I Played The First Drum Machine Ever Made. Really.

My friend Greyboy has many cool things: an influential music career, a ton of really dialed in vintage bmx bikes, a sweet mid-century modernist house, and a Wurlitzer Side Man: The First Drum Machine Ever Made.

This thing hails from 1959 (the decade of Fonzie, Pottsie, and Richie Cunningham), and is crazy/awesome. 10 different rhythms from the era such as waltz, western, shuffle, and the rhumba coupled with a BPM setting (sadly no urban hip-hop or trip-hop presets) are the main controls. The BPM/tempo control essentially controls the speed of a big spinning disk festooned with electrical contacts that trigger the bass, “cymbal”, wooden block, and tom sounds, and the rhythm selector dial (that in itself sounds like a job that I want, “rhythm selector”) of course alters the sequence of the different sounds, which incidentally you can trigger with individual buttons. I’m trying to get him to use it live in a show, forget the mpc and ableton and 808’s and reason. How could you not?

More Information at SynthMuseum

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