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MMD > Archives > January 1999 > 1999.01.17 > 05Prev  Next

Seeburg Instruments at Missouri Auction
By Craig Brougher

I went to the Missouri auction with Paul Morgenroth to see some of the
stuff they had to sell.  I was interested in the so-called Seeburg
roll-playing machine.

Curious.  I didn't see anything but four spool frames (duplexed two
and two) that played G and H rolls.  Two on each side.  It was factory
built -- no doubt about it!  You can tell "factory" by the way they used
to laminate their own plywoods.  It wasn't a buildup initially.

Here is the goofy part: I didn't see anything that related to "reeds"
or any other kinds of solo instruments.  I looked for a reed chest.
Might have missed it!  Can't say I saw everything there.  You'd need
a shoe-horn to work on it.  But on the "G" side of the box there were
28 block valves in a vertical strip, and on the H side, there appeared
to be more, but I couldn't count them.  (They were in a vertical strip)

In the cabinet (which is roughly about 30" x 40" x 5'6"), there is a
pump, a motor, and a reservoir covering the entire bottom.  That whole
area is taken up, so there wasn't room for some kind of trackerbar tube
outputs to a photoplayer.  Certainly nothing on the sides, either.

What amazes me is that this machine is old, and, it was rebuilt.
I didn't see any kind of pneumatic outputs to anything.  It seemed
to me, at least, that the only purpose of the machine was to play
5 percussion instruments.  Those were 1. triangle, 2. snare drum, 3.
cymbal, 4. tom, 5. tom.   "thathathathat's all, folks!"

On the other hand, it had 18 valves in a strip between percussion
instruments.  It had two vertical rows of block valves labeled with
notes they supposedly played.  Each of those rows had at least 28
valves in them.  And the 10 lock-and-cancel valves probably controlled
the 8 rewind/play functions of the 4 spool frames, plus the 2
"vacuum-play " functions for both sets.  (This is pure speculation,
going from an old, yellowed paper list found in the machine.

For now, I wonder if it wasn't something that Seeburg really DID build
for themselves, something that made me wonder if maybe they were trying
out some kind of percussion scheme? (It wasn't anything that was a
private build-up).

On the other hand, the so-called Seeburg "G" was -- as Tim Trager
pointed out -- definitely a build-up, and it didn't play, to speak of.
It was embarrassing, to say the least.  The case was pretty.  Someone
had gone to a lot of trouble.  The reason you buy a Seeburg G for --
the music -- was not there.  Whoever did it knew what to do, they just
didn't know how.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Sun 17 Jan 1999, 23:41:55 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Auction, Instruments, Missouri, Seeburg

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