The Casio SK-1 should be used for more than Sampling your Dog

The 80s spawned an era of entry level, consumer synthesizers that could make ANYONE sound like Herbie Hancock!

While the pros were using the Yamaha DX7, Prophet 5 or Ensoniq Mirage, the department store crowd were enjoying cost effective PCM synths that had 50 instruments (which all sounded the same), drum beats (that looped after two measures) and automatic rhythm accompaniment (that was about as dynamic as a geriatric Oom-pah band.)

However, what if you wanted to record yourself saying “jammin’ on the one” and put it to music, but you weren’t as lucky as Theo Huxtable who got to visit Stevie Wonder?

Well, now you could do it home, with the awesome Casio SK-1.

Sadly, all this tool could think of doing was sampling his sad sack dog. Also, notice the disclaimer at the end. This keyboard, as I recall, was only 4 note polyphonic – meaning it can only have 4 keys depressed at one time. That pretend playing in the commercial was not possible on the SK-1.

Later, they made the SK-5, which allowed for more samples to be stored on the keyboards memory, as well as…a drum pad. I bought one for ten dollars off a friend of mine about a month after he got it.

His mother was not pleased.

Patrick J. Doody

Patrick J. Doody is a horror nerd and Mexican Pepsi enthusiast living in Los Angeles.He writes movies and makes TV shows. Check out his latest endeavor, Beyond Stranger Things streaming on Netflix.

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3 thoughts on “The Casio SK-1 should be used for more than Sampling your Dog

  1. Yup, I had one as a kid! In fact, I still have it! I used my SK-1 the way most 9 year olds did – sampling farts and belches! I would then play the built in demo song and select the belch or fart as the main instrument!

    Hmm, I wonder if my SK-1 still works?

  2. Oh yes… the SK1 was an integral part of my later childhood, too. A buddy of mine and I would use it in little skits we’d record on tape and then play back (the tapes, I mean) and laugh our asses off. Making a spit sound and playing it on the keyboard was epic.

  3. I actually started out making ambient music using one of these keyboards. By utilizing the sampling capability, and using a tape deck to bounce tracks down, I composed quite a few pieces of music. One of these pieces ended up on a compilation 7″ vinyl record back in 1996.

    These days, some electronic musicians buy these keyboards and circuit-bend them. That is, they find the chip that creates the sounds, and wire the pins to switches so that they can trigger all sorts of weird effects. My original keyboard died years ago, but I got another one later for $5 and did some circuit-bending experiments to it. It ended up selling on eBay for around $80. I wish I still had it…

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