Here are hyperlinks to other sites about electronic keyboards and synthesizers,
sound toys and their modification (circuit- bending).
instrument manufacturers and sources:
This is the homepage of Bontempi/ Farfisa; also some links about their
historical keyboards are there.
This is Medeli, a Chinese company that appears to be the genuine
manufacturer of many no-name keyboards (including Fujitone and the
mysterious brandless "MC" series instruments).
This Chinese manufacturer builds the most noble and stylish looking
toy instruments I ever saw (see Cyber Keyboard,
Jam). Especially they make very impressive toy DJ and tekkno consoles
(see e.g. Mix Evolution,
Mixer); despite also their toys have some flaws, Potex seems to
be yet the only toy company with the right feeling for the sound and estheticism
of the tekkno environment. (Other companies take a plain ordinary toy keyboard
with waltz, tango, rhumba, some animal voices and 10 establishment child
songs, add a few comic stickers and 4 drumpads with short scratch and drumloop
samples to it and call the entire thing something ridiculous like 'My Great
DJ Mega Disco Hip-Hop 37-Keys Synthesizer'. Things like that make young
tekkno fans rather feel fooled and deterred than making such a tablehooter
more appealing to them.)
AND COMMERCE CO.,LTD.
This is the Chinese manufacturer of the infamous Yongmei and
toy keyboards - the undoubtedly worst keyboards of the world (see here
and here). Nowadays Yongmei makes beside
these horrible yelling squeakboxes even professional MIDI keyboards with
LCD and 61 velocity sensitive fullsize keys, but I have not heard any of
these highend models yet. (Possibly they contain Medeli
hardware. Yongmei proudly adverts them to employ a French PCM sound source.)
Their cheaper modern fullsize keyboards seem to be based on similar hardware
like fullsize Sankai instruments (like this),
but many of these models (see here)
still have such severe flaws that they are almost unplayable; mine stank
new unbearably of chemicals and were designed to fraud customers by showing
far more (identical sounding) sounds and rhythms than they actually have.
The newer toy keyboards (see here) of
Yongmei seem to be based on My Music Center
sound hardware. According to their company description ("about us"), the
genuine name of their keyboard factory subsidiary seems to be Meisheng,
which uses only imported ICs and makes no own one.
Funny is that there is even a voting on their site to rate the quality
of their keyboard models, thus when you feel hoaxed by them, don't hesitate
to set your checkmark accordingly. (But I don't know if they anyway cheat
with their rating, since in reality the quality of many Yongmei keyboards
is so ridiculously lousy that it is hard to believe that these got a majority
of positive votes at all.)
Here you can download manuals for some Casio keyboards. Unfortunately
they have yet only manuals of very new ones.
Manual Library (English)
Here you can download the manuals for most Yamaha keyboards and synthesizers
(as PDF files). If you are missing a manual or plan to buy a used Yamaha
keyboard and want to know its exact features, then this is the best information
source for you.
This Chinese wholesaler of plastic toys has a huge amount of photos
of toy keyboards and other obscure cheap tablehooters on its site. Enter
"electronic organ" into its search engine to see them. (Note: The picture
pages load very slowly, but these pictures are not just thumbnails but
a bit bigger (each about 25kB) and can later be expanded by clicking "open
in new window" on your browser after saving the pages to disk.) If the
site appears in Chinese (or character mess), click on "English" before
In comparison to average flea markets you can not imagine how easy
it is to find here all kinds of strange no-name and beginners keyboards
and sound toys as well from the great classic era as also in brand new
for very reasonable prices. (To bid at this internet auction service, you
only need to sign up at a web form and within 2 days you will receive a
letter with a password - that's all.)
Spectrum 04 - Casio Synthesiser Interface
This article from the ancient home computer magazine "Your Spectrum"
(Issue 4, June 1984) explains how to connect a Sinclair ZX Spectrum
home computer with the barcode reader input of a Casio VL-5. There
is even a BASIC program and many technical details about the data format
of the Casio barcode song books. Instruments those employ these
barcode musics include the Casio VL-5,
MT-70 and Casiotone 701.
This artist is claimed to be the "father" of circuit- bending. You
can find much of circuit- bending info there, although my understanding
of it partly differs from his one. Caution: This site tends to load slow
and is not text- navigable because its main page consists of a huge menu
made from lots of useless picture tile ornaments.
This is another text about him.
On this pocket calculator history site you can find lots of technical
info and circuit bending links about the famous Texas Instruments
speech synthesizer sound toys (like e.g. Speak'n'Spell).
This is an Australian music band that uses many circuit- bend home
keyboards and also does own hardware research on these. (Sorry, I got only
an e-mail address but no web link.)
Here you find plenty of info about e-guitar modification (pickup physics
historical electronic instruments:
This is a collector's site about classic electronic toy keyboards.
Unlike my collection it is mainly centered on 1970th monophonic beep tone
keyboards, but you can also find some freaky toy synthesizers shown there.
This site is about the Theremin/ Aetherophone (the world first electronic
instrument) and its inventor.
We Improve the Piano? (2nd ed., 1967)
This historical article contains a lot of info why the piano (and its
keyboard layout) became what it is, including a lot of technical details
and critics on the acoustic piano and many early tablehooters attempting
to imitate it.
This appliance fills mustard into the piano
- for emergency-use only!
If you want to understand the establishment's shiny grand piano myth
and why 1960th and 70th artists decided to consider pianos their favourite
hate object and smashed and chainsawed them to pieces in stage happenings,
then this constitutes basically a standard work about the culture historical
This is a great site about repairing and collecting fretless zithers.
Although they are not electronic, it is fascinating to see here the first
ancestors of automatic chord and accompaniment features (see "gizmo zithers"
section). A century ago zithers were as widespread as nowadays home keyboards,
and the industry invented here a similar incredible variety of different
instruments of partly poor concepts and quality, thus they can be well
regarded as predecessors of the modern tablehooters.
world of music 39 (3)
This PDF file is a great abstract about the fretless zithers industry
of the 19th century, including old ads with ridiculous exaggerations and
lies (which reminds a lot to Yongmei
transistor tooters - isn't it?!).
of these screws voids warranty...