About Jim

Konnichiwa!  My name is Jim Atwood and I am currently a musician working and performing in Tokyo, JAPAN.

I have spent 20 years building an extensive network in both Japan and Asia.  I am more than happy to network with any individuals with an interest in the Far East on any topic of interest.

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, please feel free to contact on Facebook or Youtube.

Visit Jim Atwood in Japan on Facebook
Favorite Quotes to live by:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!! What a ride!

“Do what you love, the rest will come!”

“The Underground is always one step ahead of the ground Above!”

“I always strive to be fair in my critiques.  I never want to discourage, just give constructive advice!”

37 thoughts on “About Jim

  1. Ian Newton

    Hi Jim,
    I have a Yamaha su700 and want to put a scsi flash card reader in it but can’t find to much info about how to go about it. Could you tell me what parts ie what reader is compatible with the Yamaha series?

    All the best,


    1. Hello Ian,

      I don’t own a Yamaha su700 but if I had one I would probably open it up and either remove or inspect the drive currently in it. You may have to remove the ribbon cable and power cable to determine the exact pin number for the connection. Then you can start looking for the appropriate adapter or reader that will work with it. I group to keep an eye on is the Yahoo Group for either the Rm1x or the RS7000. There are people in there currently researching which flash card readers will work. You can also check out the HxC SD card reader which likely will work perfectly provided you have the proper pin connection. This is why you’ll need to open up the su700 and inspect the current drive setup.



  2. JUNO

    Hey Jim in Japan,

    Great blog, merry xmas. I’m envious of you managing to find so much bargain vintage gear. I’m in Japan on the JET Program and went to my first Hard Off last week. Had such high hopes of finding a JUNO 106 at a ridiculous price. No luck. Anyway, would you mind shooting me an email? Would like to ask you some stuff bout finding vintage gear in Japan and more specifically a Juno 106 listed on Yahoo Auctions at the moment. Not sure bout my translation of the state it’s in. Cheers. luscmu(at)gmail

    1. Hi there,

      To put things in perspective, I’ve been going to Hardoff since I started this blog which was July 2009. I also go to three different Hard Off stores approximately 4-5 times each week as I live quite close to them. With that sort of frequency one is bound to run into the synths that I’ve been fortunate to find and collect over the years …. laugh. The Nagano Hard Off sales staff know me REALLY WELL!!! I come from a “collecting” oriented family that pretty much hits the stores as much as necessary in order to increase the odds of finding a good deal. Sure it’s a lot of luck, but I also think if I hadn’t pounded the pavement enough I surely wouldn’t have found some of the stuff I post here on my blog. I think it took over a year apart to find both my Juno 106 synths here in Nagano. It was a combination of luck and hitting the stores almost daily to beat out other synth enthusiasts to get those synths…laugh.

      With regards to finding Juno 106 synths on Ebay or Yahoo Auctions, they will ALL have problems unless they specifically have their six voice chips serviced. There is no way around this flaw with the Juno 106. Both of my synths have been serviced by Allen at the Synth Spa. It took 2-3 months for each synth to get fully serviced, but I can say they are in top condition now and will likely not fail again at least in the voice or wave chip department. So if you are shopping around for a Juno 106 you need to either make sure that all six chips have been serviced OR understand that they will need to be serviced at some point if they haven’t been already.

      There are other issues with the Juno 106 synths too such as dead keys, Chorus effect issues, and a few other niggles but everything is either replaceable or can be fixed 100%.

      If you have any questions, feel free to send me a note anytime. Best of luck!


  3. David Prouty

    I had fun reading your adventures in japan. I noticed your missing a few keyboards and stuff so I decided to extend your buy list.

    Roland JX-305
    Korg Karma
    Ensoniq Asr10
    Roland Pro-E Intelligent Arranger this one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roland_Pro-E_Intelligent_Arranger.jpg

    Yamaha AN200
    Yamaha DX200
    Roland EG-101 http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/eg101.php
    Roland D2 http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/d2.php
    Korg N1r
    Electrix Pro Repeater

    That should round out your 90s collection …. + some items that are not from the 90s.

  4. David Prouty

    Oh yeah …. and a Kurzweil rack sampler.
    and a Emu E6400 Ultra rack sampler.

    Lol ….. If I bring another sampler into my house my wife will spank me.

    Look forward to hearing more about you foraging for synths in Japan. Here in the US its Craigslist and ebay. The musical instrument shops are on the decline especially ones with used items. ;(

  5. Paulus

    Hello Jim,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog.
    I found it while searching for people who have repaired a Roland alpha Juno 2 which won’t power up.
    I actually just bought one, I did not receive it yet, but I am pretty curious to follow on your repair adventures that you wrote there:

    Did you manage to fix it?
    I hope mine won’t be totally broken.

    Thanks a lot,



  6. Theo

    Hello Jim,

    I have been reading your blog post on repairing your Juno 2, it’s very helpful, I hope you don’t mind me contacting you via email.

    I am fairly new to opening up synths, I have just managed to get a Juno 106 but it won’t power on.
    It is in amazing condition, I have just opened it up and I can’t see what’s wrong with it…

    Is there any other blogs or websites you could point me in the right direction?

    Thanks very much.

    1. Hello! The Juno-2 not powering up for no apparent reason is becoming a big problem lately. It happened as I wrote with one my Juno 2 synths. I basically conducted a process of elimination with all the PCB boards and isolated the issue to the main board. I can completely rule out the Power Supply unit and PCB board. I can also rule out the top panel boards under the hood. The problem with the power not turning on has to do with the main large center board. What exactly is the problem I do not know yet. I just know that I swapped out all the boards one by one with a working Juno 2 and isolated the issue to the main board. I then took that main board and dropped it into two fully working Juno 2 synths. They were both dead and wouldn’t turn on with that board installed. I now have the Juno 2 main board on my desk work bench and I’m trying to figure out the problem. The issue is popping up more on the internet but there is no solution at the moment. I really want to get it figured out because the prices have dropped considerably in Japan due to this issue. I’ll update this post when I find more answers. Thanks!!

  7. Hi Jim – I tried to contact you about my Yamaha SY85. Is that email out of date?

    I restored to factory setting on my SY85 and then found out I needed to restore from a floppy – how stupid of me!! I’m think my floppy drive belt is busted. It whirrs and I get the disk error message. Is replacing the belt reasonably easy? Can I use sound cards to replace factory sounds instead?
    Can I use HD floppies or do I need to format for DD? I don’t know how to do that on my PC. Is it possible the error is because I used the wrong type of disks?

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Geoff Wales
    Sydney, Australia

    1. Hello Geoff,

      I’m not aware that you “have to” restore from a floppy although that is the most common route to getting the factory data back into the SY85. You should be able to also use sysex via midi. The file is available here: http://chrisarndt.de/files/yamaha/sy85/sounds/ . In that zip archive is a sysex factory file that will load via midi. There are other sysex files as well with other sound settings available in that file as well.

      If you are getting disk error messages, then yes likely the drive belt needs to be replaced. Changing the belt is pretty straight forward, but it does require a very small screw driver to remove the actual belt and slide it off if I remember correctly. I purchased my drive belt from here and it works prerfectly: http://www.bustedgear.com/part_belt_floppy.html . You can also use rubberbands with similar dimensions. In Japan I found a package of them at the office supply store and they seem to work on other synth projects with similar belts.

      With regards to using HD and DD disks there was an FAQ online that mentioned the following:

      Can HD (1.44Mb) disks be used with the Yamaha SY85 ?
      As far as I can see – Yes – but only when formatted as DD (720k)
      Others have said that it may cause problems, but I have seen none. You can format them in the SY85 and use them in the normal way. If you cover square hole in the bottom right hand corner of the disk you will also be able to read the disk in a PC. You will also be able to format the disk in th PC but again only to DD (720k).

      Note however, that I rarely have any luck with taping the square hole on the HD floppy disks. I just mainly use DD disks or midi and sysex. This method does work for many people though and perhaps it’s because of the type of HD disks I use. I’m not sure.

      Also, my email addresses all work fine. I just get quite a few messages each day and it takes a bit of time to do the research and answer each one. My apologies for the late reply.

      Thanks and if you have any further questions, please let me know. Have a great weekend! – Jim

      1. gcwales@gmail.com

        Thanks very much for your reply. I’m quietly going insane here. Half a day frigging about with USB drivers and librarians… I finally managed to find a Librarian called SysEx Librarian on my macbookpro that actually sends bulk data to the Sy85. How do you turn off Bulk protect? I have searched the net and studied the Utility and MIDI options, without success.



  8. Jan Sevcik

    I’m old musician from Europe -CZ.
    A long time trying to find .dsk Images for Copydisk floppy disk Korg PCM T3Ex, T2ex, T1 or DSM1.

    Or soft Korg MultiMaker and create multisamples himself.

    Is there a chance?
    I do not win 98 only XP

    Thank you very much for your answer


  9. Hi Jim,

    I would like to ask you about the upgrade to the Roland SP808ex with SD card, do you know if this is posible using an SD adaptor to IDE 40 pin and using 1G SD card? thanks!
    All the Best!

  10. James Yhap

    Hello Jim. I am interested in getting a Rolnad Studio M. Had used one in the early 90’s. What is the situation of the ones you presently own?

  11. Hi there Jim-san! 😉 Hope all’s well with you & family.

    So, as you are based in Japan, where ALL the world’s Yamaha vast (& rare it would seem, especially vintage ….) bulk spares are located, is there anyway you can help me out please here, from your decades over there …. After the following parts SY99 Black plastic Left & Right ‘End Blocks’ Part #’s: VH809500 and VH809200. Do you know of anyone local to you – maybe specialist dealer/enthusiast distributor? – that stock/may stock these still? Or one of your contacts at Yamaha Japan (/Spares) direct, that may?

    No idea why Yamaha fitted credit card-thin End Blocks to their flagship models (same on the ’77 too…) and always have seen these are busted particularly the rear corners :\ Love the board though – a classic.
    Wonder if the ‘Montage’ will trump it now??, won’t see that here in UK until at least May/probably Jun-16. Speaking of credit cards ………(!!)

    Many thanks and look forward to your reply by return Jim,
    BR Richard

  12. jongarwackegmailcom


    I need your help, this has been so impossible to find a real answer and I’m hoping you can maybe settle this since you have experience changing Yamaha LCD screens (SY77). I bought an RS7000, which I loved, for a week, until the LCD text faded away (not the backlight), probably from cleaning solution I used to get stickers off of it. ive researched extensively, like serous hard googling, and the only thing I can find was a few message boards with no resolution, and the sy77 Yamaha uk post you referenced. My question: can I buy an LCD screen, not made by Yamaha… This forum is as close as a got to an answer. Please help.!
    I’m too poor for yamahas $150 LCD screen.

  13. Alex

    Hi Jim,

    Just a quick question; I got hold of a TX816 system and wondered what is the best way to connect the modules to a mixer, since they are XLR and balanced it seems but line level so they would not go with xlr mic inputs. Do you use XLR to (unbalanced) TS Jack cables for the TF1’s or are there (rack)mixers that take XLR at line levels? Thanks Alex

    1. Hi Alex – I definitely use XLR to TS Jacks due to the lack of XLR line level inputs on most mixers. However, at the moment I have and use the original line mixer that came with the TX816 from Yamaha. Thanks!

  14. Paul Muller

    Roland U-20, recently had to open it up for battery replacement. Now I get a low battery message and the lower keys don’t produce any sound. Anything come to mind re: a known issue? Tx

  15. Martin

    Hello Jim,
    so many people here who ask you for help. I am not shure if should do it, too.
    But I have a big problem with my Yamaha KX-88. Its EPROM is dead (the Data stored in it is scrambled). Someone in the yahoo-yamahadx-group wrote me to ask you for help in finding the firmware for this Keyboard.
    I hope you can help to get that nice thing into life again.
    Thank You.

  16. Sanjoy Chowdhury

    Hi I am Sanjoy from India. I am using JunoG keyboard since last 12 years. The display of my keyboard has gone. Can i get a display of JunoG please.Get me full details and price of the display. Please help me.

  17. Stefan Kristensson

    Hello Jim!
    Nice site you have, have enjoyed good reading about your synth mods and repair.
    I´m going to Tokyo in couple of day´s 🙂
    Is there any synth store that you could recommend, as I understand there are several music stores in Ochanomizubrings.I´ve learned that Meidai Dori is called the Guitar-Street but is Hi-tech gear also found here? Secondhand is nice, what if I could find a nice old analog Roland device 🙂

  18. Peter

    Hi Jim,

    I once had a Yamaha TX816 that I bought new back in 1986. Sold that 20 years ago but came across a floppy disk the other day that came with the TX816. It is titled: TX816 Demonstration Disk 1 by QX1. It is still in the clear wrap. I think it was meant to insert into the QX1 and then it would play the TX816.

    I also used to have an Oberheim Xpander that I sold off around the same time. I have a cassette tape that came with it that has the factory stock patches on it. It is dated Jun 19 1984.

    Seeing that you are a avid collector and user of vintage equipment (cool stuff), perhaps you might advise as to what to do with these items, besides throwing them out, which I would rather not do if they are of some value to someone…

    Thanks for your time. If interested, I can send you some pic’s.



  19. Gus

    noticed you said you transferred samples to the s612 via sample wrench on a mac running bootcamp. i have the same setup but i get a “general error” every time i transfer a sample. it transfers and works perfectly when transferred and i’m willing to accept it as a minor snag if it appears to be normal.

    i can confirm that version 1.1 os will allow for receiving the samples you sample via the device which is what i wanted mainly. it also sends the loop points you set in the machine and you can edit them and send the sample back with “better” loop points. no errors are received when receive the sample from the device on my end.

    your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  20. Craig


    Any chance you could point me in the right direction? Looking to upgrade my ASR 10 (keys) floppy drive with an internal SD / CF / Zip drive. My machine doesn’t have SCSI installed on the back so I’m not quite sure exactly what i need to get this upgrade working.

    I’ve done a lot of digging around and I’m still not entirely sure what to order. Is this something you know about. Thanks in advance for the help.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s