Below is a short clip of Steve demonstrating the Sub and Sub Sub bass function, just after restoring our Ondioline back in 2016/7.
Georges Jenny Ondioline (1956)
Purchased in 2015, our Ondioline was fully overhauled and restored by Steve Christie.
The Ondioline is a monophonic tube synth with a clever filter section. The filters are selected by means of a set of switches along the front of the cabinet. Georges Jenny designed this instrument by first analysing the waveforms of real instruments such as the Bassoon and Clarinet, and then by careful choice of components (capacitors, resistors and inductors) he emulated a very close and pleasingly similar approximation of the sound’s timbre.
The two black knobs below this control the sub (one octave below) and ‘sub sub’ (two octaves below) bass tones, which can be added to the main sound by selecting the ‘M’ tab. To play only the bass tones (without the fundamental) you select ‘L’ and ‘M’.
Vibrato can be achieved by pressing on a key, and wiggling the keyboard left and right, and there is also a certain amount of expression/aftertouch too by clever means of a device called a ‘boite d’attaque’ inside, underneath the keyboard.
The unit is made up from three sections, the Power amp, Tone generator and the Keyboard unit. You may ask why the keyboard is off-centre? Answer - It was designed to be played as an add-on to a piano (as all of these little keyboards were) and sits very nicely just to the right of your right knee. Note there is no knee lever present on this particular example. We use it through a volume/expression pedal.
In 2017, Steve designed a basic 'ondes martenot’ style controller for the Ondioline which basically overrides the keyboard resistor ladder and switches the tone generator over to a variable resistance. See the Ondioline Controller here.
Our Ondioline has been used on many recordings since we acquired it, including The Goose and The Crow’s ‘School Run’, Heroes of the Modern World’s ‘Kodiak’, The Spitfire Sisters Do Christmas (album) and Louisa Revolta’s ‘Manhattan’