Korg Wavedrum Mini cheap in Japan

Korg Wavedrum Mini
Korg Wavedrum Mini

Today I along with the Michael Schenker signature I found posted in an earlier article, I picked up a used Korg Wavedrum Mini for really cheap … $100 bucks! The only thing missing was the adapter but it looks like a standard Korg DC9V so it shouldn’t be a problem finding one around here. This is the third Wavedrum Mini I’ve seen for that price at used music stores here in Nagano-city, Japan. I am not sure why people are giving them up and why they are going for so cheap but I thought it would be kind of cool to work with so I picked one up.

My thought is to initially use the Korg Wavedrum Mini along with the Boss RC-300 loop station as a way to create grooves on the Wavedrum and then record onto the RC-300. I could then save the loops onto the computer from the RC-300 since the Wavedrum mini will not allow you to save patterns. Loop recording these days is pretty good so you can create whatever you want on the Wavedrum Mini and dump it onto a sampler quite fast and easily. You also can’t edit the sounds but you can add effects and you can also vary the sound with how you play a little bit too.

The Korg Wavedrum mini is still new and I’m sure when I think outside the box a little more it will be quite cool to keep hopefully. I also thought the Korg Wavedrum mini would be a good addition to the drum set I already have as well. Another nice thing about the Wavedrum is that it takes batteries so you can create patterns on the go. You will need to bring some sort of portable sampling device to record your newly created loop patterns, but that shouldn’t be too difficult to find with the current sampler gadgets out there. I actually have a Boss Micro BR recorder that would work well most likely and is very small. With the Boss RC-300 Loop station or something equivalent, I think the Korg Wavedrum mini will work very well. Currently I’m developing a music school in Nagano, Japan and the Korg Wavedrum mini I’m sure would work well in that environment. There are lots of possibilities.

Here’s a promo video from Korg which talks about the sensor clip, sounds, effects, rhythm patterns, overdubbing, and looper.

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ESP Edwards E-FV-95 WB Michael Schenker Flying V Model

Edwards E-FV-95 WB
Edwards E-FV-95 WB

Today I found a mint condition ESP Edwards E-FV-95 WB Flying V which is the Michael Schenker Signature Model only sold in Japan. Honestly I don’t know when this was sold exactly and there is also another ESP Edwards model called the EDWARDS E-FV-95 WB DOT version which had dots on the fret board. I actually prefer the rectangles so I was excited to see this in the used music shop. I bought this with the original ESP black case for $120. That’s right… $120. The sales clerk said it was brought into the store the day before by an elderly woman. The clerk had no idea about the guitar because it had no name on the head stock. I kind of rolled my eyes and said to myself “your kidding!”. Of course if the sales clerk doesn’t know anything about guitars, he might have a point. Usually guitars have a name on the head like “Gibson” or “Fender” but this one didn’t which I suppose to many means the guitar is cheap. However, on Michael Schenker’s guitar, the head on a couple of models he had are the same with no name written.

Furthermore, the guitar wouldn’t make any sound when he plugged it in for me to test. I tried and tried and I kind of just let him fumble with the amp and guitar. Finally he gave up and said if I still wanted the guitar he would cut me a deal but ultimately it didn’t work. Again I kind of stood there in amazement a little bit. I said that’s ok I can take a look at it at home. With that said he charge me $120 for the guitar and case and I was on my way. The Flying V is absolutely in mint shape along with the case. When I got home I plugged her in and the guitar sounded awesome. I can only figure that the amplifier in the store was not setup correctly. There is nothing wrong with the Edwards V and so I felt kind of lucky to get such a nice guitar.

ESP Edwards E-FV-95 WB Flying V
ESP Edwards E-FV-95 WB Flying V

Whether the ESP Edwards E-FV-95 WB flying V is all that great I am not sure yet considering I’ve only had it for a day now, but so far I’m very impressed with the quality and tone. It’s very lightweight and built really well. The neck is thick near the body which I’ve heard is normal for some of the older Gibson V but I’m fine with that because I have big hands and long fingers. No problem.

I’m also a HUGE fan of Michael Schenker and you probably have to be to come home with a guitar like this I suppose. Some people are not fans of signature guitars such as this which I understand, but as a kid growing up I always enjoyed MSG and learned quite a few of their songs. It will be really fun to jam with this. It was a blue flying V played by someone during the 7th grade that first attracted me to playing the guitar. Flying V guitars are not every guitar players cup of tea, but for me it will always be something cool and special.

I don’t have all the facts and figures of the ESP Edwards E-FV-95WB other than what I’ve found on the Youtube video below, but I do know it was released only in Japan and it is supposed to faithfully copy one of the original Michael Schenker Flying V guitars. It also is equipped with two Seymour Duncun pickups which sound great.

Here is a photo of me holding the Michael Schenker Signauture Flying V Guitar from ESP Edwards sporting a rock pose….grin. Rock on!!

Michael Schenker Flying V Guitar
Michael Schenker Flying V Guitar

Edwards E-FV-95 WB
Body: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Fretboard: Rosewood, 22 frets with white binding
Radius: 305R
Scale: 24.75 inch (628mm)
Nut: Bone (40mm)
Inlay: Pearloid Block
Joint: Set-neck
Tuner: GOTOH SG301-01
Bridge: Old Type Tune-Matic & GOTOH GE101Z
Pickups: (Front) Seymour Duncan SH-1n
(Back) Seymour Duncan SH-5
Parts Color: Nickel

Here’s another guy on Youtube with the exact same guitar. Please note that if I’ve made any errors in specifications please feel free to write a comment with any corrections. Thanks!

Dual Korg MS-2000 Synthesizer Sound modules

Dual MS2000 Sound Modules
Dual MS2000 Sound Modules

Around 2001 I bought a used Korg MS2000R and have really enjoyed playing with it over the years. So much so that I’ve recently added a second Korg MS2000BR version to compliment the first. Both connect together nicely which increases the polyphony. I basically use one module for creating synthetic drum sounds and a split bass over the top. The second module can now be used for added sequences or lead sounds. The MS2000 modules are a real joy to use and are quite simple to program. The arp and mod sequencer are outstanding which allow you to create some really cool beats, soundscapes, and modulated sequences. The sequencer is similar to that of the Klee Step Sequencer. Both modules sync up very well and I’ve had zero trouble with drifting or timing getting out of whack. Although you can load the MS2000BR presets into the MS2000R, it’s nice to have both sets available at once.

Sure it’s redundant perhaps to own dual Korg MS2000 sound modules, but in Japan these are crazy cheap nowadays and when I saw the BR version last week I couldn’t pass it up. I also found a cool rack to put the modules in and was even able to add the Roland JP8080 sound module in there as well. I can now sit down and tweak away creating all sorts of interesting sounds and sequences.

Here is a fantastic video about how to create a drum set along with bass and a lead sound using the Korg MS2000. I do this all the time with my MS2000 modules and you can get some really good results. Of course you are limited a tiny bit with one module which is why the second one really opens up a lot of new opportunities. Still though one Korg MS2000 is likely all you will need to create the same thing and more. These are great synthesizer modules.

Converting zip drives to CF or SD Card Drives for Roland Gear

Roland SP-808
Roland SP-808

Recently I picked up a few used Roland musical items that I rather like but use the zip drive format. I found a Roland VS-840EX in mint condition along with two Roland SP-808 samplers at rock bottom prices. The Roland VS-840 already was an EX version and I upgraded the two SP-808 samplers to the EX software version using OS midi files found online. Both the Roland SP-808EX and VS-840EX are excellent for triggering samples. I use the SP-808 WWAC converter program on my computer to import WAV files. I then use the BR WAV converter to import WAV files into the VS-840. Both machines sound fantastic, especially the SP-808EX. All in all, these are two very capable machines and are both a joy to use even though they are older devices. The SP-808 in particular sounds really good.

Roland VS-840EX
Roland VS-840EX

It’s important to note that my main uses for both machines is to simply trigger samples and apply effects. In other words, I like to use them as back track machines that I can use to play along with using my keyboards or guitars. For this the SP-808 and the VS-840EX work very well. Of course one can expand on the SP-808 and create sampled grooves plus one can record tracks onto the VS-840EX no problem. Both however are older machines so you have to expect limitations at times if you want to really use them for their intended purposes. I like to buy used gear and think outside the box a little bit. The SP-808 is a great groove box for backtracks and for the prices they are going in Japan now it’s crazy not to pick up a couple. The VS-840 are also a dime a dozen here too which is great on the wallet.

This week I was researching on some forums that the Roland VS-840EX could successfully be fitted with a Compact Flash Card to IDE converter in place of the zip drive. This allows you to use 1GB flash cards and to operate the Roland VS-840EX in silent fashion. A place where these CF to IDE cards are purchased is from an online vendor called Deal Extreme (An Absolute HORRIBLE company. Read comments about Dealextreme experience! Buyer Beware!) which are based in China if correct. These have been confirmed to work and once my order has arrived I’ll update this article with whether indeed it does. It’s apparently quite simple to swap the zip drive out and attach the CF to IDE adapter. In addition I picked up the SD to IDE adapter as well because both the CF and SD apparently work. These are very cheap from Deal Extreme although the company is very slow to ship I must say.

In addition, I will be installing both CF and SD card adapters into the Roland SP-808EX for testing and hopefully they will work. There are reports of CF card drives that work in the Roland SP-808 but no confirmed reports of exactly which drives or adapters. This is a huge thing if a CF or SD card adapter can be found for the Roland SP-808 Sampler. I’m not expecting it work really as so many adapters have been tried on the SP-808 and it’s been reported the OS firmware is the reason behind all the failed attempts. However, some do work and it is my hope that what I’ve recently purchased will be successful.

Currently I have a ton of zip disks and both 100 and 250 zip drives around the place. So it isn’t an issue of finding zip disks or working zip drives. I also have never really had any “drive too busy errors” because I mainly used the SP-808 and VS-840EX for sample track playback. However, the noise of these zip drives can get to you after a while especially in a quiet studio environment. So it would be really wonderful to get the zip drives out of these boxes.

I’ll update this post after I get the CF and SD card adapters into the Roland SP-808EX and Roland VS-840EX. With any luck I’ll have extra storage and a nice quiet place to work. Although the zip drives and disks work great with these machines and the with the computer, the CF and SD card versions should make the work flow a bit smoother. There are a ton of used Roland SP-808 and VS-840EX boxes in Japan. They are all super cheap too so if this works I pick up some more for the kids and the whole family….laugh. Stay tuned!

Korg Microkorg Synthesizer brings New Year fun!

Korg Microkorg Synthesizer
Korg Microkorg Synthesizer

This little synthesizer has been on my wish list for some time and on New Year’s Eve I finally found one sitting in a used Music Shop called “Hard Off” on the outskirts of Nagano-city. It was at a great price and as a bonus it came with a very nice original softcase which I hadn’t seen before. I turned it on and checked it out before I bought it and found it to be extremely fun to play with. Later when I brought it home, I found it complimented nicely with my other gear for playing cool lead sounds or melodies over progressions and movements.

I also have a Korg MS2000R rack version and I hear the Microkorg is similar to the MS2000R but haven’t really compared them yet. If they are, I can definitely say it will likely not matter because I’ll 100% be approaching these two machines differently. The Microkorg is so accessible and easy to add to a mix if using it for one or maybe two tracks. Programming it seems pretty easy and I really dig the arpeggiator on it. I did consider the Microkorg XL but ultimately settled on the Microkorg original version because it basically was all I needed. I really feel the Microkorg has the potential to become a classic one day with it’s design and decent functionality. It’s a very fun synth. The size of the keys are small of course but they actually aren’t all that difficult to play with. You really get used to it quickly. The Microkorg Synths are becoming more cheap these days and I highly recommend picking one up if you find one at a good price. It’s a great synth to get creative with.

Korg Microkontrol Controller

Korg Microkontrol
Korg Microkontrol

A few days before New Year, I found a used Korg Microkontrol Keyboard at the local used music shop. Someone had brought it in earlier that day with the original box and everything in it. I was really interested in this mainly for controlling some software sequence applications such as the Klee Software Step Sequencer and the M185 Step Sequencer software from Defective Records. I also wanted the pads to trigger a couple of midi drum apps and thought the Korg Microkontrol would fit the bill nicely. I also use Kontakt occasionaly as well as Sonar and so far the MicroKontrol works fine with those applications as well.

I use my Roland Edirol PCR series controllers mainly for controlling other hardware sound modules. So far I think the MicroKontrol is a pretty cool little unit and should work nicely at home or on the go with programming midi files for transferring to my hardware synths. I know there are a TON of other great controllers out there for the computer so I’m not aiming to make comparisons other than to say that it works well straight out of the box and I can pretty much control what I need no problem. The build quality is fantastic and I really like how it all lights up in the dark. These don’t pop up in the used music stores very often so I figured picking one up while I had the chance would be good. I’m glad I did! It’s fun.

Here’s a cool video showing off the MicroKontrol a bit found on Youtube.

Rebirth Live Mix With Korg MicroKontrol