Kawasaki Dual-CoolKeys – Bending Heaven.

I was recently asked about the Kawasaki Dual-CoolKeys. The reader was asking if I had any experience with it or if I knew of any cool bend points.

Coincidentally, I had been messing around with a Dual-CoolKeys, not long before. I took some pics to document the device and wanted to share them.

kawasaki dual-coolkeys

I picked two similar Kawasaki keyboards up at Value Village for about 10 bucks. The guy looked at me super funny when I bought them. But hey, that’s part of the fun of circuit bending.

CIRCUIT BENDING AWESOMENESS #1


Upon opening up the Kawasaki Dual Keys keyboard, I noticed an amazing thing. The Dual Keys seems like it was built by someone who loves to circuit bend. Everything is modular and the whole keyboard comes apart beautifully. The screws are easy to reach and there ins’t much that is glued down. Really, the only glue is supporting the wires.

kawasaki dual-coolkeyskawasaki dual-coolkeyskawasaki dual-coolkeyskawasaki dual-coolkeys

CIRCUIT BENDING AWESOMENESS #2


I did some basic bend searching and found a resistor of particular interest. The thing that makes this perticular keyboard so perfect for circuit bending is that there is not one but at least two different timing resistors. This means that the timing for the drum track and the timing for the keyboard sounds are independently controlled .

kawasaki dual-coolkeys

I will be honest, it’s been a while since I was messing around with this Dual-CoolKeys, so I can’t remember if this resistor controlled the drum track timing or the keyboard sound timing (I’m pretty sure it was the keyboard) but either way, this is AMAZING!

IMG_0665

This is just the beginning. It’s easy to see the potential for circuit bending the Kawasaki Dual-CoolKeys into a much more amazing piece. I just wanted to get the ball rolling on the Dual-CoolKeys documentation. With some time and research, the Dual Keys, and the rest of the Kawasakies could be as popular as a Hing Hon or some of the more known synths out there.

If you have any information on the Dual-CoolKeys, feel free to shoot me an email or make a comment. If you write about, or have written about it, let me know and I’ll link to you.

Should you ever come across any of the Kawasaki line, (I have a few and they are all awesome) I highly recommend you pick it up.

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2 thoughts on “Kawasaki Dual-CoolKeys – Bending Heaven.

  1. Wow, this is great. Thank you so much for your response to my inquiry about the dual keys. I absolutely agree with your observation about this keyboard being made for circuit bending. I pretty much went into this thing blindly with a pair of leads and a single resistor to see what obvious bend points and mods were possible, then I checked out this page to contrast and compare. The two individual pitch resistors are a goldmine! I’m currently experimenting with various values of pots and resistors and so far I’ve discovered enough possibilities that installing a patch bay looks like my best option. This will be my first time putting a patch bay into one of these old keyboards, and I’ve got a simple, eight jack phono board that I’m going to start out with.

    It’s also worth noting that the eight pin IC mounted beside the 4 large, blue capacitors contains some hidden treasures when tinkered with. Two of the pins can produce variable distorted effects when connected to different points associated with the rhythm section, I forget which ones. Also, there is a spectacular glitch/intermittent looping effect when one of the pins is connected to ground with a low value resistor.

    As I said, I’m just getting started here – not to mention I’m still very much a novice – but I think this will be a good learning experience. I’ve bought tons of old, cheap keyboards over the past couple months as bending projects/learning aids , and I’ve been waiting for the right one to “go all out” on. I’m hoping that working on something with this many possibilities will not only spur some creative ideas, but provide some valuable hands on experience with circuitry and modifications. I’ve recently acquired some pretty nice boards that are known for their circuit bending potential, like the yamaha vss 30, casio sk 8, some yamaha pss series and casio mt series keys. I figure that learning on cheaper, lesser known boards will be a safer bet – especially considering how many of them are now in the “fried” pile!

    Again, thanks for this, and I’ll be sure to give an update as this project comes along.
    Cheers,
    John

    • Thanks for the comment!

      The two pitch resistors thing IS A GOLD MINE!!! I was super excited when I found that out… opens up a whole new door of possibilities.

      Sounds like great progress on your dual-cool keys! I will try to find those bends you were talking about. Although, I will be honest… I don’t do too much glitching out. I’m always worried that the keyboard will fry out… I also hate it when a glitch stalls the IC out. Reset switches are annoying.

      I prefer the purist method of using the original toy as the sound generation “brain” and modulating the sound. Much like noystoise.com/

      This approach, in my opinion, forces one to learn more about electronics too… which is never bad.

      John, keep me updated on your progress. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you are interested, email me and I could set you up as a writer on the blog. You could post your pics and progress on your Dual-CoolKeys!!! Think about it and let me know.

      Happy bending!
      Nick

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