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The Wurlitzer Sideman

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    The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company (Wurlitzer) released the first commercially produced drum machine called the Sideman in 1959. It was an "electro-mechanical" drum machine that offered a choice of 12 electronically generated predefined rhythm patterns with variable tempos. "The sound source was a series of vacuum tubes which created 10 preset electronic drum sounds.

    The drum sounds were 'sequenced' by a rotating disc with metal contacts across its face, spaced in a certain pattern to generate parts of a particular rhythm. Combinations of these different sets of rhythms and drum sounds created popular rhythmic patterns of the day, e.g. waltzes, fox trots etc. These combinations were selected by a rotary knob on the top of the Sideman box. The tempo of the patterns was controlled by a slider that increased the speed of rotation of the disc.

    The Sideman had a panel of 10 buttons for manually triggering drum sounds, and a remote player to control the machine while playing from an organ keyboard. The Sideman was housed in a wooden cabinet that contained the sound generating circuitry, amplifier and speaker.
    Type: Analog
    Synthesis: Subtractive
    Pattern Engine
    Programming: Presets
    Pattern Notes:
    12 Patterns:
    + Beguine
    + Bolero
    + Cha Cha
    + Foxtrot 2 Beat
    + Foxtrot 4 Beat
    + March
    + Rhumba
    + Samba
    + Shuffle
    + Tango
    + Waltz
    + Western
    Sounds Per Pad
    Sounds Per Pad: 1
    Sources: Synthesizer
    Sounds Notes:
    10 Sounds:
    + Bass Drum
    + Brush
    + Claves
    + Cymbal
    + Maracas
    + Temple Block
    + Temple Block II
    + Tom Tom I
    + Tom Tom II
    + Wood Block
    Polyphony & Tuning
    Polyphony: 10
    Timbrality: 10
    Tuning: Standard
    Modes: Polyphonic
    Patterns User: 0
    Patterns Preset: 12
    Case: Console (stand alone)
    Trigger Pads : 10 pads, Buttons, Hard Pads
    Controls: Buttons, Knobs, Sliders
    MIDI / Sync / Trigger
    Audio Outputs: Mono Out
    Audio Output Notes: Built in amp and speaker
    Used: $100 - $450
    Released: 1959
    Used By
    Raymond Scott
    Manuals & Documents

    YouTube Videos
    References & Sources

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