Boot Fair Find: Yamaha SHS-10R MIDI Keytar

In November 2010 I wrote about my love for my old Yamaha SHS-10 MIDI Keytar.  A couple of days ago, I dragged the missus kicking and screaming from our warm bed into the cold West London air to a bus which took us to the first boot fair of the year.  Within a couple of minutes I was pretty glad I did.  I saw the familiar box standing end-on next to a wallpaper table covered in the usual boot fair tat (Wade Whimsies, VHS videos of ‘Friends’, fake Russell Athletic grey joggers … you know the sort of stuff).  The first thing I noticed about the SHS-10 box was that it was the red model, generally sold by Dixons back in 1987.  This was confirmed upon closer inspection by the ‘centenary sticker’ that adorned the box (Yamaha was founded in 1887, if you hadn’t already guessed).  Box was a little tatty and at first I wasn’t sure there was anything inside.  The stall holder was hovering over the box, devouring a bacon roll which I silently prayed wasn’t dripping everywhere.  It wasn’t.  I picked the box up and peered inside the slightly tatty box flap.  There it was, red and shiny.  No polys sadly, and no batteries or power adaptor rolling around.  No manual either.  I found the strap already outside the box which was a nice addition.  First thing I did, as I do with all battery-powered items is a) to check whether the battery door was in place and b) whether there was any battery corrosion inside.  Happy to report the door was present and correct, and there wasn’t even a speck of dust inside the battery compartment.  On closer inspection, the SHS-10R looked like it had hardly been used.  There were no scratches to the red part of the upper plastic body, the LED display wasn’t scratched, all slider caps were intact, as were all the rubber buttons, mod wheel and the two guitar strap lugs.

“Worked last time I tried it”, the owner told me.  “When was that?” I asked, “1988?”  (Curse my stupid mouth sometimes.  I do say inappropriate things).  He said it had been working reasonably recently, and went on to explain how his kid had outgrown it, and had lived in a box most of its life.  The manual and charger had been lost in the mists of time, and batteries had never been stored in it.  He had no batteries to hand to test it, but promised me it was working.  I wanted it.  Price, I wondered.  What the hell was this gonna cost me?  Another stall had a boxed Casio keyboard which the woman wanted £20 for.  I guessed the Yamaha would be a similar price.  “Five pounds” the man and his wife chorused when asked.  I deftly paid the woman in twenty pence pieces (we always take loads of change to boot fairs – stall holders love it).  The man thoughtfully offered a free black bin bag for transport and for rain protection.

Click the images for a bigger version

If you’ve not read my original review of the SHS-10, or have no intention of doing so, you can stop reading here because I’m going to bore you with some of the main details of it.  Most of the UK models were grey.  If you lived in Japan you’d probably get a black one.  The red one, as I explained earlier, were retailed by Dixons and a few other select outlets.

The SHS-10 has 32 mini keys and a pitch bend wheel at the end of the grip.  It was six-note poly with 25 built-in sounds.  A built-in speaker allowed you to annoy the family with the arse-clenching demo of Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’.  The biggest boon of the Yamaha was the inclusion of a MIDI Out port.  It meant you could connect another MIDI device to the SHS-10 and control it with the keytar.  There was a 1/4″ output too.

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.

Sounds 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.

The SHS-10 (and its bigger and 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.

I’ve loved playing with the SHS-10 again.  Manuals for it can be found aplenty online in PDF format, or can be bought for about a tenner on eBay.

*UPDATE*

I managed to sell the SHS-10 for thirty times what I paid for it!

Advertisements

Yamaha: Manuals ‘r’ Us

I’ve come across a collection of Yamaha manuals in PDF format that I forgot I had.  They are keyboard and drum machine manuals.  If you’d like any of them, please mail me.  Here’s what I have:

Keyboards

PSS-6
PSS-7
PSS-9 and 16
PSS-11, 21 and 31
PSS-12
PSS-14
PSS-15
PSS-20
PSS-26
PSS-30
PSS-50 and 190
PSS-51
PSS-80
PSS-100
PSS-101 and 102
PSS-103 and 104
PSS-110
PSS-120
PSS-125
PSS-130
PSS-140
PSS-150
PSS-160
PSS-170
PSS-260
PSS-270
PSS-280
PSS-290
PSS-360 and 460
PSS-370
PSS-380
PSS-390
PSS-401
PSS-450
PSS-470
PSS-480
PSS-560
PSS-570
PSS-580
PSS-590
PSS-595
PSS-595 Quick Reference Manual
PSS-680
PSS-780
PSS_790
PSS-795 Owner’s Manual
PSS-795 Quick Reference Manual
SHS-10
SHS-200
TYU-30
TYU-40
YPR-1
YPR-20

Drum Machines

DD-3
DD-5
DD-6
DD-7
DD-8
DD-9
DD-10
DD-11
DD-12
DD-14
DD-20
DD-35
DD-50
DD-55

Yamaha SHS-10 MIDI Keytar

Standard Grey SHS-10
Dixons Store Red SHS-10
Japan Black Edition SHS-10

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:

Listen:  WHAM – LAST CHRISTMAS – YAMAHA SHS-10 DEMO TUNE

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