I had a grey SHS-10 back in the late 80s and I adored it. I found a boxed red one at a boot fair in 2002 for a pound and bit the seller’s hand off. I seem to recall it made over £100 on eBay.
The plastic keytar was released by Yamaha in 1987. The majority of them were grey, but Dixons exclusively sold the red ones. There was a black version of it too, and I believe it was produced for the Japanese market.
The SHS-10 had 32 mini keys plus a pitch bend wheel at the end of the grip. The FM synth had 25 built-in sounds, was six-note poly and had an internal speaker. The big plus of the SHS-10 was the MIDI Out. It meant you could plug the device into another MIDI unit and control that.
The drums could be transmitted on separate MIDI channels, which was quite a powerful feature. An external drum machine, for example, could then play a backing. MIDI start and stop plus tempo sync could also be transmitted and picked up by an external sequencer. Other features included: intro, fill-in and ending buttons for the rhythms and auto-chords, vibrato, portamento and sustain buttons, tempo, tuning and transpose buttons, chord sequencer with battery-back-up, but no editing,
Sound ranged from ‘synthesizer’ through to ‘music box’ with offerings such as ‘piano’, ‘steel drum’ and ‘saxophone’ thrown in for good measure. There were 25 preset rhythms too, from ‘Rhythm & Blues’ to ‘Fusion’, ‘Samba’ and ‘Fanfare’. A large red 2-digit LED showed preset and program numbers, as well as tempo for rhythms. The sounds were quite impressive for this FM device. It was let down by the demo song – a rendition (sic) of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, which I present here:
The SHS-10 (and its bigger, cheesier, nastier & rarer brother the SHS-200) was a circuit-benders’ dream. More complex sounds could be produced by hard-wiring an 8-pole DIP switch to the YM2420 chip.
Download: ORIGINAL MANUAL IN PDF FORMAT