Turning an old keyboard into a work of art

 

The 1970s were the glory days for analog synthesizers, and for [Stefan] listening to huge modular Moogs and ARPs resulted in a wondrous seething jealousy. In 2009, wanting to relive just a little bit of his childhood, [Stefan] picked up a PAiA Stringz’n’Things from eBay. It’s a great little keyboard, but [Stefan] his new purchase to look little classier than a tolex-covered flight case. After getting rid of the old tolex case, [Stefan] made a new enclosure and added some extra circuitry to expand the capabilities of this classic synth.

After replacing the electrolytic capacitors and fixing a voltage regulator issue, [Stefan] made a new enclosure for his keyboard out of beautifully lacquered mahogany. A new key bed stolen from an old Yamaha organ was brought in, and new control panels above the keys provide a more sensible organization than the keyboard’s previous incarnation.

The original Stringz’n’Things was laid out more like an organ than a synthesizer, a reflection of its polyphonic nature. This meant there wasn’t a very diverse tonal palette, but [Stefan] remedied that with a wave folder to generate extra harmonics, a tremolo, and an envelope generator to provide attack and decay for each note.

Now [Stefan] has a lovely polyphonic synth that has found its place on top of an old Hammond organ. As a bonus, the synth sounds really good. Not bad for an instrument generally regarded as being very limited.