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Worst keyboards of the '80s (or whenever)

Member for

20 years 9 months

First the the bad! I'll start it off...

- All the horrid FM ripoffs Yamaha made. There was one in particular that was the most gawdawful POS that I've purged the model number from my mind. It was a Y - something or other. More of a home keyboard with a gigantic volume knob on the left side. It also had these "channels" imbedded into the front panel linking various functions. If you stood it on end, it resembled a "stick man" doing a "jumping jack"...horrid!

Respect to my Yamaha homies but man...that thing was subpar.


Member for

20 years 9 months

realdynamix Fri, 10/24/2003 - 16:40
:) Nate, the early Ensoniqs(sp) had some very lush sounds, but too much sound was missing in the sampling, at least that's what I thought, perhaps as a stage instrument the missing sound would not be a problem. But it was too obvious in recording.

Another was a small Casio stage piano, other sounds too! Useful for some things, but needed too much extra help from flangers and verbs.

There was also a mini baby grand electronic piano (not a full size keyboard), I think made by Yamaha, I would be surprised though if it was, I have always respected Yam products, perhaps it was some other brand. It was wood and looked pretty, but I could not get a good piano sound from it, at all.

Almost everyone with keyboards had some nice ones. I think people did pay a lot more attention to their purchases at the time, and the smaller music stores were more helpful. They seemed to stock a better line of gear to choose from.

Just my opinion,

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 10/25/2003 - 18:00
Can't remember, but either ARP or Rhodes (if it was Rhodes they bought the design from ARP) had something called the 4-voice piano:

Weighed a ton, had piano, EP, Vibes, and clavinet, and that was it. All electronic (no strings or tines). The vibes sound wasn't bad, but how much can you use phony vibes on any one gig? Looked cool though, black metal with wood trim.

Member for

18 years 8 months

gdoubleyou Mon, 11/10/2003 - 14:22
Not quite the 80's, but I still have nightmares of the commander of the NORAD band ("Dizzy Nalezney") attempting to play an ARP Omni.

I may have well been an accordian! Every patch he played sounded like an accordian. It probably wasn't a bad keyboard, just painfull to listen to in his hands.

:roll: :c:

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Mon, 11/10/2003 - 20:15
Rick, love that picture! more more!!!

I think the Arp Omni put Arp under. Some of the early Casio's were like razor blades but my all time worst was the E11 Emulator 2. Big 8 voice 8 bit pig and noizier than ever expected. Cool at the moment though. I lost thousands on mine. Paid 12,500.00 CAD for it and a year later I was lucky to trade it in at $4200. Bought an emax HD and enjoyed it a lot. that one put money back in my pocket and I swore I'd never by another emu systems. I have a couple of there moduals and really like them. Orbit and a Phatt.

I got to say DX7 were like hearing nails on a blackboard. ooh get a new sound card hoping you'd like the improvements but to me just more glassy sounds.

Member for

18 years 6 months

Todzilla Wed, 11/26/2003 - 06:13
My Poly61 was pretty crappy. I was pondering a DX7 and Juno-60 at the same time. What a bad decision.

As for the Flock o' Seagulls, I believe that was a Roland SH-101 (is that the model number?) you know, the one with the optional pitch wheel extension and comes in grey, red and (I think) blue.

The best part of the "I Ran" video was when the curly wave hair guy was holding a single note on said synth and then had to change to the other hand during the verse change TO HOLD DOWN THE SAME KEY.


Member for

19 years 9 months

BarefootStudios Wed, 11/26/2003 - 17:32
Yep,the Roland SH101 was a true piece of work! I was in this Funk/Rock band,and we were opening for Kool and the Gang.(Big gig at the time!)My keyboard player went to the lip of the stage,SH101 strapped on like a guitar,proceeded to start his BIG solo,bumped the back of the board,and the batteries poured out and rolled onto the stage!Needless to say,his solo was cut short. As for the I Ran video,I like the part where the foil covered camera becomes visable as the band spins and rotates! Too funny!

Member for

18 years 5 months

pmolsonmus Wed, 11/26/2003 - 18:08
The best part of the "I Ran" video was when the curly wave hair guy was holding a single note on said synth and then had to change to the other hand during the verse change TO HOLD DOWN THE SAME KEY.
Now dats what I'm talkin' bout! And....

How about all those 80's hair-band listenin', mousse wearin', videots amazed by guitar great,Eddie Van Halen for playing block chords and arpeggios on the "Jump" video!