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Synthy stuff returns?

I find it amazing sometimes what inspires me to do certain things.

Recently I found a RAR archive of files I thought I lost but fortunately didn't. It's an archive of "all things Fusion," referring to the Alesis Fusion 6HD, a workstation synthesizer I still own.

For those not in the know, I played keys before I played guitar, but I haven't so much as turned on the Fusion in around 3 years.

When I found that archive of all the Fusion stuff (which includes important things like the manual,) I decided to see if my 6HD actually still worked.

Yep, it does. The little push-button controls were a bit stiff from not being used in so long, and the key action is just fine.

I had honestly forgotten just how damned good the 6HD sounds. I plucked around on the keys for probably a good solid hour. After that I wrote a quick song and published it.

Some thoughts on the Fusion 6HD and workstation synths in general

The 6HD and by association the 8HD models are great performance synths but are not-so good when it comes to sequencing and programming.

Sonically speaking, the Fusion absolutely frickin' nails it, to be sure. The thing just sounds wonderful. Amazing piano sounds, amazing string sounds, wonderful analog-like tones, and so on. The 6HD also has semi-weighted keys that feel fantastic and remind me of the old Roland Juno-60 (which I did own at one point.)

As a workstation however, that's where the Fusion really doesn't work well. It's just difficult to use, which is why I stopped using it for so long.

If I were to recommend a workstation to anyone, I'd just say to get a Casio WK-245 for a basic workstation, or a Casio WK-7600 for the advanced stuff.

Or if you just gotta-gotta have that old school "this is a serious machine" feel, just get a Yamaha MOXF6 or a Roland FA-06. While the Casio workstations do the job nicely, the Yamaha and Roland are the powerhouse offerings.

I don't recommend workstation synths to guitar players at all. More on that in a moment.

Playing keys for performance rather than programming

Given the fact the Fusion synth is not-so good where programming/sequencing is concerned, I'm playing keys now just as a performance instrument. Or to put it bluntly, to hell with sequencing on the Fusion because it would just be a waste of time.

The 6HD has a wealth of great sounds in it and the action of the keys is great, so I'm going to try to do some more synth stuff. Maybe some organ, maybe some piano, maybe some more Rhodes-style stuff, maybe strings, etc..

Best keyboard for guitar players?

I've talked about this before, but guitar players don't do workstation synths. Far too complicated, far too many features. A workstation synth is basically a computer with piano keys, and I can assure you it is a very intimidating piece of kit.

The best synth for the guitar player is a full-size "portable keyboard." Yes, these are the kind with the speakers built in, but they are the easiest to get along with.

I still say the best keyboard for a guitar player is the Yamaha YPT240. Full size, great sounds, 61 keys, easy interface and a plain stock look without any dopey colors. This synth routinely receives glowingly positive reviews because it's designed right.

The YPT240 is also cheap to buy. The only time it gets slightly more expensive when you buy the "keyboard pack" version that comes with stand and headphones. It is actually worth it to get the pack because to buy the stand and headphones separately would cost more.

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