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Alas, my 88-key, weighted, velocity-sensitive solution!!!


Seannn

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:rimshot: The Kustom 88 electric piano! I believe it has mainly analog circuitry (it's not mechanical). c. 1981-1984

 

http://www.callingheartrecords.com/Studio%20Gear%20For%20Sale/kustom%2088%20electric%20piano.gif

 

At 112 pounds, I know what you're thinking. But, it sounds beautiful (the poor man's Rhodes, but better), and the tremolo is gorgeous, with a great EQ setting as well. In very clean condition and perfect working order, though some of the center keys are yellow. I'll post a picture of my setup once everything's back together. It's staying under a heavy comforter in its case in the garage tonight, because it's just too heavy to manage right now. (Though, I did manage to get it down three flights of stairs with the seller, AND fit it in my Hyundai Accent four-door.)

 

When I saw it and heard it, I knew I had to buy it. Worth the schlep, I think. $350 was the price paid - a bit on the pricey side in my opinion (he claimed to have bought it for $450 but I don't know), but then again, it's a totally solid piece of gear, and others try to sell for $700-1000. Wish me fun times ahead. :)

 

Edit: A digital piano with MIDI would be great eventually, but for now, I think I'm going to make a lot of use of this. I'll put my DX-7 on top, and maybe even run it through some overdrive and my BOSS digital delay rack, the DE-200. Pedal and adaptor were included, and of course, the case becomes this awesome stand.

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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:rimshot: The Kustom 88 electric piano! I believe it's mainly analog surgery (it's not mechanical). c. 1981-1984

 

At 112 pounds, I know what you're thinking. But, it sounds beautiful (the poor man's Rhodes, but better),

 

Nice find! I've seen one in its heyday . . . once. Early 80's on stage with a bar band in a local drinkery. Sound blew me away - from what I remember, it kinda sounded like a Rhodes but with a dose of CP80 blended in. I would have replaced my Rhodes in a heartbeat with it if offered a trade.

 

Fast forward to 18 months ago. Had my old RD700SX (which is now touring with Evanescence but that's another story) in the shop and there was one of these bad boys in the showroom. Wasn't quite as impressed now . . . this one didn't sound nearly as good and they wanted about $1500 IIRC. And at 112 lbs. I can't afford the sciatica OR the price tag, LOL.

 

Maybe you could post a little demo when you start putting it to - I for one would love to hear what yours sounds like.

 

Enjoy!

-Mike
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A video sounds like a good idea, Mike! ;)

 

I agree about the sound - I was contemplating purchasing a CP30 that I also found in the area, but this sounds much better. The minute we turned this thing on, I fell in love. Even through a KC-60, it sounded so full, and the action is great - perhaps a BIT heavy (but I only demoed it quickly), but the velocity response is just tremendous.

 

So, it's definitely better than a poor man's Rhodes, and by that I mean some of the crummy Roland electric pianos of the day. As far as the actual Rhodes goes - well, based on your account, who knows! I'm sure the action is better, hahahaha.

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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Good for you! Don't worry about the weight. You are young, it's good for you.

 

The big flat top is nice. You could eat dinner while you gig. That is a nice feature.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I had one of these in the 80's. I was young so the weight didn't bother me. I liked the sound at that time, can't honestly remember it now.

Yamaha C2, Yamaha MODX7, Hammond SK1, Hammond XK-5 Heritage Pro System, Korg Kronos 2 61, Yamaha CP4, Kurzweil PC4-7, Nord Stage 3 73, Nord Wave 2, QSC 8.2, Motion Sound KP 210S,  Key Largo, etc…yeah I have too much…

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I really wanted to like it when it first came out, because it was so much smaller and lighter than the Baldwin electric piano I was carrying around, but while it had an interesting sound of its own, it simply didn't sound anything like an acoustic piano. I ended up sticking with the Baldwin until the Roland MKS-20 came out. But I still have a bit of a soft spot for the Kustom, taken on its own terms...

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As promised, here's a photo of the new Kustom 88 at the synth end of my setup! The other side of the room is where the organs/harmoniums are, and then there's the pile of other keyboards needing new batteries, repair, and to be circuit bent, sitting on the middle of the floor. I'm still cleaning up from my last show, and have to pack it up again next week for a second benefit concert.

 

http://i1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd455/seanseannseannn/synths.jpg

 

I always get a bit nostalgic when I look at photos like that. I bought my first workstation in September 2008, not knowing much about what I was doing, confusing patches with samples, and just listening to Metric, thinking I'd want to make those sounds. My father bought me a few Keyboard magazines as well to keep me busy, and open my mind to new ideas. Never did I dream then that I would have evolved so much as a keyboardist/musician since then, and of course, would have been able to afford all of this gear. It takes some very hard work, each and every week, and all through the summer. :)

 

Music is such a good thing. It keeps me away from all the bad substances out there, from excessive social isolation (in say, 12 hours of computer or videogame use for some), helps me relax, express my emotions, and is the one thing I can turn to when everything else seems lost, down, and out. I'll always have these instruments, or ones like it, by my side. More importantly, I'll always have music inside. Can't wait to get recording more too, as the winter approaches. With the death of fall comes new life.

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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Maybe you could post a little demo when you start putting it to - I for one would love to hear what yours sounds like.

 

As promised, my first YouTube demo! It really doesn't do justice to the keyboard, but I'll try to post something more complete (in higher quality) with I have time on my hands.

 

[video:youtube]Vfp6tGxGhLI

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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THe Kustom 88 was my first gigging piano back in the day!!!!!

Richard Manual from The Band once used it on a gig when we opened for them - it was the third time I ever played out!!!!

 

The previous owner had duct taped little metal weights to the insides of the key mechanism to make the action heavier, and they would always get detached and be rolling around on the inside.

Moog The One, VV 64 EP, Wurlies 200A 140 7300, Forte 7, Mojo 61, OB-6, Prophet 6, Polaris, Hammond A100, Farfisa VIP, ,Young Chang 6', Voyager, E7 Clav, Midiboard, Linnstrument, Seaboard
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@scottasinTone generation, but the action would make you think otherwise! (Check out the inside

...)

 

Beethree, that's awesome! Interesting mod - I'd love to open mine up one day and check out its insides... I'm starting to sympathize with artists of the era who schlepped around this gear, though! Huge PITA if you're doing it alone, but I guess, there weren't many other options back then. I felt like I was working under a car when I was tightening the bolts.

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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  • 7 months later...
I'd imagine they're quite different. I don't know much about the Baldwin EP-100 or schematics in general, but the Baldwin is electro-acoustic (it's mechanical and has strings) where as the Kustom 88 is completely electric, it uses some sort of analog circuitry and contacts (see video of the "inside" posted above). So the EP-100 may be closer to the Yamaha CP7?? Don't hold me on this. I'll see what I could do in terms of schematics, maybe there's something hidden under the case somewhere.

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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Cool -- sounds nothing like a Rhodes or Wurlie, which is good: it would have made a nice companion for either on stage, back in the day. For that time, it's an incredibly good imitation of an acoustic piano! Certainly sounds better than the CP30, which I never did like.

 

I don't remember ever seeing one of these. When were they made? I'd certainly have preferred that to my CP70, for hauling! I see a CL posting for a Baldwin EP100, which is allegedly the same works, made in 1981.

 

The Kustom 88 is definitely analog electronic, not and "electric piano". Maybe the Baldwin is something different, but a lot of googled posts say they're the same. (If it's on the interwebz it HAZ to be troo!)

 

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I think it's from 1982-1983. It's not as bright as a Rhodes, but it does have a unique sound! I have to say though, the action is the most amazing thing. It feels just like a piano (after all, it has the wooden keys from a Baldwin), and in terms of playing (velocity-sensitivity), it responds just like a piano. Heck, it feels better than half of the new digital pianos I've tried, and that, for the 1980s, represents for me unequalled build quality. I guess that's what you get when you mix piano parts with analog circuitry. Remember though, it's a good 175 pounds! It must have been hell to gig with without a roadie. It's also a bit hard to put together, there are a lot of screws, and man is it greasy.

~ Sean

Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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I remember that Kustom 88 piano. It was a good sounding keyboard. Good luck with yours. I bought the ARP 4 Voice Piano back then mostly because of price, but weight was a factor too. ARP was in financial trouble in the early 1980s so they discounted their products to secure short term revenue - the company eventually failed. The ARP Piano worked well for years. I am sure the Kustom 88 will be a terrific collector's item. The ARP Piano? Not so much.

Steve Coscia

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  • 1 year later...

Zombie thread:

 

My brother-in-law found himself in possession of a Kustom 88 a couple of months back, and I had a chance to play it yesterday. How he got it is kind of wild. A guy he works with was driving to work and saw a big, black road case on a neighbor's curb. It had been put out for the trash. Once he confirmed that fact he loaded it into his truck and took it to work. I think my brother-in-law mentioned my interest in stuff like that, and it got moved to his truck.

 

Other than needing a good scrub, the thing is in pretty good shape. All the notes play, all the pots work. The jack for the sustain pedal is a little wonky, and there's a light bulb out, but other than that, it works. It sounds like it sounds. The tremolo is not bad at all, and if you mellow out the tone some, it can get fairly funky. What blew my mind, though, was the action. Really, really nice. Those wooden keys were a joy to play. Fast, even, and a very pleasing weight.

 

I left it in his garage, but got to thinking, would there be a way to pull the action out and build some sort of controller out of it? A PNOscan would work, but it's not cheap. I'd want to keep this project affordable. Is there something else out there?

 

 

 

 

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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Check out Midi Gadgets Boutique. I used their boards for my organ controller.

 

Very cool, and the gallery is amazing. Much of this is beyond me but if I read it correctly, scanmatrix/scanpoint is just on/off switching, right? Is there a velocity component I'm missing?

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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I owned one of them in the 80s when I first started playing out. The third time I ever gigged in my life I opened for The Band, and Richard Manual used my Kustom. I have the show on cassette somewhere!
Moog The One, VV 64 EP, Wurlies 200A 140 7300, Forte 7, Mojo 61, OB-6, Prophet 6, Polaris, Hammond A100, Farfisa VIP, ,Young Chang 6', Voyager, E7 Clav, Midiboard, Linnstrument, Seaboard
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Check out Midi Gadgets Boutique. I used their boards for my organ controller.

 

Very cool, and the gallery is amazing. Much of this is beyond me but if I read it correctly, scanmatrix/scanpoint is just on/off switching, right? Is there a velocity component I'm missing?

 

The velocity component comes from hooking up a keyboard and controller that handle 2 sets of contacts - one normally closed (top set) and 1 normally open (bottom set). The velocity value is calculated by the scanner by measuring the difference in time between breaking the top contact and making the bottom contact.

 

The keybed in the Kustom would need to support this, or else you get into having to physically mod some complex stuff.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Ok. There's Youtube video that shows how the keys make contact in the Kustom, but it's pretty lo-rez. I'll check it out again. There may be a schematic flying around out there, too. Thanks for your help. I fear that this project may be well outside my grasp. That would be a shame, because it's truly a nice action. I just don't want to pony up the $1600 for a PNOscan. Maybe a used Moog piano bar...but even then most users said they were finicky. Yeah, well...

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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