John Mayer goes back to 1985 and takes a deep dive into the Casio PT-1, his first ever keyboard

It seems that John Mayer loves watches almost as much as he loves guitars, particularly if they’re based on classic ‘80s Casio portable keyboards.

Back in 2020, the guitarist brought us a signature G-SHOCK watch inspired by the Casio SK-5 sampling keyboard that he owned as a child, and then came a follow-up that aped the design of the PT-80 ‘board. 

Now Mayer and watch specialist Hodinkee have returned with the G-SHOCK 6900-PT1, which they say completes their trilogy of timepieces. This time, the muse is the Casio PT-1 - the very first keyboard that Mayer ever owned.

To mark the occasion, the Slow Dancing In A Burning Room hitmaker has filmed a tongue-in-cheek video in which he runs through the PT-1’s not-so-extensive feature set and shows you how to play it. You get to hear its four sounds, which include a “faithful” recreation of an acoustic grand piano, the Fantasy patch - “it sounds almost identical to a fantasy” - a violin and a flute.

Casio G-SHOCK Ref. 6900 By John Mayer.

(Image credit: Hodinkee)

Mayer also discusses some of the PT-1’s limitations, such as its monophonic nature (“you cannot play a chord”) and the ‘missing’ C key at the top of the highest octave. As he points out, though, “working within those limitations is what creates a real young artist”.

Released in 1985, the PT-1 is a stripped-back version of the classic VL-1 (VL-Tone), which itself served as the inspiration for Teenage Engineering’s OP-1.

With its “dusty blue” case and strap, the new Mayer G-SHOCK borrows the PT-1’s styling; the peach, coral and turquoise circles that highlight the three elements of the Triple Graph display also nod to the keyboard.

The darker grey used on the illuminator button was drawn from the PT-1’s sharp and flat keys, while the four indicators for the buttons share the navy colour used on the PT-1’s text.

Sadly, the $180 G-SHOCK 6900-PT1 is already sold out, but you can check out Mayer’s PT-1 video above.

Casio G-SHOCK Ref. 6900 By John Mayer.

(Image credit: Hodinkee)
Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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