go back to main studio page

Bonzer Co. Roll Up Keyboard 2009

I got this roll up piano at a Rite Aid store in Costa Mesa for 29 bucks, a futuristic keyboard instrument which trekkies might remember from a Star Trek TNG episode called "Lessons" (rating high among the most boring TNG episodes ever). Ofcourse that was the main reason to get it...it is after all one of those things that people in the 90s thought would be invented 300 years from now....but no, human ingenuity sometimes goes faster then the fictious star trek timeline and here it is in a Rite Aid in 2009 for less then 30 bucks.

Now there are many brands making these roll up pianos these days from quite professional ones with MIDI and pretty good sound engine roms like the Yamaha ones and really crap ones like the one I just bought. It doesn't have any serial type number so we just call it"Roll Up Piano" which it sais on the control unit in the most stupidest fonts you can imagine. The backside reveals it is manufactured by Bonzer electronics co. from the futuristic city of Guangdong

I got to express to the fullest that this thing is pretty crap. Not as crap as the Dubreq Stylophone though, which I even didn't find worthy for a review here but still pretty much crap. Three keys stopped working in the first five minutes I played it...a day later the rest of the keys seemed to be working pretty good still. In favor of this thing: it is polyphonic (4 notes or less I can't figure that out), it has 99 preset sounds, a sustain function, a vibrato effect and a whopping 52 "musical notes" sequencer....uhm realtime recorder. Ow thats not even all, there is also a drummachine part with one of the most fucked up drumsounds I've ever heard. 99 preset patterns ranging from Disco to Slow Waltz...we are all set in the drum department. Well...except that you can't change the tempo of the drumpatterns but that is just a small 'incomfort'.

So we have a rubber keyboard that can be rolled up, whats so fascinating about that?
Take it anywhere and just rollllll it out and impress your friends and after they are bored with it roll it up and put it in your pocket (A large pocket that must be). Now that sounds pretty wack on paper and in reality it is still pretty wack but somewhere it is strangely fascinating. The big rubber keys have some 1982 zx spectrum keyboard character and it also has some vague notions of some EDP Wasp synthesizer keyboard or some obscure giant modular control thing. It is FUN to play those giant almost dimwitted plump "safety" keys...no finesse, no precision...and really no high-tech suaveness. This doesn't feel like something from the 23rd century, its a device that someone forgot to invent in 1983.

Lets go back to the 99 preset sounds...we can cut that number to probably less then 10 because most sounds are used a couple of times as they are layered or shortened to make another sound. You might find a sustained trumpet sound to be doubling as the choir and a lower pitched banjo as monophonic moog synth. Lets check out some of these imaginetively called presets:

13 "Electronic Music Synth" This actually has a kind of pulse width modulation going on, fuzzy and electronic.

07 "Harp" A grainy hollowness gives this sound a some character

29 "Melody 07" a simple shady tone...but hey its polyphonic

57 "Percussive Organ" A 'folky' sound for melancholical mesmerations

01 "Vibraphone" hmmmm mweh....

Drumsounds assorted drum patterns.

I will spare you the piano, trumpet etc. presets...overall the instruments sound like a 1992 soundcard but then even worse...maybe like those greeting cards with built in melodies. I am not sure I am gonna use this thing ever, maybe hook it up through some Korg MS20 and lots of effects...I just dig those big rubber keys.

Get the Roll Up Keyboard Drum sound samples for your sampler here

go back to main studio page