Sunday, March 29, 2020

New! A photo-realistic Stylophone GEN R-8 patch sheet

One of the biggest challenges with using most analog synthesizers is coming up with a reasonable way to save patches. The Stylophone GEN R-8 is no exception. Yesterday, because I had to stay at home all day due to COVID-19 restrictions, I decided to do something about that.

First, I spent multiple hours manipulating photos of my GEN R-8 to create a rather elaborate patch sheet template in Photoshop.  Buttons lights up when you turn them on. Knobs can be rotated. Even patch cables can be connected between four output jacks (SQR2 out, both LFO outs, and Env out) to any other input jack, with each source getting a different color of cable. It's a really cool tool for making a photo-realistic patch sheet for saving and sharing via computer and the web.



It's not so good if you want to print it and manually mark it with a pen, then save the sheet in a 3-ring binder.  So, today, I made some further modifications and came up with this more simple version:




You can draw lines on the knobs to indicate their positions, and write "ON" or make a check mark on the buttons that are turned on.  To indicate patch cables between two jacks, you can color them in with highlighter pens using a different color for each cable.

You are welcome to download and print blank copies of this patch sheet for your personal, non-commercial use. (Don't sell the blank document or share it online, and don't remove the row of information at the bottom.) Click this link to get the .pdf document.

Creative Commons License

The Stylophone GEN R-8 printable patch sheet by Rick Reid is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be requested at https://www.rickreid.com.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Yule dig this Stylophone holiday music!

I got an email today about a fun little holiday album by Stylophonic Workshop called "Christmas on the 350s." With just five short songs, the whole thing only runs about seven minutes. But it's seven delightful minutes of nostalgia, kitsch, and some excellent musicianship. I promise it will make you smile.

All the sounds came from a vintage Stylophone 350s except for the percussion, and it really showcases the strengths of the 350s when played by a skilled and creative performer. Give it a listen on Spotify. It's also available as a playlist on YouTube.

If it inspires you to play some holiday music on your own 350s, there is Stylophone sheet music of German Christmas carols on the last couple of pages of the .pdf document at this link.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Melophone -- a (baby) grand pretender!

If it's true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then unlicensed knockoffs of the Stylophone are evidence of its popularity and success. A few months ago, I found this colorful, vintage styloclone on eBay.


Rather that dutifully copy the official Stylophone design, the Taiwanese manufacturer of the "Melophone" made some rather clever tweaks. I find the baby grand piano shape of the cabinet both cute and kind of hilarious.  It makes me imagine a full-sized piano with metal keys and a stylus the size of a pool cue!

This model also features a rather prominently mounted combination on/off/volume rotary switch. I find it easier to use than comparable rotary switches on some of the official Stylophones of the same era, but it kind of disrupts the piano motif.


And the sound?  Well, not so good.  The basic tone is fine, but there's no vibrato switch, and a few of the keys are rather out-of-tune.  That could just be due to age, though.

Now I just need to find a tiny candelabra.