Museum of Lost Effects:
Maestro Rhythm ’N Sound for Guitar

Well, I’m not sure it’s fair to call it a “museum” when there’s only one exhibit so far. But it’s a really, really good one…

I bought this Maestro Rhythm ’N Sound for Guitar for a pittance back in the ’90s. It’s a primitive multi-effect unit from 1968, with a cool octave-down bass tone, auto-wah, and two fixed filters. It’s got fuzztone (though mine has always been broken), and a weird, choppy tremolo reminiscent of the Vox Repeat Percussion effect. (Mine worked fine — until I broke it yesterday while trying and failing to fix the fuzz. Kill me now.)

But the marquee feature of this hand-soldered contraption is the option of triggering four wonderfully cheesy analog percussion sounds. Bongo? Cymbal? Tambourine? Clave? At your command!

Does it sound as weird as it sounds? No — weirder!

You can’t assign specific specific notes to specific sounds — any input triggers the percussion, so the clicks and clanks tend to work best shadowing every note in a phrase, adding a weird edge. (I used them like that on Oranj Symphonette’s “Charade,” Erica Garcia’s “Yo No Tengo La Culpa,” and PJ Harvey’s “Maniac.”)

But then it occurred to me you could more ambitious things with the percussion sounds via looping. Which is exactly what I do in this short, fuzz-free video.

Check it out — and then let’s talk about this Museum of Lost Effects thing!

Anyway, I’m completely serious about this Museum of Lost Effects idea! I’m going to be posting similar demos of some of the weird-ass gizmos I’ve hoarded over the years. (I already recorded a few others demos, but that’s all I’m saying for now.) But my hope is that some of you get into it too, and post audio or video documenting your most effed-up compelling effects. Or even just describe it in spirited language! C’mon — who’s in?

21 comments to Museum of Lost Effects:
Maestro Rhythm ’N Sound for Guitar

  • Oinkus

    That is just too much fun ! I can get my hands on some pretty oddball stuff and that does include the ability to record a video there(Oh no !)The big issue will be getting it off that screwy camera and onto something portable.I really don’t have anything that cool myself , just average ordinary pedals.Oh wait! There’s this Codpiece Ego Booster on my board now !

  • mwseniff

    I own a Maestro Rhythm and Sound G-1 which is similar to yours but an earlier model. I bought it 10 or so years a go from the original owner for $50. He used it playing in a local jazz combo for a while. The unit is pretty much cosmetically perfect. It has the molded plastic case and original manual. It has a tambourine sound, fuzz bass rather than fuzz, and has 3 color tone switches but no wow-wow. Mine works pretty well but has a very splatty fuzz bass (I suspect it has a problem). I fired it up this morning and it crackled for a few minutes then settled down, not bad for the first time in 8 years. I replaced the filter caps in the pwr supply when I got it and restored the controls and switches with Caig Cramolin Deoxit and Preservit. I’ve only ever used it when doing sessions with The Dits where weird is right. I would love to find a schematic for it.

    My pal Tommy O’Donnell has one of the Maestro Horn W-2 or W-3 units which is extremely funky with guitar and positively odd with a horn player. I had to replace a bunch of dried up electrolytic caps and restored the controls and switches. It has been working pretty well for the last 10 years or so.

    Looking around I found a schematic for your G-2 online I’ll post the url later from my laptop.

    I really liked your demo Joe.

  • mwseniff

    Joe here is a link to a pdf file of the Maestro G-2 maybe it will help you fix things up.

    http://www.schematicsunlimited.com/download.php?manu=maestro&file=maestro-g2-rhythm-sound-fuzz-schematic-diagram.pdf

    You have to enter a capcha then download it.

    Good luck.

    Anyone know of a schematic for the Maestro G-1?

  • Digital Larry

    I like that arrangement so much I just ordered 3 drinks, and I’m at work!

  • smgear

    Brilliant! I love those tone colors – might have to incorporate those onboard.

  • Digital Larry

    In my case, the situation is less of lost effects and more about unfinished projects (which certainly increased when my twins were born 9 years ago). Somewhere around here I may still have everything to make a PAIA analog percussion trigger board, as described here:

    http://www.paia.com/ProdArticles/syndrum.htm

    Sounds a lot like the rhythm sounds in this Maestro box.

    PAIA, Craig Anderton, Polyphony and Electronic Musician magazines were a God-send to me during my college years and thereafter. Craig especially (at least as far as I know) was really the leading pioneer in electronic music DIY. He will forever remain in my heart for publishing a letter I wrote to EM in which I completely missed the point in an equipment review he’d written and made myself seem like an ignorant ass.

  • Noah Gorz

    This is a great idea, and I’m totally down with how you demoed the effects!

  • bee bee bling

    Good job. You know, I try to get rid of old things at the first occasion just to save my time. I love to put things apart, hack and fix them however something tells me it will not have any value in the next 3000 years. Correct me if I am wrong. The presentation was great but the subject might be more practical.

  • Chas

    I’ve got the Meistro for guitar as well and totally dig . Other musicians always trip on it at my bands shows. I love the the museum idea. Love collecting strange effects.

  • Dino Tsiptsis

    Joe,
    If you would like to repair your unit, I could have a look at it. I’m a regular at diystompboxes (digi2t), and my Youtube channel handle is mrdigi2t. My specialty is tracing and cloning these old “hen’s teeth” (Ludwig Phase II, Colorsound Vocalizer, Foxx Guitar Synth, etc.). It would give me a chance to properly trace the circuit as well. Contact me at my email if you’re interested.
    Cheers,
    Dino

  • hey joe,
    i can vouch for dino,
    he’s a good friend of mine on line and in real life, and he’s the real deal.
    i just got one of these things tonite, and between me and dino, we’ll be able to figure out whatever the issue is and get it straight.

    you should build a ludwig phase II man…

    but seriously, check dino out, he can hook ya up.
    peace man

    jimi aka pinkjimiphoton

  • Oinkus

    There is a board and build on Madbeans some info might be a schematic too.http://www.madbeanpedals.com/projects/KarateShop/docs/KarateShop.pdf

    • joe

      I think you got lost in the museum, Oinkus! It’s easy to do. ;)

      The Karate Shop is based on the Systech Harmonic Energizer — another museum item. It’s a cool project.

  • Oinkus

    Apparently I kant reid veri gud? For some reason or other I am easily confuzzled. I always read this stuff first thing in the A.M. while drinking my coffee sheesh. Preview before you post perhaps?

    • joe

      Yeah, I am SO sorry my comments plug-in doesn’t have preview and edit functions! I’m just not sure how to switch to another system without losing my whole archive of comments. Any WordPress aces out there have a suggestion?

  • hey joe
    dino will hook you up.

    i just bought a g1, an earlier or simpler version, doesn’t have the autowah.
    i DID however buy the service manual for YOUR unit. if you want a copy, hit me up on facebook and i’ll send you a copy. cost me 25 bux for the wrong book, with the same schem i got off experimentalists anonymous for FREE. ay yi yi…

    got the correct service manual for mine on route.

    so… even if ya are sending it to dino, if ya wanna see the book, let me know bro.
    peace out.

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