Friday, February 26, 2010

Joanna, the "shE-Piano"

Has been a while since the last post, to reward the curious visitor here this time I bring a piano. There are many builders of synthesizers, a bunch of organ builders ... but how many people have built a piano? And I'm talking about e-pianos, of course.

Reviewing my old magazines I found in Practical Electronics a series of articles to build the "Joanna" a very complete electronic piano for its time. The designer was a man named A. J. Boothman, I believe this man had a sort of relationship with the CLEF company, and certainly had a kit available through this company (although there were other companies offering it).
I did not have the opportunity to see the full series of articles, this was published between May and September 1975 and I only possess August and September. Judging by these two parts, it seems to me that was well designed and really well tested because at the end the author makes some recommendations on amps and speakers to obtain a good sound, making references to the equipment he used.

I really like to see the full serie of articles to have a further insight on this instrument, because how many people you know, that had made an e-piano? And if we could get some sound samples that would be really great! The interesting thing here is an e-piano that sound... 'electronic', because if you want more real pianos (and cheap), the samplers are the easy ways. Enjoy the pictures.


Jeff Jones said...

I built 2 PE electronic pianos designed by Alan Boothman of Clef, although I no longer have them. These were successors to the PE Joanna. I also built a minisonic. I do still have a PE String Ensemble that was also designed by Alan Boothman and an ETI4600 synthesizer. I have several construction details for these projects. If you would like further details please contact me.

elgauchoandres said...

Jeff, thank you for your comment. As maybe you already saw, the blog is oriented to the "not so common" electronic instruments, specially the DIY type. You mention the electronic pianos, succesors of the PE Joanna built by yourself, please tell us something about it, the quality of sound, difficulty to build or anything you think is relevant.
If is something long, email to me and I will post your contribution.

I only have the august and september PE mags (the last parts of the Joanna) if you have any information you want to share with other people coming by here, please do it. At the present I am evaluating the best option for sharing documents here.

I'm very intrigued by the PE String Ensemble, I was planning a future post about it, inspired by the ads I saw (mostly CLEF products are very obscure items for people outside UK)

Things are a very little slow here, by the moment, but give us a visit from time to time, maybe you can found any other surprise here

nemo20000 said...

Long time after your article... but I have a Clef CMS (Computer Music System) featuring the PDSG (Programmable Digital Sound Generator) also designed by AJ Boothman. I think I bought the last one made from the man himself.

This is a picture of the only other one I know to exist:

Jeff Jones said...

I've just received a blog from nemo20000 directing me here. I apologise for not following up with information on the Clef piano and String Ensemble. If you would still like me to supply that information can you let me know and I'll do so.


Jeff Jones