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.

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.

Dual Boss RC-505 Loop Stations

I am testing a dual Boss RC-505 Loop station setup in this video. I have a Roland TR-8 as Master connected to a Yamaha MJC8 Midi Patch Bay. Everything is on Midi Channel 1. Two outputs are connected one each to a Boss RC-505 Loop machine. No external effects are used in the video other than a Boss DM-2 Analog Delay on a couple of the Polysix tracks. One RC-505 is connected to the Korg Polysix Analog Synth. The other RC-505 is connected to a Yamaha V50 Synthesizer.

I created the loops right before recording the video and forgot to record that part….laugh. I’ll do something again shortly showing the recording process. Both RC-505 Loop Stations are in sync controlled by the TR-8. You CANNOT sync this by chaining them as the RC-505 is not capable of sending the appropriate midi start command. In the video you see me toggling various loops on an off to add dynamics to the song which is completely improvised and done on the first take. Patches for the Korg Polysix and Yamaha V-50 are custom made.

One Boss RC-505 is sitting on the Yamaha V50 which you can see. The other is under the Korg Polysix sitting on my Roland Fantom X6. The mix is running through a Roland M-12E 12 Channel mixer which is awesome. I just bought a second one here in Japan. It makes my life so much easier running all my synth gear through them. The mix is going direct into my iPhone via a Fostex ios recording device.

I am playing a fun patch I created on the Korg Polysix. I love the modulation that the Korg Polysix can do.

Oh yeah, I’m sporting a pink Midi Designer T-shirt under my jacket there.

Yamaha V50 Distorted Sync Patch

I was repairing a copper trace that went flaky on my Korg Polysix this morning. I managed to get it working again and while warming up the Polysix, I recorded this jam using a custom “Distorted Sync” patch for the Yamaha V50. The arp in the back ground is from the Korg Polysix. I have the arp set to octave chord memory with a touch of VCA modulation. Video was recorded live. I just jumped in and started playing off the top of my head.

Someone asked me about effects recently. I usually use a Boss DM-2 Analog Delay on most everything when I do quick videos. I also currently have a Sony DPS-V55 Mult-effects processor adding for reverb or slight modulation. I try to run dry as much as possible though because on stage, too much effect processing really doesn’t sound great at the places I play. I only add when needed you might say. I love the Boss DM-2 though. I also tend to shift effects around quite a bit simply because I have too many and am trying to properly check each one out. I recently picked up an old Boss GT-5 which has analog distortion in it which I really like. I can’t stand the digital distortion “Fizz” in the newer GT units such as the GT-10. I don’t know how people cope with that annoying “Fizz”. Presto! It’s gone on the GT-5!

Enjoy the video and a glimpse into my music room…laugh! Yes, I do have all the gear I say I do on my blog.