MATRIXSYNTH: Synth Stories

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Synth Stories

A thread by Ralph of insidemyOSCar went up on the Analogue Heaven mailing list asking people to share their funny synth stories. Here are my two entries, followed by a funny one from If you have any feel free to send them in and I'll update this post. I'll also add this to the More Stuff section towards the bottom right of the site.

My stories:
Several years back I went to Maui. I set my wife up with expectations that we would hit every single pawn shop while there. We never got around to it until the last day when we were partially sunburnt and just plain beat. I convince my wife to trek around the island. Over two hours of hitting pawn shops with nothing but jewelry we give up. On the way back to the hotel I see one. I ask her if we can go in and she says hell no. I then see a Taco Bell right next to it and realize its about lunch time and we are pretty hungry. I say how about Taco Bell? :) I manage to get us a quick look in the pawn shop and sitting in the back I see a beige drum machine. I think, no, it can't be. I'm thinking it's probably just a TR-707, but when I get up to it, it's the 909. I pick it up and aside from being dusty it's in prestine condition. I see a few amps and ask if I can try it out. They go searching for a cable for about 15 minutes and can't find one. I'm thinking maybe it's busted, but I look for a price and see a little sticker on it. 220, no $. I think, no way... that can't be the price. I ask someone and it happens to be the owner of the shop. I shout accross the room "is 220 the price?!" The response? Oh, I can take $30 off of it! I whip out my credit card. Cash only. I have no cash. I ask him if there is an ATM near by. He says there's one accross the street, but he's closing shop as he has a movie to catch. He suggests the next day, but my plane leaves before they open. I ask him to give me five minutes. I run accross the street (think hwy/mini freeway), get the cash and run back. I get back and I see him locking up the doors. I get that sinking feeling in my stomach. He turns around and he has the 909! I pay for it and head back to the hotel. It's in pristine condition both cosmetically and functionally.

Another story, this one short. I went to a local guitar center and they had a Pro-One sitting there. I ask them if I can try it out and the guy says yes but it's broken - one note just hangs. Their tech looked at it and couldn't figure it out. I buy it for $125, take it home, open it up and bend a j-wire so it isn't in constant contact with the bar. Worked perfectly after that. :)
"the sh09 and sixtrak i found in a farmers barn , covered in hay and i mouse nest in the sixtrak was an interesting find , both were just rust buckets , but looked great chromed , and the sh black and orange , both are on my home page ,
jeff : )"

Update: see the comments for more. I also added a link to the More Stuff section twoards the bottom right of the site.


  1. Once I was in Marin with my cousin, who at the time was a deadhead hippie (i was an ex-raver ;) He took me to his friends house, this guy was a hippie also and had tons of guitar synths and reverbs... He asked me if I wanted to buy some of his gear, I guess he needed money, so anyways... He had a Roland SVC 350 vocoder which he said he never used, I bought it for 200$!!! and he also sold me a yamaha Cs-01 for 50$... good times! But I still dont like vegan hippies!! just kidding.


    Ps. happy New Year!

  2. I was in a thrift store on the south side of Chicago in 1996 with a friend. She & I used to hit a lot of pawn shops and thrift stores looking for stuff -- her, vintage clothes and me, vintage music gear. Anyway, I was looking at some shirts or something and she comes up and says to me, "You better go up and look at the thing behind the counter." I go up there and it's a fairly cherry MiniKorg. I started sweating! I pointed to it and said to the lady, "Hi, yes, how much is that, please?" She said in a thick midwestern twang, "You mean the organ?" Uh, yes, I mean the organ (pulse quickening). "Thirty-five," she said. Cash only. I had five dollars (broke musician). I asked her not to sell it before I returned and RAN to the cash machine. I paid $35 and carried it home on my shoulder for the mile or so back to my apartment. After a quick cleaning of the switches it worked perfectly (Japanese craftsmanship!). I still have it and still love it. Hooray!

    I also found a Korg Delta for $75 in Oolitic, Indiana. It was covered in dust but luckily also covered in its original dust cover. Worked (and works) like a dream.

    Ebay kind of killed those sorts of scores, but one can still sometimes find deals at pawn shops. Good memories, though!



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