This is my Fatherīs Synth!
When I was a child I loved music and wanted to play the piano. However,
my family had no money to buy such an expensive instrument. As my father
was an electronic hobbist, he started to build this electronic organ from
scratch. It started with a simple one-transistor oscilator that produces
a sawtooth like waveform, and just replicated such oscilator as many times
as the keys he wanted. So this beauty has full polyphony, and each note
has to be independently tuned by turning small trimpots. My grandfather
also worked on the instrument shaping the keys and building the case, which
are made of wood.
I used it as the main instrument for practicing while at a regular piano
course, until we were able to receive a piano as a gift, aided by much prayer,
but this is another story! Today it has suffered a bit from the years, but
is still working just right as long as you play with care its fragile key
mechanism, which has little weights made of lead, and contacts in metal screws.
The sound each note produces is quite simmilar to a buzz, but is surprisingly
well-sounding to the ears, basically because it is analog. You can easily
recreate almost the same sound using any modern synthesizer by setting one
oscilator per voice with a pure sawtooth wave and disabling any other
modulation, filter, effects it may have. If you can put just a little bit
of noise at the attack and randomly detuning it sligtly, that will be a closer
simulation. I did it, but anyhow, the original analog is much more pleasant
to play with, no doubt.
The pictures were taken on November 2001 in my bedroom at Porto Alegre,
where it lies comfortable, with a Kodak DC215 1 Megapixel digital camera, while
the picture at my
was taken by my father in 1976 when I
was playing the organ. I would like to thank my father Antonio C Johann and
my grandfather Alfredo C Johann for this unusual construction and for their support
to help developing my talent, which were not the only things they made for me!