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The A-Z of Analogue (Part 8)

Part 8 - GEM to Groove Electronics.

MT's exclusive guide to every analogue synth made. Included are keyboards, expanders/sound modules and the better known electronic pianos and organs. Not included are drum machines, standalone sequencers and effects units, vocoders and those guitar/wind synths which aren't regularly used as expanders in their own right.

Readers are invited to submit details of little-known instruments which may be of use in compiling the series and also to point out any mistakes and/or omissions if these occur. All contributions will be fully credited. Compiled by Peter Forrest




49-note string synthesiser c.1975.
Original price: £300
Target price: £40

  • Four push-buttons for sounds - violin, cello, trumpet, tuba.
  • Four sliders for attack, decay, volume and balance.
  • Built-in phaser.


The guitar-making giant currently owns the famous Oberheim name, but they also made a brief foray into the keyboard market back in the '60s with a couple of organs. One of the models achieved celebrity through its association with Ray Mantrarek of The Doors particularly on their Absolutely Live album (despite the cover photos of Manzarek playing a Vox Continental).


61-note combo organ c.1967.
Original price: $995
Target price: £40 - £400

  • Re-badged version of the Kalamazoo K101 (see below).


61-note combo organ c.1967.
Original price: c.$900
Target price: £100 - £500
Users include: Ray Manzarek (when Vox Continentals started being made in Italy instead of England, he didn't like them as much and doubted their roadworthiness. He used the Kalamazoo's flat top to support his Rhodes Piano Bass); Ian Underwood (on Mothers Of Invention's Uncle Meat)

  • Very similar in appearance to a Farfisa with light green and grey livery.
  • (Presumably) bought in, rather than actually made by Gibson.
  • Bottom octave reversed colour black and white keys; next octave up, reversed colour grey and white keys.
  • Rocker switches not drawbars.


Dual manual combo organ.

  • Like a double G101, but finished in orange and black.
  • Matching combo amp; connected by custom lead.


Crystal clear: the Gleeman pentaphonic


Portable 37-note, 15-VCO, 5-voice synthesiser 1981 - c.1984.
Original price: $3395
Target price: £200 - £350

  • An interesting synth even in its original black case.
  • Three VCOs per note, two ADSRs and 100 patches (not easy to access).
  • Built-in chorus.
  • Polyphonic sequencer with 600-note capacity.


Portable 37-note, 15-VCO, 5-voice synthesiser 1983 - c.1984. Advertising blurb invited you to "...take full advantage of today's spectacular lighting effects. Made to be seen, not just heard".
Original price: c.$3395
Target price: £250 - £400

  • A version of the Pentaphonic built into a transparent plexiglass casing.
  • Other features as original Pentaphonic.



49-note string synthesiser c.1979. Made in Italy by Sisme.
Original price: £448
Target price: £40 - £90

  • 10 sliders - cello, viola and violin string voices, treble and bass EQ, chorus and tremelo FX, attack, sustain, and overall volume.
  • Chorus and tremelo interact to produce some interesting phase/Leslie/string vibrato effects.
Character: ★★
Controls: ★★
Collectability: ★★
Ease of use:


String synthesiser.
Users include: Jezz Woodroffe, Neuronium, BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

First, take two Wasps... Groove Electronics' short-lived Stinger

Groove Electronics


4-DCO duophonic MIDI rackmount module c.1989.
Original price: £390
Target price: £400 - £500

  • Basically two EDP Wasps put together into a 4U rack with a MIDI interface.
  • Prototypes existed; very few production-run machines. Groove went into liquidation in the early '90s, so there definitely weren't many produced.
  • Groove offered £50 off for each Wasp you traded in for a Stinger.
  • Independent MIDI channels and pitchbend response for each Wasp.
  • Velocity, aftertouch and/or mod wheel can all affect filter.
  • 46 knobs in total - a nice-looking piece of kit.
Interface: ★★★★★
VFM: ★★
Sounds: ★★★
Character: ★★★
Controls: ★★★
Collectability: ★★★★
Ease of use: ★★★★


Read the next part in this series:
The A-Z of Analogue (Part 9)

Previous Article in this issue

Brave New World

Next article in this issue

Shared Interests

Music Technology - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.


Music Technology - Mar 1994


Vintage Instruments


The A-Z of Analogue

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 (Viewing) | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15

Feature by Peter Forrest

Previous article in this issue:

> Brave New World

Next article in this issue:

> Shared Interests

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