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Gear

What would a musician's homepage be without a thorough walkthrough of the equipment they use? Exactly, incomplete! So, here we go with some retrospect into the past and a more detailed look at the present.

The past

Wurlitzer 200A

In the beginning of the Seventies, I owned a Wurlitzer piano. This was what I would call my first 'real' electric piano. Back then, I hit the piano keys very hard. For a few years, I had played acoustic piano with different trad jazz bands. Playing an unamplified acoustic piano when three to five horn players do their best to howl down the rest of the band, had me hitting the keys like I was practicing karate. I still had these chops when I started to play the Wurlitzer. This piano has small, thin tines that produce the tone. If you hit them too hard, they break. About once a month, I went to a music store at Odenplan to buy replacement tines. Then I sold the piano and I told the buyer about this problem. To be on the safe side, he went to this store and asked the seller about breaking tines. "No", he replied, "I wouldn't say I've heard this should be a common problem." Then he thought for a moment. "Come to think of it, there's a guy in Bromma..." Yeah, yours truly...


Fender Rhodes and Rhodes stage pianos

My first piano from this family was a
Fender Rhodes 88 Mark I. It was heavy, to say the least. Felt a bit like carrying a coffin. On top of that, the action was sluggish and the sound was muddy. A terrible specimen.

The next one was a Rhodes 73 Mark I. Much lighter, much easier action and much clearer sound. The black Tolex was very worn down, so I simply ripped it off, sanded the wood down and worked it over with a mahogany-colored stain.

Rhodes Suitcase

In 1978, I went to California with two musician friends. We stayed with the fourth member of our band, Ken, who was then working there. I bought a brand new Rhodes Suitcase 73 Mark I and payed $1.000 for it. Considering that the exchange rate was one USD for 4.40 Swedish kronor, it was a fantastic deal! And I didn't even have to pay for the freight from San Francisco to Stockholm. A couple of months after I left California, Ken quit his job and moved to Sweden. He had bought a Pontiac TransAm and had rented a container to transport that and other stuff on a cargo ship. My Rhodes went in the same container and to make a long story short I actually managed to smuggle a Rhodes Suitcase piano into Sweden without paying either customs or VAT! Those crimes are long since statute-barred. I sold it around 1995 for
SEK 8.000 and the funny thing was that the buyer had recently played with Monica Törnell!

MiniMoog

In 1975, I found a used MiniMoog model D in a music store namned Dieke Musik. If I remember correctly, the asked price was SEK 5.000, money I certainly didn't have. I called my mother and asked if I could borrow from her and thanks to her, I became the happy owner of my first Mini!This was a Model D of the first generation, which didn't have temperature-stabilized oscillators. Which meant it constantly de-tuned itself, not only the pitch but the internal tuning. I had no manual and didn't have the address to the manufacturer, so I simply took a chance and wrote a letter describing my problems and addressed it to 'Moog Music Inc, Williamsville, NY, USA'. This 'address', I found on the back of the synth. After a couple of months, an original user manual arrived in the mail and I learned how to tune the Mini. Later, a friend who was an electrics engineer, fixed an inboard power supply instead of the two AC adapters that came with the synth. This solved part of the de-tuning problem, but not all of it.

I bought the next Mini in the beginning of the Nineties. It had none of the de-tuning problems of my first one. Unfortunately, I needed money to buy my first Harley in 1994 and sold it, a thing I've regretted until 2017 (more about this below).

Other keyboards and different modules

During the years, I've owned a few other synths, rack modules and drum machines.

Among the synths, a Moog Prodigy, a MicroMoog, a Korg Polysix and a Yamaha CS1x are worth mentioning. With all four, I could shape the sounds pretty much in the way I wanted them. Not like with a MiniMoog, but still...

I've also owned a couple of modules, one Yamaha TX1P which was a pure piano module. The other was a Roland MT-32, a little wonder first released in 1987, actually before the MIDI standard was implemented. It sounded surprisingly good!

The Kawai R100 was a programmable drum machine which was kind of the poor mans solution to getting good drum sounds on an affordable budget.

Recording

In the mid Seventies, I bought a TEAC A3340-S, a four track reel tape recorder. With it, myself and a couple of friends recorded an LP (se under 'original music' where  you can hear some examples of what it sounded like). I used it for home recording for ten years and bought a remote control for it. This came in handy when doing so called 'punch-in' recordings, where you listened to the music and punched the 'record' button and then started playing on a track that already contained recorded sound.

In 1987, I bought my first computer, an Atari 1040st. This was a real nice little machine. I used it to write my first novel, 'Livsfarlig last' (which will be published in English early 2018 under the title 'Lethal cargo'), and also to record music. The thing that was special with the 1040st was that it had built-in MIDI. So what I did was record synths and drum machine via the Atari MIDI interface and analog instruments and voices with the TEAC 4-track and the mixed the two together. This gave me much more channels on which to record than when I used only the tape-recorder.

For quite a few years, I didn't record any music at home. I had sold the Atari and didn't use the TEAC. This dark period in my life must have been going on from somewhere around the early Nineties and the end of that decade. The year 2000, I bought a PC (yeah, I know, speaking of the dark side...) and used Cubase SE as recording software. You can easily say that a new world opened itself.

It didn't take long though, before I switched to the Mac OS platform and the native software GarageBand. GarageBand is fantastic, considering you get it for free when you buy a Mac computer. However, it felt limited, and I bought Logic, which then still wasn't owned by Apple. And that takes us into...

The present

Keyboards and related stuff

This is a pic of my current setup (2018-02-25):


From right to left:

Yamaha P150 stage piano. Still one of the best I've tested, both piano-action-wise and sound-wise. It has excellent grand piano sounds and it really feels like a piano to play on. The only downside is the weight, 38 kilos.

MiniMoog model D. In 2016, Moog Music started to build a re-issue version of the Model D. It uses the exact same specs as the original ones, but with some improvements. It has a MIDI interface, it has a hard-wired overdrive circuit, it has a dedicated LFO which means you can use all three oscillators for sound and still get a vibrato, only to mention a few improvements. It feels and sounds exactly like an old Mini, but better! The re-issue MiniMoog was discontinued in 2017 and I'm really happy I had the opportunity to buy one. This one, together with the gem below, took me back to the good old Seventies!

Rhodes Stage Piano 73 MarkII with a home-built Suitcase cabinet, plus a Speakeasy preamp that is built with the same specs as the original Suitcase preamp (which you can see on the floor to the left of the piano). The cabinet contains four Beyma 12GA50 12" speakers and a Behringer power amp. It's easily the best sounding and playing Rhodes I've owned! I bought a 10-channel Yamaha mixer with built-in effects, and run both the Rhodes and the Mini through it. Just as I did in the Seventies!

Leslie 142N

This is a real Leslie, although a little lower than the cupboards you usually see behind Hammond organ players (which means a few kilos lighter). Mine is still lighter since I've discarded a damaged hi-fq driver and replaced it with a Motorola piezo-electric horn driver. I've also transfered the original Leslie 122 tube amp with its two large transformers to another Leslie and use an external Genz-Benz Shuttle 6.0 bass amp. This is a 600W amp with a tube preamp, weighing like a large carton of milk, just over 1,5 kilos. This Leslie is actually quite portable and sounds very good!

Crumar Mojo

The Italians can really build so called 'clonewheel' organs. The original Hammonds use a tonewheel generator, an electromechanical contraption invented by Laurens Hammond. Hence 'clonewheel'. All clonewheel organs try to imitate the original Hammond sound and I think the Mojo is one of the best. You can alter many of the parameters from the top panel, but if you attach a monitor and a mouse, you can access an editor where you can choose between several different Hammond organs and alter pretty much every conceivable parameter you can think of. It weighs in under 20 kilos and is great to play on, specially if you run it through the Leslie.

Other related equipment

Viscount DB3



Originally a single-manual clonewheel organ which I bought in 2005. A few years ago, I tried connecting another MIDI keyboard to it, to get two manuals. It worked quite okay, so I bought a 61-key MIDI keyboard and stripped it down, built a new enclosure and suddenly had a Viscount DB3-2X61 or whatever you should call it. I've used it as a rehearsing organ.

M-audio Prokeys 88sx




An 88-key electric piano with semi-weighted keys. I bought it to use as a rehearsing piano but actually never used it as such. Instead, I've used it as keyboard controller for synth modules.

JJ-labs USB keyboard



A small, white, plastic USB/MIDI keyboard which I also use to control synth modules.

Yamaha MOTIF synth module



This is really an incredible piece of machinery. I use a handful of the 800 sounds that are actually in there. My favorite is a guitar sampling named 'Crunchoid' which you can hear on several of the tracks on the 'original music' page.

Electric basses

Ibanez SR506



This is the bass I use most of the time. Fantastic to play on since the neck, although being quite wide to accomodate for all six strings, is very thin. It has an active mid-range control and nowadays I keep almost all controls (except for the volume) in the maximum position.


Ibanez GSR205BF



This is the most recent addition to my bass fleet. I thought I'd start to practice on my old/new fretless Precision bass but found it had its limitations (see below). So after doing some research, I found this one. I didn't have the chance to actually try it but thought that since my six-string Ibanez is so good, what could go wrong? And when I received it, it turned out my expectations weren'e too high. Rather the contrary! Also a thin neck and good overall feeling and fantastic sustain!

SX Precision bass



I bought this fretless Fender Precision neck in the end of the Seventies. And built an oak body that was formed as a violin. It had two Jazz Bass pickups. When I tried it a couple of years ago, the sound was full of crackle and hiss. First, I thought I'd buy a body, P-bass pickups and other hardware from gitarrdelar.se, an online store that sells kits for guitars and basses. But then I realized that it would be cheaper to buy a budget P-bass replica and replace the neck with my old fretless one. And when in the store, I thought, why not buy something colorful? So that's why this bass is a beautiful Mexico Red with a burgundy tortoise shell plectrum guard. In the fall of 2017, I decided to start playing the fretless bass again. Since I'm used to playing five- and six-string basses since many years, I've re-stringed the four-string Precision to B-E-A-D instead of E-A-D-G. This gives me the desired bottom but I missed the higher register. Plus that there are very few markings on the neck so when you're as unused as I am with having no frets to depend on, the risk of the tones going sour is imminent. So therefore I bought the above mentioned fretless Ibanez five-string.


Aria acoustic bass



I had not planned to buy an 'unplugged' bass. So I didn't. What happened was that on 15th April 2014 (I know the exact date since it was the day before my 60th birthday) I went to the recycling station in Bromma, to get rid of a load of junk. A guy came walking with this bass. I asked him, 'are you going to throw that away?' 'Yeah', he replied, 'one of the tuning pegs is damaged'. I thought, he must be profoundly stupid and asked, 'is it okay if I take it home and replace the tuning peg?'. 'Sure, take it', he replied. So I did, bought a set of new pegs and all of a sudden I had an acoustic bass for the cost of four tuning pegs, some SEK 500. I've used it on one outdoor gig on a warm summer evening and it worked out just fine. For a four-string... :-)


Home-built bass with a Fender Musicmaster neck



The neck comes from my first bass guitar, a Fender Musicmaster that I bought in 1975. It's a shortscale neck and has proved to stay straight throughout the decades. The body sported what looked like a guitar pickup and I wasn't pleased with the sound. Therefore I built a very small oak body with a DiMarzio P-bass pickup and no volume- or other controls, just an on-off switch. A few years ago, I tried this bass and realized that the body, apart from being quite hideous, was too light, so the neck weighed down. I then went to Fanerkompaniet (the Veneer Company) and bought a solid maple plank that had been carefully dried. I build this body and with a complete different and better array of tools, suddenly had a much better bass altogether! It still has the Seventies DiMarzio pickup and the same on-off switch and is a quite nice little piece of bass...


Bass rigs

This is a pic of my current setup (2018-02-25):


From left to right:

Ampeg V4BH and Ampeg SVT212E

This is a re-issue of the classic 100W all-tube V4B amp, this one from the late Nineties. The cabinet is a 2X12 in which I replaced the original speakers since one of them was destroyed when I rolled the cabinet over a 5-meter long foot-scraping grid. The coil was probably damaged. I went for Eighteen Sound speakers which I use in all my bass cabinets. This rig sounds just like a 100W tube amp rig should sound. Fantastic!

Genz-Benz GBE 600 and Behringer BA210 + BA115

Yet another Genz-Benz amp, also 600W with a tube preamp. This sounds pretty much like the smaller Shuttle 6.0 but has more adjusting capabilites. The nicest one is that you can use either the tube or the solid-state preamp or mix them. Together with the two cabinets, a 2X10 and a 1X15 equipped with Eighteen Sound speakers, I get so much volume and punch that I could probably easily shatter the windows in my studio if I wanted. Not to speak of my eardrums...

PA

Behringer Xenyx X1222USB



This is a 12-channel mixer with built-in effects and is excellent for singing and amplifying keyboards. Quite cheap, too!


Laney 15" active monitors



I bought these in 2005 and they have served me flawlessly since then. Playing live gigs, I usually put them on tube stands. I've never felt that 2X150 Watts is too little...