Thursday, February 7, 2013

For the Love of Home Keyboards

Although we mostly discuss "grown up" keyboards here, I'd be willing to be more than a few of us cut our teeth on one of the hundreds of "home keyboards" that flooded the market in the 80's.  Mine was a Casio PT-20.  The drum beats were cheesy, it had an auto-chord function, it only played one note at a time, and the handful of preset sounds it could make sounded nothing like the instruments they were supposed to imitate.  But at the impressionable age of 11, it helped foster the love of making music that would one day become my career.  I had a couple songbooks full of schmaltzy songs from the seventies and I programmed them meticulously into the tiny step sequencer it had.  I learned to figure out melodies by ear.  I learned to understand song structure.  I learned how minor chords and major chords differed.  Many years later when I got my first proper synth (a Korg Poly-800), the PT-20 understandably got shelved.  It may not have been the latest or the greatest, but it was enough to inspire me to learn, and for that, I'll always be thankful.

5 comments:

Darren_Halm said...

My friend had one. I still have "jam tapes" of us using it. We would put it through guitar amps with drive on them, phasers, flangers. Good times.

aL said...

Mine was a Casio SK-1. Yay sampling!

Joël Bisson said...

mine were cheap calculator keyboards that i won at a fair around the mid 80s then later got guitar lessons and my sister got keyboard lessons and i used her keyboard sometimes but my first home keyboard was in 2003 when we moved into a house that had a casio mt240 with a pwm strings sound that i like and since it wasnt working properly i got circuit bend drums from it which i since have kept for keepsake but my first synth was a juno-g than claus larsen said to buy a ms2000 because i was asking to him can i recreate ms20 sounds and he said i should buy as a synth to learn synthesis on it....now i want the ms20 mini

Mike said...

Over the past several years I've sold most of my gear as I use soft synths almost entirely. But I could never give up my Casio PT-1s. I have a collection of them in different colors and they still find their way onto my tracks. It may be my favorite keyboard ever.

Adam Dubbleu said...

Casio PT-1 in light blue.