The Royal Artist Piano is a reed based organ. It has a fan. When you hold down a note or chord button, that makes a space for the air to flow over a reed to make the sound. The reed banks for the keyboard and button sections are those from an accordion, and the fan simply provides the air in lieu of bellows.
It is an acoustic instrument. It has no electronic parts. There are no outputs, or ways to connect it to an amp. If you want to record this, you must use a microphone. Now the stinker is, that fan makes a lot of noise, which as you know isn’t very good for recording instruments. So, the Farfisa Royal Artist Piano, she is not so good for the gigging musician, and thus not worth too terribly much.
Thanks to Zoran Stajic for the info and pictures! Zoran says this model is a lot like the VIP400, but the Piano Sounds are different. Possibly the addition of some of the goodies from the Pro Piano???
Thanks to Eric, who posted this comment on the old site: Great Farfisa; much more versatile than Compacts. Sort of like a Compact with many more additional sounds and features. Used by Sun Ra (see Space is the Place video). One feature I particularly like is the percussion/ repeat. Sounds sort of like a square wave LFO, but with more attack (plus control over the attack). Also has “synthaslalom” which is a little like portamento on an analog synth. This feature can also be controlled in terms of time and range of the portamento. Unlike portemento, this effect seems to only go up, elevating the note till it reaches the note of the key. Also has very cool reed/ string like drawbar that sounds like a strings preset analog synth. The other effect in this section is “piano”, which sounds vaguely like a dark electric piano tone. Incredible Bass section for lower quarter of first row of keys. drawbars for very round/ super bassy square wave “bass” and a reedier, fuzzy tone also (think: bass sounds on Suicide’s first album) All in all a very expressive and versatile keyboard capable of the 60s psyche farfisa sound as well as some basic (but well done) 70s analog synth sounds. This was a very professional, and expensive keyboard in it’s day. I believe I saw an mid 70s advertisement for $1800!!! More than a MiniMoog. Cool keyboard.
Take a look at this awesome electronic piano from Farfisa. It’s just like, if not better than a Wurlitzer Electronic Piano, or a Fender Rhodes, no, not really!
It is full of 70s cheese, and will smell a little like that when you pick one up. I wonder then is tolex edible? The sound is not one you really want, unless you want to bring back AM Gold, but it is a very cool instrument by design. Instead of having 12 oscillators that have dividers one them to make the lower register notes, the Pro Piano has an oscillator for every not on the keyboard! It’s very cool looking, I’ll have to post a picture of the array of analog circuitry someday.
With one of the envelope settings you can kind of make it sound like a Farfisa Matador or one of the cheaper VIP organs, but not really.
This is THE Farfisa spoken about when someone mentions Farfisas! It was introduced in the late Sixties and made a splash on the scene immediately. Boasting loud colors, a rough sound, and a price the touring musician could afford, The Compact Combo quickly became one of the prominent combo organs of the late Sixties. The biggest reason why this organ sounded so different from the other organs of its day was from the Multi-Tone Booster. The Farfisa Multi-Tone Booster gave the organs a rougher, dirtier sound, what many called the Farfisa bite.
Need to learn how to tune that brand new Farfisa organ that you rescued from the craigslist? Well, look no further. Check out this excellent video from Vintage Vibe. In it, they tune up a VIP 233, but fear not, the premise is the same for most of the combo organs.