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Behold: Custom keytar (DIY, photos inside!)


bloodyMary

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I always wanted a keytar. Getting one is nex to impossible where I live.So I went ahead and started building one myself. Figured, people do custom guitars all the time, why can't I build a keytar?

 

It's far from finished, with more paint job, some cable management inside to be done. I also plan to add a USB jack and maybe a volume control (though I never touch it on stage).

 

It's made out of Korg K25 midi controller, an old piece of furniture, and a sheet of aluminum. Tools used - drill, jig saw, screwdrivers, sand paper, spray paint.

 

http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/130/l_cd5a4034c79944d381c298ea4599d630.jpg

 

http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/132/l_80931e25dc42449c8cde836a3c720e17.jpg

 

 

I went for two modwheels and a pitch stick. No volume control - never use it on stage

http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/123/l_6e91e7adcbce41f79de289fdbb5ca03b.jpg

 

 

The MIDI output is wired as a TRS jack, because it's more sturdy than a standart MIDI connector:

 

http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/146/l_19c73777194346f797a307555b978959.jpg

 

 

External power is provided via a standart jack. I plan to clip a 9-volt battery to strap:

 

http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/120/l_0fa9fb132327405c93b71c71de422f77.jpg

 

In the back there's a sustain button, whick is used instead of a foot pedal (the metal plate is still unpainted, and there's a hole for one more button, probably will use it as a 'patch scroll' button:

 

http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/129/l_64699896944745d4b8e2de32e9aea2e2.jpg

 

 

It's made of wood with a metal plate on the back whick holds wverything together:

 

http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/142/l_bb29bdd8e96c47b2baadb69f9923d90c.jpg

 

 

Since then I've bought a Roland AX1, but still plan to finish this job, maybe build another version, more sophisticated, and then use it on stage.

 

So...what doya think?

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Pix would look better if the keytar was laying on a white sheet instead of dark blue... hard to make out details, esp. in the first pic.

 

Not sure if I'd pick flat black for the color either... a nice wood finish might be nice. Brave attempt all in all.

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I'm not one for keytars, but if you're gonna do it, this is pretty cool.

 

The MIDI output is wired as a TRS jack, because it's more sturdy than a standart MIDI connector:
Smart idea!

 

 

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Pix would look better if the keytar was laying on a white sheet instead of dark blue... hard to make out details, esp. in the first pic.

 

Not sure if I'd pick flat black for the color either... a nice wood finish might be nice. Brave attempt all in all.

 

 

I like KBs in flat black. The 'pickguard' is flat white. It took a while for me to choose.

 

 

I am considering making another one out of high grade wood, and coat it with transparent finish.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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I am considering making another one out of high grade wood, and coat it with transparent finish.

 

I've always envied guitar players for the fine woods and finishes. Stage keyboards are always in black (or red lately). A keytar in a splendid natural wood finish would be sweet, classy and overdue. I might have to give that more consideration.

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That is the most badass keytar I've ever seen. I think you should consider keeping it looking raw like that. It definitely looks like it could hurt someone, whereas you're AX-1 probably can't.

 

Not to take anything away from Mary's work, but y'wanna talk about badass, this takes the cake. By force. ;)

 

http://i398.photobucket.com/albums/pp64/DrumminDan69/keyboard_cover_large.jpg

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I took two dead pieces of gear and built a custom keytar a few years ago...

 

I gutted old Lync that hadn't worked for a decade:

 

 

http://www.divshare.com/img/thumb/10283262-89c.JPG

 

 

and put in the guts of an m-audio 49 key controller that was destined for the trash because its USB port quit working. The m-audios interface is just three buttons with lights above. These controls allow you to step through patches and change octaves. In this picture you can see the buttons and the lights I installed:

 

http://www.divshare.com/img/thumb/10283263-660.JPG

 

It looked pretty cool, the lights were bright and made the clear buttons glow in the dark as well... I sold it on ebay to a kid in Germany.

 

 

I wired up one of the two left-hand switches to be the sustain switch, and both wheels worked as well.

 

 

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I got the general idea from ZenRiffer, I confess :)

5 grand for a keytar, even wireless, even with nice finish, is IMHO, too much.

 

I even toyed with idea of building few of these for sale. It'd cost under $1k to produce and make a profit. CNC mashines make things easy..

 

Out of curiosity - would you buy something like that for $1000?

(it'd be a finished product, of course - completed painjob and done with CNC instead of jig-saw/files).

 

 

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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That is the most badass keytar I've ever seen. I think you should consider keeping it looking raw like that. It definitely looks like it could hurt someone, whereas you're AX-1 probably can't.

 

you mean with and tape dirt? hmm..that's an idea..

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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when I did a mod on my Casio AZ1 a number of years ago, I went with an XLR instead of TRS, and mounted a locking jack on the board. Almost knocked myself over on stage getting to the end of the cable a few times. You may also want to watch the durability of your sustain switch. I love the 2 mod wheel idea, my AZ1 had that as well. Both were assignable. Almost hate to say that I really miss that thing.

 

Jay

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Yeah, the switch I used for sustain is cheap, just used what I had lying around. Not a problem to replace it, though. Thanks for the tip, I wouldn't pay attention to this.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Keytar's are still ridiculous things IMNSHO

 

I "get it"... keytars that is.

 

It all depends on the music or the band. Jazz or blues.... no. Cover or party bands, certain songs, it works when the player has fun with it, and cheeses it up. Otherwise, yes the player could look lame.

 

Under no circumstances should a keytar player be serious about it. Only to be used if player concedes its nerdy, and acts accordingly

:rawk:

-Greg

Motif XS8, MOXF8, Hammond XK1c, Vent

Rhodes Mark II 88 suitcase, Yamaha P255

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I got the general idea from ZenRiffer, I confess :)

5 grand for a keytar, even wireless, even with nice finish, is IMHO, too much.

 

I even toyed with idea of building few of these for sale. It'd cost under $1k to produce and make a profit. CNC mashines make things easy..

 

Out of curiosity - would you buy something like that for $1000?

(it'd be a finished product, of course - completed painjob and done with CNC instead of jig-saw/files).

 

 

They're not that much in the states.

 

Brand New Roland "Shoulder Keyboard" - $1,200.00

Used AX-7 - starting bid $400 (usually don't go over around $800)

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Dan, I was referring to the ZenRiffer. It does cost 5 grand. AX synth is ugly in my opinion, and an original AX... Well, that's what I use live.still, it feels like a plastic toy.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Dan, I was referring to the ZenRiffer. It does cost 5 grand. AX synth is ugly in my opinion, and an original AX... Well, that's what I use live.still, it feels like a plastic toy.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Dan, I was referring to the ZenRiffer. It does cost 5 grand. AX synth is ugly in my opinion, and an original AX... Well, that's what I use live.still, it feels like a plastic toy.

 

I don't like the AX synth either - not just the looks, but I don't want a synth in a keytar... controller only. I agree also that the AX-1 and AX-7 are a bit toy-ish.

 

I do not currently use a keytar, although if I get my rig down to a suitable single keyboard (PC3K maybe?) then I may try to integrate one into my live rig. I also considered building my own - start with a basic 49-key controller. Buid the shell from carbon fiber composite molded around styrofoam so I could get a nice curvey hard shell. Built-in wireless MIDI. I even was investigating some ribbons and load cells I could use for a touch-sensitive pitch/mod combination. I was thinking of dual sustain "buttons" that you could use by squeezing the headstock between the thumb and hand to sustain while still using other fingers for controllers. I have it all pretty well thought out, just don't know if I'm going to want to go this route as of yet.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Dan, I think Roland had a keytar in the 80s that had a sustain button in the back like you are describing, and bM has incorporated, and a bar/ribbon controller in the front for mod. Can't remember the model off the top of my head, though. The one I remember was black. I have seen them a few times on stage, admittedly that was in the 80s and 90s. One of my favorite guys, Eddie DeGarmo, used one to control an MKS80.

 

Jay

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jay i think you are referring to the roland AX1 which had these...infact most people think its an 80's board but it is in fact a 90's board...Ironically a lot of people use them thinking they are back in the 80's but the real roland 80's sling on is called Roland AXIS which had the bridge from the headstock. [correct me if I am wrong but I think the features you mentioned were on the 90's AX1 / AX7 and the 80's Axis was implemented with for example a pitch and mod wheel]

 

I have had the korg, the roland Ax1 and still have the Casio AZ1 and a yammy KX

 

I think the casio was the best of the older bunch

The Roland AX does feel plasticy but that is one way of keeping it lightweight, I tend to think that, that is not a bad thing, it is still robust.,It is possibly the lightest built , a good thing, but not real aftertouch like the Casio has was an omission

 

I like the look of an AX1 because it was virtually a lookalike of the best looking and performing sling on...the Linc

 

I appreciate the work and effort in the Zen Riffer but dont particularly like the look of it myself, and wonder why compromise on the keyboard, why not a longer keybed?????

 

Personally I love everyones own made up sling ons, I love seeing our own ideas ...there are so many different keybeds to choose to make one that its not such a silly idea about coming up with low production runs but keep in mind,you may get burnt on people expecting warranties of some kind, being battery powered perhaps you may not have personal injury worries to a client but I am sure that there are some rules about things like this... always legal protocals stuff up any ones ingenuity nowadays, ...but maybe not if they were sold as secondhand.

 

Bloodymary ,I hope you will keep us posted on your development as it looks a lot of fun building it, and I have my ideas for one myself, as I am feeling my Casio AZ1 is too mint to risk using [damn shame when collecting interfers with using, thats the collectors curse], if i could get a knocked around one no worries but i bought this new and it looks new still, if i made one myself it wouldnt matter what happened to it.

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I have to agree that Casio has one of the better keytars out there. Very hard to find, though.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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