Korg Polysix Synthesizer Madness!

I’ve really come to enjoy the Korg Polysix Synthesizer. It’s such a joy to use each day and the attention it requires is amazing. I’m not sure why, but if I let the Polysix sit without playing it for more than a couple of days, strange things seem to happen inside the machine. It’s funny, I don’t even keep the cover screwed down anymore because I’m constantly lifting up the hood and cleaning something. The Polysix kind of reminds me of the daily repairs on my old VW Bug during my University days. That actually was a very trusty vehicle probably because I knew it inside and out. I feel the same with the Korg Polysix. I sometimes see double with the LEDS on the front panel. Occasionally a key triggers a few times too many, but sometimes it sounds kind of cool. Everyone so often, I also get a glitch or two which seems to be triggered by what I don’t know…laugh.

What’s interesting is that if I lift the hood and rub some alcohol cleaner around the circuits ( With the Polysix unplugged of course ), it then fires up on all cylinders just fine. It’s probably the cleanest Polysix I know of. I have another Polysix to the right which actually works perfectly yet, I keep migrating to this particular one which is older in serial number. For some reason it just seems to have quite a bit of character. I know a lot of people who get those KIWI mods, but I’m not quite ready to spend more than what I paid for this Polysix for the upgrade. The Korg Polysix sends me into madness sometimes but it can also transport me into another realm of sweet music and fun. I just love the modulation you can get out of the Polysix. I think the video posted above illustrates pretty well the effort in trying to tame the mighty machine and keep it running.

I feel extremely fortunate to not just have one, but two Korg Polysix synthesizers. However, the one in this video is special to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever sell it primarily because I have this strange feeling it won’t ever work again the minute somebody else turns it on. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of cars in my life and they’ve gotten nicer since my VW bug days. Yet, it’s that VW bug that I remember the most. The bond we had working together to get back home safely in the wee hours of the morning after a night at the club was amazing. The bug always came through for me just like this trusty, but mad, old Korg Polysix. Cherish those struggles in life I say, as they are the very things that define us.

Have a great weekend and happy jamming!

Note about the video: All tracks were looped with the Boss RC-300. I toggle between several patches on the Korg Polysix itself. I use a drum machine for the drum midi’d to the Boss RC-300.

Korg Polysix Synthesizer
Korg Polysix Synthesizer

The Original Korg RK-100 in RED!

Jamming on the original Korg RK-100 in red. I bought this about a year ago and I love it. There is a new RK-100s out, but I actually like the original because of the three mod wheels. I am running the Korg RK-100 through a Korg EX-800 which originally was also paired with the RK-100 when released in the 80’s. They make a terrific analog synth combo and I think it sounds great. In this video I recorded some drums and EX-800 loops into the Boss RC-300 on the floor. I then created a custom EX-800 patch for the jam. The RK-100 size, weight, and shape are just perfect for me. Yes, some might think the RK-100 is heavy, but coming from working with a Gibson Les Paul Custom for some years, it’s definitely much lighter than a Les Paul. I don’t mind having a bit of weight on my shoulders anyway. I’ll upload more videos over the next couple of weeks with the original RK-100 from Korg. I’m still a tiny bit rusty with it.

Here is the Korg RK-100 and Korg EX-800 in my studio.

Korg RK100 and Korg EX-800

A photo posted by Jim Atwood in Japan (@jimatwood) on

VooDoo in my Veins Guitar Jam

Picked up the guitar this evening and created a little jam with the Boss RC-300 running three drum tracks along with three guitar rhythm tracks I recorded. I then have a Boss RC-505 with a couple of vocal loops recorded using the Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer. I’m then playing the lead guitar over the top with ad-lib vocals singing a line “VooDoo in my Veins”. I actually started out as a guitar player when I was about 10 years old. I later got a Yamaha DX7 and that started my synthesizer journey. It can be a bit of a handful doing synths, guitars, and vocals all at once, but it’s fun and a challenge too trying to mix them all in live. By the way, the guitar is made by Ibanez. I usually play a Flying-V or some other Gibson, but I like the Ibanez quite a bit as well.

Korg Polysix Synth FX Patches

Today I ran through some Korg Polysix special FX patches that I’ve been working on and collecting for the past couple of months. I’m a huge fan of integrating synth FX into jams and compositions and have been greatly inspired by Patrick Cowley of the late 70’s and early 80’s. I only wish I had a Prophet 5 so I could replicate a lot of those classic sweeps and ray gun FX patches. With that said, I feel I’m coming along with emulating a lot of those cool classic FX on the Korg Polysix. I noticed that around Youtube there aren’t that many synth players utilizing FX sounds into their songs or jams like the old days. I’m not sure why that is other than it’s not always easy to acquire a particular analog synth or create a certain patch I know. It’s also not easy to use “sampled” FX. I once picked up some Prophet 5 FX samples and really had a hard time integrating them into songs. For me at least, it seems the best way is to get an old analog synth that is capable and just add FX from the synth itself. That seems to work best with my workflow at the moment.

I use both the Boss RC-300 and RC-505 to loop 80’s drums and sounds from both the Korg Polysix and the Novation Bass Station 2. I then add FX live from the Korg Polysix and one sweeping FX patch from the Bass Station 2. I believe I go through about 7 or 8 Korg Polysix patches in the video and everything is improvised. I’m also a big fan of imperfections and dissonance, so I like to just jump in there and play whatever comes to mind.

Korg Polysix, Bass Station 2 and the Boss RC-300

Recorded a fun little jam using the Boss RC-300 running three drum loops I recorded with different Novation Bass Station 2 bass lines on top. I then switched each one during various times of the jam. My left hand overdubs with a custom programmed punchy filter/noise sound from the Bass Station 2. I’m using three different custom patches on the Korg Polysix. The video was recorded in one take after about 5-10 minutes of playing around with RC-300. The Boss RC-300 works extremely well for switching verse, chorus, and bridge parts.

Give it 100 Korg Polysix Synth Patch Programming

Give it 100 - Jim in Japan
Give it 100 – Jim in Japan

Today I stumbled upon this pretty cool website called “Give it 100” when I was doing my daily news browsing on Yahoo. The idea of the site is to pick something you want to improve on or learn and to post a short 10 second video showing your adventure for 100 days. I chose to create a custom synth patch for the Korg Polysix each day in the morning and upload it to the site. I could have chosen a number of synths to do this with, but lately I’ve been using the Korg Polysix quite regularly and also thought it was a synth I could keep up with. You can only record 10 seconds worth of video for the site, but I find that is ample for getting the idea of the patch across. I think it will be fun.

Here is the link to my profile on the website “Give it 100”.

https://giveit100.com/@JimAtwood/7tsanx

I think this is a very good idea to encourage people to showcase their progress and to work towards a goal in their hobby, life, or profession. Ten seconds might seem too short at first, but I think it’s a pretty good amount of time to create, practice, record, and post each day.

I’m looking forward to hearing what kind of sounds I can come up with for the Korg Polysix and as a bonus I’ll likely have a couple of solid banks for the synth when I’m done plus some videos to showcase the incredible synth the Korg Polysix has become.

Note I’ll also have to take a snapshot of my settings as well so I don’t forget how I programmed each patch…laugh!

Enjoy!