Guy Finds Rare Korg MS-20 Synthesizer In A Dumpster; It Makes ‘Weird-Ass Noises’

French video blogger Meynier Sylvain – who typically publishes teardown videos for vintage electronic gear – shared this video that documents a very unusual dumpster find: a rare Korg MS-20 synthesizer. 

The Korg MS-20 is a powerful vintage analog synth, originally released in 1978. It was recently re-released by Korg as a mini-keyboard, which sells for about $450; and as a full-sized module, which sells for about $1,200. Originals in good condition, though, sell for $1,400 and up.

Over the course of the video, Sylvain goes from thinking the keyboard might be good for parts to realizing that the MS-20 actually works and makes ‘weird-ass noises’.

Have you ever found a great synth gear bargain? Leave a comment and let us know!

via theHD

59 thoughts on “Guy Finds Rare Korg MS-20 Synthesizer In A Dumpster; It Makes ‘Weird-Ass Noises’

  1. It blows my mind to think that things like this are still getting trashed. Glad this one got rescued.

    I’ve heard of guys getting deals on Moog and ARP modulars in the 80’s, but those days are long gone.

  2. That’s pretty unbelievable. I’ve never found anything so legendary.

    The closest I found was a Korg DW-6000 at a local thrift for $15. Still, I was stoked. Even with its limitations, I love and use that synth.

    2nd best find was a Roland R-5 drum machine for $10. It was pretty beat up though. Had to restore it and because the power supplies are out of manufacture and weird proprietary, had to hardwire to the board with a PC power supply. It works now though and adds to my ghetto-tech studio.

    1. Unfortunately the prior owner wasn’t considerate enough to throw out the original manual with the synth 🙂 I wonder how many of us were thinking out loud “turn up the envelope generator!” halfway through the video.

  3. Back in the early 90s when things weren’t as sought after I found a Moog Micromoog at a used music shop for about $200. Sold it 10 years later for $800 to make rent… biggest regret of my life. Not because of the current value, but because I miss that damn machine.

    1. I know the feeling.

      I sold an Arrp Axxe and a Mini-Moog to pay rent while in college.

      Figured it would cheap and easy to replace them later…..

  4. Back in the 90’s when nobody wanted analog I picked up quite a few deals. Yamaha CS40M for £140 (music shop in Guildford), a Roland Jupiter 4 for £80 (private sale), A Crumar Trilogy for £40 (Private sale), and a Moog Opus 3 for £90 (private sale). Years later they all sold for a lot more than they cost. It’s only now I regret letting any of them go. (Makes depressed face).

    1. “It’s only now I regret letting any of them go.”

      They’re still cheap compared to the interest you’d be paying on some of your bills 🙂

  5. Bought my Roland CR 78 for 50€ to a guy who told me it wasn’t working. Some wires were cut. Now she work really well.

  6. I still regret selling my TR-606 in near-mint condition for $75 in order to get the down payment on a Yamaha QY-10.

    Ever since, I have always bought my stuff cash. Lesson learned.

    BTW, I am NOT parting with my one-owner, vintage 1980 KORG MS20. Ever.

      1. Yes it hurt.
        Whenever I have a serious bout of GAS I remind myself of this. I still have it, although it doesn’t see any use these days.

  7. Soo my partner found a Fairlight CMI by a garbage bin many years ago, a shame it was soo trashed, still the parts went to restoring several others.
    More recently a friend of ours scored a Sequential Circuits Six Track in the bushes while walking the dog.

  8. It’s 2016 and about a month ago I rescued a Polysix from getting trashed. A Kiwisix later it’s as good as new, as it was externally great, just rust and dirt inside which took a deep cleaning.

  9. I found a mpc500 with a 2gb card, fatpads, and max ram for $40 at a thrift store, I bargained them down to $30.. Bit cheeky

  10. I know a guy who bought 2x VCS3’s and a Synthi AKS plus VCS3 keyboard, sequencer and some EMS outboard gear for $500 back in the 90’s. I scored a 303 for $50 when I bought a used JP8 for $600 was given an ARP Odyssey because it was holding a door open, TR909 for $300 etc etc I miss the 90’s

  11. How timely an article as I scored an Oberheim Matrix-6 for free over the weekend. In really nice shape, and especially so on the inside when I opened it up (in fact all the electronics look brand spanking new). Certainly doesn’t look like it’s 30 years old. Reseated all the CEM chips which got me back the missing notes that weren’t playing, and then ran all the calibration routines and did a factory reset to fix an odd problem where all patches sounded like they were playing 4 octaves too high, maybe that’s why whoever owned it gave up on it?

  12. the 90’s were the good times to buy analogue gear. I remember once I went into a shop and saw an Ibanez AD-220 delay/flanger for 80 SFR, and immediatly bought it. The seller was looking at me and wondered why I would buy such a device. It’s analogue (= bad, unreliable, outdated) and doesn’t even have MIDI? I said thank you, thank you very much. List price 1977 1.580 DM (Deutsche Mark), and very rare today.

    I bought most of my gear between 1991 and 2001, almost all second-hand. CR-78, TR-808, PPG wave 2.2, Formant Modular, VP-330, etc. for very good prices. I was very lucky because before and after the 90’s you never had this opportunity.

    But even today I can find gold nuggets in the electro trash: a Sennheiser shotgun microphone including XLR cable – value about 700 SFR. A dual-core laptop. HiFi gear (Technics, Marantz). And cables. I hardly ever have to buy cables, I have a good stock from what I gathered from the trash.

  13. probably the person who threw it away wasn’t a big time musician and did not realize that even old funky gear is still wanted
    I believe it was the reason craigslist was started, to prevent anything going into trash when someone can put to use. It is a shame that today CL has become a joke

  14. I bought an Ensoniq Mirage from a music store back in the mid-1990s for $10. The store owner said it didn’t work and it kept flashing “ND” on the screen. I purchased about $25 worth of software off of the Internet to get it going. It worked fine and sounded great.

    I found an Alesis MMT-8 sequencer at a pawn shop during the mid-1990s. The pawn shop said they didn’t know if it worked. I brought in an adapter. It worked fine and I purchased it for $10.

    1. I still have my Alesis MMT-8 somewhere in the attic… – This is still my single most modded device ever – apart from changing the EEPROM, the keybed and the display I ‘reinvented’ the keypad on it by glueing small aluminum disks made with a hole-punch to every rubber button in order to improve contact. Worked like a charm. I also installed a switch which disconnected the internal speaker when using the built-in metronome. This exchanged the speaker for an 8 ohm resistor in order to use the metronome output while recording with microphones, an essentiality when you had too few inputs available in your mixer.

  15. I saved a Tama Techstar TS-305 from being trashed. I don’t always use disco toms but I have a go to module for that now. The bass and snare voices are also quite awesome.

  16. In six months time this gentleman will show up on Muffwiggler wanting to know if he should buy a Maths for his first Eurorack case.

  17. I’m very happy that some brands are re-issuing some ancient products. for two reasons:
    one is that everyone has a chance to make music with those historic sounds
    second because they kills that stupid overpricing of vintage that has nothing to do with music.
    Infact a lot of comments here are about envy for the found form the money related side.
    Today you can buy a MS-20 mini, second hand, for 300£.
    An Arp Odyssey for 500£, Minimoog (soon) still expensive but with new features and hand made, or Voyager right now, Sequential, Oberheim, some Roland pretty faithful digital reproductions, etc.
    IMO ebay was at the start of 00s, the grave of the vintage second hand gear!
    In my opinion second hand gear, even if vintage should be not overpriced from that bunch of collectors that are around. C’mon!

  18. When in high school in ’91 I bought an MKS-80, MKS-30 and QX-21 for ~$60 at a thrift store called Building #19. I used to go there all the time because random pieces of music gear would show up every now and then. This time they had even more stuff but most of it was burnt!.. like they scored all the stuff from a house fire.

      1. yep, the one in Weymouth, MA. Looks like it just closed a year or so back. That was one odd-ball place. I really didn’t quite know what I had at the time but I was really getting into synths and knew they were very nice older models. So I was rocking a Kawai K1II, QX-21 sequencer and a couple analog synths. Come to think of it I also scored a Korg Monopoly from a friend that same year. Free. They couldn’t get decent sound from it, and I knew it was another one of those analog synths that I could get all those analogue textures from that was I was hearing on mix tapes I’d get a hold of. I still have them all except the K1.

  19. I bought an s950 from a pawn shop last month for $75USD that sold it as broken because they didn’t understand it was a sampler and you had to load or sample a sound into it. They figured it was broken because it made no sound except the “TONE” when they tested it.

    1. thats about all theyre worth these days Mr Rob.

      my iphone can sample in better quality for longer, and in stereo.

      (nice piece of classic gear tho if thats your thing i think i can probably still use one with my eyes closed. which was important back then because you could barely read the dull screen on mine hehe)

  20. I found a Yamaha CS15 on the curb 2 doors down from my house… with a sign that said “free, it works” …. That was in 2013 ….i still can’t believe it…..

  21. Wow! I never imagined crazy crap like this happens. Guess I better start checking all my neighbor’s garbage and yard sales.

  22. My friend called me from work maybe six years ago. “Hey, we found a synthesizer here while cleaning up a storage room. Do you want it, or should we throw it in the trash?” It turned out to be a working condition Korg Mono/Poly. A few months earlier I had bought a fully working Polysix for 30€ from a thrift shop because it had the tape enable -switch turned on and didn’t produce any sound while testing. I guess I’m lucky.

  23. Just 2 months ago I scored a Roland Sh5 and a Korg Ms20 from a guy clearing his house for £400. He threw in a Pa system and and a Monacor delay too for free. Good things still happen!

  24. Admin: Personal attack deleted. Keep comments on topic and constructive.

    Also – you’re using multiple user names (Darren Glen, Chris, etc) to comment from, which is causing your comments to be held for moderation.

    Using a consistent user name will minimize the likelihood of your comment being treated as spam.

  25. There used to be some great places for gear in NYC. There was a store in the Village (near where the Apple Store is/was iirc) that had new-old-stock Roland System 100M modules, including the rare sequencer module (which I failed to buy one of, dumb move.)

    In London, I bought a second hand (but seemingly little used) Roland CSQ-600 for £35, possibly my most value for money piece of gear.

    I am consistently amused by videos of wealthy celeb musicians who own all manner of desirable gear (such as the Jupiter 8, CS-80, Prophet 5 etc) and say how they bought them in the 90’s when things were cheap. It seems to happen over and over, they can’t all be telling the truth! ????

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