Two Casio keyboards (batteries included) were sent to us by one of our online friends. Of the two that were sent, I chose the MT-68 as the first to bend. In our last newsletter, we asked: “Will Z enhance the synth or completely destroy it?”
The Casiotone MT-68 is a fun and very playable keyboard. It can be used as a toy or an expressive musical device just the way it is. It really depends on the approach of the person using it.
I cracked it open and began looking for bend points with the “finger lick” method. Just let the synth make it’s normal sounds, lick your finger and touch points on the circuit board. Then, find out what happens. This is only recommended when running off the battery supply since 7.5 volts is nothing significant that can take your life. DO NOT do this with any synth while plugged into a wall outlet. I don’t need to go into details about this. If anyone wants to go for a Darwin Award, we ARE NOT responsible for your actions.
After several hours of poking at it and marking the bend points, I settled on six momentary glitch points and 22 tone enhancements activated from 11 double toggle switches. I also embedded a delay circuit from an old delay pedal. Before committing to the bends I took the entire keyboard apart to give it a custom paint job, and then mounted all the switches and push buttons.
Here are some pictures of the Circuit Bent Casiotone MT-68 after it’s “emergency red” paint job and reassembly with the glitch controls and delay pedal installed.
After several late nights and weekends tinkering on this project, I was able to play with it passionately for about three hours. I recorded some of it but felt the urge to do just one more very basic mod. I wanted a cutoff switch to prevent power drain so I wouldn’t have to remove the batteries when not in use. Upon doing so, I had the battery power wired up and the wall outlet powering simultaneously and somehow crossed those circuits to double the voltage that it would normally get. After playing for about 5 min, the internal speaker stopped working and I may have fried the main power circuit as well. Smoke was billowing from the internal speaker and had I not been watching I suspect it may have started a fire! I had my fun with it and think I can bring it back to life, but this will have to be shelved for now to focus our energies on MOTR.
So, did I enhance it? Yes, for a moment. Did I completely destroy it? Maybe? To be continued. . .
Here is a video compilation of some of the sounds I was getting during the bend process and me playing a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Flutter.