Our first / early gear 🎚

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My very first instrument was a… hmm… a Yamaha recorder, I was at 3rd grade.
First keyboard was a cheap Farfisa organ, at 12.

Then, in late '70 I had:

  • Logan String Machine.
  • Yamaha CS-40
  • Yamaha CS-30
  • Korg MS-20
  • Pari K-61 Tonewheel organ
  • Moog Multimoog
  • DIY mono synth (with SSM IC)

Few pics

Four tracks Teac 3440

Then I bought the budget Moog Prodigy

In 1980 I had the Roland System 100M, driven by a DIY CV/Gate interface and a programmed by myself sequencer on Apple II. Sorry I didn’t find pics of that.

Then a DX7, Roland D-50, JV80, A-80, A50, JV-1080, Korg 01/w, Ensoniq ASR-10, EMU Emulator III, Kurzweil K2xx series. At the end, VST! :slightly_smiling_face:

A gig in 1979


Ok, the thread is now more like “The story of my gear” than “My first gear”. So I think it’s ok to post a couple of pictures. The first is taken in my bedroom about 1987 [edit: must have been 1990, since the Proteus 1 came out in 1989]. From left to right and top to bottom:
Atari 1040ST, Roland mixer, Proteus 1, Art Multiverb 2, Yamaha MEP4, Yamaha DX7, Solton Project 100, MiniMoog.

The second picture is taken about ten years after the first (judging from the picture of my elder daughter on the shelf): Roland D50, Solton Project 100, Yamaha DX7, Yamaha MEP4, Cheetah MS6, ART Multiverb 2, Roland Midi Patch Bay, Akai S2000, Proteus 1, Hard disk and CD writer for the Atari, Yamaha TX802, Atari Falcon 30, Atari MegaSTe 4Mb, Mackie 1604 mixer, Aphex 104 (?) Exciter, Behringer Compressors (missing in the picture: Elka MK88 and Minimoog).



Thread changed :slightly_smiling_face:


Hi Randall,

Your first bass was very cool - it’s a Greco EB135. Greco was known for making instruments very much like Fenders, Rickenbackers and Gibsons that were good quality.


Wow, thanks for pointing that out! But…now regretting selling it for $25 back in the day. I know my father got it cheaply, so that softens the blow a little.:roll_eyes:

Remember that all the 70’s prices need to be multiplied by 7. I still can’t figure out how I bought a Fender Precision for about $1800 today’s dollars in 1972 while in 10th grade.


wish I had a picture of my Farfisa Minicompact and Gibson amp (circa 1970) to share…

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Hi Lee, should this be it?
farfisa. minicompactjpg


Oh my. I had a Kustom Kombo II with a 145 Leslie. Mine was black, but here is a sweet picture of another one.Kustom Kombo II Organ

I also had two kits from PAiA. A Stringz & Things string machine, and a Proteus 1 Mono Synth.paia_stringz_n_thingz
proteus-1 .

I also had a Roland Juno 106, and a DX7 (which I still have.) And a Rhodes that was in such bad shape when I bought it… I built a new case.

And I Hammond C3 that I chopped. Still weighed 300 lbs I think!

Good times!



I so wish the Arturia Farfisa emulations had any of the raw energy that our Mini-Compacts had!
I got mine with paper-route money at age 15, along with a Hanes Jazz King II amplifier.



I had forgotten that Kustom delved into keyboards. My band (back in the early 70’s) used Kustom amps. I recall using a Kustom head, two bass cabinets and two “horn” cabinets to mike my Leslie and amplify my Wurlitzer.

I see. Arturia Farfisa, B3 and Piano cause me drowsiness and bowel discomfort. :upside_down_face:


O/T, but I’m starting to actually really like Piano. It is to a piano what, say, a CP80 is to an acoustic grand. Bad, but in a likeable way. B3 just gives me gas pains and cramping though.

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I actually started with a clarinet - it was a well reputed manufacturer whose name I can’t remember, but I do remember that it was a wooden one, so it must have been good! At the start I could only get the one open note out of it, but gradually worked my way on. My teacher at school noticed that some of the pads were leaking, so I took it into the music shop for an overhaul, which took about 7 weeks, after which point I found myself back on just the one open note again. So months of hard work came to nothing. Apart from a few meanderings on a folding pedal harmonium, I moved onto bass guitar, with a semi-hollow instrument in a lovely burgundy red, which I played over the next few years, upgrading it to a Columbus Telecaster copy bass, which I took a shine to because it looked cooler than the semi-hollow one I was using! second bass

During this time I was introduced to prog rock, and got into keyboards. And a load of piano lessons later I bought a Roland RS505 Paraphonic Strings keyboard which gave me hours of fun and a new direction to go in.

By which time I had discovered the new digital synths, such as the Fairlight CMI, the Symclavier and so on. All massively expensive, but then I came across a Synergy keyboard - a huge, highly polished black unit which sounded fantastic at the time, and had touch sensitivity - a major advantage in those days! It was a ROM Player of the GDS keyboard, another in the Fairlight and Synclavier ilk, and the one used by Wendy Carlos in the soundtrack for the Tron movie! Well that’s my claim to fame, anyway.

The Synergy did me proud for a two year stint in a Christian rock band, but started to go rather unstable. After several letters to the manufacturers in the USA, I ended up stripping the keyboard down and putting all the circuit boards into electrostatic packaging and sent them off, and several weeks later they returned, still causing trouble, but mainly stable. They actually arrived back just before a gig in Birmingham, so I had to put the thing back together on stage during the sound check! I had hired a couple of keyboards, and for the only time in my life I looked just a little bit like Rick Wakeman - minus the glittery gown, of course!

The Synergy was replaced by a DX7, bought in a package with a Yamaha PF15 electric piano for my fiancee at the time, now my wife. It is a lovely piano, sounding nothing like a real piano - they didn’t in those days, but it was one of the first with a weighted hammer action! And it still going strong 34 years later!

Next came 27 years of banishment from the world of music because of RSI caused by the computer keyboards at British Telecom, and I only returned about two and a half years ago.

Here is our humble music room, with my Yamaha MX61, and an ever increasing number of VSTs on my laptop, along with the wonderful Cantabile, which has been a Godsend!

Notice the Behringer FCB1010 pedal board sitting on the floor. That’s about all it does at the moment , I have no idea how to get it working, despite hours of trying! The rest of the kit is good though! And Veronica’s PF15 which is a great electric piano!

So there we have it. What will the next 30 years bring, I wonder?


I unscrewed the bottom of my brand new “open box” FCB1010 and popped off the existing PROM chip and replaced it with a EurekaPROM which I’ve set to I/O mode meaning:

For “On” it sends CC 104
For “Off” it sends CC 105

Ok, so how does Cantabile know which pedal I pushed? The answer is pretty straightforward:
Pedal 1 “On” -> CC 104 value 1
Pedal 1 “Off” -> CC 105 value 1

Each pedal value is equal to the Pedal Number on the FCB1010

The Left expression pedals is CC 102 (range 1-127) and Right expresssion pedal is CC 103 (range 1-127)

So it’s really easy to capture those in Cantabile and then bind them to whatever action you want to execute.


A,Synergy! What a mighty machine! That was Wendy Carlos’s secret weapon in her digital days. A keyboard store that I used to go to in Denver had one and it was so expensive nobody bought it. I know I played it and liked it but I don’t remember much about it specifically.


I paid £3000 for it second hand in 1981! I must gave been mad! I had obtained a demo of the keyboard on cassette - remember those? And it sounded good. The sounds were stored on an EPROM, and a friend read the data on it, thinking he could learn the programming language from it! I don’t think he had any idea just how complicated those big mother synths really were! I think it was the touch sensitivity and the 4 track recorder that got me to part with my money!

You could do keyboard splits and layers, with an intelligent split which let you hold a chord in one hand and play a lead or bass line with the with the other which could run right through the other layer. Very advanced, and not seen anywhere since. It also had sostenuto so you could hold any keys pressed and then play new notes which wouldn’t be held. Again very revolutionary and I think available through MIDI.

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Actually the Synergy was the ROM player of Wendy Carlos’s mighty GDS digital synth, and as expensive as the Synergy was, it was a real cheapo compared with the cost of the GDS!