Woodgrain Casio MT-30

One of the strangest, oldest, or at least rarest keyboards in my little collection surely is possibly this one, a fake woodgrain version of the Casio MT-30 from 1981:

The Casio MT-30, woodgrain version

The Casio MT-30, woodgrain version

When I saw it on ebay, where there was only an extremely fuzzy image. The vendor also didn’t seem too trustworthy, and I was really wondering if that wouldn’t be a rip-off. But nobody else seemed interested, so I bid and got this little piece of keyboard history for a few euros.

While Casio released many of its earlier full-size Casiotones in this weird and incredibly cheessy fake woodgrain design, this is, as far as I know, the only midsize Casio ever in that style — guess that Casio soon realized that the 1980s kiddies weren’t too hot on that 1970s home organ style… Apart of that, it seems identical to the usual off-white MT-30.

Together with the M-10, the MT-30 was the very first midsize keyboard Casio ever produced. It is already 8-voice polyphonic, but doesn’t feature luxuries such as rhythm or even accompaniment. This is 1981, folks! Still, it has vibrato and sustain effects, and the main voice sound is great, warm and analog-sounding — and they’re also amazingly varied and crisp, not at all like my MT-400V.

I also own the MT-40, which has exactly the same main voice hardware, but throws in analog beats and even some mega-cool monophonic bass accompaniment.  (By the way, the MT-40 rock preset was used in that great dancehall classic Under Me Sleng Teng — one of the few hit songs the feature a Casio home keyboard. This “Sleng Teng Riddim” is also the fully electronic dancehall “riddim”, thus earning Casio its well-deserved place in music history. ) The MT-40 is a pretty cool collector’s item, quite rare and expensive, while you can get MT-30s for next to nothing — but not woodgrain ones.

In consequence, it is one of the few keyboards I could sell without missing a single sound — but, hell, this woodgrain case is just too cool! And I also like to think it is super-duper-rare… Is it really? Has anyone ever seen another one of this — or another woodgrain MT? Pray tell.

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  • frank  On 2011/01/14 at 19:16

    Hi there!

    I own a woodgrain MT 30.
    Got it from local fleamarket, price paid 1 euro.

    frank (germany)

  • takahashi  On 2011/01/16 at 16:41


    i have one and would sell or swap.
    leave msg here ,we make contact.


  • semaphoric  On 2011/04/27 at 01:26

    hey takahashi – i would buy it! please email me! semaphoric AT gmail DOT com

  • Jim  On 2011/06/12 at 18:39

    I have the white one. The Ebay seller lied and said he had tested it on battery power. When I opened the battery compartment, I found ancient leaking batteries and a lot of corrosion. I cleaned it up, and it worked just fine. It’s a testament to the durability of these old instruments that they tend to survive even the most unscrupulous sellers intact!

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