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Showing posts from July, 2018

Yamaha SK20 (Part Two - Final Details)

I thought I’d take another crack at Stinky Boy a.k.a. my Yamaha SK20 Symphonic Ensemble . He’s been doing great but I still had some unfinished business to take care of. And truth be told, he still hadn’t completely given up his old synth smell. I dragged all 33 pounds (15 kg) of him down from the loft studio and popped him open. (I have to say, they really designed synths for ease of maintenance back in the day. Just a few screws and up pops the control panel. Even the keyboard is on hinges.) My plan was to rebuild the sliders, change the tact switches, redo the terrible dust covers I had put in temporarily last time, replace the strip of felt from the top of the keys, and address the smell. I recently finished refurbishing a Roland SH-09 (which I hope to write about soon) and part of that involved rebuilding the sliders. There were only 10 and it took all day, and it really didn’t make a huge amount of difference. So instead of spending a lot of time on the SK20’s 29(!) sliders, I

Yamaha SK20 (Part One - Cleaning)

What is it with me and stinky stringers? After my debacle with a moldy Roland RS-101 you’d think I would have learned my lesson. But nope, here I am with another moldy string machine, this time a Yamaha SK20. Don’t worry if you’re afraid of more heartbreak though. This one has a happy ending. Released in 1980, the SK20 was part of a series of “symphonic ensembles,” machines that combined organ, string, and regular synthesizer functions. The SK20 was on the lower end of the range, lacking the solo (monophonic) synth of the SK30, but still fairly robust with five octaves and seven notes of polyphony. With its half-matte black metal front, rosewood grain end panels and wooden base, and yellow and gray buttons and sliders, it looks very of its time, when instruments were made to look like furniture and 33 pounds (15 kg) was considered light and compact . Although similar in appearance to the M-appended entries in the CS series, the SK units are less synthesizers than string machin