One way for EMEAPP to advance its mission is to offer assistance and encouragement to others who share our goals. So, we’re proud to have played a role in the birth of a big, beautiful new book about vintage keyboards: Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music, by Alan Lenhoff and David Robertson. You can learn about this book here:



This is the keepsake book many of us have dreamed about: A beautifully photographed and authoritative book that celebrates the great rock keyboards of the 1950s through the early 1980s: Hammond organs, Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, the Hohner Clavinet and Pianet, the Mellotron, the Yamaha CP70, Vox and Farfisa combo organs, Moog synthesizers and many more. It’s great “eye candy,” but also tells a deep story, putting these instruments in the context of the technological, social and musical trends that made them possible, and made these instruments the centerpiece of so many great bands. It follows the path from the time when a rock keyboard was whatever down-on-its-luck piano a band found waiting for them in a music venue to its evolution into a portable digital orchestra.


We helped make Classic Keys happen in two ways: We provided a grant to help offset the considerable publishing costs of such an ambitious book. We also provided the authors with studio photographs of instruments in our collection. As Lenhoff says, “The economics of publishing make it extremely difficult to publish a large-format, hardcover book of more than 400 pages when it’s aimed at a niche market. The grant we got from EMEAPP helped ensure that we never had to compromise on the quality of the book. It’s a first-class gift book in every way.”


Almost all of the beautiful studio photography of instruments in the book was done by Robertson, who is an Australian industrial designer, commercial photographer and design historian. That created a challenge. “Some of the instruments that were photographed for us by EMEAPP were either rare or otherwise difficult for me to find in Australia—especially in the fine condition we needed so the instruments would look like they did when they were new,” Robertson says. “EMEAPP’s photos helped us fill in some important holes in the book.”



Lenhoff, an American journalist and media executive, and EMEAPP founder Vince Pupillo Sr. began talking about the book about five years ago, when Lenhoff interviewed Vince to capture the story of EMEAPP for the book. Several years later, they began discussing how EMEAPP might participate in the project. “EMEAPP’s support has been a real difference-maker for us, and for the readers,” Lenhoff says. “We couldn’t have had a more appropriate partner.”



The book has attracted enthusiastic praise from such A-list players as Rick Wakeman (Yes), Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers and musical director of The Rolling Stones) and Steve Nieve (Elvis Costello). As Wakeman says: “The story of keyboard development, the people who built them, and the part they played in our musical history has never been fully told up until now. This book is a must for all who love keyboards and their history and indeed, music in general. It should be on every
music lover’s bookshelf.”

The Birth of Keith Emerson’s Moog

50 years ago from the day of this writing, Herb Deutsch, Chris Swansen along with a handful of other dedicated performers and synth-minded people, assembled a concert on Moog synthesizers in front of 4,000 thrilled fans at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Bob Moog and his team created four modular synthesizers for this very well received, unique and innovative performance.

Jazz In the Garden Moog concert announcement

Keith Emerson, who played keys in The Nice at the time, reached out to Bob Moog and was able to acquire one of these modular synths for his own musical explorations. This began a lifelong relationship that ran deep on so many levels.

Over the decades, the gigantic sound of this iconic instrument found its way into the hands of eager fans on ELP songs like From The Beginning, Tarkus, Toccata, Tank, Karn Evil 9 and the favorite of so many, Lucky Man.

Keith Emerson’s Moog modular as it stands today

Keith’s Moog synth traveled the globe with Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Keith worked with Bob and his team to update and upgrade the instrument to meet Keith’s on-stage and studio requirements. The synth would get hammered from the touring and Keith’s techs and the Moog crew chipped in to keep it working the best they could.

In 2011, as the instrument fell into disrepair, Keith decided to have this highly customized instrument rebuilt. Technicians Gene Stopp and Brian Kehew worked on it feverishly, the result was a stable and fully-working synth, capable of handling anything that Keith could throw at it.

After Keith’s untimely passing, his extended family determined that “the world’s most famous synthesizer” should end up in the hands of the Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project. Through the guidance of Michelle Moog-Koussa of the Bob Moog Foundation, they understood that our stewardship would harvest great substance from this instrument and that we would share it with the whole world, judiciously and with sensitivity. They also understood that what is most important to us is Keith Emerson’s musical legacy and that his Moog synthesizer is really a living and breathing symbolic object of this legacy.

In April of 2019, we brought Keith’s Moog synth to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to play a part in their “Instruments That Rock” exhibit. At the time of this writing, more than half a million visitors and fans got a close-up view of the Moog and two of Keith’s Hammond organs.

EMEAPP Exhibit2
Keith’s gear on display at The MET in New York

As his beloved instrument turns 50 years old, we celebrate the Jazz In the Garden concert where it all began. We tip our hats to Bob Moog, Herb Deutsch, Chris Swansen and the whole crew who made this milestone performance happen. We also tip our hats to Gene Stopp, Brian Kehew and all the folks involved in getting this iconic instrument back on its feet.

We look forward to its homecoming with great anticipation. 🙂 

 Here is a wonderful article written by Lauren Rosati of the Museum of Modern Art that tells the story of this very important performance.

View of the concert performed by Robert Moog and the Moog Synthesizer, part of the Jazz in the Garden series, The Museum of Modern Art, August 28, 1969. Photographer: Peter Moore. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

The exhibition Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye explores the ways in which sound technologies have shaped the way we listen to musical culture. Highlighting both technical innovation and design aesthetics, the exhibition includes a number of modern instruments, including a Yamaha Portatone Keyboard and a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. While MoMA was the first museum in the world to collect such objects, beginning in 1932, it also pioneered the live presentation of some new music technologies. For instance, Russian émigré Vladimir Ussachevsky performed the first tape-music concert in the United States at MoMA in October 1952. And though the Museum’s collection does not include a synthesizer, it presented the famed Moog synthesizer as a live performance instrument for the very first time on August 28, 1969, changing the course of music history and influencing decades of future instrument design.

Program for Robert Moog and the Moog Synthesizer Concert-Demonstration, part of the Jazz in the Garden, series, The Museum of Modern Art,  August 28, 1969. Public Information Records, II.B.708. The Museum Modern Art Archives, New York

Described by the press as “alien” and like “a fox let loose in a chicken shack,” the sounds of the Moog synthesizer filled MoMA’s Sculpture Garden during the final event of the 1969 Jazz in the Garden concert series. Critic Greer Johnson wrote that “the ‘demonstration’ of Robert Moog’s synthesizer at MoMA…had all the musical persuasiveness of lobotomized Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey singing ‘On A Bicycle Built For Two.’” Bob Moog was surely an unlikely act to close out the series, which also included performances by the Muddy Waters Blues Band and the Bob Patterson Gospel Singers, as well as a variety of more traditional blues and jazz groups.Unwieldy, complicated to operate, and capable of playing only one note at a time, the Moog Modular Synthesizer was initially relegated to the recording studio. It consisted of oscillators, filter banks, reverb units, voltage control, mixers, and other modules in a single console connected by patch cords and controlled by an organ-like keyboard. A prototype was released in August 1964 and first appeared on a musical track later that year, when Herb Deutsch composed “Jazz Images: A Worksong and Blues.” Songs by the Rolling Stones, Monkees, Beatles, and Byrds helped to popularize the instrument, and by 1969 “Moog” was synonymous with “synthesizer.” Yet, despite demands from his sales representatives and session musicians, Moog had not yet devised a synthesizer for live concert events. An invitation from MoMA provided the push he needed. Impelled to produce an ensemble of real-time, portable systems for the event, Moog designed four modular synthesizers that operated from a new pre-set box, which allowed the musicians to activate six basic sounds at the push of a button and adjust settings in advance. The instruments—a basic Moog, a bass synthesizer, a polyphonic keyboard synthesizer, and a percussion synthesizer—were completed the day before the event.

Herb Deutsche performs at on the Moog Synthesizer during the Jazz in the Garden program, The Museum of Modern Art, August 28, 1969. Photographer: Peter Moore. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

Live at MoMA, 1969. Printed in Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, Analog Days (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 189

On the night of the concert, roughly 4,000 people—quadruple the attendance of previous events—jammed into MoMA’s Sculpture Garden, climbing onto sculptures and into trees to get a better view. A quartet led by Herb Deutsch opened the concert with a performance of electronic bebop jazz that sounded “wavery and hollow, as though coming from outer space.” According to a review in Audio magazine, “Following a few preparatory bleeps, hoots, and grunts, the musicians swung into a pleasantly melodic four-movement suite…. At various times, sounds were reminiscent of trumpet, flute, saxophone, harpsichord, accordion and several varieties of drum, but, in general, one was content to listen to the music on its own terms, without trying to draw any comparisons with conventional instrumentation.” Pianist Chris Swansen next led his quartet in a thickly orchestrated rendition of “Ooh Baby” by the Free Spirits, until a fuse blew and a reveler inadvertently pulled the power plug for the sound system, abruptly stopping the performance. Despite these technical difficulties, the significance of the event was not lost on critics, who praised this historic concert at MoMA for launching the use of the synthesizer as a live performance instrument, for popularizing the Moog Modular system, and for “making music modern.”

The author wishes to thank curator Juliet Kinchin and Albert Glinsky, whose book Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage provided source material for this post.

Frank Zappa’s Guitar Amplifiers- Want to take a peek inside?

Frank Zappa was many things to many people: an outspoken critic, a cunning songwriter, a skilled performer, a voice for free speech in music, a family member. Our focus today is on Frank Zappa, the guitarist and sculptor of some amazing guitar tones across his storied career.

Image courtesy of Zappa Family Trust

Frank knew a lot about guitar tone, he had a sharp focus on how to achieve the sound he was seeking.  From his days with Captain Beefheart and the Mothers of Invention through decades of albums and touring, his guitar tones were always bespoke and articulate. His effects and amplifier system grew and changed over the years to accommodate his broad musical landscape and thirst for the perfect sound. His application of studio effects was also ever-changing, his “Ma Bell” effects rack was refrigerator-sized and loaded with tons of studio-grade gear that he would use to create his unique sound palette.

Zappa Amps4. (3 of 4)
Frank Zappa’s Vox and Marshall amplifiers

He used a lot of gear, but one thing stayed true from the mid-1970s onward: Frank loved his Vox Super Beatle system tied-in with two Marshall half-stacks. One head was a Marshall Major, the other was a 100 watt JMP.  Frank used the Vox Super Beatle in his earlier years, the Marshalls began their duty beginning in the early 1970s. You can see this rig in action in the video below, shot at The Palladium in New York in 1977.

We had to make certain that this rig was operating properly for an upcoming recording session, so we removed this venerable artifact from the exhibit and rolled it into the workshop for a good look and road test. The goal of the recording session was to collect impulse responses through Frank Zappa’s rig, giving his son, Dweezil, the opportunity to recreate Frank’s tone live on stage. This Vox and Marshall rig was a huge part of his sound and Dweezil wanted to bring it to the world.

Frank Zappa’s rig in our workshop

We determined that the whole rig was in very good condition considering its age and touring history. A few of the JBL K120 12” alnico drivers were blown, so we replaced them with other K120s from our Zappa collection, tightened up some screws, and the cabinets were good to go. The heads required some special focus, but we safely fired them up and looked forward to hearing the outcome.

Aaaaand the outcome was freaking awesome!

Dweezil stepped up and took each of the amp rigs for a spin, the wall of sound they created sent an off-the-charts energy through our live room. Each amp sounded totally different but equally awesome, Frank’s guitar sound must’ve been epic in a live scenario. Check out the video clip below, you can get a good idea of how it sounded!

The recording session went off without a hitch, it was a top-shelf studio geekfest. Fractal Audio Systems was in the house to help dial-in the tones and collect the impulse responses. We ended up using Freddie Mercury’s Neumann U67 tube mic through a Helios mic pre/eq from the early Rollings Stones Mobile Studio. The session went so well that Dweezil was able to use the impulse responses to bring Frank’s “Hot Rats” album to his live audiences, complete with a tone befitting Frank himself.

We invited amp-guy Bryan Parnell of Retro Sound Works to take a deep dive inside Frank’s guitar system and give us a technical analysis. He took a good look at the gear and submitted this report.

Zappa’s unique live tone consisted of a combination of speakers, amplifiers, unconventional settings, and ultimately skill. Taking a somewhat deeper technical look into his amplification, we can see a few things that might have contributed to this.


For starters, we cannot help but gravitate towards the Marshall Major. This amp, with the 200 Watt Lead “Canada” circuit, has a test date of December 9th, 1972. Interestingly enough, the amp has newer Marshall 100 watt JMP spec transformers installed with new mounts, while retaining its massive GE 6550A output tubes, just as later US-spec 100 Watt JMP’s would have had. This may have been due to failure of the notoriously fragile original transformers, or in an effort to better match the sound output of his 1971 100 Watt JMP. The preamp was fitted with Ruby 12AX7A’s, known for low-microphonics. Marked settings can be seen on the faceplate in red marker, showing some unconventional choices such as the Bass control being set to 10, along with conservative volume settings of 3 and 4 for each respective control.


The large original power supply choke was retained, as was the original impedance selector switch. Some of the filter capacitors have been changed. All tube sockets are US-made ceramic units, possibly to prevent arcing. One externally visible mod is what appears to be a pre-phase-inverter “master gain”, functioning as a somewhat crude master-volume, allowing for strictly preamp distortion, without driving the phase inverter. This results in a sharper breakup, with less warmth, and less even-order harmonics, unlike the sound of cranked up power tubes. If you have played a mid-70’s master-volume equipped Fender, you are familiar with pre-phase-inverter master-volume circuits.


Accompanying the Major, we find an early 1971 Marshall JMP MK2 100W Lead amp. This amp is mostly original, with the exception of Czech (JJ or Tesla produced) Ruby EL34 power tubes, Ruby 12AX7A, and a “Master Gain” installed in 1978, as noted on the service tag on top of the amp. The amp appears to retain its original filter capacitors, and also shows two sets of settings marked on the faceplate. One of these shows once again the Bass control set to 10, and a high setting of 8 on the Volume I control.


Both of these heads were run through a variety of cabinets, including two pre-1969 Marshall 1960 cabinets front-clip-loaded with high-efficiency alnico-magnet JBL K120 drivers. Not to mention the cabinets were recovered with iconic red carpet, with the grills replaced with expanded mesh, likely to protect the speakers, as the cabinets were never cased. The JBL K120 was one of the loudest musical instrument speakers available in its day, and had extended frequency response. They also were easily capable of handling the hundreds of watts a cranked JMP can put out.


Finally, we encounter the oddball in the room, a solid-state Vox Super Reverb Beatle amplifier, with its accompanying 4×12. This amplifier shows no signs of modification, besides a quarter-inch input jack located on the right side of the control panel, with no indicated function. The amplifier has relatively conventional control settings, and features various affects, blendable reverb which is channel assignable, and a frequency generator for tuning use. 

Its accompanying cabinet features four more JBL J120’s, in two ported 2×12 sections. Each section is relatively large for a 2×12, and the rectangular port is formed by where a tweeter would have once sat. The rear of the cabinets are lined with 1 inch dense insulation. I can only imagine this cabinet has a deep percussive tone, with plenty of bass and treble to spare. It has its original trolly cart, and is also covered in red carpet.

You can find more intel on Bryan Parnell at

Keith Emerson Exhibit at the Met

We had the rare opportunity to get involved with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the United States. Normally, their focus is on classical antiquities, historical paintings and ancient statuary, so why would they be interested in EMEAPP?

It ends up that The MET had an unusual idea in mind: A retrospective exhibit chock full of historical rock and roll guitars, keyboards, amps, posters and more. It was to be a perfect fit for us, because that’s our thing.

The museum was interested in gaining access to Keith Emerson’s famous modular Moog synthesizer to be put under the spotlight as a part of this amazing exhibit. We were apprehensive about making the commitment, but after much discussion we decided to begin negotiations to hash out an agreement.  

The Emerson Moog Modular, at EMEAPP, Spring 2019. To learn more about this instrument, see our Step by Step Introduction to the Emerson Moog.

After many phone conversations and emails, we invited the curator of the Musical Instrument department down to EMEAPP for a tour, thinking it would make us feel more comfortable about shipping this epic monster to New York and making it disappear for eight months. This was a frustrating idea for us, as we would only have the Moog in-house for a few weeks before sending it off for an extended period of time. This visit also gave us the opportunity to convince them to display Keith’s custom Hammond “Tarkus” C3 organ, which is just as epic as his Moog synth.

With the meeting going well, we agreed to loan The MET Keith’s Moog and Tarkus C3 organ for the run of the NYC show.  We did not agree, however, to allow Keith’s gear to go to the final location for this exhibit, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. It may sound ridiculous, but the RRHoF never inducted Keith or Emerson, Lake and Palmer, or shown the appreciation of progressive rock in general, so we did not feel it appropriate to support their exhibit.

A few weeks later, we read that The MET might be adding instruments that had been destroyed by musical artists on stage. We certainly know something about this as well, so we re-approached The MET indicating that we also had one of Keith’s Hammond L-100 organs. Ever the showman, Keith would toss these organs around onstage, pull it on top of himself and stab it with daggers. Our Emerson L-100 even caught fire on stage in Boston. The audience thought that is was part of the show, but it actually wasn’t. (Nevertheless, it was awesome.) The MET agreed to display Keith’s L-100 right next to his synth, daggers and all. Smart move on their part, it was icing on the prog rock cake! To learn more about what happened to this L-100, and the history of Keith’s L-100 organs in general, see our Interview with Al Goff (requires website membership).

In honor of this opportunity to bring his instruments into the public eye, we threw a huge Keith Emerson legacy soiree, dubbed “The Keith Emerson Experience,” which allowed his family, friends, technicians and associates to lay their eyes on these beautiful instruments before the send off. In addition to Keith’s Moog and two Hammond organs, we displayed his Korg Triton Extreme (serial #001!), GEM ProMega 3, his synth and effects rack, his on-stage monitoring rig and wardrobe case filled with Keith’s personal and Emerson, Lake and Palmer memorabilia. To gild the lilly, we also displayed our uber-rare Yamaha GX-1 synth, just like the one Keith used throughout his career. It was a fitting keyboard tribute to the legacy of this amazing musician.

In the days after the event, we broke down the stage setup, put everything back in its cases and rolled the MET-bound items to one of our loading docks in preparation for packing.  

Gently, gently carrying the Moog out, for transport to the loading dock.
Truck loaded up with Emerson Gear

If you’ve ever wondered how priceless items get safely to a major art museum, it was pretty basic and logical. The biggest difference was the amount of focus and detail due to the rarity and value of the items. We began with a few phone and email conversations followed by a site survey from the packing/moving specialty company. A few weeks later, a crew of young and focused individuals arrived with a good amount of specialty packing equipment and a custom-made crate for the L-100. They meticulously packed, padded and shrink wrapped everything to make certain all would arrive in perfect condition.

In most situations, a well-built touring road case would be sufficient to transport gear. But this time, even the road cases were of high value. For instance, just the case for Keith’s Moog could fetch over $50,000 at auction. Therefore, his road cases were padded and shrink wrapped for transport as well. We even discussed whether the wheels of the road cases should be used or if the cases would require the use of a forklift or pallet jack. We chose to allow the use of the wheels, as the floor surfaces of both EMEAPP and The MET are smooth. The crew rolled everything onto the moving truck and strapped it down for the journey north. We bid the moving truck farewell as it left EMEAPP’s loading dock #5 and rolled directly to the end destination in New York City.

Two days later, EMEAPPers Drew and Vince Jr. arrived at The MET ready to lift and assemble Keith’s gear into the exhibit for the world to behold. The process went like clockwork with a team to open the crates, another to unpack them, someone to inventory items and check the condition along with a crew of people to assist in erecting the objects into the exhibit. It took the better part of the day, but we all got the job done. The challenge was to keep focused on our responsibilities and to fight the urge to peer inside all the sexy, old guitar and bass cases. The urge won, we got to see some of the good stuff up close.

Setting up the Moog at the Met.

We then had the honor of attending the opening gala, which given the provenance of the gear at this exhibit was as exciting as you might think. The main lobby was lit like a rock concert, a huge stage stood on our left as we entered. The welcome desk was set up for bar service, butlered hors d’oeuvres appeared out of nowhere.

Opening Gala, in full swing.

In time, Philly homeboys, The Roots, took the stage and lit the place up. Vince Sr, Drew and Vince Jr. had a blast chatting with industry folks like Don Felder from The Eagles, legendary singer/guitarist Steve Miller and Kate Pierson from the B52s.

The Roots, rockin’ the Gala.

But the real excitement was around the corner. After passing through a Greco-Roman art exhibit, we stumbled upon an archway that looked out of place; it was the entrance to a rock and roll heaven. The juxtaposition of Greco-Roman art and Chuck Berry’s guitar was clear, it was like jumping forward a few millennia and ending up in the golden years of rock and roll.

Entering the portal, we were surrounded by rock and roll gems that glistened under the spotlights. Pianos, guitars, basses, drums, amps and more, all historically significant to say the least. Highlights included the gold grand piano from Jerry Lee Lewis, one of Elvis Presley’s Gibson acoustic guitars, Eric Clapton’s ‘Blackie’ Fender Stratocaster and Eddie Van Halen’s ‘Frankenstein’ custom guitar.

Turning the corner, it was hard to hold our excitement as the Moog came into our view. The huge Tarkus C3 organ was nestled beneath the synth creating a 10 foot tall monument to legacy of Keith Emerson. Keith’s L-100 sat proudly to the left with two of Keith’s daggers jutting out from the upper keyboard just like old times.


And then something epic happened. Jimmy Page from the band Led Zeppelin walked into the room. Even better, he chose to spend some time with us to discuss how impactful the music of Keith Emerson was. It was a proud moment when Jimmy said that “Keith Emerson was the Jimi Hendrix of the keyboards”.  Keith likely would have shied away from a testimonial like that, but it was great to hear someone the likes of Jimmy Page praising his life’s work in such genuine and honest form.

Jimmy Page with Vince Pupillo Sr.
Led Zeppelin Gear!

Moments later, hit maker Steve Miller enters the gallery to take a gander at his own exhibit, the Roland synth and red Echoplex tape delay he used to create his 1977 hit, “Fly Like An Eagle”. He thoughtfully spent some time with us talking about Keith Emerson’s influence as well.  We look forward to a future visit from Steve; he’s a perfect match for EMEAPP.

Steve Miller, chatting with Vince Pupillo Sr.

It was a proud moment for us to be able to bring this special set of instruments to the public, especially in such a grand way. What a travesty it would have been if these valuable instruments were snagged up by some rich person, stashed in their basement and kept from view for generations.

Steve Miller Gear from “Fly Like an Eagle,” the gear that produced
those great synthesizer lines and effects in that song.

As we look back on the process, none of this would have happened without the involvement of Michelle Moog-Koussa. Michelle is the daughter of legendary synth maker, Dr. Robert Moog, the creator of Keith’s synthesizer.  Not only did she play a major role in making this happen, she was also one of the players who helped land Keith’s Moog at EMEAPP. We must also tip our hats to Brian Kehew and Gene Stopp, the team who rebuilt the instrument for Keith late in his career.

All in all this whole process was challenging, complex, fulfilling and certainly worth the effort. Jayson Kerr Dobney, the curator of the Musical Instrument Department at The MET, took great care of us and we thank him for his efforts in making this event happen and bringing us on board.

We encourage you to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to see this exhibit which runs until October 1, 2019. You’ll be glad you did!


We are proud to have had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural run of Synthplex in late March of 2019. It was billed as “All Things Synthesizer” and it really hit the mark! The Burbank Marriott skillfully dealt with a wide range of rock stars, modular folk, tech heads, curious onlookers, dweebs and nerds, vintage synth aficionados, collectors, builders, composers, manufacturers and otherwise very colorful people wearing mostly black.

Yes, the event was in Los Angeles, but the crowd was from all over. We chatted with like-minded folk from Brazil, Japan, Portugal, England, Canada and beyond. The attendees filled exhibit halls that were packed with a tasty blend of synth modules, controllers, stunning vintage synths, production software and tons more.

Synthplex founders, Michael Boddiker and Michael Learmouth, did a great job of designing and creating a fulfilling three-dimensional event, packed with much more than just the exhibits. Educational and technical seminars, Q&A sessions with industry legends, DIY synth building workshop, live synth concerts and the Pop Up Synth Museum where you could actually spend time tweaking the knobs of epic mono and polysynths.

EMEAPP Booth at SYNTHPLEX 2019: Ready to Roll!
Checking out the many excellent exhibits at the event.

We were honored to be visited by Keith Emerson’s long-term partner, Mari Kawaguchi, who brought us the vertical banner that Keith would use when making personal appearances. We set it up right next to our banner of his legendary Moog synthesizer, it looked great!

Drew Raison, Mari Kawaguchi, and Vince Pupillo Jr.

But the most exciting part for us was showcasing the Godfather of synths, the Moog Model A Minimoog prototype. Next in line were the Model B, C and the Model D, which finally went into production and became the go-to lead performance synthesizer. Last in line was an enigma of the Minimoog family, what is ultimately a Minimoog with 20 presets. This quintet of tone raised quite a few eyebrows to say the least.

Mark Doty at the EMEAPP Booth
Question & Answer Session

We hope to participate in Synthplex 2020 and hope to see you there!

Highlights of “The Keith Emerson Experience”

On Saturday, March 9, 2019, EMEAPP held a VIP event commemorating the reunification of Keith Emerson’s iconic stage gear – a major milestone for EMEAPP – and a gathering that brought together a community of people that surrounded Keith Emerson’s life and work.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is KEE_Logo_cropped.jpeg

The first presentation of the event, as depicted in the video just below, featured EMEAPP’s Associate Director and resident synthesizer programmer Vince Pupillo Jr., who opened the formal festivities by performing a tribute on Keith’s Moog Modular, expertly demonstrating each of the famous presets with short quotations of famous Emerson keyboard lines:

In keeping with the legacy of Keith Emerson’s work, the guests entering the Performance Hall Atrium were greeted by . . .

Guests were treated to many live performances including the ultra-talented Rachel Flowers performing TARKUS on Keith Emerson’s customized Hammond C3 organ and legendary Moog modular synthesizer.

This event also served as a fitting send-off for some of Keith’s Gear that will soon be on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC for a sixth month long show called “PLAY IT LOUD INSTRUMENTS OF ROCK & ROLL,” which opens April 8th, 2019. Be sure to attend this exhibit if you would like to see this gear in person, along with many other fantastic rock ‘n roll exhibits!

The Gear

The EMEAPP gear presented included:

  • Keith’s iconic Moog Modular Synthesizer, arguably the most famous and musically influential synthesizer in the world, now a deeply treasured part of the EMEAPP Collection.
  • Keith’s Hammond Goff C-3 organ – the organ known as the “Tarkus Organ”.
  • Keith’s Twin Goff Custom Leslie Cabinets.
  • One of the L-100 Hammond organs Keith used in his famous onstage antics, complete with knife stabs wounds to the keyboard, as used for example at the “ELP Live at Montreux 1997 Concert”, among others. Displayed along with this organ were two of Keith’s ELP-Logo enscribed knives, which he used on the Black Moon Tour.
  • Keith’s Bag End Stage Monitoring System and his Stage Mixer Rack filled with synths and effects.
  • Keith’s Korg Triton Extreme (serial #1!) sampling keyboard workstation.
  • An Alesis QS8.1 Sampling Synthesizer, with samples of Keith’s original instruments, including samples from his Yamaha GX-1, his Moog Modular, and his Hammond C-3.
  • Keith’s GEM ProMega 3, a board that utilizes both samples and physical modeling to produce highly realistic sounds.
  • Our rare Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer, one of the first analog polyphonic synthesizers ever produced, of the same production series used by Keith Emerson.
  • A collection of Keith’s Stage wardrobe and his wardrobe flight case.
  • Also utilized at the event was a Hammond B-3 from the EMEAPP Collection, used during the cocktail hour by various guests. This Hammond B-3 was the last one ever shipped by the Hammond organ company in 1975!
  • Vintage amps used: Leslie 147, Fender silver-faced Twin Reverb & Ampeg B-18N.
  • Vintage Slingerland 80N Jazz Kit
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_4670B-1024x768.jpg

Also displayed at the event were:

  • A photo gallery of rarely and never before seen photos by Keith Emerson photographer Mary Ann Burns.
  • A slideshow of photos documenting Keith Emerson’s entire career.
  • A video image slideshow that was to be utilized by Keith for the LCD display on his restored Moog Modular.
  • A mounted wall gallery of Keith’s discography.
  • The Moog Showcase: A comprehensive exhibit of the Moog Synthesizers in the EMEAPP Collection, including a full array of historically important Minimoog prototypes & early production models; prototypes of the Micromoog, Equalizer (Liberation), and SL-8 synthesizers; several Moog Modular systems; various Moog effects; and virtually all of the other synthesizers produced by Moog Music Inc, including the Micromoog, Multimoog, Polymoog, Prodigy, Satellite, etc.
  • A sampling of EMEAPP’s vast collection, including keyboards, effects, guitar pedals and amplifiers, including gear utilized by Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Steve Howe, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, and many others.
  • The Emerson Hammond L-100 Organ, Photos of the L-100 in use, and the Welcoming Banner

Attendees experiencing the Gear:

  • Brian Kehew and Gene Stopp reuniting with the Moog Modular.


The Keith Emerson Experience took many months of planning – and not just the usual event planning sort of arrangements (invitations, travel & lodging, etc) – but much meticulous equipment restoration work and testing, musical practice and rehearsals, etc. The following images show some of this preparatory work:

  • Painting the Performance Hall

The People

Invited guests at the Keith Emerson Experience numbered well over one hundred – far too many to list here. Many signed the Event Door:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Signed_Door-890x1024.jpg

Some of the attendees most closely related to Keith’s life and work included Keith Emerson’s son, Aaron, and his spouse Jo and sons Ethan and Zach; Keith’s fiancé Mari Kawaguchi; Moog Foundation President Michelle Moog-Koussa and other representatives of the Foundation; Keith Emerson Photographer Mary Ann Burns; Keith’s former organ tech, Al Goff; One of Keith’s synthesis coaches at Moog Music, Dr. Tom Rhea; and the restorationists of Keith’s Moog Modular, Brian Kehew and Gene Stopp.

Special images of some of the guests:

  • The Emerson Family and Mari Kawaguchi

The Presentations

As seen in the video posted above, EMEAPP’s Associate Director and resident synthesizer programmer Vince Pupillo Jr. opened the formal festivities by performing a tribute on Keith’s Moog Modular, expertly demonstrating each of the famous presets with short quotations of famous Emerson keyboard lines.

EMEAPP’s Founder and President Vince Pupillo Sr. then introduced and honored the Emerson Family. Vince presented the EMEAPP Legends Award to Keith’s son and keyboardist Aaron Emerson, a posthumous award recognizing the achievements of his father, which Aaron received with visible emotion.

Vince Sr. then introduced Keith Emerson’s fiance Mari Kawaguchi, and then Moog Foundation President Michelle Moog-Koussa. Mari both spoke movingly about Keith’s life and work, and Michelle spoke passionately about the amazing and intertwined legacy of Keith’s and her father’s work.

Vince Sr. then also presented Brian Kehew with the EMEAPP’s Preservation Award for his decades-long efforts at saving the hardware of electronic music, work that has played an important role in the development of the EMEAPP Collection. Brian Kehew and Gene Stopp then also received the EMEAPP Restoration Award from Vince for their extensive joint work a decade ago restoring the Emerson Moog Modular – work that Keith Emerson himself greatly appreciated.

Vince Sr. then introduced Tom Lamb, former Marketing Director of Moog Music Inc., who described Keith Emerson’s early interactions with the Moog Company, interactions that included instruction on synthesis techniques by Dr. Tom Rhea, who was in attendance at the event, as was Jim Scott, who had prepared the original shipment of Keith’s Moog to him from R.A. Moog Inc.

EMEAPP’s Research Director and Webmaster Ben Luce then gave a presentation describing EMEAPP’s nonprofit structure and mission, and emphatically invited attendees to become ambassadors for EMEAPP, to assist the organization’s ability to sustain itself and fulfill its mission over the long term.

Emerson Hammond Organ Technician Al Goff then wrapped up the presentations by regaling the audience with stories about his and his father’s first encounter with Keith’s L-100 organ antics – which to the delight of the audience he revealed had initially caught them quite off guard after they had delivered an L-100 to Keith for the first time for his use one evening!

Images of the presentations:

  • Vince Pupillo Jr. demonstrates the Moog Modular in a tribute to Keith

The Performers

Throughout the evening a number of performers wowed the audience with demonstrations of Keith’s instruments and other instruments at EMEAPP. These performers included:

  • During the opening reception organist Joe Patano entertained the crowd with his expert Hammond organ stylings on the Hammond B-3. Joe was then joined by keyboardist George Mandrin on Korg Triton Extreme (piano voicing), and the two furiously traded jazz licks to the delight of the audience.
  • This was followed by Ben Luce playing ELP compositions “Trilogy”, “Jeremy Bender”, “Benny the Bouncer”, and “The Sheriff” using Keith’s GEM ProMega 3 (for piano sounds) and Alesis QS8.1 (for synthesizer voices).
  • Wally DeBacker then performed the beginning of ELP’s “Karn Evil 9” with Rachel, and sang “Lucky Man,” backed by the “EMEAPP Band,” consisting of EMEAPPer’s Doug Salvas on guitar, Ben Luce on the Moog Modular and backing vocals, Tim Warneck on backing vocals, Vince Pupillo Jr. on drums, and Drew Raison on bass.
  • Keyboardist Rachel Flowers, among her other performances at the event rocked the crowd with an amazing solo rendition of “Tarkus”on the Emerson C-3 and the Moog Modular, with Vince Pupillo Jr. assisting Rachel with programming changes. Rachel also played excerpts of “Pirates” on the GX-1 and played many of the other keyboards at EMEAPP throughout the event, wowing the attendees till the wee hours of the morning. Keith Emerson’s son Aaron Emerson and EMEAPPer Ben Luce performed ELP’s version of “Fanfare for a Common Man,” with Aaron on the Yamaha GX-1 and Ben on the Alesis QS8.1, and Wally DeBacker accompanying on drums.
  • Keith Emerson’s grandson Ethan Emerson then played two of his grandfather’s piano pieces – “Close to Home” and “Ballad for a Common Man” – on Keith’s GEM ProMega 3, demonstrating uniquivocally that he is following steadily along in his grandfather’s footsteps.
  • The after party saw bartender Eric Sirianni mount the drums, and along with (Quiet Riot) bass player Chuck Wright laid down the rhythm while keyboardists Joe Patano, George Mandrin, Ben Luce, and Eddie Jobson (a recent Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee!) all joined in the jam.

Images of the performances:

  • Joe Patano warms up the room with his Hammond organ stylings

The Festivities

Throughout the event the attendees enjoyed a cocktail party atmosphere with Gourmet Butler style hors d’oeuvre with Eric and Jill Siriani tending the bar filled with cheer.

A look at some of the fun:

Response From Emerson Family


“Hi Vince,
First let me thank you for the amazing week-end at EMEAPP.  Seeing the collection you have saved to date is truly mind blowing.  Seeing friends …whom I haven’t seen in over 40 years, all together in one place was truly special. I am pleased to know you, Vince Jr., Drew, and the rest of the EMEAPP team as the champions carrying forward vital work to preserve the history of EM.  I will be honored to be an “Ambassador” for EMEAPP.”

-Greg Hockman

“Dear Vince,
Wow just wow. Thank you very much for such an amazing event.  It was perfect. I am so honored to have been included as a guest. There are not enough superlatives to say how wonderful and well presented the event was.  The museum was amazing and nostalgic. I hope to visit again.”

-George Mandrin

“Dear Vince,
I just wanted to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the three of you and your staff, not only for your gracious hospitality, but also for conceiving and bringing EMEAPP and the Keith Emerson Experience to fruition. It was sheer joy to see so many historically significant instruments and so much gear all under one roof. The music was extraordinary, the camaraderie was outstanding, and the food and drink were superb, but your generosity was most remarkable of all. I can’t thank you enough for what was absolutely one the most enjoyable gatherings I’ve ever been part of.”

-Geary Yelton

“Hello Vince,
Wow another one of your many unbelievable accomplishments!! It is so rewarding when the dream, becomes a goal and then reality!! Hats off to the master chef, Vince Jr. and all the sous chefs at EMEAPP!!”

-God bless, Roger Rumble

“Dear Vince,
You really did yourself proud this weekend.  Pam and I had a great time, and from an attendee point of view, everything was perfect.  (I know how hard it is to plan and execute this kind of event. You’re probably exhausted, but you all ought to take a deep bow.)

It was great to finally meet all of you and see your breathtaking collection. Rachel was incredible.  (Great idea to have her there!) But what made the greatest impression on me was the sincere appreciation and gratitude you earned from the Emerson family and the Moog folks.  In a very short period of time, you’ve transformed your collection into a significant historical and educational asset for the music community.” 
-Alan Lenhoff

“Dear Vince,
Thank you for your incredible hospitality at EMEAPP this weekend. I would like to help out in any way I can, bringing my skills and years of experience as an editor, writer, and content creator to the table.”

-Stephen Fortner

“Dear Vince,
Thank you for inviting Juliana and me to this fun and special night.  I know that building inside and out, but last night gave me a new appreciation for it and how really great it will be as we work our way through the upcoming phases.  I talked to some folks who were truly blown away by the facility as it exists…all I could think of is how they’ll react as it continues to transition into your total vision.  Another thing that impressed me last night…you and I work on building projects together, I appreciate your enthusiasm for what we’re doing…but last night I saw it in a much bigger way.  This thing that is your interest and passion is the passion for a large group of people, and for some it is their entire life.  The experience I had last night really energizes my understanding of what we’re creating…and that makes what I’m doing so much more significant and enjoyable.  Now I fully understand your enthusiasm for the facility and for EMEAPP.  Thanks again for the invitation, it was a very special event to be a part of.”

-Rich Kapusta (EMEAPP Architect)

Rhodes Piano Bass

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHarold Rhodes originally created his “Army Air Corps” electric piano to provide music and physical therapy to recovering WWII soldiers. Unable to source enough acoustic pianos, he created his own portable instrument that became the Rhodes electric piano that we all know and love. Ray Manzarek of The Doors was a popular user, his Piano Bass was always propped up on top of his Gibson G-101 or Vox Continental combo organ.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Piano Bass was basically the lower 32 keys of the Rhodes electric piano. A physical hammer would strike a thin metal tine causing it to vibrate, the tone bar above it helped give it more fullness and resonance. A transducer would pick up the vibration in the same way a guitar pickup would hear string vibrations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe tone bars on earlier units were thick, square bars that created a ‘thud’-type dynamic. Later ones used the more standard Fender Rhodes type tines that were flat and bent into a curved unit.

The Rhodes Piano Bass has become quite the collectible that sells well into the thousands. We have quite a few units here at EMEAPP, including a rare Extended Range 54 key piano bass in silver sparkle.

Written by Drew Raison, photography by EMEAPP

Smoke On The Water

A Tale of Our Vintage Helios Sidecar:  This box of knobs has seen some epic action. These Helios mic pre/eq modules were used to create the legendary Led Zeppelin song “Stairway To Heaven”.  That’s a great story in and of itself, but there’s lots more.

Vintage Helios modules from the Rolling Stones Mobile unit

The Rolling Stones began building a mobile recording truck in 1967. It allowed them to record in unique locations like stately manors, remote mansions and on location at concert halls. They called it the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.

mobile arrive 1
Mick Jagger checking out the Rolling Stones Mobile truck

These channel modules are microphone preamplifiers and equalizers, they were pulled from the original Helios mixing board that was installed on this truck. The Stones used it to record songs like “Brown Sugar”, “Wild Horses” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. Ultimately, they recorded the albums Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street with this Helios console.

Led Zeppelin also had great success with the Rolling Stones Mobile truck with the albums Led Zeppelin III, IV and Houses of the Holy.Immigrant Song”, “Gallows Pole”, “Black Dog”, “When The Levee Breaks”, “Rock and Roll” and “Misty Mountain Hop” were all recorded through these modules from the Helios desk.

“We all came down to Montreux, /on the Lake Geneva shore line / to make records with a mobile / we didn’t have much time / Frank Zappa and The Mothers were at the best place around / When some stupid with a flare gun / burned the place to the ground”

In 1971, Deep Purple set up shop in an empty hotel in the outskirts of Montreux, Switzerland after being evicted from their planned location due to a fire. This story comes to life in their legendary rock song, “Smoke On the Water”. The lyrics describe that Deep Purple was embarking on a recording project. They even refer to the “Rolling truck stones thing just outside”.

As advancing technologies became available, The Stones decided to upgrade the mobile unit to add more channels and tracks. In 1972, these original mic preamp/eq modules were pulled from the desk and replaced with more flexible ones.

Helios sidecar at EMEAPP

Our sidecar consists of 8 channels from the original 20 input Helios console that was installed in the Rolling Stones Mobile truck. They were racked up in a Boutique rack, complete with switched +48v phantom power and phase invert per channel, plus variable volume pots for the direct outputs.

These channels have been there and back, helping to produce some of the best and most important music created in that era. This rack is currently in use in our portable recording rig and will end up on our roster of great stuff available for use in our forthcoming recording studio.

Written by Drew Raison, photography by EMEAPP

Microtonal Mathematics by Motorola

Isn’t this thing (pictured below) awesome looking? Part home organ, part accordion, part microtonal super-genius. In early 2018, we relocated our super-rare Motorola Scalatron from the keyboard exhibit hall into our workshop for a quick tweak in advance of our upcoming microtonal summit. 


Tim Warneck, our synth tech, tested the four internal power supplies to see if they were doing their jobs properly. Once confirmed, we connected the external speaker, fired her up and the fun began.

Enter George Secor, discoverer of the ‘miracle temperament’ and developer of the Scalatron.  George rolled into EMEAPP with a hoard of unique accordions and an eagerness to feast upon our Scalatron.  We came to discover that ours is unique version, in that it has a top-mounted jackfield in place of the standard synth-like face board. It is also one of the very few (3, actually) that has a multicolored accordion-like 240 button generalized keyboard instead of a home organ-style dual manual keyboard.

Over the next few days, George answered a myriad of questions as we delved deep into this unique machine. He explained to us how microtonal scales work and how mathematical ratios can apply.  He also treated the EMEAPP crew to a private concert on the ‘Moschino free-bass’ accordion, as well as on our vintage Rocky Mount Calliope and Hohner Electronium accordion monosynth. But, the highlight was seeing George perform a few numbers on our unique Scalatron, just as he did decades back when he first got involved in the instrument’s development.

We are so appreciative of people like George, the visionaries and innovators who make our musical worlds a more verdant and expressive place to create.

A few weeks after we wrapped up this summit, we happened upon an ultra-rare Motorola Scalatron Frequency Generator specifically designed to calibrate the keyboard on eBay. We figured that the Scalatron itself is so rare, we couldn’t pass up on this equally rare peripheral. Here is what the seller had to say:


“Here is a very interesting unit.  The Motorola Scalatron was an electronic keyboard instrument that could be calibrated to play microtonal music in live performance.  Apparently, only 20 of them were ever made. Some of them had a couple of normal looking keyboard manuals and some had “chiclet” keyboards with patterns of keys.  There was a separate company, Motorola Scalatron, Inc. That made them in the 1980s.

The keyboard could be calibrated to play virtually any scale system.  For instance, one sytem that was used had 31 tones to the octave. It came with what looked like a regular Motorola television monitor that was used to program the desired frequencies.  It displayed a split screen with what looked like Stroboconn type wheels which would be adjusted until they matched. One of the monitors was apparently on eBay sometime in the past according to some discussion forums I found and they mentioned that it must have had some kind of frequency generator to feed it.  I believe this unit is probably what would have done that.

This unit powers up and it does produce audible tones.  There is an on/off switch and indicator light on the lower left. There is a knob to select notes from the regular chromatic scale and another that changes the octave that is sounded.  The 3rd big knob on the left side says P/M Range below it and Pulse above. The pointer can be moved to 1, +2 or +4. There’s a small switch in the middle that can be thrown to either Variable or Chromatic.  There are 10 pushbuttons along the top and you can push any number of them at the same time and they will stay down until you push them again and they come back up. There’s a jack labeled Microphone in the lower left corner.

Probably the only one of these you will see this week!”

Couldn’t have said it better. Rare stuff indeed!!!

Written by Drew Raison, photography by EMEAPP