Preservation Sound Dot Com is now on Tumblr

With the estate sale/ flea market season upon us, I thought it might be an interesting experiment to try a Tumblr account. I’ll be posting images, sounds, and videos of the various audio-historical related flotsam that I happen upon across this great land of ours.

You can check us out at:

…or follow us, if you are a Tumblr user – it’s super easy, fast+free to join.  Just go to

Hondo II guitars circa 1980

Hondo II: the First Name In First Bands.   Marketed as ideal beginner-instruments, Hondo II was the US brand name for certain guitars built by the Korean Samick corporation.  According to wikipedia, Hondos were built in Japan between 1974 and 1983.   Samick is among the world’s largest manufacturers of musical instruments, with much modern production of guitars taking place in Indonesia.  Anyways… by the time I started playing the electric guitar, the Hondo II name was already retired and they were simply branded ‘Samicks.’  Not sure what was up with the awkward name Hondo.  Was is supposed to invoke Honda, then known to Americans as a leading manufacturer of motorcycles? Here’s a look back at the company’s big push into the US market in the 1970s. 

The Hondo Longhorns circa 1981; updated versions of the circa 1960 Danelectro instruments.

The Honda II lineup circa 1981. We see copies of: Gibson’s THE PAUL, the Fender Lead II, an early Fender Telecaster, an EVH-style strat, as well as some generic-looking but original instruments.

The Hondo 781 EXP, a lurid instrument sure to inspire fist-pumping.

In 1979 Hondo offered Asian-made licensed-versions (not copies…) of the respected SD Curlee instruments. 

Anyone out there using Hondos these days?  Are any of the models worth recommending?  Let us know…

Interesting Guitar Effects of the 1970s

Rowe-DeArmond offers a volume-pedal sized for funky, funky boots. 

Today at PS dot com: some interesting odds n ends from the audio-effects pedal market of the 1970s.  If yr using any of these boxes in the studio or on stage these days, drop a line and let us know…

The Binson EchoRec, an electro-mechanical audio delay system that used a rotating disc rather than moving tape or oilItalian built; marketed and distributed by Guild in the US (much like Guild distributed the earlier Watkins CopyCat).  The EchoRec is best known as being the 70’s delay unit of choice of this dude, who certainly created a lot of significant sounds with it. 

Hawk Effects: designed to hang off yr guitar strap rather than sit on the floor.  I have never seen one of these in the flesh (steel).  Anyone?  The Mushrooms look threatening.

The Studer tape machine is the stove; Ibanez effects are the spice. Got it.  Compressor II, Phase Tone, Graphic Equalizer, Tube Screamer, etc…

Korg X-911 Guitar Synthesizer.  Is this an actual synth with a pitch-to-CV convertor on the input (like my beloved MS20) or a complex filter/distortion unit?

The Ludwig Phase II.  Not an actual synthesizer, but pretty far out regardless.  I remember seeing Thurston Moore using one of these back in the 90s.  Check it out here

Ross effects, from the man who brought you Kustom.  Wow I love this graphic design.  The only unit from this lineup to attain classic status is the Compressor; these trade for high sums due to their close association with one of the most visible guitarists of the 1990s.  Read this crazy story for the details….

Ole’ Ibanez part 2: Lawsuit era and beyond

Above: The Ibanez Double Axe lineup circa 1974.  Bass/Guitar, 12 string/Guitar, and Guitar/Guitar models.

Today as PS dot com: a few more interesting bits of Ibanez history.  Last week’s Ibanez-early-eighties post brought a tremendous number of new visitors to the site courtesy of Ibanez USA, who found us and spread the word.  See here for that post.  Hope y’all enjoyed yr visit; here’s some more for ya.

An interesting phenomenon to note: although the 70’s ‘lawsuit’ Ibanez Gibson-copies were sold as lower-cost alternatives to American-made instruments, time has been kind to them: prices for set-neck 80’s Ibanez guitars are now often close to that of 70’s Gibsons.  This is partly due to rarity, but I think we’ve also begun to collectively embrace the idea that ‘copies’ are more desirable than ‘originals’ in some sense; in a world of endless duplications, fakes, and forgeries, the unapologetic ‘copy’ can actually seem more authentic than a supposed ‘original.’

The Ibanez Rocket-Roll Flying-V copy circa 1974

After Ibanez was compelled to cease US distribution of their Gibson copies, we see some interesting new lines to emerge.  This ‘Studio Series’ was part of the Alembic-inspired ‘hippie sandwich’ guitar-style of the mid/late 1970s. 

Follow this link for more 70’s Ibanez coverage on Preservation Sound dot com.

Altec Public-Address in the Seventies

Above: this one caught me by surprise.  Neil Young endorses Altec PA kit in 1971.  We see the Altec 1210A console and 1205A powered speakersApparently Don Ellis and Merle Haggard were also endorsers at the time. 

Today: some early ‘seventies adverts for Altec PA gear.  Altec equipment was no longer state-of-the-art studio gear by this period, but they seem to have enjoyed continuing success with sound reinforcement.  For a full catalog download that discusses much of the equipment featured, click here and visit this earlier post.

Above: The Altec 1217A.  Powerful enough for ‘Boogie Rock.’

Above: Altec’s young and photogenic employees circa 1974

Above: (it’s 1974): ‘Rock’s grown up.  The Group’s grown up… Altec was there when the magic of rock and roll arrived. Woodstock.  Monterey.”

Baby it’s the Guitar Dude

1971: Ovation instruments of New Hartford CT releases “the Guitar Dude,” a 100-watt 2×15 guitar amp.

1972: Bread, the band that virtually invented lite-rock, releases the album and single ‘Guitar Man,’ one of the most melancholy songs ever written about the life of a rock musician, right there with Superstar and Turn The Page

Who draws the crowd and plays so loud
Baby it’s the guitar man
Who’s gonna steal the show
You know, baby, it’s the guitar man

He can make you love
He can make you cry
He will bring you down
Then he’ll get you high
Somethin’ keeps him goin’
Miles and miles a day
To find another place to play

Night after night who treats you right
Baby, it’s the guitar man
Who’s on the radio
You go listen to the guitar man

Then he comes to town
And you see his face
And you think you might
Like to take his place
Somethin’ keeps him driftin’
Miles and miles away
Searchin’ for the songs to play

Then you listen to the music
And you sing along
You want to get the meaning
Out of each and every song
Then you find yourself a message
And some words to call your own
And take them home

He can make you love
He can get you high
He will bring you down
Then he’ll make you cry
Somethin’ keeps him movin’
But no one seems to know
What it is that makes him go

Then the lights begin to flicker
And the sound is getting dim
The voice begins to falter
And the crowds are getting thin
But he never seems to notice
He’s just got to find
Another place to play

Either way
Got to play
Either way
Got to play

Boxxes of Foxx(es)

Above: a scan of the 1974 fOXX catalog: we see the O.D. Machine, the Loud Machine, the Fuzz & Wa & Volume, the Down Machine, the Clean Machine, etc…

“Fuzz so thick it grew a coat.”  There’s no rule that mandates that effect pedals need to be built into painted metal boxes.   Just as Kustom rallied against the tolex-hegemony with their Naugahyde-plush guitar amplifiers, fOXX was a Chatsworth, California based company that burst onto the rock scene in 1971 with a range of guitar-effects pedals that were covered in furry, fuzzy material.  Shit, man, it’s a fuzz pedal, let’s cover that fukker with fuzz! There are certainly a number of secondary interpretations as well but… you can figure that out on yr own time.

Besides the iconic fOXX pedals, fOXX also sold amplifiers.  Let’s see… if you have a company named fOXX and you want to sell some amps…  What other famous amp rhymes with fOXX?

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fOXX amps were, apparently, real Vox AC30s with a new badge attached.  Read the whole story here.

Don’t forget yr fOXX-brand coiled-cable.  I really hope these weren’t furry too…stale beer sticks to ordinary rubber cables well enough; imagine its attraction to furry cables.


Above: The fOXX Wa Machine, Fuzz and Wa, and Power Machine.  The Power Machine is one of a largely lost category of guitar effects that were intended to be inserted directly into the instrument rather than interface with a cable.  Other notable examples of this slightly awkward form-factor include the Electro Harmonix LPB-1 and the entire Dan Armstrong ‘Sound Modifiers’ line

The fOXX Octave Fuzz, available in five plush varieties.

fOXX is back (?), although I can’t find any indication that it’s actually the same folks responsible.  Visit their website here.  The reissue Tone Machine is available as a kit for $109 or ready-made for $149.

Also… you might enjoy a visit to this great fOXX Tone-Machine tribute site.

Heil in the Seventies

From Wikipedia:

Bob Heil (October 5, 1940) is…most well known for creating the template for modern rock sound systems. He founded the company Heil Sound in 1966,which went on to create unique touring sound systems for bands such as The Grateful Dead and The Who.  He invented the Heil Talk Box in 1973, which was frequently used by musicians such as Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh and Richie Sambora, and is still in use today.”

Bob Heil is a great American inventor.  I’ve written about him before on this site; click here for an example.  Here’s a quick look at some of Heil’s products from the mid 1970s.  If anyone out there is still using any of these pieces, drop us a line and let us know…

The Heil HM88 Stereo Mixer

The Heil HM1000 Stereo mixer with optional plug-in phaser.  Wow can you image.  What would the modern equivalent of this functionality be?  Built-in AutoTune?

The Heil HM1200 console with +/- 22DB equalization.  Good lord.

The Heil Talkbox, the first of its kind.  The bio-mechanical translation of a vocoder: pitch and formant information are supplied as distinct elements and a unique hybrid results.

The Seventies

For the next two weeks at PS dot com: we’ll be taking an extended journey through the 1970s.  I was born in 1976, and according to a lot of very smart people, the early impressions that we experience become deeply imprinted on our minds.

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As far as audio culture, sartorial style, musical taste, etc: which of these impressions formed my Hero paradigm?  Which became sublimated to create my Shadow self?  My Anima?  How might these concepts be present as projections in my conscious life?

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Perhaps a scan through the RocknRoll audio-culture of the 1970s will shed some light on these hidden operations.  Join us for what promises to be an interesting journey…

PAiA : Synth DIY circa late 70’s

From the pages of various musician’ mags of the late 70s: The Collected Works of the PAiA Electronics marketing department.  PAiA is, and has been for decades, the standard-bearer for good-quality kits for musical instruments and musical accessories.  I am not aware of any other company that spanned the original DIY electronics era with the modern ‘circuit bending/group DIY ing/ craft-boutique-audio etc’ eras.  They are still very much alive+ kicking and I’m glad for it.   When I was in school I built a PAiA theremax theremin  – it cost $175 complete at the time and went together with no issues in 6 hours – i used it on a ton of recordings, both as an audio source and as a dual-control-voltage generator for dramatic filter-frequency cut off in live performances (this was the Electroclash era, after all).  Anyway.  The other weekend a fellow was selling a decent-looking but untested PAiA 4700 modular synthesizer system from the mid 1970s.  He was asking $800, seemed ready to take $500, and eventually got his $500 on eBay from an eager Swede via eBay. Let’s take a look back on what else this venerable company was offering in that era…

The PAiA Drum Percussion Synthesizer circa 1979 – seems to be like an 808 minus the sequencer

The PAiA GNOME micro-synth c. 1981

The PAiA programmable drum set c. 1979

The PAiA Proteus Synthesizer circa 1981

If you ever come across old used PAiA gear: remember: most were user-built, and usually by people with little or no experience in electronics assembly.  So caveat emptor.