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MMD > Archives > September 1997 > 1997.09.27 > 08Prev  Next

Making a Wurlitzer 125 Tracker Bar
By Matthew Caulfield

Damon Atchison had some questions about making a tracker bar for the
Wurlitzer 125 roll.  Steve Lanick in Pittsburgh used to make them.  His
were superb, with rectangular holes like the originals had, rather than
the round holes usually used by machinists today.  Of course these
rectangular holes had to be made with a broaching tool, and sometimes it
broke.  Steve had a special spacing jig, which he used to cope with the
unhandy Wurlitzer .1227" spacing.

An organ owned by Arthur Curtze in State College, Pa., has Lucite
(Plexiglas) tracker bars, which makes it easy to see where you are going
as you aim through the thickness of the tracker bar.

Damon is right that not all the holes are on the same horizontal plane.
The bass drum and snare drum holes are offset upwards and additionally
they are somewhat larger, round holes.  I claim that this offset is not
critical, especially in the light of the minor inaccuracies introduced
into recut rolls by the mechanics of the copying process.

The 125 tracker bar has 45 holes.  Hole 1 is the nickel trip (unused for
all practical purposes), hole 2 is snare drum, 3-7 are bass notes, 8-16
are accompaniment notes, 17-30 are melody notes, 31-43 are trumpet or
counter-melody (though Wurlitzer was not big on real counter-melody), 44
is bass drum, and 45 is the rewind hole.  There was no cancel hole that
re-set registers, because the roll had no registers.  If Damon means such
a cancel by his phrase "for the ON/OFF of the mechanism," the answer is,
No, there was none.  But if he means a hole for shutting off the organ
motor or roll drive between tunes, the answer is, Yes, hole 1 does that.

If you don't feel up to making your own tracker bar, you might write or
call Robert Streicher in Pond Eddy, NY.  He has a good reputation as a
machinist for mechanical music items.

Matthew Caulfield (finally learned to sign here)

(Message sent Sat 27 Sep 1997, 19:08:40 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  125, Bar, Making, Tracker, Wurlitzer

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