Find of the Week: Suiko ST-50

Suiko ST-50
Suiko ST-50. Photo by Vintage Standards.

This week's special Reverb find is a super rare gem that was made in Japan in the 1980s: the Suiko ST-50. The ST-50 is billed as a "Koto synthesizer" and was originally designed for the traditional Japanese music market, to be used as accompaniment to poetry.

This very specific usage intention makes the ST-50 one of the most unique and interesting vintage synths you'll come across.

Almost all of the sounds packed inside are beautiful and traditional samples of Japanese instruments, and as you can hear from the excellent video Hainbach made with the synth below, the resulting music can range from solemn and haunting to ethereal and magical to deep, foreboding, and thunderous.

The rarest Japanese synthesizer? | Suiko ST-50

The design of the ST-50 is another reason to be a fan. It's clean, intuitive, and striking—the one caveat is that the functions will take some translating if you don't already speak Japanese. But if you go for this listing, the seller has promised to send along the English translation in PDF 1:1 scale after purchase. This particular listing also includes a recapped PSU, adapter, and a soft carrying case.

Because they weren't marketed worldwide, it's hard to know how many of these unique Suiko ST-50s actually exist. But over the past year or so, the search for these rarities has definitely ramped up among enthusiasts, collectors, and fans of funky vintage instruments. If you belong in that camp, this might be your best chance.

Be sure to check out Hainbach's excellent video above to hear more about this instrument and particularly all of the incredible sounds that it's capable of. You may even catch a little Dre in there. And if you'd like to add this special synth to your collection, check out the full Reverb listing here.

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