Introducing the Shigin Conductor Mini…
Manufacturer: unknown, Japan
The Shigin Conductor Mini (the “Shigin”) is one of the first keyboards I purchased when embarking on this rabbit-hole of a collection known as the Keyz Project. The Shigin was designed to emulate the sounds of the Japan’s national instrument, the Koto (a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument). As opposed to the Koto’s large and bulky frame, the Shigin’s design is streamlined into a nice portable package—about the size of a small paperback book—ready for any adventure worthy of a whimsical soundtrack.
I purchased the Shigin online from Thuggin_Way777, one of my favorite international eBay sellers (Japan). The Shigin Conductor Mini is about as rare and strange as Japanese electronic musical instruments come. So rare and strange in fact, I was unable to find any information regarding its manufacturer or year of production. Other than the original product description from Thuggin_way777, this write-up is supplemented with research found for the Shigin Conductor Mini’s traditional counterpart, the Koto. The Shigin Conductor Mini was originally made for training Japanese musicians studying traditional and classical Japanese music intended to accompany Shigin performances where a Japanese poem is recited and/or chanted to the accompaniment of traditional Japanese instruments like the Koto. According to thuggin_way777, the Shigin Conductor Mini was produced in limited quantities as it was made for the exclusive, small circle of musicians seriously studying traditional Japanese music.
POP-CULTURE REFERENCES & USE
A list of popular songs using the Koto proper is provided below:
|David Bowie||Moss Garden||Heroes|
|Rolling Stones||Take It Or Leave It||Aftermath|
|Queen||The Prophets Song||Queen|
A list of popular songs using a synthesized Koto (similar to the Shigin Conductor Mini) is provided below:
|A Taste Of Honey||I’ll Try Something New||Ladies of the Eighties|
|Dr. Dre||Still D.R.E.||The Chronic 2001|
|Dr. Dre||The Message||The Chronic 2001|
|Xiu Xiu||Most songs on the album||The Air Force|
|Kevin Max||Blind||Stereotype B|
FEATURES of the Shigin Conductor Mini
The keyboard consists of 10, round white buttons, 8 yellow-orange buttons, and 1 red button. The white and yellow-orange buttons comprise the notes of the traditional Japanese scale, while the red button serves as an octave selector and allows players to shift the notes of the scale being played down a whole octave. Long story short, since we are dealing with a foreign scale, simply playing randomly on the keys often results in a wonderfully exotic melody despite the player’s level of skill or knowledge of Japanese music.
2. SCALE SELECTOR
Positioned above the keyboard on a silver panel, is a yellow-orange key slider, which allows the player to readily change the key of the scale being played.
3. VOLUME SELECTOR & SOUND DECAY SELECTOR
The black slider positioned at the bottom of the left face of the keyboard allows the player to select between two sound decay options: (1) no decay, which will sustain the note currently being played for as long as the key for that note is depressed on the keyboard, and (2) decay, which causes the note currently being played to quickly fade out as if listening to a doorbell ring.
The volume selector is positioned directly above the sound decay selector as a yellow-orange wheel. Roll the wheel up, and the volume increases, roll it down, and the volume decreases.
The yellow-orange auto-play switch is positioned directly above the volume selector will play a Japanese melody when depressed by the player.
This time we made a short Mario Bros. animation to highlight the beauty of the Japanese-made Shigin Mini Conductor. How do those fireballs work underwater?
WELL, THAT’S ALL FOLKS!
PLEASE NOTE: Should you share my keyboard collecting compulsion, I strongly suggest checking out thuggin_way777’s eBay store for some great, always rare and well maintained finds. link:
(a lot of gems to be found)