Thursday, April 7, 2011
Korg General Catalog, Electronic Musical Instruments, Volume 1, 1982.
This was a total surprise.
I had already pretty much finished my blog post for the Korg "...we put it all together" family of products ad from the January 1982 issue of Keyboard Magazine, when I went back to re-check something. I pulled a different copy of that January issue off the shelf, and wouldn't you know it, stapled into the centrefold of that ad was this miniature Korg catalog.
We are talking 10 juicy pages of Korg products (well, 8 pages, plus a cover and mailing label), folded down to just under 7 x 10 inches. And, unlike in the two-page ad where Korg was a little more limited by space, this catalog contains not only three pages of photos of all their current product line-up, but another three pages of all the reference info for those products - over 25 of 'em! An historical reference gold mine.
I've scanned and posted the front side of the catalog as single pages, but merged the back pages into two larger scans due to the way text and images flowed between the pages.
That front cover of the catalog is very intriguing to me. I'm always trying to figure out what the designer was thinking at the time they were creating ads and brochures - especially those with staged photos. In this case, someone decided that the front cover theme should be a humid terrarium of some sort, with the reader wiping away the droplets of water to see in to... the... er... plants and synthesizers. But wait! If the reader wiped the glass of the terrarium, that would mean it was really humid outside the terrarium. Or, maybe it was just raining outside. And the wet observer is creeping around someone's window...
Gah. Whatever. The effect is still nice. And it's always nice to stick something organic like a plant into a synthesizer ad. A nice touch.
The centrefold ad that accompanied this magazine mentions that you could send away for a full colour catalog. And since this catalog includes a mailing address page, I'm betting this was, in fact, the catalog being referred to in the ad - and included in the January issue of Keyboard as an extra. Excellent work, Korg!
Where it gets really interesting is comparing this 1982 catalog to the one Korg put out in 1984. In particular, it is interesting to see just how many products were still available. Only two new polyphonics became available in those two years - the Poly-800 and Poly-61. But in Korg's defense, they did update the Trident, as well as expand other areas of the business as can be seen in the piano/organs and rhythm/sound effects sections of that '84 catalog. Also interesting is how Korg was definitely increasing the plastic-to-wood ratio.
But the absolutely crazy-coolest thing about this catalog is the "Possible Connections" section located underneath all those lovely Korg accessories. I love diagrams, and I guess Korg was making their point: "We put it all together". And now I know my MS-20 will work with an MS-02.
And that I can plug a trumpet into an X-911. :D