Friday, July 24, 2009
What was your first synthesizer? Mine was a Korg Poly-800. I was in about 7th grade and had recently discovered synthesizers and became obsessed with getting one of my own. There was a music store (the now sadly defunct "Downtown Music" in White River Junction, Vermont) across the street from the martial arts studio I was taking lessons at and I used to spend hours at before and after my Karate and Judo classes. The guy who ran the store was a friendly guy who called himself "Downtown Dave" (as an adult, I now realize how much that sounds like a pimp name...) who never bitched that his store became my second home despite my inability to buy anything there. I eventually decided I absolutely had to have a Korg DW-6000.
So, I worked all summer mowing lawns and clearing brush and saved my money away. I really worked my ass off, all the time reminding myself what it was for when I'd get tired. Eventually, I saved up almost enough for the synth, and my parents, impressed by my determination, volunteered to pick up the rest of the cost so I could get it. I was over the moon. But, since I just told you my first synth was a Poly-800, you can probably guess I never got the DW-6000. Turns out it was discontinued at precisely the point I had the funds to buy it, and the DW-8000 that replaced it was a bit too much to afford. I was devastated and felt totally defeated. I more or less forgot about ever getting a synth.
Cut forward to that Christmas and under the tree was a second hand, but totally mint Poly-800 with a nice hardshell case, a stand, and a little practice amp. I'm not sure if I even opened my other presents until later that morning. I set the synth up in the other room and played with it for hours on end, undoubtedly driving my family up the wall since I didn't actually know how to play an instrument at that point.
The Poly-800 wasn't a great synth. Truth be told, it's actually a pretty mediocre machine. But I got so much use out of that thing and learned how to use it inside and out. I taught myself to play it, I taught myself to program it, and I eventually recorded 3 90-minute tapes full of (terrible) original music before I even reached high school. I never had any idea back then that it would open the door to what would eventually become my career, but I will never forget the Christmas I got it.
So what was your first synth? What do you remember about it? And how many of you are going to make me feel like an old man by having your first synth be a softsynth?