In the early 1960’s a nightclub owner called Tsutomo Katoh watched a popular Japanase accordionist (Tadashi Osanai) on stage, performing with a simple electronic instrument. After the show, the two engaged in deep discussion about the limitations of the instrument and came to the conclusion that they could make something far superior and so they promptly decided to accept their own challenge. Within a few months, they had created the first ever Korg product, the DoncaMatic DA-20. The year was 1963 and Korg spent the next few years releasing a number of different models of drum machine.
Korg the early years
Drawing on their initial success, Korg quickly began to grow and expand their product range to include keyboard/organ products. However, during the early 1970’s, Katoh became aware of the range of Moog synthesisers that were sweeping the USA. Seeing an opportunity, Korg introduced their first synthesiser, the mini Korg 700, which became the first product to bare the Korg name… and so began the legacy!
Originally, the Korg company was set-up as ‘Keio Electronic Laboratories’, although this later changed to the Korg brand that we know today – a mixture of the words ‘Keio’ and ‘Organ’. Korg have since grown into a huge multi-national company, with its headquarters based in Tokyo, Japan, although it now has numerous offices established all over the world.
Korg the inovators
Korg are certainly leaders in innovation and their range of products prove it; from synthesisers that became true vintage classics, to their unique Kaoss units, through to their exciting Wavedrum series and of course, not forgetting their ‘9-synths-in-one’ workstation powerhouse that is the Korg Kronos…. and a lot more besides, including DJ gear, digital pianos and guitar effects! This innovative approach has been a key part of Korg’s history as they were responsible for creating the world’s first hand-held tuner, integrating a keyboard with a vocoder, defining the music workstation category with the Korg M1 and creating brand new families of instrument such as the Korg Electribe and the Korg Kaoss Pad. Nowadays, you don’t need to go far to see a Korg product in use as they have been adopted by numerous professional acts and producers (e.g. Jordan Rudess, The Prodigy, Beardyman, James Zabelia, Black Eyed Peas, etc.), as well as by many home studio owners and DJs. You can find a whole range of Korg products in store or online at Absolute Music today.