More of the Sideman internals

Here is the left side. 9 tubes in the sound section, and a power amp made with a 12AX7 and two 6BQ5s. 2-way speaker with two tweeters, one coaxial with the woofer and the other on the front of the cabinet, under the control panel. The big aluminum disk turns the contact arm–it is driven by the motor thru a rubber belt and a rubber idler wheel. The speed slider on the control panel drags the idler on the disk, closer to the center and the rhythm runs faster. Power is shut off by pushing the slider all the way rearward. All the tubes in this thing were original, dated 1958, and still good.

Sideman LH side view

The world’s first electronic drum machine–the Wurlitzer Sideman


I’m fixing this one for a friend. Introduced 1958. In this view we see the “pattern sequencer” — a large printed circuit board (the only one in the unit) with a set of contacts on a rotating arm. The contacts close circuits and generate trigger pulses, which hit vacuum-tube ringing filters to generate most of the drum sounds. This unit was in remarkably good condition, if you don’t count the ugly black padded naugahyde someone put all over the outer cabinet.

old circuit-bent keyboard

This was a horrible Chinese combo keyboard (no brand name) I found long ago, at a Longs Drug store for $5. It contained exactly one chip on a tiny PC board – plus a lot of buttons and a 3-octave keyboard. I cut it down and installed it in a small box. Switches allow you to misconfigure the scanned function-selector buttons, the knob drags the pitch waaaay down. Instant Skinny Puppy happy pop music. Runs on 4 AA cells.minibentkeyboard


Welcome to – a music/musical equipment/ephemera related community centered blog with a difference.

We want ANARCHY. We want MADNESS. (no, not the fucking band.)

We want the readers to post twisted, schizophrenic bullshit–anything posted will be taken down if it is at all synth-collector-oriented, chiptune-related, dull, or sheeplike.

Otherwise, if it relates to electronic music somehow, fire away.

Photos of vintage keyboards are not welcome–unless they’re STRANGE keyboards. Links to ebay auctions of vintage gear are not welcome–unless it’s a homebrew piece of freaky warped weirdness.

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Neither are the major traffic-generators from the AH list, OR from Synth-DIY. Links to schematics of exact copies of CS-80 filters are not welcome. Neither are links to fansites for Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze, Can, Tangerine Dream, Ultravox, Gay Fairy Twinkle, or any other hideous 70s or 80s funny-haircut nostalgia keyboard act. Nor is any Bob Moog fanboyism. Ass-kissers are kindly asked to use the Harmony Central forums instead–ass-kissing is Harmony Central’s main business.

All tech must be ODD. Germanium transistors, arcane synth modules, vacuum tubes, steam-powered piston oscillators, whatever–it has to be WRONG.

Unusual controllers are always welcome. If something looks like a Minimoog or has a piano-ish keyboard, it’s usually boring and we aren’t interested.

Press releases have to concern oddities, and must not come from any manufacturer who makes more than $100k per year.

Nothing against Matrixsynth or Music Thing, but they are just repeating, ad nauseaum, the same old neuroses of their readers–a gang of middle-aged owners of 30 broken Prophet-5s and/or 120 badly-scratched Fender Jaguars who want to get rich and become “music gods”, without actually doing anything.

Such people are counterproductive and do NOT aid the production of better, more interesting music. One must break eggs to make a delicious omelet.