“An extremely thorough and informative book that reveals the evolution and inner workings of keyboard instruments that changed contemporary music for the good, forever.
As an educator, I feel that this book should be required reading for every contemporary keyboardist.”

Dave Limina

Piano department chair, Berklee College of Music,
and author of Hammond Organ Complete

Classic Keys includes: pivotal musical innovations that underpin keyboard instruments.

A detailed discussion of the signature rock keyboard sounds of the 1950s to the early 1980s, set in the context of keyboard development since the first organ. The electric pianos, organs, and early synthesizers that changed the musical world and became the foundation palette of contemporary keyboards.

Classic Keys includes: the technologies and media that enabled rock music.

“Everything you always wanted to know about vintage keyboards.”

Donald Fagen

Keyboard player, singer and co-founder of Steely Dan

Classic Keys includes: the evolution of mechanical keyboard instruments.

“A true gem. It contains information that even an avid fan with deep knowledge of the subject will find rewarding… I am stunned by the depth and detail in this wonderful tome, and the wealth of photographs. Everything is chronicled with care and love.”

Steve Nieve

Keyboard player for Elvis Costello and the Attractions, session player and composer

Classic Keys includes: the English, American, and European companies at the epicenter of rock keyboards, and the rise of Japanese makers.

“It should be on every music lover’s bookshelf.”

Rick Wakeman

Keyboard player for Yes, solo artist and session player

Classic Keys includes: sidebar stories about musicians, collectors, and others who are inspired by vintage keyboards.

Hardcover, 9.5 x 12.5 inches, 416 pages, 560 color and B&W illustrations.

Subjects covered in Classic Keys include:
The earliest keyboard instruments—the water organ and hydraulis
Musical innovations that underpin keyboards
The dulcimer, clavichord, and harpsichord
The pipe organ and reed organ
The theatre/cinema organ
The piano, and piano industry history
Technical inventions leading to the electrification of music
Early 1900s electric and electronic keyboards
The Telharmonium, Theremin and
Ondes Martenot
Transistor stage organs
Electro-mechanical pianos
Pre-digital electronic pianos compared
Sample players and string machines
The twelve signature keyboard sounds of rock
The history of Hammond, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Vox, Farfisa, Hohner, Gibson, RMI, Mellotron, Moog, and many others
The rise of the Japanese keyboard industry
Musique concrète and electronic music
Sound synthesis and synthesizers
The advent of digital keyboards
Contemporary musicians using vintage keys.

DOWNLOAD a Classic Keys educators’ brochure:

“Needed, brilliant and timeless. Thank you!”

John Novello

Hammond B-3 player for the jazz fusion trio Niacin