Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

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narrowcaster
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Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by narrowcaster » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:27 am

Hi Everyone,

This is just something I'm curious about. In some circles (I'm thinking of guitar forums I've read), some people take the view that once an instrument is really old, and increasingly rare, it becomes important for owners to start to think of themselves as curators or guardians as much as users. With that in mind, it's sometimes suggested that mods beyond keeping the piece up to spec should be avoided as much as possible, so that the surviving specimens of the instrument will be as close to original as possible for the sake of posterity.

I've always had really mixed feelings about this, and I'm wondering what others around here think about it. I raise it partly because I've been reading this forum for several years and I'm struck by the fact that the topic doesn't seem to have come up much before, if at all. Given the historical importance of some older Moog designs, I had thought it would...

Mr Shave
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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by Mr Shave » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:13 am

I think i would tend to agree...

I got my Little Phatty modified, but i have a TR 606 that I wouldnt touch... Not even to add midi (building a midi to Dinsync converter actually) or change the LED color...

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thealien666
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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by thealien666 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:27 pm

Well, it depends on the rarity of such an instrument. If only a few hundreds have been produced and/or it dates back many years, I would think twice before adding mods to it.

Also, I think mods can be done as long as they're well done. Meaning, not destroying cases and making them with the same looks, as much as possible, as the rest of the instrument. Making them non-permanent is another good idea, if you ever want to sell the instrument during financial hard times.

I have a Korg Mono/Poly to which I added a sample-and-hold waveform to LFO 1. But since they're easily found on the used market, and their value isn't that high (very underrated synth) I felt comfortable doing the mod. But I wouldn't touch my Minimoog D, unless it would be all internal like replacing the keyboard contacts with something like Kevin Lightner's OptoKey gizmo. To me, it's too classic an instrument to tinker with. Maybe it's foolish on my part since about 12 000 of these were produced... It's just that I've been waiting for so long to get my hands on one, that I want to keep it original, at least externally.

Besides, I also have a small modular (MFB Kraftzwerg) that I can play and experiment with, which has so many sound possibilities without having to mod it...
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LaxSlash1993
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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by LaxSlash1993 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:34 pm

If it's vintage, I most likely wouldn't touch it, or even put MIDI in the old Oberheims. For me, they have to be completly stock.

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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by moogslob » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:52 pm

I don't know, if I'm spending money on an instrument, I'm doing so to use it to make music with- Like my 70s Fender bass- the stock pickup sounded unalterably muddy, so I swapped it out- My '68 Wurlitzer 200 is a tad bit hummy, so once I scrape up the money, I'll be getting it's board replaced- It won't be stock but it'll sound better and I'll use it more often, which is why I own instruments- I'll never feel obligated to be a curator of what's essentially a tool to express myself with, and if I have a piece of musical equipment that's not getting used, I sell it to someone who will- I know a guy who owns a stock 60s Jazzmaster, completely unaltered, and he never plays it- To me that's tragic- and if you have a museum piece, it should be in a museum, not your closet-
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MC
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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by MC » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:19 pm

LaxSlash1993 wrote:If it's vintage, I most likely wouldn't touch it, or even put MIDI in the old Oberheims. For me, they have to be completly stock.
Market reactions have a different opinion.

There is a reason why LAMM Memorymoogs are trading for crazy prices.

Encore Electronics made a (now out of stock) MIDI retrofit for the OB-X that not only added MIDI I/O but expanded patch storage from 32 to 120 patches along with NRPN panel manipulation and patch sysex dumps. To me that is a very practical upgrade and I know of at least one eight voice OB-X equipped with the Encore retrofit that sold for $6500.

Likewise with the Encore MIDI kit they made for the Moog Source (expands from 16 to 256 patches).

Another case - Rhodes pianos. Most of them have spongy action that hurts your hands and/or muddy sound. There were a lot of changes to rhodes piano over the production cycle from 1965 to 1985, and you cannot interchange (most) parts to make a good piano unlike Fender guitars. I went through four of them before I finally landed an excellent rhodes piano with the features I wanted - an old 1960s silvertop. Silvertop pianos are collectors folly but the original hammers had high maintenance faults that steered me away from them. My piano does not have the original hammers but the replacement ones are way less maintenance and their neophrene tips sound excellent with the tonebar/tine sets in this piano. That is value in my book. The original preamp, poweramp, and speakers were missing - again not a concern because they didn't sound that great and I prefer using an amp of my choice to get "that sound". It may not be 100% stock to be of value to a collector, but it is valuable to me for "that sound".

http://www.retrosynth.com/~analoguedieh ... index.html

Just because something isn't "Stock" doesn't mean it doesn't have value.
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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by moogslob » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:17 pm

My piano does not have the original hammers but the replacement ones are way less maintenance and their neophrene tips sound excellent with the tonebar/tine sets in this piano. That is value in my book. The original preamp, poweramp, and speakers were missing - again not a concern because they didn't sound that great and I prefer using an amp of my choice to get "that sound". It may not be 100% stock to be of value to a collector, but it is valuable to me for "that sound".
well said!
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narrowcaster
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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by narrowcaster » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:19 am

My piano does not have the original hammers but the replacement ones are way less maintenance and their neophrene tips sound excellent with the tonebar/tine sets in this piano. That is value in my book. The original preamp, poweramp, and speakers were missing - again not a concern because they didn't sound that great and I prefer using an amp of my choice to get "that sound". It may not be 100% stock to be of value to a collector, but it is valuable to me for "that sound".
Absolutely ... and that's what makes it interesting. There are different kinds of value and they aren't always compatible, or at least not always easy to reconcile. One thing you said really stood out for me because I hadn't thought about it before, and that's what the difference might (or might not) be between a collector mentality and a curatorial mentality. They overlap a lot for sure, and can go together, but in one case the emphasis might be more on personal tastes and desires, and in the other it might be more on keeping things safe and sound for future generations.

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Re: Regarding Mods: Any curatorial sentiments?

Post by Just Me » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:54 am

I hate museums and perfect items that are NEVER used. What a waste. I don't buy instruments as investments, I buy them as instruments. I have and have not modified my various items as needed. (I have an original 1970's Tele Deluxe that is extensively modded to make it do what I want.) Most synths have been left alone as they did what I wanted at the time. My recording gear is ALL modded. My modular is well modded but much is reversable for trading purposes. My MiniMoog was so modded as to be unrecognizable and it still sold for thousands when i sold it a few years back. (Split and racked, MIDI, CV mods, keyboard and wheels recased. ) And what was done to my B3 and Leslie! Choped and modded beyond anything Laurens would have recognized.
"Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

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