Electra Piano"

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Yamaha SY35 Synthesizer – Downloadable Service Manual Now Available

Yamaha SY35 Vector SynthesizerAs promised, here’s the hard-to-find manual for Yamaha’s last Vector synth.

Yamaha sent it to me as 4 separate PDFs (Service Manual, MIDI Implementation, Parts List, Expanded big PCB pages), plus a monster-sized TIFF of the schematic. They didn’t want anything for it, and they didn’t ask any questions. I assembled the files into a single PDF, then used the the web-based Compress PDF to reduce the file size (to 6.5 MB, down from about 12 MB).

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Vintage Synth Ownership: A Labour of Love.

My recent acquisitions are a Roland Juno-106 and a Korg Poly-800II, both in excellent condition. Instant gratification. Not too shabby.

But sometimes a synth requires more nurturing. Sometimes crazy people like us even document their restorations for the world to see.

Moog Opus 3: 20 years in a damp basement

A Moog Opus 3 that was deserving of a better life.

Check out this picture-laden blog entry chronicling the resurrection of a Moog Opus 3. I find these types of blogs inspirational – they make me want to start documenting the stuff I do too.

I’ve done restoration work on a Yamaha CS40M, a Roland Jupiter-6, a couple of Roland Juno-106 keyboards, and a Korg DW-6000. Making a damaged or deteriorating instrument playable again is simply one of the most gratifying things a musician can do.