Vintage toy keyboard shopping in San Francisco.

I was in San Francisco for a friends wedding yesterday. Walking around the city with a bunch of females means we had to stop in every Good Will store for some reason. After I few minutes I quickly realized there was stuff for me to play with too!

First, I discovered the old boombox’s. There was a Panasonic very similar the to the one I had in College. Then I discovered two old toy keyboards. Both were in great cosmetic shaped and worked perfectly. They had batteries in them so I was able to jam out a bit.

The Casio SA-10 had a nice “Super Accompaniments” feature that lets you switch the drum presets with your left hand while playing sounds with your right. They wanted $9.49 for the SA-10 and after considering it’s small size would allow it to fit in my carry on luggage I came very close to buying it.

The other keyboard called the “Techno-Beat Electronic Keyboard” has full size keys and was decked out it awesome bright blue and red plastic. It had five drum “pads” on it. I love the way this thing looks. I made my friend Leslie pose with the thing. I realized there must be people who collect these things. Then I realized I want to be one of them! The Techno-Beat was $14.99.

By some stoke of luck we got a phone call from my brother yelling at us because we were late to meet them so we had to run out of there empty handed. I have fond memories of a Casio MT-40 I owned a child. I think I want to leave it at that. These toy keyboards are fun to play with but I don’t need a pile of junk in the studio. Am I wrong? Should I have bought these 80s wonders?

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

5 thoughts on “Vintage toy keyboard shopping in San Francisco.”

  1. TapeOp had an article ‘Home Keyboards for the Studio” (#42 Jul/Aug 2004) by Inverseroom. There are some good ones, or at least handy features like the Casio SK-1’s envelopes to keep an eye out for. Some of the Yamahas are just rebranded/emasculated more well known boards.

  2. I love getting old junk keyboards. Its especially fantastic if you are into circuit bending (and great to learn on, since they’re so cheap). That being said, its really, really easy to end up with a pile of useless keyboards and about 10 toy guitars/keytars. Not that i’m really complaining, they just pile on top of the endless list of projects to explore. I’m curious how ubiquitous things like that are/are not in Germany? When I was in Germany a year and a half ago, I only got to one thrift store, and it was more for trendy clothes. no toys.

  3. A lil’ friendly input…. The Techno Beat keyboard isn’t from the 80’s. It has been produced after Y2K. Also, at $14.99 used, a little steep. We bought ours new for $9.99 at a Rite Aid drug store in 2007.

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