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Tools of the Trade ~TOUGH TOFU

By Deems Tsutakawa For The North American Post

During the spring and summer months, I do a fair amount of yard work so that our property is looking respectable. It’s not a fancy yard but not embarrassing; some people even mention that it looks pretty good which is nice of them to say. One of my favorite gardening tools is my new electric, rechargeable, battery-powered lawn mower. It’s the best grass cutter I’ve ever had spanning over five decades. It’s quiet, needs no gas or oil, and does not put out any emissions. I also love my electric weed whacker for edging along the borders, fences, and the alley. Before I had the weed trimmer I used a lot of Roundup which has been found to be carcinogenic. Apparently Monsanto lied about its safety to the environment.

The age of digital technology has really sped up over the past couple of decades. My first electric keyboard was a Wurlitzer, which had 63 keys and a decent sound. Of course it only had one sound, but was state of the art back in the early 70’s. My next electric piano, the Fender Rhodes was a step up in price, sound, and weight. Later, there were more versions of the Fender Rhodes piano and I again stepped up several times, purchasing the 88 key suitcase model, which was heavier than me and quite cumbersome to move. I also went through a plethora of other keyboards, which were temporarily state of the art, only to come back to my natural sound and instrument, the grand piano. Of course, real pianos require professional movers, and being that I play a lot of engagements, the evolution of the digital piano has been a wonderful achievement.

My current 88-key digital grand sounds and feels excellent. It also has a few other sounds that I love, such as electric piano, vibes, organ, and strings. It can also get real loud when needed. Probably the best feature is that in its carry case with accessories, the thing weighs a mere 25 pounds. I find that this weight is just about right for an aging jazz pianist. You should know that I am thankful to save my back.

Deems Tsutakawa was a local Sansei musician (pp. 1-2; deemsmusic.com). He submitted this column 13 months ago, in February 2020.
Editor’s note. As Deems wrote prolifically, the NAP fell behind in printing his articles. He left 19 more on file, which continue his narrative to January 2021, near the end of his life. As these appear monthly, his column will be with us until autumn 2022.