Back when I was growing up in the 80’s a group called Pseudo Echo released a remake of the classic song “Funky Town”. Other than the fact that they did a fantastic job with the remake, the keyboardist used a really cool keytar called the Korg RK-100. I know other keyboardists used the keytar before, but it wasn’t until Pseudo Echo that I really started to take notice. I remember Devo used the Moog Liberation on the “Girl U Want” along with Gary Moore on “Love is alive”.
While nearly forgetting about Pseudo Echo in the 90’s, I found and picked up a classic keytar called the Yamaha KX5. I liked and still like the KX5 very much, but it never really “wow’d” me as much as the Korg RK-100 in red. So it was on a stroll down memory lane watching the Pseudo Echo video and acting on a whim that I decided to look up the RK-100 on Ebay. Interestingly enough I found a few that had been sold but they were all in black. Lately Ebay doesn’t allow you to search worldwide very well, so I manually moved over to the UK Ebay site and unbelievably there was a fantastic Korg RK-100 in RED for sale! I jumped on it immediately!
Quickly I emailed the owner praying they would send it to Japan. The gentleman was an incredibly nice guy. He had no problem at all sending it to Japan, however, I did have to pay a sizable but reasonable sum to make the purchase. To be honest the money saved with deals and repairing my own synths allows me to splurge on nostalgic gear every now and then. The Korg RK-100 feature wise might not be the best keytar synth controller, but in my opinion it’s definitely one of the sharpest looking axes I’ve seen, especially in red. You just don’t see too many around either.
Currently the Korg RK-100 is on it’s way to Japan. I’m really excited about it with two 80’s style concerts coming up in August. I’m sure it’ll be fun wielding the RK-100 on stage. The Korg RK-100 does not have after touch nor is it velocity sensitive, BUT it’s the look that I’m after ultimately and for what I do, the Korg RK-100 is perfect. I should also note that I also use the Roland AX-7 which I find to be my second most favorite keytar. The one aspect of the RK-100 that I like over the AX-7 are the mod and controller wheels on the neck. I like that much better than the ribbon sensor. The Yamaha KX5 also has a ribbon strip but it’s very stiff. Plus the keys on the KX5 are rather small for me. Thus I’m a wheel guy rather than a ribbon guy…laugh.
In addition, I can’t believe the AX-7 stays in one piece considering the plastic feel it has. I’ll be very curious how the Korg RK-100 feels being that it’s made of wood rather than plastic. I know it will likely be heavier, but if it feels good than I can tolerate the extra weight considering I only play sets that consist of 4-5 songs at a time. The AX-7 is a nice looking keytar as well. Mine is in Pearl white, but again I absolutely love the Korg RK-100 retro red color.
Keytars are not popular with everyone I know, but I really do feel Pseudo Echo knocked it out of the park with how they incorporated the keytar into their band and of course the song “Funky Town”.
Here’s the video of “Funky Town” with a red Korg RK-100 in action. Note I’d be curious what sound module was used.