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My New Old Keyboard

March 10, 2009

Once in a while, I find something in Value Village that brings a big smile to my face.

We went there tonight after supper, because it’s one of the few times we can browse for bargains without the kids, and when the kids are along, we always end up with a couple of giant stuffed animals, parts of a broken dollhouse, stacks of books and at least one Disney movie on VHS. This time was all about the grownups.

While Mrs. Weathereye browsed kids’ clothes — they need spring jackets, so now’s the time — I checked out the toy section, the books, the furniture and the household accessories. As I passed by the stack of old printers that every Value Village has, something on a top shelf caught my eye. Was it? It was. I reached up, and found a Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard.

I had this keyboard. Maybe it was even this exact one, 20 years and hundreds of miles later. Or maybe not. But for a good chunk of my younger life, this was the device I used to write music. I hauled it around in a little case, often running it right into my bass amp and adding a little twiddle when I played. It ran on batteries, so it was great for parties and campfires. All in all, it was one of the most fun instruments I’ve ever owned.

It isn’t much of a keyboard. It’s a 3/4 size deck, with a limited range. If you want to create buzzing background effects for a dance track, this is your machine. But it has a solid sampler built in, and a line-in option, which I used to use to sample pieces of music, then load into the keyboard to replace the twinky little sounds programmed into it. Also, sampling lets you make like Ferris Bueller with the barfing sounds.

I bought it again tonight. It was $6.99. Unbelievable. I sold mine in 1991 for $60, and thought I was getting ripped off then.

So it has a new home. It will live here at the Weather Station, and will provide interesting sound effects. It may also help my kids learn to play a little piano.

Meanwhile, I avoided the temptation to buy the portrait of Elvis. And I have to wonder why Value Village sells used underwear. There has to be a law about that.

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3 comments

  1. I love the SK-1. Best toy keyboard ever made.


  2. Now my 10-year-old has discovered it. My house is filled with the techno-toy sound of sampled fart noises, set to a tinny little rhythm.


  3. If only I would find one for that price , prices on retro keyboards are insane.

    Have fun!



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