Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dark Clouds - Juno 106 Demo

This is a piece of music I started writing, based on two "moody" chords played on the Juno 106; Dsus4/G and Bbsus4/Eb. I created a patch using a very slow LFO to sweep the filter cutoff frequency up and down.

After playing those chords for a few days I decided to see what i could do with them. I added a simple drum beat using the Juno-G, and then added a pulsating bassline.

The photos are just some shots of the 106 from various angles.
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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Juno 106 and Microkorg XL

Just a quick and dirty demonstration of the two working together, alongside the Juno-G for drums and MIDI clocking.

This is a cover of "Enola Gay" by OMD, using the Juno for the lead lines and the Microkorg XL for the bass line (using the arpeggiator).

Recorded really quickly on a small digital camera.

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Sunday, 11 October 2009

Hohner Pianet T

In my last post I mentioned that I would be gettign a Hohner Pianet T

Well, it arrived on Wednesday, and I've been working on it ever since.

Most of the keys were in tune, though the action was a little off on most of them (probably happened in transit). A quick google search told me what I'd need to do to remedy the problems, and I've done what I can.

For those who don't know, a Pianet T is a type of electric piano, with a similar sound to a Fender Rhodes, although thinner. It works by holding a metal reed in tension until you press a key and release the reed. They are effectively plucked by a sticky rubber "hammer".

The metal strips with the copper coil round them are the pick-ups; each reed has it's own. They're passive, so there's no need for an external power supply.

The keyboard itself is quite portable in comparison to the Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, although it is still about 20 kilograms. I walked up from my house to my college with it on Thursday (a relatively short walk) and by the time I got there I was in agony. However, these are ideal for gigging if you have a car. Once I got it to college I plonked it on a table in the hallway and plugged it into a practice amp. An idiot could set one of these things up.

There are two main drawbacks to owning one of these over the bigger EPs; the first being the lack of a sustain pedal. This might not seem like a big deal, but it's surprising how much you want it when it's not there, especially for ballady numbers.

The second is that it has no tremolo effect, although you can add this with an effects pedal. I've got mine to sound great by running it through the Juno's MFX system, the tremolo chorus setting adds a lot of depth to the sound.

Overall I'm very pleased with this keyboard. Once it's tuned I'll start taking it out on the road, maybe do a few open mic nights with it.
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Monday, 5 October 2009

The Want List

Everyone has a list of gear they want, and usually a reason for wanting each item. I’m no exception; in fact my list is quite long. Here’s a few items that I’m after, and why I want them.

Item: Yamaha CP-70/80

Chance of getting one: Slim to None


Well for starters, I’ve always admired the sound of them. Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel (of Genesis fame) have all used them effectively, and it’s become one of the piano sounds I hear on a regular basis. It’s close to a real piano, as it’s actually a miniature grand piano with a set of pickups, although the strings are shorter and there are fewer of them, so it can sound a little thin and “clunky” towards the bottom end. I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if I never got one, but it’d be nice to get one in the future.

Item: Minimoog

Chance of getting one: Slim if it’s an original, though I might be able to afford one of the modern models sometime in the future.


There have been hundreds of imitators, hardware and software, but nothing can come close to the original. One little instrument had a huge effect on so many areas of music. Whether it’s prog rock or 1990s electronic music, this little keyboard has added new dimensions to the music.

Item: Hohner Pianet T

Chance of getting one: Likely, they appear on eBay from time to time at reasonable prices, and I saw one at a car boot sale not too long ago.


A lightweight electric piano, with a mellow bell sound that is similar to (though not as expressive or rounded as) the Rhodes. I like the tone of the instrument, and having a portable EP would be handy. While my Juno does the Rhodes and Wurly fairly well, and it is portable, it doesn’t recreate the feel of them (I’ve played both, but that’s a story for another day). These things never really had any impact on the recorded/pro music market, but they’re a great introduction to electro-mechanical instruments, and they’re a fraction of the price of a Rhodes or Wurly.


Since writing that I’ve managed to get a hold of one. It’ll be arriving sometime this week, and I’ll get a video up as soon as I can of it in action – provided it doesn’t need a great deal doing to it.

Item: Roland Jupiter 8

Chance of getting one: Slim


Over the first half of 2009 I worked with a Juno 6 in college (we used it on several songs for our end of year show – an 80s themed gig) and I got to love it – even if it did have a few problems. I liked the sounds I could get out of it, but I wasn’t keen on the fact that it had no patch memory. Sure, the Juno 60 came along and added that functionality, but after hearing the Jupiter in action I decided I’d rather try to find one. They’re much more versatile, and have a much more complex sound to them (I liked the Juno, but it was quite a simple machine really). The pads you can create with these things are great, even if they are a bit of a cliché.

Item: Roland TR-808

Chance of getting one: Slim to none, considering their popularity with electronic acts.


I’m not a huge hip-hop fan, nor am I desperately into electronica, but the TR-808’s distinctly synthetic sound has always interested me. I’ve used samples of them before, but it’s just not the same as the real thing, mainly because every element of each sound can be changed, and getting samples of every individual setting is very difficult. I’ve not got my heart set on one, but it’d be nice to have, especially for my forays into electronic music.

Item: ARP Pro Soloist

Chance of getting one: slim to none – I’ve never seen one come up for sale, and I’ve been looking for a long time.


Well this is an easy one – I want to have THE Genesis synth! This was the first synth keyboard Tony Banks used with the band, and it was used on such classics as “The Cinema Show” and “In The Cage”. It might only be a preset keyboard, but it had aftertouch (the ability to modify a property of the note, such as its pitch, simply by changing the amount of pressure you apply to the key) – something that was revolutionary at the time.

* * *

I promise there will be more videos coming soon, I have a few in the works, but college has started up, so I have less time on my hands. I have some new gear that I’ll be talking about, as well as a proper VSS-200 tutorial, and a review of the TX-802.
Keep checking back!

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