GEORGES JENNY ONDIOLINE (1956)
This Georges Jenny Ondioline is a mark II model (with octave divider circuitry) dating from around 1956, but with some original 1940s parts inside.
It was purchased from a gentleman in Paris in 2015 in a very broken state, and has been completely stripped, restored and rebuilt by Steve, with remote technical assistance from Dan Wilson of Hideaway Studios.
It is an incredibly expressive instrument with a manual vibrato function (the keyboard is mounted on springs and you wiggle the keyboard back and forth like you would if playing a stringed instrument). The keyboard also has a variable velocity/touch response which is achieved by a sensor under the keys, inside a sealed (and perfectly safe) metal box with a small wad of asbestos fibre inside!
It mimics the sounds of all manner of woodwind, brass and string instruments with use of its clever filter and formant circuitry. It even does bongos by use of a metal strip along the front of the keyboard.
As well as making some of the most beautiful sounds, it also features a speaker destroying repeat function and the origianl manual warns you to not engage specific tabs together at the same time!
See below for some samples.
Steve, who is a whizz at playing it, now classes himself as a 'Professional Ondiolinist'
JENNINGS UNIVOX J6 (Dartford, UK, 1954) Monophonic Valve Synth - The Univox Nameplate glows Radium green when it's switched on!
An early monophonic valve synth which features a tone generator and divider (for bass sounds) and thyratron circuit which produces a selection of different lengths of note decays. Both our Univoxes have been fully restored (internally), and thanks must go to Dan Wilson for helping to work out how these old instruments should actually sound, and also designing a simple but very effective line level output. Most Univoxes are partly or completely broken when they come up for sale, and there is no documentation around anywhere, but once restored, they show what amazingly versatile instruments they can be!
This amazing tube monosynth, built into a suitcase by Dartford (UK) based company, Jennings, was restored by us and is now capable of a varied selection of timbres, from thin, reedy sounds to fat sub bass. A brilliant clarinetty tone to it.
JENNINGS UNIVOX J6 (Dartford, UK, later model circa 1958 with in-house custom modifications to the tone tabs) Monophonic Valve Synth
Pretty much electronically identical to the above, and restored to the same spec. This means that when in tune with eachother, they can be played in a glorious Univox duet!
Both have DI outputs and onboard amps.
CLAVIOLINE CONCERT "C" Monophonic Valve Synth (Selmer, London, 1958)
This Clavioline is of the same type used by Joe Meek on 'Telstar' and The Beatles on 'Baby You're A Rich Man' and is capable of producing 7 octaves, and is the one with the sub and sub sub bass sounds built in. A lovely instrument, half of which was purchased from the late, great Byron Elwell , and restored by Keith Knutton and Steve Christie.
DI Output and onboard amp.
HAMMOND S6 CHORD ORGAN (1958)
This completely tube-based organ from the late fifties wasn't a massive seller, so is now fairly scarce, especially in the UK, where this one was actually made. Gives an unusual sound and is in essence a mono synth superimposed over a primitive polyphonic organ. Has tabs to the left like an Accordian. Famously used by George Harrison to compose 'Blue Jay Way'
GODWIN SC 749 STRING CONCERT (circa 1975)
The Godwin SC 749 (made by Sisme, Italy) is a really lovely, warm string synth capable of some Hammond Novachord type long attack/long sustain tones, as well as classic synth string quartet type sounds (think Solina String Ensemble style - Stevie Wonder - Village Ghetto Land)
It has Cello 16', Viola 8' and Violin 4' faders which can be mixed together and sound simultaneously, with tremelo and chorus, quite extreme bass and treble filters, attack and sustain controls. The basic building blocks of synthesis.
The recording demonstrates the instrument's versatility, with almost infinite combinations of sounds. This synth was stored for years in someone's garage and suffered a bit of rust to the control panel. We cleaned it up, gave it a new top octave synth IC and got it working again!