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Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GM60466, Apr 2, 2009.
The ad says 1974 Pbass with Gizmotron installed.
It was an electronic system that went over the bridge that once engaged it made your fretted bass sound like it was fretless.
The Gizmotron was a similar effect to the E-Bow but instead of a single unit that you held over the strings, it had four (or 6 for guitar) seperate keys that operated the modules individually. It almost looks like a little keyboard that installs over the stings.
I'm not sure if it was the same technology as the e-bow but it seemed like a cool idea.
Never saw one in person or even heard if they work or not. I just remember the ads in guitar player magazine.
sounds like the same idea as a whammy bar on bass.
first ten minutes its THE BEST THING EVER
minute 11, what was i thinking..
Just to describe it further it had 4 tiny wheels and motors, one per string that acted like a bow on the bass actually. Very cool device that I got to play on, way back in the 70's. I had the GAS for one back then but no cash.
It excited the strings mechanically at the bridge, but was apparently hard to use and didn't catch on. I think the guy in the band 10cc developed it if I remember correctly. I think it was Musitronics that sunk a bunch of money into it and it was a big reason the company went out of business. Apparently the 10cc guy was one of the only people who could coax usable sounds from it.
IIRC 10cc used one on some recording- not sure which.
He was the only person who could even get it to work, let alone coax usable sounds out of it. Lol Creme. Brilliant...man, that 10cc was a hell of a band in their day. But Musitronics indeed went bankrupt because of the Gizmotron. Everyone wanted one until they tried it.
in the vintage effects book by analogman and analog tom it's one of the rarest effects ever made. worth tons of mula and a piece of crap. total flop for musitronics. this was after they sold to ARP, and they thought the device was the next mutron III.
the death of a company due to a ***tty product. shame.
The original owner had it installed on a fretless Pbass. He says that I can take it off and all that will be left is a little finish discoloration from its footprint. I'll see it this afternoon. He has the original box and paperwork.
In all fairness to the historical record: it wasn't the Gizmotron that caused Muistronics to go out of business. Musitronics got bought by ARP...just before the ARP Avatar caused ARP (and hence, Musitronics) to go out of business.
So yes, it was "the death of a company due to a ***tty product", but the Gizmotron wasn't the ***tty product that did it.
Which is not to say that the Gizmotron wasn't a ***tty product...
And it was the Godley & Creme album L that featured the Gizmotron extensively (though it first appeared on their previous album Consequences).
Good historical content right there! Thanks!
The Gizmotron can also be heard on.
The Church's "Violet Town" where it is played by Marty Willson-Piper.
The Siouxsie and the Banshees' song "Into the Light", played by John McGeoch.
This Mortal Coil's recording "It'll End in Tears" (4AD), where it was played by Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins.
Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door (1979) .
It actually first appeared on 10cc's second album, "Sheet Music" but it was the prototype that Lol Creme and Kevin Godley invented. And the story is a little more complicated than that. Musitronics sold to ARP, yes, but it was because they were out of money from pursuing the Gizmotron so heavily. And after Musitronics sold, ARP didn't put out the Gizmotron...the Musitronics people formed a company called Gizmo and still tried to make a go of it on their own.
PERTINENT AND INTERESTING LINK WARNING:
Here's a question...now that manufacturing plastics has gotten so much better, do you think it would be possible to make a Gizmotron that would actually work for people? Or is it doomed to the "good idea with no good way to make it happen" pile?
I worked in a music store in 1980 and there was a bass with a gizmotron on it. I had a decent amount of time to mess around with it. It wasn't that hard to use. When you press down on a key the wheel would start to spin. The key had a bit of play in it from left to right and you had to gently move the spinning wheel against the string. Jam it in, doesn't work. Not hard enough, no sound. If used correctly it gave the sound of a bow on an upright.
Thought it was cool but I would never use it on a gig.
Ya, the bowing sound was what Lol Creme was going for with it. They used it in a lot of arrangements where you'd normally use violin or cello. I once had a bootleg of 10cc doing "Old Wild Men" live, and Lol took an atmospheric kind of solo with the Gizmotron before the song, and it's so cool because you can hear the string windings scrape, and if you throw some delay on it, it sounds like a warped string section, very reminiscent of a Mellotron.
I bought the bass. The Gizmo still works somewhat. It was kind of sluggish at first, but once I got it going it worked just fine. It is much like a ebow sound. I guess 30 years ago, this was a big thing. Its just not my thing.
I received everyone's email and PMs who were interested in purchasing it. I'll reply in the order that they were received.