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MMD > Archives > August 1999 > 1999.08.17 > 05Prev  Next

Tubing the Seeburg KT Special
By Art Reblitz

The Seeburg KT Special is one of my favorite American orchestrions,
and I like the way it sounds when tubed as it was originally.  In my
book "Treasures of Mechanical Music," I listed the original percussion
tubing scheme for the _late style_ KT Special as follows:

   1 Hammer rail and percussion multiplex switch
  30 Snare drum; 30+1 Wood block
  34 Tympani
  35 Bass drum & cymbal; 35+1 Tambourine
  36 Tympani, triangle, castanets
  65 Tympani, triangle, castanets

The tambourine mechanism is single stroke, and the wood block mechanism
is reiterating, so the original tubing scheme makes sense.

However, in most G and 4X rolls, hole 1 was arranged for soft pedal,
not wood block.  Certain collectors who prefer more subdued music
think the resulting "random" wood block accents seem to be unmusical.
(Collectors who like energetic Roaring Twenties dance band music --
myself included -- like this effect.)

Because many Seeburg KTs originally had the tambourine tubed to play
the _snare drum_ part, not the _bass drum_ part, Bill Edgerton tubed
his new KT Specials to switch snare drum to tambourine, and bass drum
to wood block.  Accordingly, he installed the reiterating mechanism on
the tambourine and not the wood block.  It's a simple matter to switch
the tubes on the multiplex switch if you want to hear an Edgerton
replica sound more like the original.

Seeburg built several models of the KT Special, with several different
configurations of valves for the percussion instruments.  In any given
KT Special, it is not necessarily possible to connect the instruments
in any different combination due to their valves, bleeds and tubing

Tracker scales for all of the most popular American and European
instruments, including Seeburg orchestrions, will be included in
my new book, "The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments."

Art Reblitz

 [ I guess it's still the same old rule-of-thumb, Andrew:  adjust
 [ the instrument to give the sound you enjoy when playing the songs
 [ you enjoy.  Music rolls don't always adhere to a musical arranging
 [ standard, and neither do the instruments.  Fun, huh!  :-)
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Tue 17 Aug 1999, 15:18:46 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  KT, Seeburg, Special, Tubing

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