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early rhymn units,

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  • early rhymn units,

    Some years ago now(you`ll see how many,as the story progresses!?)I played my first `season`(as solo organist) at a holiday park,here on the South East coast of England. I was just a `cocky` youngster who thought he knew it all(I see differently now!)and on my `night off`(I played 6 nights and a Sunday lunchtime in the clubhouse) I would visit other holiday sites to enjoy their entertainment.</p>

    It was a magical time-a somewhat `more innocent than the current` climate prevailed.</p>

    One such camp had a Hammond L100 coupled to a PR40 tone cabinet and I became very friendly with the club owner. He used to play himself,but not in a professional capacity,and he was always glad to see me and invited me,to play this instrument. I was quite familiar with it,because I was playing the slighly larger `spinet`,M102,at the time. This was `pre` the era where `home ` organs had rhythm units-and then,into the country came the Japanese `Rhythm Ace`-we were all enrhralled by this piece of `kit`(except for drummers,I recall!) I immediately purchased one(much to the disdane of the local musicians` union secretary)and soon became fairly comfortable with this new addition. On reflection,some of the sounds were like someone bashing two biscuit tin lids together(others were very good)but it was pioneering stuff and we all eagerly embraced it.</p>

    Anyway,one night I was in the clubhouse of my friends holiday park and he was playing this organ. He had on an extremely fast samba and was completely ignoring this and playing a slow melody! He then espied me,made an ubrupt musical ending,switched the rhythm unit off,then made a public announcement to all within,that a professional organist was in their midst,and invited me to play. I sat down and played for about half an hour,rising afterwards to(thankfully)tumultuuous applause. At the bar,my mamager friend congratulated me,and then said,"just one thing really `irks` me-that`s my rhythm unit-how come it keeps time with you,and not me?" </p>

    wombat 11

  • #2
    Re: early rhymn units,

    Ah what memories, wombat!</p>

    The Bentley Rhythm Ace, or the Ace Tone units, or even the early Roland TR 33 and TR 77 (all out of the same factory!) Had a TR77 on my first L102, but soon switched to the model T500. I avoided the holiday camp jobs and even the cruise ships (I was offered Canberra and turned it down - what was I on??) but did the rounds of the hotels and clubs, probably the same era as you. I then got 'head hunted' as Kawai's product specialist and the rest is history.</p>

    But those days playing to the ssshh and boom, click and clunk of those early units were fun. I still have a T400 and an Autovari64 (The height of luxury back then)! Yes the drummers hated us and the MU gratefully took all my subs and donations to the 'benevolent fund' but then refused to help when I had a problem with 'management', basically because I was a solo organist playing with a rhythm box. Heck, I was keeping a drummer and bass player out of a job!</p>

    There were earlier drum boxes, though. Google 'wurlitzer sideman' and you'll see that they started right back in the 1950's. (The MU wanted it banned even back then!) But it was the late 60's where it all kicked off with those boxes we know and love!</p>

    Happy playing, from one 'old timer' to another![;)]


    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

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    Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
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