Welcome to the first edition of Weedon Wednesday, a weekly miscellany of musical thoughts which I hope prove interesting.
First, I promised to bring you news of my latest acquisition, a Yamaha Stagea ELC-02, or "Elsie" for short. I ordered it as soon as I had seen the one owned by Richard Monks. Whatever sound or facility I imagined, it did it or had it.
This dinky 'keyboard orchestra' is as light to carry as its name is cumbersome. I can carry it by myself, with the keyboards in a shoulder bag and the pedals in a hand bag, and set it up in about 5 minutes.
If you're a fan of 'the technicalities', you'll be interested to know it has a massive spec, almost as big as the ginormously heavy and much more expensive Stagea 2. The sounds it offers would seem to be from the very latest flagship Yamaha keyboard (Tyros 5) and piano (CVP709), and then plus some! But it also happily loads registrations from disks or memory sticks which I made on my ancient EL organs and early Yamaha keyboards.
The sounds are sweet and mind-blowingly gorgeous! And it all costs not a lot more than a single keyboard. However, before you dash into town to order one, you won't find it for sale in any music stores in the UK (or even Europe or the US). The only way to obtain it currently is to buy it over the Internet from Japan. This may sound very scary, but I (and countless others) have used the excellent Taro Trade who crate it all up and send it very promptly, with everything including delivery and import duty easily sorted for you. Once it arrives, you can even plug it straight into a UK socket with a clear mind.
Why Yamaha are not selling this game-changing little beauty outside Japan I don't know. I'm not officially meant to plug it, nor am I permitted to appear with it at any Yamaha events. I wonder if this air of mystery is actually part of some subtle marketing plan? Suffice it to say, it's my dream instrument and I shall be recording a new album on it very shortly. You can obtain more details of the ELC-02 from here.
You may notice that the facility to buy individual tracks or complete albums as downloads from my website has been withdrawn. We were excited to offer this service but you, our customers, have voted - by continuing to purchase the actual CDs by mail order from our distributor, Organ1st. Only a handful switched to downloads.
The free downloads and streaming of A Keyboard at Your Fingertips - our course for learners with a visual impairment - are not affected, and will continue to be available, having proved extremely popular.
As for my easy listening albums and talking tuition books, you will still be able to listen to snippets of each track, so you can sample before you buy. You can purchase CDs via the website by clicking on the links provided.
Well, I have lots of ideas I want to share with you, but I'm out of space for now. Please let me know what's on your mind musically and in future Weedon Wednesdays I will include as many of your comments as I can.