Over the years I have played quite a few different keyboards, to say the least.
The first synth I ever bought was the Ekosynth P15. It had 15 presets on it that you could modify with an attack and sustain envelope. In spite of that, you could get a pretty good French horn sound out of it and the panpipes always sounded fine to me. It worked for me anyway.
So once you've bought your first monophonic synth, you find you need something to play chords on. Enter the Crumar Performer. I didn't realise when I bought it but Duran Duran had one too. I loved it because of the graphic equalizer and a warm but gritty sound. Everyone else seemed to be buying Logan String Machines which I can't understand to this day.
This one is superb. Everything you could possibly want. It was light and very portable with a built in lid so that you didn't need a case, it never needed tuning and it sounded great. Plus - it wasn't expensive. I paid £175 for mine. I put it through a Pearl Phaser to give the sound a bit of movement. We went everywhere together.
Next, the world's first mass production touch sensitive synthesizer. I saved and saved for this. Back in the early 80s a £1500 price tag was serious money when you are trying to earn a crust as a musician. Mine is alive and well after years of service and it still gives me a buzz when I play it.
The perfect partner for the Yamaha DX7 had to be the Roland D50. Same price and still living, the D50 had the warmth that the DX7 lacked. I added some Oberheim patches to give it a really fat synth sound and also have the original Go West brass sound. Luvly!
I loved this, it was my best buy and even though it was always slipping out of tune, it didn't matter. I found this in a local music shop covered in dust. The conversation went - Why's that there? - Dunno!?! - Is it for sale? - erm give us £50 and it's yours - Sold! One of the advantages of a misspent youth is that you know a Prophet V's baby brother when you see one. Apart from Minimoogs, this has to be one of the best lead synths ever produced. It could sail past the racket that the rhythm guitarist was making with ease. Unfortunately, it is no longer with me.
I did see one sell for over £1500!
I actually got this to act as a master keyboard for a Kawai K1r module that I bought for string sounds. I nearly bought one of these when I was doing the famous saving up for the DX7. I never really used it for it's own sounds though on the odd occasion I used them they did sound okay I suppose. Another one in the Keyboard Mausoleum.
The Hammond organ - the daddy of all electronic organs. I must have played every conceivable type of Hammond Organ including gritty M100s, smooth B200s and an extremely expensive one that a BBC organist let me play now and again. For a while, I played a C3. The thing about the C3 was that they used a tonewheel system. You had to get the tonewheel spinning before you started it up for real. Confused? So was I. It gave them an amazing sound which I'm sorry to say is not the same as the newer transistor based ones.
As heavy as it was, I used a Yamaha CP80 for many years. It was supposedly portable but I beg to differ. Even when you took it apart - it did spilt in two - it still weighed a ton. Okay, maybe be not a ton but it was really heavy. The good thing about it was the sound. Classic 80s piano, as heard on practically every recording in the 80s. It actually belonged to my drummer who bought it from his previous keyboard player because he missed it. Sweet.
Bought with the fee I got for playing on Millenium Night - it was bought to replace the DX7 on live gigs. I was getting increasingly worried about how much damage constantly moving the DX7 about was doing. Enter the XP60. Okay I know it's a totally different animal, it is in fact a workstation but times move on. I added the vocal expansion board which has some great vocal samples. The drum sounds are fine and linked to my computer makes for a great audio/midi studio. Some would say that with something like this you don't need any other gear but then again they would say that, wouldn't they?
Next ... the beautiful Voyager Electric Blue, built by the legendary Bob Moog who sadly died in 2005. These were released as a celebration of Bob's 50 years designing possibly the best keyboards available. Bought for me by my lovely wife to celebrate my 50th birthday, it sounds amazing, looks amazing and is amazing, plus it stays in tune, which the original Minimoog (which it is based on) unfortunately didn't.
My latest keyboard is the Korg Kronos. This is undeniably, the best keyboard I have ever bought. In fact, I would say that it is the best keyboard ever produced. It ticks so many boxes and has so many great features I hardly know where to begin so I will just say 'How many?'
It is basically nine different keyboards in one. That's right, nine!
Combine that with being able to store different setlists, incredible sounds and a very powerful sequencer, I doubt I will be replacing this for a while, if ever!
But that's what I said last time.