Readers be forewarned, I am apologizing in advance because it’s virtually impossible for me to type anything about this gem of a portable keyboard without cheesing-out. See, it’s already begun. I’m sorry, but just look at this little mother-of-pearl brick of beauty; would you just look at it? The lovely antique frame is fine and all, but the Casio PT-7 is just as striking in its natural habitat.
A milestone in design and innovation from Casio, this simple yet unorthodox keyboard when closed looks like nothing more than a state of the art brick or lunchbox from the future, and this lunchbox packs a punch: it is less than a foot-long, has a detachable keyboard with 29-key soft touch foil keys similar to that of the iconic novelty-sized keyboard on which Tom Hanks does his famous dance in “BIG”, 8 note polyphony, a surprisingly loud speaker, 8 wonderfully warm analog preset sounds (piano, electric piano, organ , pipe organ, harp, accordion, clarinet and violin), 6 analog preset rhythms with tempo control knob (waltz, samba, swing, slow rock, pops and rock), and separate control knobs for rhythm volume and main volume.
First and foremost, the PT-7 is an analog keyboard, which means nice warm timbres that sound nothing like the instrument assigned to that sound. This is a good thing because it’s always fun when you never really know what an “oboe” or “clarinet” is going to sound like until you select that setting. For example, the piano, electric piano, and harp presets are warm with an accelerated decay so that there is little room for sustain and this results in a sound that is reminiscent of metallic hands plucking a stringed instrument. On the other end of the spectrum are the presets for pipe organ, organ, accordion, violin, and clarinet which maintain the same warmth, but will sustain for as long as a key is pressed, thus no metallic plucking sound and extra-warmth . . . so warm, its like listening to pumpkin pie.
The PT-7’s sound presets are positioned above the keys on the detachable keyboard and also use the same soft-touch technology, which allows for players to slide one finger across the presets with one hand while playing keys with the other. This playing technique produces some wonderfully glitch-y and octave-laden glissandos as the sound preset changes from one instrument to the next (see video for example). It is yet to be confirmed whether the engineers responsible for the PT-7’s keyboard design intended make such an avant-garde playing technique available to the portable musician public. Happy accident or not, I’m happy to have it.
Eight Sound presets:
- electric piano
- pipe organ
Six Rhythm presets:
- slow rock
CASIO PT-7 VIDEO
How to Purchase
This little guy is difficult to track down, but if you’re lucky, you may find this instrument here: Casio PT-7