My first synth and wondering about modern ipad apps

As mentioned before I started my keyboard “career” on a piano. Plain and simple and I still love the sound. I spend some time last weekend in the musicstore in cologne and tried the new electronic pianos and they just don’t match in sound and handling of the keyboards. They may try but they just don’t reach the real thing, sorry.

So, when I figured out that playing in a band will make me cool for my friends (and the girls), I had a big problem. I just were not able to take my instrument to the rehearsel or to the gig. Actually, we had one gig where I was able to play my piano, but that was because this special gig was my birthday party and we played in my parents garden. Me and my friends actually carried the Yamaha piano out into the frosty night which had some negative effect on the tuning, but – hey – we were young and my parents did not understand what we were doing and that they had to pay a piano tuner afterwards :).

I saved some money to buy something I could play when not at home. Skipping my first Casio keyboard, I settled for a Korg Poly 800 simply for one reason: I could afford it. I searched for the cheapest keyboard/synth and nearly bought an Korg Ms-20, because in the 80ies analog synths were soo old school. Digital synth like the Roland D-50 were en vogue and if I recall it correctly a lucky guy could have a MS-20 for something like 500 DM (roughly 250 €). I don’t remember what I paid for my Poly 800, but it must me something in this range. It came via mail order with no sounds and a dead battery so it was not able to hold the sounds without an external power supply. The first hours were really frustrating, tweaking the box until a decent sound came out. Sound storing and loading was on audio cassettes (like Commodore datasette). The medium for trading sound were no usb sticks but sheets of papers.

… and the first commercial sound set I bought for the poly 800 (from a dealer who called me at home, could you believe this?) were sounds which tried to sound like a piano. Unbelievable from my point of view today, but I actually tried to let to poly 800 sound like my Yamaha piano. I had a preset which called itself “Elton”. Hard not to laugh about that.

*sigh* Good old times :). Getting this setting up and running for a gig was no fun but adventure. I was so proud. I was a member of the school band (Lesser Spirits, yeah!) and we had at least two awesome gigs with lots of people (meaning more than 100) and the Poly 800 did it. It was so cool.

Today, I still own the poly 800. I did not have the heart to sell it. You don’t get any serious money for it, anyway, so I don’t bother. Maybe my children will use it in the future when they start their sound designing careers (yeah, sure). Did you know that you can buy an MS 20 for the iPad today for 33 $? Unbelievable. Making music is so cheap this day, it’s fantastic.

What was your first synth/guitar/music instrument? What’s the story behind it. Please tell, I listen.



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