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Side Manlocked

  • Hugh Davies

Extract

An electronic percussion instrument manufactured by Wurlitzer about 1959–65. It was the first successful commercial electronic drum machine. The vacuum-tube circuitry is activated by a motor that turns a wheel having contact points around its rim. Each row of contacts triggers one of ten percussion timbres (drums, cymbals, brushes, wood block, etc.) in one of 12 predetermined rhythmic patterns (fox trot, march, tango, waltz, metronome click, etc.), its speed, from 36 to 195 beats per minute, determined by the adjustable velocity of the wheel. Effects can also be produced independently of the preprogrammed rhythms by means of ten push-buttons; a pedal is provided for syncopation. The Side Man was housed in a rectangular wooden case about 66 cm tall with controls on top and internal amplifier and three loudspeakers. It was marketed as an accessory to Wurlitzer’s electronic organs, and retailed in ...

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