Korg Reimagines Keytar, with microKORG XL+ Sounds, Ribbon Controls, Slick Wooden Body [Details]

Korg’s RK-100 turns 30 this year, marking a milestone for one of the first keytars. (KORG is using the term “keytar,” not the less-pleasant-sounding “strap-on,” and who am I to argue?) It’s easy to forget that part of the reason that keytars made an appearance briefly in the mid-1980s was that the role of the synthesist had changed. This was not simply a ploy for keyboardists to prance about onstage. The rise of electro and synth pop meant that the keyboardists themselves had found a more central role in the music and sound, a lead, front-of-stage part in the band …

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Hands-on: Rock Band 3’s Keytar, a Surprisingly Serious $80 MIDI Keyboard

The Rock Band keytar Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard, next to an iPod touch, for scale. What if a gaping product hole for musicians were filled by a game company instead of a musical instruments company? There’s no need to imagine: pick up the new Rock Band 3 keyboard, and you’ll see what I mean. Consider: most sub-$100 and compact keyboards have dumped 5-PIN MIDI DIN ports in favor of USB only – little comfort if you want to plug a keyboard into that DIY sound module or eBay treasure. (Alesis’ QS25 is one exception, but even a $150 M-Audio …

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Roland Gets the Fun Back? Cheaper, Smaller Shoulder “Keytar” Keyboard, AX-09

Roland’s Messe show announcements include two releases that caught my eye. I’ll be honest: some of Roland’s recent gear, while it sells really well, just doesn’t reach me emotionally. But these new announcements strike me as having two key ingredients: afford ability and that elusive fun factor. There’s a (mercifully) cheaper, more compact shoulder-mounted keyboard, plus a synth that looks to distill some of the best spirit of Roland’s recent (and previous designs.) This is just a preview, but let’s at least say they’re on my “worth reviewing” list. First up: exhibit A, the AX-09. Laugh as you may at …

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Dorkpop Music with Keytar Frontman Baffles a Humorless Simon Cowell

You know that viral, deeply inspirational Britain’s Got Talent clip in which a lone singer bursts the preconceptions and expectations of the whole world, dazzling audiences and bringing people to tears with her talent? Yeah, okay, so this is pretty much nothing like that. This is more in the category of self-deprecating artists who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, being exactly what you’d expect them to be – and then some. Let’s call it “dorkpop,” intentionally geeky musicians willing to be just the people they are. Three keyboards, and one man with a keytar. (Note that he basically demonstrates …

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Keytar Revival: Exclusive Details of Roland’s New AX-Synth “Shoulder Keyboard”

CDM readers heavily lamented the loss of Roland’s AX-7 “shoulder keyboard” (better known to the world as a “keytar”). Sure, the keytar has a reputation for being dorky (bad news, chaps, the keyboard has a reputation for being dorky). But putting instruments on your shoulder is also a simple way to make them easy to play – ask a guitar, an accordion, or any other number of instruments. They let you move around, and there’s no question as computer musicians we get enough time in their chairs. Well, the Roland AX is back – and as the name implies, the …

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