Behold, The Commodore 64 Keytar!

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Behold, the Commodore 64 keytar.

Jordan Bartee has reinvented the keytar – combining a Commodore 64, the MIDIBox SID platform and a MIDI keyboard to create the ultimate Commodore 64 Keytar – the Giana 64.

This beast has it all:

  • 8-bit goodness
  • Vintage Commodore 64 components
  • Ghostbusters influenced cyberpunk styling
  • DIY mojo
  • Blinky lights by the dozens

Yes, the Commodore 64 keytar might just make keytars cool again.

Check it out and let us know what you think of Bartee’s awesome keytar.


27 thoughts on “Behold, The Commodore 64 Keytar!

  1. Wow. That is like the two hottest people you know getting together and having a threesome with you.

    Does anyone know what the lights next to the left of the keyboard were? Was it an x/y pad? or something similar to a monome? or just a LED display? I have got to say that is one of the most awesome constructions i've seen. I've been wanting to mod one of my c64s into a wearable version for some time now, with either the cyanide cart or my own software. But i lack the time and the electronics/modding skill.

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  2. I love keytars and I love SID music ,so this gets a thumbs up from me.

    However…

    He spends so much time twiddling that one knob on the top of the neck, you'd think he would have placed it in a more comfortable position. He looks awkward while playing it which kinda defeats the purpose of a keytar.

    Also, and this is a gripe with just about ALL demo videos of DIY music tech, you'd think he would take the time to compose a decent bit of music to show off his baby with, instead of just vaguely noodling around.

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  3. I love keytars and I love SID music ,so this gets a thumbs up from me.

    However…

    He spends so much time twiddling that one knob on the top of the neck, you'd think he would have placed it in a more comfortable position. He looks awkward while playing it which kinda defeats the purpose of a keytar.

    Also, and this is a gripe with just about ALL demo videos of DIY music tech, you'd think he would take the time to compose a decent bit of music to show off his baby with, instead of just vaguely noodling around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Wow. That is like the two hottest people you know getting together and having a threesome with you.

    Does anyone know what the lights next to the left of the keyboard were? Was it an x/y pad? or something similar to a monome? or just a LED display? I have got to say that is one of the most awesome constructions i've seen. I've been wanting to mod one of my c64s into a wearable version for some time now, with either the cyanide cart or my own software. But i lack the time and the electronics/modding skill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Wow. That is like the two hottest people you know getting together and having a threesome with you.

    Does anyone know what the lights next to the left of the keyboard were? Was it an x/y pad? or something similar to a monome? or just a LED display? I have got to say that is one of the most awesome constructions i've seen. I've been wanting to mod one of my c64s into a wearable version for some time now, with either the cyanide cart or my own software. But i lack the time and the electronics/modding skill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. I just got this thing up and running this week, and have only played with it a little. The current plan is to build an assignable pedal for controlling things like filter cutoff. Also, real music is coming! This was just a quick video to float the design out into the interbutts.

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  7. The led matrix is multifunctional. It has several display modes, and also has buttons next to each row and column, so it can be used as a kind of patch bay as well as a step sequencer / pattern selector!

    All this is implemented by Thorsten Klose as part of the midibox sid project. Full docs are available here: htttp://www.ucapps.de

    You should give it a go man! There's a super helpful community to help you along.

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  8. The led matrix is multifunctional. It has several display modes, and also has buttons next to each row and column, so it can be used as a kind of patch bay as well as a step sequencer / pattern selector!

    All this is implemented by Thorsten Klose as part of the midibox sid project. Full docs are available here: htttp://www.ucapps.de

    You should give it a go man! There's a super helpful community to help you along.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. I haven't done a real calculation of the total cost, but I'd say about 800 dollars or so. Stupid things you don't think about end up costing a lot, like acquiring 3 different c64s to cut plastic out of or the need to use specific heat sinks that can only be bought in bulk.

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  10. I haven't done a real calculation of the total cost, but I'd say about 800 dollars or so. Stupid things you don't think about end up costing a lot, like acquiring 3 different c64s to cut plastic out of or the need to use specific heat sinks that can only be bought in bulk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Also, and this is a gripe with just about ALL people on the internet, you'd think he'd figure out that the person who made the thing could also read his inane negative comment. Also, you'd think he would just give the positive comment and leave it there. I guess some people are just geared negatively.

    There I go, complaining on the internet. What a knob.

    That keytar is fantastic. Great work!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Also, and this is a gripe with just about ALL people on the internet, you'd think he'd figure out that the person who made the thing could also read his inane negative comment. Also, you'd think he would just give the positive comment and leave it there. I guess some people are just geared negatively.

    There I go, complaining on the internet. What a knob.

    That keytar is fantastic. Great work!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Well I think you've got it all wrong. If I put something out on the Internet and all I got was polite comments I'd know full well that what I'd done was so lame that nobody even felt the need to point it out.

    We can all get polite comments any day of the week from our friends and family, that's what makes them (generally) so useless for constructive criticism, they will rarely tell you something you've done is crap, even when it's a steaming pile of turds.Personally I find that sort of behaviour extremely insulting.

    I like heavy music, my wife doesn't, when I play a new track for her she listens politely to the whole thing and then says "That's great honey!" exactly like you would say to a 3 year old who had done a finger painting and got half of the paint all down his front, on the floor and up his left nostril. I don't ask for her opinions anymore.

    You need to realise that a negative comment from a stranger means you moved them enough to say something. In many cases it means you PARTIALLY inspired them but didn't quite get over the line, so they feel compelled to point out the flaws due to the "near miss" dissapointment of seeing something that was almost awesome.

    The full back-story behind my dissapointment here is because I am actually part-way through developing my own custom keytar [1]. As I develop this thing I am constantly fantasizing about my first demo video of the completed controller and which of my tracks I am going to play on that video to tear the synth world a new arse!

    So, given how much I've been thinking and planning about this, when I see someone else's custom-keytar-debut-video I guess I have a bit of an expectation, because I would never miss that sort of opportunity to put myself on the map so to speak. You only get to make a first impression once.

    BTW Synthhead, not sure if your "Keydar" had picked this up yet, but here's a big "blip" for you…
    [1] http://midibox.org/forums/index.php?/topic/13503-

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Well I think you've got it all wrong. If I put something out on the Internet and all I got was polite comments I'd know full well that what I'd done was so lame that nobody even felt the need to point it out.

    We can all get polite comments any day of the week from our friends and family, that's what makes them (generally) so useless for constructive criticism, they will rarely tell you something you've done is crap, even when it's a steaming pile of turds.Personally I find that sort of behaviour extremely insulting.

    I like heavy music, my wife doesn't, when I play a new track for her she listens politely to the whole thing and then says "That's great honey!" exactly like you would say to a 3 year old who had done a finger painting and got half of the paint all down his front, on the floor and up his left nostril. I don't ask for her opinions anymore.

    You need to realise that a negative comment from a stranger means you moved them enough to say something. In many cases it means you PARTIALLY inspired them but didn't quite get over the line, so they feel compelled to point out the flaws due to the "near miss" dissapointment of seeing something that was almost awesome.

    The full back-story behind my dissapointment here is because I am actually part-way through developing my own custom keytar [1]. As I develop this thing I am constantly fantasizing about my first demo video of the completed controller and which of my tracks I am going to play on that video to tear the synth world a new arse!

    So, given how much I've been thinking and planning about this, when I see someone else's custom-keytar-debut-video I guess I have a bit of an expectation, because I would never miss that sort of opportunity to put myself on the map so to speak. You only get to make a first impression once.

    BTW Synthhead, not sure if your "Keydar" had picked this up yet, but here's a big "blip" for you…
    [1] http://midibox.org/forums/index.php?/topic/13503-

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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