Casio SK-1 Minefield


My second SK-1 bend. This time around I dispensed with the glut of online tutorials and did some probing of my own. I ended up with one 16-point patch-bay and two 8-point patch-bays, for a total of 32 effects that can be combined in hundreds (if not thousands, I’m not good with the maths) of different configurations. It’s a growling, belching, stuttering, howling, droning purveyor of heinous sound.

Exploring the Process

This project came about at a weak moment in my life. I hadn’t completed any successful and/or worthwhile bending projects in months and I was starting to have second thoughts about bending again. Then, one hazy Friday night, I stumbled on an eBay auction for a slightly busted Casio SK-1. Having vowed to: a) never again shop for bendables on eBay b) never buy an SK series keyboard on eBay and c) never bend another SK-1 again, I quickly found myself mired in something of a moral dilemma. So, I did what any one would do under the circumstances: I bid and set my alarm to be sure I was up the next morning before the auction ended…

After winning and receiving the keyboard I took my time opening it up. I spent a few minutes just playing with it as a normal keyboard, and sampling noisey nonsense. Just soaking up the SK experience and reminiscing about the SK-5 that was an integral part of my teenage experimental years.

With that done, I revisited some SK-1 info I’d culled over the years and did some thinking. I’ve never tried to hide my usual disdain for patch-bays and all their typical uselessness. This is one device, though, that really does lend itself to the patch-bay layout. Going back and forth on the issue, I finally decided to go with the patch-bay and found all my initial bending points. After going a little further, and finding twice as many points as I originally expected, I decided to reassess the situation. It was at that point that I remembered an RCA patch-bay breakout box that I’d built for another project that, for reasons I can’t recall, never made it off the ground. Some minor modifications later and voila: The SK1 MkII “Minefield”.

Detail of the integrated patchbay.

Detail of the breakout box.

D-sub cable connectors.

D-sub inputs on the breakout box.

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