Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Getting A Deal On Vintage Synths

Old music gear is one of those rare forms of electronics that increase value with time. In the last 10 years the synthesizer market has grown dramatically, fueled by the growing interest in electronic and hip-hop music. Unfortunately most pawn shops and local music shops know this. The chance of finding something at a good price in one of those places is slim.

So where should you look? If you really care about getting a steal you need to find people that have no clue what they are selling. Most people will take a look at a piece of vintage music gear and consider it to be junk. It may have scratches or dents, it may be covered in dust and dirt. Someone's aunt or grandpa likely isn't going to know (or maybe even care) that the old dusty moog in the attic is worth hundreds of dollars.

Enter the garage sale. When most people hear the words garage sale they immediately think of old women, old clothes, and used toys. Why is this? It's because it's true for the most part. This is why its the perfect place to get your music gear. Reason one, most of the people selling don't know what they have. Two, nearly all of the other customers aren't interested. Three, the price will almost always be ridiculously cheap.

Happy hunting. Oh, and if you are shy about going to garage sales by yourself, ask your aunt or mother. They will probably enjoy spending the day bargain hunting for used lamp shades.

Some Brands To Look For:

Oberheim: These synthesizers are always good finds. They hold up well and there value keeps going up. If you find one of these cheap pick it up. Even if you aren't going to use it yourself. You will find someone interested. I promise.

Roland: Don't ask me why these synths are increasing in value. The only explanation that I can come up with is novelty. Roland has been used in the roots of house and hip-hop giving it a hardcore reputation it really doesn't deserve. Do you care? You should. Find anything roland at a flea market or garage sale and snag it. It's value won't necessarily be immediate, but neither was your Star Wars action figure collection.

Moog: This one is a no brainer. If you find a used working Moog at a price under $500 it's probably worth grabbing. Especially now that Robert Moog has passed away. These are the cream of the crop when it comes to valuable vintage synths. Do whatever it takes to get one of these if you can, including borrowing money from your father.

Korg: One of my personal favorite synthesizer manufacturers. Korg has made some of the strangest and most interesting machines of all time. Don't be scared by the alien appearance. A Korg synth will beep and click with the best of them. The value of a vintage Korg isn't as high as some of the other manufacturers. I think it's because they don't hold up as well. Find one that has been well loved and you will have yourself a sweet piece of musical history.

Find more info on synths and sound modules at Synth HQ. For general music production articles check out Audioracle To ask a specific question from some industry pros check out these Music Production Forums

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_P_Killian

History of the Synthesizer - A Brief Look Back

by Don Lair

The synthesizer was a long time in the making. The history of the synthesizer is one that goes back long before electricity - many of early composers conceived of the concept, but could never put it into practice. In fact, it would take the invention of the silicon chip to make synthesizers possible.

The first synthesizers were very crude in their abilities. They date back well over 50 years. They were wired manually to create a given sound. They consisted of an oscillator, or tone generators, in one of three basic waveforms. These were sawtooth, square, or sine waves. This signal was then passed through several other modules to alter the initial tone. These first synthesizers were not triggered by a keyboard like they are today and they were abstract in their uses.

It didn't take long for many rock musicians in the 60's and 70's to realize the benefits of these instruments. Many companies were formed in these days. For example, Moog, Arp, and Oberheim were some of the manufacturers that would produce the first synthesizers. Most of these first models were only able to produce one note at a time. In 1978, the first polyphonic units were created. They were still typically analog in their design and had a very distinct sound.

<strong>Dates To Know:</strong>

<strong>1940's and 1950's:</strong> A variety of different automated electronic musical controllers were built.

<strong>1950:</strong> RCA produces an experimental device that synthesizes voice and music.

<strong>1958:</strong> Daphne Oram from BBC Radiophoic Workshop produces the Oramics technique.

<strong>1960's:</strong> Real time synthesizers were designed but were mainly used in studios. They were simply too large.

<strong>1964:</strong> The Moog Synthesizer was the first to be displayed at Audio Engineering Society Convention. Four years later, it was a hot product.

<strong>1967:</strong> The album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd became the first album to hit number one with a synthesizer used on it. It was from The Monkees'.

<strong>1970:</strong> The first synthesizer with a built in keyboard was designed by Moog.

Synthesizers enjoyed many innovations over the course of the following few years. They would become self contained and then movable, allowing them to be used throughout the home and recording studios. The synthesizer has continued to evolve and is widely used today.

About the Author

Don Lair is the owner of Digital Piano Reviews, a resource for keyboard musicians. If you own a digital keyboard, you are encouraged to write a review of the instrument.

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