a unique sound - a rock legend
Early Fender Vibratone (1967-1968)
Late Fender Vibratone (1968-1972)
In memory of Don Leslie, inventor of the Leslie cabinet. Born 1911-Died Sep. 2, 2004.
discovering the VibratoneWhat's a "Vibratone"? It's a Leslie speaker cabinet -- an effects cabinet, really -- made by Fender from 1967-1972. It adds a phasing or chorusing effect to your amplifier's output. It's what chorus and phaser pedals try (but don't succeed) to imitate; pedals like the H&K RotoSphere come closer.
"[T]he Vibratone is to this day one of Fender's most useful effects. ... This is a very desirable piece today because of its practicality and tone. It would be worthy of reissue." John Teagle and John Sprung, Fender Amps - The First Fifty Years
It seems that whenever I read about the Vibratone on the internet, 99% of the time it is in reference to Stevie Ray Vaughan's recording of "Cold Shot". This is a fine song, among his best, but it has an unexceptional Vibratone sound. From all appearances, the only thing most people know about the Vibratone is that it was played on "Cold Shot", and probably they all learned it from the same sources. I suspect these sources are the original Line-6 Flextone user's manual (which was completely wrong in its description of the Vibratone; fortunately, recent manuals lack this description), the SRV FAQ, or perhaps the 1984 Guitar Player interview with Vaughn. That's a sad situation. People should have had other sources of information, but there wasn't anything out there. That's where this article comes in -- I hope to clarify what a Vibratone is, what it does, how it works, to give everyone a good understanding of what the Vibratone is all about.
There's a lot more to the Vibratone sound than one SRV song! The history of rock music is full of the Vibratone sound, but while there's plenty published about the Leslie cabinets designed for organs, there's not much written about the Vibratone, and definitely nothing in-depth. I own an early model Vibratone (s/n 1061) and have also built a "Vibratone clone" from an internal Leslie unit out of a junked organ. And as a guitar player and music listener, I have fallen in love with the Vibratone sound. The information I have collected will tell you more about the Vibratone than I have found at any other source, and I hope that this page will open your ears to the real magic of the Leslie sound, specifically as it is used by guitar players, and maybe help you get that sound in your own music.
Below, I'll tell you how a Vibratone works, give you a list of rock songs to listen for Vibratones in, tell you why you might want to use one, and why not. I'll share some thoughts on playing style and the Vibratone, and I'll list the many clones and knock-offs that have appeared over the years. (You could get one of those, if you can't find a Vibratone.)
As has been seen again and again in (Pink Floyd's David) Gilmour's gear for over 25 years, the man just can't get enough of that Leslie sound. Guitar Shop, December 1996
"I do use the Leslie all the time." "It's the ultimate chorus." Peter Frampton, on frampton.com and in Guitar Player, Feb 2004
"It's the ONLY effect I use." Dave Boze
The "very best" Guitar Leslie I found is a Fender Vibratone. Joe Bonamassa, on his web message board, 11/13/2002
the mechanics of a VibratoneThe Fender Vibratone is a variant of the Leslie Model 16 and 18 speaker cabinets. (CBS bought both Fender and Leslie in the mid-1960s.) Like other Leslies, the Vibratone contains a rotating drum mounted in front of a 4-ohm speaker (a 10" in the case of the Vibratone and Leslie 16; a 12" in the case of the Leslie 18). This drum is hollow, with a curved chute which acts as a deflector for the sound, directing the signal around the room and causing interesting and uniquely characteristic phasing effects. This is the basic principle of the Leslie cabinet, and the Vibratone is just a type of Leslie. They all produce phasing effects by firing their speakers into rotating diffusers which bounce the sound off of everything around them.
Like most Leslies, the Vibratone has two speeds, dubbed chorale (slow) and tremelo (fast). The chorale speed, also called chorus, is about 40 revolutions per minute, while the tremelo is about 340 rpm. The chorale effect is a slow, shimmering kind of sound on which the familiar chorus pedal is based. It can be very subtle or can wash over the whole tonality of the instrument, depending upon how it's miked. You may or may not even notice it unless you're listening for it. On the other hand, the tremelo effect is a fast, warbling effect that is immediately recognizable and unmistakably organ-like, though again miking will make it more or less prominent.
But there are some differences that make the Vibratone a unique variety of Leslie. Unlike most Leslie speakers, these cabinets are unamplified, acting as an extension speaker for an instrument amplifier. And unlike other Leslie cabinets, they take 1/4" phono plug inputs, like a guitar speaker cabinet. And they're built like guitar cabinets, with a Tolex covering, sparkly grillcloth, and handles, while the classic Leslie for organs is an elegant piece of hardwood furniture. Most likely, the intent was to give players of "combo" organs (e.g. Vox, Farfisa) access to the Leslie sound. They already had amps, so all they needed was the cabinet. But the chart successes of several songs with Leslie guitar sounds in 1965 and 1966 may have alerted them to the larger market for the cabinets.
The other functional difference between the Vibratone and the Leslie cabinets used for organs, besides lack of internal amplification, is that the Vibratone has only one speaker/rotor. Some Leslie models (e.g. 25) and built-in Leslie units have the same mechanism, but the sound usually associated with organ Leslies is produced by models like the 122 or 147, which have a large bass speaker (15") with a rotating drum, similar to the Vibratone, but also route the high frequencies to a compression driver in the top of the cabinet. This driver feeds a spinning plastic horn which rotates in the opposite direction to the drum, adding to the density of the phasing effects. Additionally, the treble horn and bass rotor turn at slightly different speeds, so they don't produce the same sound every revolution. As a result, the phasing effects gained from one of these cabinets is more complex than the Vibratone's. But the fundamentals of the sound are the same, and both are immediately recognizable.
The Leslie design has the deflectors rotating in the horizontal plane (radiating from the louvres in the cabinet), while the Vibratone's rotor moves in a vertical plane (radiating from the sides and top, not from the front grill). Thus, the Leslie "sprays" the sound around the room at the same level, while the Vibratone "sprays" the sound to its side, then above itself, then to its other side. This makes putting the sound out to your audience a little more challenging, which will be considered later. Some of the cabinets listed below in "other Leslie and similar speakers" duplicate the two speaker, horn-and-drum arrangement, and some have only the spinning horns. Thus, there are several variations on the Leslie theme as amplifier extension cabinets.
The Fender Vibratone is the exact equivalent of the Leslie 16 (which is identical except for the logo and the way the back panel attaches) and Leslie 18 (basically identical except for the logo and full-range 12" speaker). Virtually the same mechanical arrangement was also used in many Leslie organ cabinets such as the Model 25, but they are not included in this overview. The song list below relies mostly on my ears and their ability to distinguish between the Leslie sound and an electronic phaser or chorus. That's usally pretty easy to do. What's much more difficult is to tell whether a Vibratone is being used, or a Leslie cabinet with an internal amp and a preamp pedal (an add-on interface allowing 1/4" phono jacks to provide input to ann organ Leslie). The many ways to mike these cabinets for recording makes it virtually impossible to identify a "Vibratone sound" as opposed to a "Leslie 25 sound" or even a "Leslie 147 sound".
the inside story
Here's the owner's manual for the 1971 Fender Vibratone, courtesy of Fender Customer Relations department. Note that the cover photo shows an amp with the 1968-9 styling taken from the Vibratone (aluminum trim around the grillcloth, turquoise-thread grillcloth). The file in in PDF format, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to look at it.
Now, you may be wondering “Why did I bother to do all this - why not use a chorus pedal and make life easy for yourself and the crew?” Well, first of all, chorus pedals hadn't been designed yet, and if you were to listen to a guitar pumping out of two grand Leslies playing open chords like on "The Wheel" (from “Remember the Future”), you will understand - there is NO substitute for "that sound." Believe me, if I could use them again I would; nothing comes close. Roye Albrighton (Nektar)
some history and a song listI have collected some song titles that feature Vibratones or other similar cabinets, from 1960 to the present. Why 1960, when the Vibratone was introduced in 1967? The idea of using a Leslie as a guitar effect seems to have been reinvented several times before Fender decided to make a box specifically for the purpose. I think LaVern Baker's "Bumble Bee" (1960) was the first hit record to feature a guitar played through a Leslie cabinet. It was a novelty record and the odd sound suited the wacky lyrics. According to allmusic.com, Phil Spector was the producer and guitarist on that record, which suggests that he may have been the first to try the combination.
Five years later, Jewel Akens' "The Birds and the Bees" (1965) also became a hit, and featured a prominent guitar Leslie sound. Carol Kaye, ace Los Angeles studio bassist and guitarist, played that track:
I remember when they put my guitar through the Leslie organ speaker cabinet at Gold Star (they tried with another guitar player at first but he couldn't trigger it very well, it didn't work good with his way of picking, and so they gave it to me to try as my way of picking is strong and even -- I was well-known for the strong playing I did on guitar). How different that sound was.Aken's March 1965 hit was followed in June by the Beach Boys' "You're So Good To Me" and in July by Gary Lewis and the Playboys' "Save Your Heart For Me", both also featuring a guitar run through a Leslie speaker. Since Carol Kaye played on many Beach Boys tracks, it seems quite possible that both songs were Kaye's work. She also played on some of the Playboys' sessions (though on bass, I think), so someone else in the LA "Wrecking Crew" was probably behind the Leslie guitar sound on that song. I think we can call Gold Star Studios the birthplace of the Vibratone concept.
And it was good for 2 hot recordings for Jewel Akens - "Birds And The Bees" etc. which I played guitar through the Leslie. [Carol Kaye, writing on spectropop.com, 03/05/99]
The Beatles' engineers are credited with an huge innovation for having run John Lennon's vocal on "Tomorrow Never Knows" (1966) through an organ Leslie, but at that point the innovation was strictly in using the cabinet for vocals. Clearly, people in the Los Angeles recording studio control rooms already knew that Leslies could be used for sounds other than organs. Of course, the Beatles later played guitars through the Vibratone on many songs, to the point where about half the songs on Abbey Road feature a Vibratone sound.
It is quite possible that the Cordovox CL-10 was the inspiration for the guitar-oriented Vibratone. Cordovox made accordion synths, and the CL-10 was a small box (the same cab as their amps and synths) with the drop-in Leslie units used in home organs. Maybe guitarists got the idea from accordion players who copped the idea from organists? There is a great shot of a CL-10 onstage in Elvis Presley's 1966 movie Spinout, used as the sole cabinet under a blonde Bandmaster head. We can speculate that someone at Leslie saw the movie and the light bulb went on. (Search online for a video of the song "Stop, Look and Listen" to see this historic performance.)
Somehow, Leslie/CBS got the message, and the Vibratone was born in 1967. Mostly Vibratones are used as guitar effects, but somtimes to modify the sound of voices and other instruments, for example, the eerie vocals on Pink Floyd's "Time" from Dark Side of the Moon. Many of these recordings also have Hammond organs with Leslies, of course, but that's another topic altogether and this list was chosen to highlight the Vibratone sound on other instruments.
An online article on Clarence White of the Byrds, in Fender's online "Fender Players Club Hall of Legends", states
It has been reported that Clarence was the first to use a Fender Leslie as it was at a time that CBS bought the company and asked Clarence to try it out on stage.This probably refers to the Vibratone or Leslie 16/18, since the CBS sale and White's stint with the Byrds (and thus his rise to the kind of prominence that would prompt Fender to shove new equipment at him) were several years after the dates cited above.
The Vibratone Song List
(There may be some errors in there, so if you have data about a particular recording, I'd appreciate hearing from you.)
Another Vibratone fan, Cameron Schmitz, has recorded some clips demonstrating various Leslie guitar sounds. Cameron's samples: http://www.superpage.com/riffs/desc_leslie.html
The Vibratone cabinet is 28.5" tall, 21.75" wide and 15" deep, weighing about 70 lbs. It is made of finger-jointed pine, like all Fender cabinets, with plywood or particle board baffles. The speaker faces the front of the cabinet, but the rotor is in front of it, dispersing the sound in the vertical plane through vents in the top and sides, with a little escaping out the front grillcloth through a small opening at the bottom of the front baffle. That diagonal opening you can see through the top section of grillcloth is only there to provide space for the rotor's bracing, which reduces the size of the cabinet a little. Very little sound gets through it.
The rotor in the Vibratone is made from molded Styrofoam. Most Leslie cabinets for organs had rotors made from plywood, though the foam rotor was also used in Leslie units that were built into home organs. (More on that later.)
The rear view shows a Leslie 18. The Vibratone's rear panel is not removable, but the components are the same. At the bottom left is the connector box and power supply. The on/off switch, fuse and power status light are on this box, as are the connectors for the cable harness and the internal wiring. You can see that most of a Vibratone cabinet is air, but all that wood adds up to a box that weighs about the same as a Fender Twin Reverb, but is bulkier.
The Vibratone has a wiring harness with a two-button footswitch pedal that uses the same housing as the Fender amps of the late 1960s. The footswitch terminates two cables with 1/4" phono connectors -- one plug and one jack. To connect the Vibratone, the harness' plug is inserted into the amplifier's main speaker jack, and the amp's cabinet or internal speakers are plugged into the harness' jack. This puts the Vibratone and its switches between the amp and the speakers. One of the switches on the pedal routes the sound either to the amp's speakers or to the Vibratone. The other switch changes the rotor between chorus and tremelo speeds. On later models, there was also a cylindrical crossover that restricted the frequencies sent to the Vibratone (seen at left in the photo).
Note to Vibratone shoppers if you're thinking of buying a Vibratone or Leslie 16/18 without the cable harness and footswitch: It's difficult to find parts to build these, but it is possible to do it yourself, and many have done it. If you are capable of building the harness yourself, then you should demand a substantial discount on the cabinet's price because, without the footswitch, it's either unusable or it has been butchered up to try to provide the same functions. I have not seen very many cabinets that came out well after such a treatment.
Cosmetically, both the Vibratone and the Leslie models followed Fender design standards. All were covered in pebble-textured Tolex. The early models had turquoise and silver grill cloth (even in 1965-7) with the cast Fender logo. The grill cloth was surrounded by a thin aluminum border referred to as a "drip edge", and this grill style (turquoise cloth with drip edge) was applied to the entire Fender amp line in 1968 and 1969. Although the photo from the 1970 Fender flyer shows a plain grill cloth, as far as I can tell the Vibratones retained the aluminum trim strip throughout production. Starting sometime in 1968, Vibratone models received the so-called "solid state styling" logo, with a large metal nameplate replacing the cast logo. In 1968, it appears that some Vibratones were produced with a hybrid styling -- the cabinet pictured here seems to be a completely original 1968 model, sporting an unhappy combination of both logo plates.
Towards the end, the Vibratone was actually a Leslie Model 16 with a Fender/Leslie logo plate. The mechanism had always carried a Leslie 16 label inside the cabinet, while the serial number plate showed a Fender number. But really late Vibratones carried a serial number plate that read "Leslie Speaker Model 16", with a Leslie serial number. These seem to be quite rare.
Compare this logo plate, on an otherwise ordinary Leslie 16, to the earlier style without "Leslie".
how many were made?
The highest serial number I've seen on a Vibratone is 5790 on a late style cabinet. I have also seen late-model Vibratones with Leslie plates and serial numbers, so the Vibratone serial numbers can't really be used to accurately determine total production volume. At this point, I think (far) less than 10,000 would be a reasonable guess; since the Leslies had a different serial number sequence, it's probably impossible to estimate the total number of Vibratones and identical Leslies. The existence of Leslie 16 cabinets with a "Fender/Leslie Vibratone" logo further confuses the question, unfortunately.And a related cosmetic question: how many "early" style cabinets (with the cast logo) were made, and how many "late" style (with the wide metal "solid state" panel)? Keep in mind that the early style was built for only a year or so (1967 and part of 1968). So far, the latest serial number I have seen on an early style cabinet is 2226, but I'm not convinced that this is original. I have seen several cabinets with numbers in the high 1500 range, with matching speaker codes from 1967, so I would place the upper number at around 1600 with some confidence.
On the other hand, I have seen one late style cabinet with a serial number under 1200. What's going on here?
It's easier to explain the high-numbered early cabinets. The cast Fender logo has always been available as a repair part, so refurbishing a late cab with the cast logo (and a new grill cloth?) is simple. Thus, high numbers on some "early" Vibratones are to be expected, even if they're not original. But how about late cabs with low serial numbers? That's much more problematic, since the "solid state" styling lasted only a few years, and the logo panel was unique to the Vibratone. Updating an early Vibratone to the late style is much more difficult (nearly impossible), so I think the lowest numbers on the late style cabinets should be taken as the dividing line, until we get some more compelling data. That gives us a range of around 1200 to 1600 as the border between early and late.
In light of the photo above, there is also the possibility that the solid state logo bars were added to existing cabinets by the factory, to update the look of unshipped inventory when the new style was introduced. Thas is probably how the cabinet shown got its double logos. It may also be the reason why there are conflicting data about the "last early" and "first late" style cabinets. Say the factory built a batch of 250 cabinets and stuck them in a corner of the warehouse. The first ones off the line (lowest serial numbers) would be the first to go into the warehouse. If they took them out of the warehouse in reverse order, the higher numbers could have been shipped to dealers first, with the old logo. Then, the cabinets remaining in the warehouse could have been updated with the new logo, giving us a range of transitional serial numbers which could have had either logo (or both).
At this point, it's mostly theoretical. We do know, however, that there were probably less than 2000 early style cabs, with the rest having the late style logo bar. If in doubt, check the EIA codes on the speaker and the motors. If they match the probable date indicated by the serial number, then it's a more convincing date.
If you have a Vibratone, I would really appreciate knowing its serial number and logo type, along wtih any other data you care to dig up (the motor code can be read by removing the front panel, while the speaker code requires removing the center baffle as well). If there are other signs of original condition or modification (e.g. has original manual and cover, has replaced speaker, has home-made control box, etc.), it would be good to know those things as well. Please send them to the e-mail address at the bottom of the page. For info on reading EIA codes, check here.
the vibratone's familyThe Vibratone has a lot of "cousins". Leslie made a whole range of "road-ready" cabinets, distinct from their hardwood cabinets which were designed to go in churches or living rooms. In addition to the unamplified Model 16 and Model 18, the Model 60 main/satellite amp also accepted 1/4" inputs. There were a number of organ-only cabinets, which were internally identical to the hardwood models, and could be connected to guitars or electric pianos by means of the Leslie Combo Preamp, a pedal that boosted the signal to the levels expected by the organ cabs and had the proper connectors. No doubt, the owners of Marshall stacks lusted after the mighty Model 950 (right). It contained four 12" speakers, each with its own 50w amplifier and rotating baffle. In addition, each of the rotors was decorated with a flourescent psychedelic design, accentuated by dual blacklight strobes. This "portable" cabinet was 68" tall and weighed 375 lbs! You could bring your own light show, if you could move it. Admittedly, this paragraph has little to do with the Vibratone sound. But this is such an outrageously cool cabinet, it had to be included! Check out the video of it in action:
Here's a brochure from the late 1960s showing the entire "professional" line (click on thumbnails to see full-size images).
some notes on sound and styleLeslie experts point out that the phasing effect of an organ Leslie is much more complex than that of a Vibratone. They explain that the low frequencies handled by the large rotors in Leslies produce primarily amplitude modulation, or volume differences, while the rotating treble horn in a Leslie produces frequency modulation, or pitch shifting. Bass sounds are pretty well non-directional, so you can't hear the phasing effects. In other words, they are saying that the bass rotor in the Leslie (and the Vibratone) is just a big, heavy tremelo unit.
This is true for a Leslie cabinet. Not so in the Vibratone. While you can't argue with the science behind the assertions above, the ears tell a different story. There seems to be enough frequency modulation in a Vibratone to produce lots of phasing, which is caused when two very close but slightly different frequencies are played at the same time, while each is changed in pitch. The characteristic sound of a Vibratone is definitely that of phasing, but you would never confuse it with a tube-based "vibrato" circuit on your amp. Miking the Vibratone closely will really bring this out.
One big difference between two-speaker Leslies and Vibratones is that the Vibratone only has one full-range speaker, so the highs that are cut off by the crossover in a Leslie are handled by the one speaker in a Vibratone. (I don't have the filter unit for my Vibratone, but my understanding is that it sent the mid-range to the Vibratone and left the extreme lows and highs in the amp's speakers.) The other big difference is that you can't really use a Vibratone in a performance situation without miking, and of course you must mike it to record. Miking a Vibratone closely produces lots of frequency-modulated phasing effects, so you will hear the Leslie sound clearly from a miked Vibratone.
In fact, Clifford A. Henricksen's article (see references below) suggests disconnecting the crossover and running an organ Leslie's signal into a full-range bass speaker. Clearly, the effect of that modification must be different from the stock Leslie sound, which further indicates to me that the AM-only comment about Leslies is probably irrelevant to Vibratones.
Stevie Ray Vaughan didn't play through his Vibratone exclusively, but used it in parallel with his main amps to add touches of color rather than switching to a completely different sound. He played primarily through a Dumble head and a Marshall cabinet, with a Fender Vibroverb driving the Vibratone cabinet, or with the Vibratone switched in place of one of the Marshall cabs. Obviously, with all that air moving, the Vibratone was miked.
Danny Gatton used a heavily-modified Leslie cabinet similarly as an additional texture, although some of his recordings do feature a saturated rotary sound without a clean signal mixed in. Many players use Vibratones to add some texture or density to their sound in this fashion.
The other, more common, use is to record only the Vibratone sound without a dry signal, and insert it as a textural effect with other instruments, or on a lead line. When it's featured throughout a song, it really jumps out, just as using a phaser or ring modulator for a whole song would. On the other hand, lots of players in the 1970s and '80s kept their chorus pedals on all the time, and using the slow speed of the Vibratone produces a similar effect. It really adds body to an amplified acoustic, too.
Two guitars in particular lend themselves to being played through a Vibratone on the chorale setting: acoustics and 12-strings. The shimmer added by the Vibratone makes the sound of an amplified acoustic guitar really come alive. And the rich jangle of an electric 12-string becomes even more lush and dense with the adding phasing effect.
On "LaTonya", Kevin Barry (Amen, Paula Cole Band) plays the Leslie much like an organist, which is unusual for a guitarist. Guitarists usually just turn it on one speed and leave it, like a pedal. Organists tend to use not only the two speeds, but also the in-between sounds you get when you change speeds. It takes 6-8 seconds for the rotor to wind up or down, and this gradual change of speed can produce some nice effects in its own right. In other words, you can (and should) play the Vibratone itself, along with your instrument. As an analogy, think of the difference between the way Hendrix or Zappa used a wah-wah, compared to the foot-tapping wah-wah rhythms of a funk band. They used the wah to emphasize the tonality of their solos, not just the rhythm.
Surely the master of this technique (among guitarists) is Danny Gatton.You can hear this best on his amazing Redneck Jazz Explosion, where changing the speed of the Leslie is used to accentuate solos, short passages, or even single chords.. And, of course, try listening to Hammond players and the way they use the Leslie speeds, and listen for ways to do similar things with your Vibratone.
miking the VibratoneIf you're playing a large room, outside, etc., you'll need to mike the Vibratone and run it into the sound system. Now that this technique is widespread and sound systems are set up to do it as a matter of course, the Vibratone loses many of it weaknesses and becomes another fabulous analog effect in your kit of tricks.
And of course, if you're recording you'll have to find the right way to mike it. Note that some of the latter-day clones have built-in mikes and XLR outputs to let you plug right into the mixer. You could do that with your Vibratone, of course, but it's not necessary and it may actually not work as well as the "low-tech" approach.
I found that close miking one of the grills gives a very pronounced phasing effect. I discovered this once after playing live, when the sound guy had put a cordless lapel mike right on my Vibratone's top grill. He made a recording off the board and my guitar had a thick, lush Leslie sound that I just didn't hear standing in front of the cabinet. Miking from in front of the cab gives more direct sound from the raw speaker and less from the rotor's path, making the effect more subtle.
Really close miking, such as placing the mike inside the cabinet, is probably not a good idea, however. For one thing, the mike is much more likely to pick up rotational noise (bearing rumble, wind noise) from the drum. But probably more important is the fact that a lot of the drum's effect is amplitude modulation, or a change in loudness. This is not so evident standing at the front of a stage with your cab in back, but when you stick the microphone right up against the drum it becomes very pronounced. Mark Vail quotes the legendary Bill Beer of Keyboard Products: "If you get the mics too close, you get a very choppy termolo, which you may want for an effect."
On the other hand, miking at a distance, in front rather than from the top or side, stereo miking, etc. will all give different and potentially desirable effects. With mikes on either side, you'll get a bounce between the channels (the Leslie Model 60 had two cabs to accentuate this effect). Mix the channels slightly to either side of center and you'll get the illusion of a Leslie at center stage. Pan them full right and left and you'll get a spacey sound that flies back and forth across the soundfield. This is a deceptively simple box -- you can get a lot of different sounds out of it by moving the mikes.
Bill Beer again: "Miking the Leslie has always been very controversial; everyone has their own idea of tonality." In the end, you should spend some time with different mikes and different setups, and experiment to see what is possible and what fits your style.
- See "The Earl of Whirl. Capturing the motion and emotion of the Leslie speaker cabinet." by Brian Knave for multiple-mike setup schemes (written wtih organ Leslies in mind, but applicable to Vibratones).
- See "Recording Pianos and Organs" at the SAE Institute's recording technology site.
- See "Miking the Leslie" in Mark Vail's The Hammond Organ: Beauty in the B. Also: Vail's article "Miking the Leslie" from Keyboard magazine, 2001.
- See "Leslie Recording Techniques" in the Hammond/Leslie FAQ (also on the HammondWiki site).
- See "Unearthing the Mysteries of the Leslie Cabinet, "Microphone-prepared stock Leslie"..
reasons not to use a VibratoneOK, you've gotten hooked on the sound of the Vibratone, and you want to add it to your tonal palette. What's the down side?
First, you have to find one. You can't walk into your local music store (even the used music store) and just say "Hey, Stan, give me a Vibratone!" When they do appear, the pricing is generally several times what a chorus pedal runs, which turns some people away. But they can be found, and it's easier now than ever since we have the internet to help us. Start checking the GBase Guitar Mall or eBay auctions.
Now, you're back from your search and you have acquired a Vibratone. Go back and look at the physical specifications of the cabinet. It's big and it's heavy. It weighs about the same as a Fender Twin Reverb, only it's in a cabinet that's twice as tall and half again as deep. (But it's way better than an organ Leslie, which is made of furniture-grade hardwood and weighs about twice as much.) You're going to need a dolly or a big burly friend to drag this around from gig to gig.
No problem -- your buddy Tiny always helps the band with equipment. But once you get onstage, you'll discover that the 10" speaker doesn't quite move the air like your Marshall stack. You hit the Vibratone's footswitch and your sound drops by 7/8 (8x10s vs. 1x10). It's going to require miking or an A/B amp setup to get the same sound levels if you play at SRV volumes (see below). Turning your Vibratone into a Leslie 18 by changing the speaker to a 12" will help some, of course.
But even if you play a Deluxe Reverb with one 12" speaker, and beef up the Vibratone's speaker to match your amp's speaker exactly, there's the dispersal problem mentioned earlier. The arrangement of the rotor projects the sound to the sides of and above the cabinet, not out to the audience. Turning the Vibratone on its back should fix that problem, if you can find a way to support it. If you're playing a large room, or at high volume, the Vibratone is not going to cut it without some reinforcement. This is not much of a problem in a small room, however, or a recording studio.
If these considerations discourage you from using a Vibratone, consider the alternatives. They can be pretty lame.
reasons not to use a cheap imitationAt this point, you might be tempted to fall back on one of the cheap imitators -- various electronic attempts to clone the sound of the mechanically rotating speaker. This is not meant to demean them, because they have their own sounds and can be used to provide a particular sonic effect in your playing, just like the Vibratone. And using a Vibratone on the road can be a pain. It's big, it's heavy, and it won't push enough air to fill an auditorium.
Why would you mess with one? It's simply because no one has been able to accurately reproduce the sound of a rotating speaker cabinet in an electronic circuit. The sounds produced are far too complex, involving multiple reflections and room interactions that are impossible to "model" electronically. Chorus pedals sound like chorus pedals, which is a cool effect but immediately distinguishable from a Vibratone. Phasers also capture a characteristic of rotating speakers, but again it's just one aspect of a complex sound. The modeling pedals and amps sound a little more like a Vibratone, but they usually come nowhere close to the real thing. Some of the dedicated analog pedals (e.g. UniVibe) are considered suitable substitutes, but only if you can't get the real thing. In short, the only way to get the Vibratone sound is with a rotating speaker cabinet. And because it takes a little bit extra to get the Vibratone sound, not too many other guitarists use them -- which gives your sound some uniqueness.
Throughout the years I've said, "If anybody's going to beat the Leslie speaker, maybe I can do it." I've built all kinds of electronic shifters -- phase, frequency, amplitude, all mixed up in various ways, in different combinations. But I've never been able to duplicate the real thing, and I've tried many times. The easiest way is to rotate a horn. That's what I learned after 40 years of playing with electronics. Don Leslie, quoted in The Hammond Organ: Beauty in the B
Back to you-know-who, the 1984 Guitar Magazine article on SRV's backline noted"A longtime Hendrix fan, Vaughan hoarded a host of Hendrix-associated boxes, including a UniVibe, Fuzz Face and Octavia. The UniVibe approximated the sound of a Leslie rotating speaker cabinet but Vaughan usually preferred the effect given by his Fender Vibratone, as can be heard on `Cold Shot'." (Emphasis mine.)Well, of course he did. Luckily, there are other alternatives to pedals. There were (and are) quite a few other rotating cabinets made either by Leslie or by competitors. It seems that Fender discontinued the Vibratone too soon, while interest was still high, so lots of Leslie imitators continued building them through the 1970s. So, there are lots of other names to look for in your search. Or, you can build one yourself.
Keyboard Magazine did a "Leslie Simulators Roundup" in 2001, if you want to read some careful evaluations of the current options (tested with keyboards, but listening for The Sound and considering guitar players, as well). If you can't find or don't want to use a Vibratone, you can find the best imitators there.
Over the last decade or so, the increasing popularity of sophisticated pedals and modeling amps (many Fenders now have "Vibratone" settings) has meant that the Vibratone sound is more accessible to more players. I'm wasn't a fan of digital modeling, in its early days, but I will confess that I've heard lots of recordings with "Vibratones" in them, which can not be clearly identified as "real" or "imitation".
And when my busted back refused to let me lift a 70-lb. cabinet, I gave up and traded the Rotophaser for a Tech21 RotoChoir pedal. In a studio, I would insist on a real Leslie cabinet and some expert miking. Playing live, having that "pretty darned close" sound on my pedalboard is a lifesaver.
other Leslie and similar speakersLots of people have come up with ways to get the Leslie Sound, either by direct copying or other means. The following are all Leslie clones of one sort or another. They are analog devices that take a speaker's output and add phasing to it with some kind of mechanical rotating feature. The only pedal included is an interface box that allows instruments with 1/4" jacks to run through an organ Leslie, not an electronic simulator.
The very best alternative to the Vibratone, sonically, is a traditional Leslie cabinet with a Combo Preamp pedal. The organ Leslies have 40-watt or larger tube amps in them, and the preamp pedal permits adjusting the volume independently of your main amp. And the dual spinning reflectors in most models give deliciously rich phasing effects. The disadvantage, of course, is that the organ cabs weigh even more than a Vibratone, so we're back to the tradeoff of portability vs. sound volume.
Fortunately, there are some companies making cabinets that duplicate the function of the Vibratone, but in smaller, more portable formats. Motion Sound is now producing several cabinets or amps that function like Vibratones, some with built-in amps, and the Little Lanilei Rotary Wave cab looks like another good candidate. The currently available cabs are listed at the end of the table.
Allsound sold integrated amp/Leslie cabinets. Some had both treble horns and a drum, while others had the bass rotor and treble horns in separate cabinets (see Dynacord 200). Internals were made by Spacesound, an Italian company (same as Dynacord). Made in the 1970s in Germany; no longer made.
Cordovox made accordions that were actually analog synthesizers. Their main cabinets had hundreds of vacuum tubes in the tone generator and a 40-watt amp with two 12" speakers. There was also a rotary speaker cabinet that contained the same mechanism as the Vibratone. But the early Cordovox Leslie cabinets (CL-10) were much smaller -- only about half the height of the Vibratone. This translates into a speaker with the same function as a Vibratone, but much less bulk. (Later, larger, Cordovox cabs were rebadged Vibratones, however.)
The Cordovox CL-10 appears to have exactly the same internals as the built-in Leslie units produced for home organs -- foam rotor, 8" Jensen speaker, two speeds. Cordovox just stuck them in their own cases and sent them out the door. Other models had different speakers, but they were probably drop-in units as well. The CL-10 control harness is just an on-off switch for the speaker. The fast/slow switch is a rocker on the top of the cabinet.
The larger CL-20 CL-30 had two- or three-button footswitches and a 10" speaker -- basically, a Vibratone with a Cordovox badge. (See Farfisa.)
Also sold by Traynor as a keyboard cab. No longer made.
Cosmosound solid-state amp with integrated Leslie drum. Probably a rebadged Dynacord, judging by grillcloth and footswitch. No longer made.
Davoli was another cabinet built in the 1970s around Italian Spacesound internals, but in this one the speaker moves in a rotating "can", rather than a fixed speaker with a rotating deflector. Powered by an internal, 40-watt tube amp. No longer made.
Photos courtesy of fetishguitars.com
Dynacord DC200 Spacesound System. This Italian- and German-made speaker takes the bulky Leslie cabinet and splits it into two parts; very similar to the Leslie 910 or MotionSound Pro. The treble rotor is in the smaller cabinet and the bass rotor in the larger one. Contains a 200w solid state amp. Originally introduced around 1974 as the Echolette ME III. Marketed as an organ cabinet. No longer made.
Dynacord still makes a "Leslie simulator", but it's an electronically synthesized pedal.
Echolette ME-1 (by Dynacord) is an interesting hybrid from around 1970. It contains a 40w transistor amplifier with spring reverb, a side-facing, two-speed Leslie rotary unit for the middle frequencies and a forward-facing, fixed 12-inch speaker for low frequencies. The top half looks like standard drop-in unit sold to organ manufacturers, but there's a possibility that it may be a horn unit, as in the top of a theater Leslie cabinet.
Farfisa Cordovox (a later model with a 2-button or 3-button footswitch). Based on the dimensions, weight, top/side vents and the hint of a diagonal recess in the front panel, I would call this a rebadged Vibratone or Leslie 16/18. One owner reports a 12" speaker, which if original would make it equivalent to a Model 18. No longer made. Farfisa RS180 An interesting and unique design by the Italian electric music firm. This one has a built-in solid-state amp and two speakers. The speakers fire into a rotating body that is a combination half-cylindrical reflector for the 12" bass speaker below and sound pipe for the 6" treble speaker above. This ingenious reflector/horn (right photo) looks like it should give you both the FM and AM sound components of a full Leslie cabinet, albeit without the counter-rotating signals of the Leslie. No longer made, and seldom seen.
Godwin L35 is an amplified cabinet, roughly a 2-foot (50cm) cube. Made by a Italian builder of Hammond organ clones. We have little additional information on it at present. It appears that the cabinet is built like the bottom of a conventional Leslie (down-firing speaker, rotor in horizontal plane). Probably no longer made.
MTI RotoPhaser. Another, somewhat more portable cabinet with 1/4" inputs, this one made in Italy in the 1970s. Equivalent to the top part of a full Leslie cabinet, that is, with a fixed compression tweeter and a rotating treble horn. Therefore, similar to the current MotionSound Pro3. 23.5"w x 19"d x 16"h. No longer made.
Editor's note: This was my last rotary cabinet, because it's more portable than a Vibratone and it projects the sound more directly into the audience. But it's still too heavy for someone with a back injury....
Selmer also sold the Leslie 16/18 with their own cabinet and badge.
Former Selmer employee Patrick Kirby also reported a Selmer amp with built-in reverb and Leslie, which he says was rented by Abbey Road studios for Beatles sessions. (I consider the Beatles connection apocryphal until a photo turns up, since an actual Vibratone was shown prominently in "Let It Be".) Gaz Hunter (UK) has kindly provided a photo of this unusual combo amp, which he compares to a Fender Bassman tonally. No longer made.
Selmer Leslie 16/18
Selmer Leslie combo amp
TurnSound. Little information on this one. The top section contains what appears to be a 10" or 12" speaker that spins around, very similar to the Mesa Revolver. A patent issued to Turnsound claims a novel baffle arrangement. No longer made. Maestro Rover. From 1975, this rotating speaker speaker is housed in a cylindrical metal enclosure about 12"x24" on a stand. It has internal amplification for high frequencies, and routes lows to an external amp. Has top-mounted controls and a speed-control pedal. Used most famously by David Gilmour in Pink Floyd's later recordings; also on Wilco's "Via Chicago". No longer made.
There was a brief review in a 1995 Guitar Player article.
Gilmour liked the Rover so much that he had higher-powered units based on it, called a "Doppola", custom-built for stage use.
"AnalogMan" Mike and "Beastie Boy" Adam Horovitz admiring a Maestro Rover.
Rover with the wrap-around aluminum grill removed.
Mesa Boogie Revolver Mk II. The 12" speaker spins on its baffle, rather than using a drum. It is similar to the TurnSound cabinet in this respect. 2-button footswitch (speaker on/off, fast/slow speed), and an optional speed control (very un-Leslie!).
Used by Kevin Eubanks of the Tonight Show band, according to the Mesa site.
User's manual on the Mesa Boogie site:
Photo from New Zealand Musician site.
Roland Revo. Hard to say whether this can actually be called a Leslie clone. Rather than physically moving a speaker or reflector, the signal was routed around a semicircle of smaller speakers in the top of the cab. (Some Leslie organ cabs had a similar electromechanical spatial generator.) In addition to the moving sound, the Revo also had a built-in stereo chorus.
There were several different Revo models, all apparently with 1/4" inputs. The larger ones had an internal solid-state amp with built-in reverb, driving one 15" bass speaker and three or six 6" speakers. The Revo 30 used what look like large home stereo speakers. All had a separate control box which is where the signal processing took place. It doesn't appear that the cabinets will work without the control box. Dimensions: 30" high X 27" wide X 21" deep. Weight: approx. 100 lbs. No longer made.
The rarely seen Rotronic was built by an obscure company in Waco, Texas. It features a vertically-mounted drum over an upward-firing 10-inch speaker, with 1/4" input and a built-in amp. The cabinet is 24" tall with a 14" square footprint, and so only about half the weight of a Vibratone. No longer made. Vox Jennings. This rare mid-1960s cabinet (top) has two forward-facing 12-inch speakers and an upward-facing 12-inch speaker firing into a rotating drum. No longer made.
The photo below at right shows the "head only" version of the cabinet, the Vox Gyrotone. The single-button footswitch suggests that it has only one speed.
Vox Jennings speaker/rotary cabinet (left: exterior. right: interior from rear. Rear photo: Chris Yarboo)
Vox Jennings rotary cabinet.
Wilder made another rarely seen box for its solid-state amp in 1966. This cabinet has a forward-facing stationary speaker in the bottom part, plus a high-frequency rotating horn in the top. The horn appears to be one-speed, so it produces either a fast effect or nothing. No longer made. Yamaha made a number of different amp/rotary speaker cabinets with 1/4" inputs. The Solton was another two-part stack (like Leslie 960, Dynacord, etc.), with internal amplification. Marketed as an organ cabinet, but with inputs for other instruments, too. Other rotary cabs identified were as the RA-50, RA-100 (photo, right), TX1, TM1, Dopplertone 150 or Twinjet cabinet. I assume that these were all different models. The RA-100 and the internal organ versions had two horns spinning vertically. No longer made.
David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) used the RA-200 in several recordings between 1976-1983 (gilmourish.com).
MS-Audiotron. A Finnish cabinet with no internal amplification. No longer made. There is virtually no information on this cabinet, but we suspect that it was a repackaged Italian unit. I have been able to find only this one photo of a ca. 1960 cabinet in years of searching. No further information available. (Company still exists, making mixers and other audio equipment.) Elkatone. Italian wood cabinets (like Leslie organ cabs) from the late 1970s. They have a spinning horn and one or more woofers, internal amp, and multiple instrument inputs (unlike Leslie cabs). One diagram shows a "sound pipe" carrying waves from the woofer to a tee joint with the tweeter; the sound from both speakers is thus routed through the spinning horns. No further information available. No longer made, but apparently still widely available second-hand in Italy.
Rear of Elkatone cabinet. Front is virtually identical to a Leslie.
Oliver Orbital Power Projector. Designed by Jess Oliver of Ampeg fame. Similar in design to the MTI Rotophaser -- a smaller cabinet (20”x12”x16”) with a "Leslie top" (spinning horns) in it. Has continuous speed control. No longer made.
RoLo Grand Integrated amp and rotating speaker with a novel and eye-catching approach to reducing cabinet weight. Apparently made for accordionists. Chicken-head knobs and thumbscrew-on-post input connectors hint at a very early design date. No longer made.
Sharma cabinets were made by Keith Hitchcock during the 1970s. They came in various sizes, up to a two-part monster (model 7000) with dual speakers feeding the rotor and horn and four solid-state amps. Of special note was the design of the treble horns: they are made of plywood with a square section, with plastic diffusers at the ends.
Universal RS10. This two-part stack is similar to Leslie's road models -- the upper portion contains the rotating horn and an amp with 1/4" inputs, while the lower cabinet contains a 12" woofer and a rotating drum. The cabs have handles and the lower one also has casters. We can find little information about this one, but presume it is no longer made.
Speakeasy Vintage Sound manufactured a range of rotary cabinets designed for stage musicians. All cabs featured rotary treble horns; some models had rotary drums for bass, others had a fixed speaker. They were available with tube or solid state amps of various wattage ratings, as well as a speaker-only version directed at guitarists.
No longer made. Archived http://www.speakeasyvintagemusic.com/feedback-and-info/roadbox/
Tolerance Sound produced a speaker apparently modeled on David Gilmour's "Doppola", which they call the Revolver P26. (There was also a single-speaker model, the P16, which is comparable to the Maestro Rover.) They're lightweight and easily portable, but of course must be miked to keep up with a band. The site features specs, as well as videos of the speakers in action.
No longer made. Archived http://www.tolerancesound.com/
still available Hammond-Leslie caused a big stir among gear fans with their announcement of the Leslie G37 and G27 cabinets. These are "full" Leslies (with treble horn and bass drum rotors) obviously aimed to compete with Motion Sound's boxes. The G37 has a hybrid amp (tube preamp, solid state power amp), while the G27 (no longer available) was a passive box -- hook it to your amp head just like you would connect a Vibratone. The Model 21 is an amplified horn-only cabinet, similar to the MTI Rotophaser.
Hammond/Leslie rotary web site.
Songworks Little Lanilei Rotary Wave. This interesting box has a varied history. There were once two models of the Rotary Wave: one with a 10" 50-watt Jensen speaker firing into a rotating drum (just like a Vibratone!), the other with a 6.5" speaker and drum.
The smaller version was discontinued, and for a whle the larger box came only in kit form. Songworks is now part of Mahaffey Amps, and as of this writng, the 10" cabinet is available ready-to-run, with tweed covering.
Since the speaker fires upwards, its dispersion pattern is more like a big Leslie cabinet than the Vibratone's. It has a DC motor with a continuously variable speed control -- perhaps harder to get the authentic Vibratone speeds just right, but it offers a lot of additional options. At 22"x12"x12" and 15 lbs., it's much more portable than a Vibratone, and it can be optionally battery-powered.
Motion Sound is a current manufacturer that makes several spinning-speaker cabinets. The Pro-3 and Pro-3T are similar to the MTI Rotophaser. They contain rotating treble horns and are internally amplified. The "T" in "Pro-3T" stands for "tube"; this model has a 12AX7 in the preamp for a more Leslie-like tube distortion setting. For a full Leslie sound, but maintaining greater portability, there is an add-on bass cabinet, the Low Pro. This gives you a configuration similar to the Dynacord 200 or a Leslie 21 (below).
Especially designed for guitarists, the Spindoctor (pictured) is mechanically a reincarnation of the compact Cordovox cabinets, while the Sidewinder has a 100w solid state amp with a 12AX7 in the preamp and a 12" speaker. (No longer avalable.)
The "SRV" speakers, introduced in 2006, replaced the Spindoctor. It is unamplified and comes in two models, with one 12" speaker (SRV-112) or two 12" speakers (SRV-212).
They also make an "AcousticField" model tailored for acoustic guitar amplification. (No longer available; replaced by their keyboard amps.)
Motion Sound web site: http://www.motionsound.co.uk/
Trek II makes various accessories for Leslies, including modern versions of Leslie's Combo Preamp (no longer available from Leslie), which was a footpedal that permitted running instruments with 1/4" input cables into Leslie organ cabinets. If you happen to have an big, wooden, internally amplified Leslie, you can plug your guitar into one of these and get that ripping Leslie sound. http://www.trekii.com Rotary Sound produces a speaker that looks very much like the Maestro Rover: a spinning speaker mounted in a drum, on top of a tripod at waist height or so. The Neutron 8 uses a Jensen 8-inch speaker with a number of advanced features.
Rotary Sound Neutron 8
build your own?Yes, it can be done. I've done it using a wooden-rotor internal unit from a junked early '60s organ and I have seen several built from internal units with styrofoam rotors (essentially identical to the Vibratone's mechanism). Plywood boxes are not that hard to build; I used solid pine for mine, believing that the resonance of the cabinet adds to the tonal quality. But I can't prove that, and would probably use plywood if doing it again.
I arranged the Leslie unit in my cabinet so the sound radiates in the horizontal plane, like an organ cabinet, rather than in the vertical plane like a Vibratone. I think that gives a more pronounced effect from everywhere around the box, while a Vibratone sounds best to the sides. I used the dimensions of the Leslie unit to determine the "footprint" of the box. The height of the Vibratone (and my rotary cabinet) are the same as my Fender Tremolux 2x10 cabinet, so they make a nice pair. Note the carefully reproduced diagonal cutout in the front panel. I did this before I was able to examine a real Vibratone, and it is a mistake. The speaker should be completely enclosed, so the sound only comes out the chute. The grillcloth panel covers this hole, so when the box is completely assembled it's not a problem.
You can finish your work with Tolex covering, Fender grillcloth and hardware, and have a very nice-looking cabinet in the style of the Vibratone. These supplies are available from a number of sources specializing in restoration and repair of older amps.
The control circuit is the tricky bit. Actually, if you find the Cordovox method acceptable (footswitch chooses between your amp's speakers and the Leslie, while a toggle switch on the cabinet changes speeds), then it's dead simple. Since most guitarists don't use the spin-up and spin-down as effects, this might well be enough. If not, running AC power in the harness or wiring relays is the pain.
Yoel Kreisler published a nice how-to article on the Premier Guitar web site in 2017. This one uses a variable speed DC motor, so it can run at any speed you want. The cavity in the drum looks a little rough, but apparently that doesn't make a difference because the audio clips have the classic Leslie sound.
Andy Stone built a spinning-speaker design, which he says he based on the Davoli Phonodoppler. See a video demonstration here:
David Morris went all-out and built a two-part cabinet using plywood bass drum shells!
Heinz Bohlender came up with an innovative way to use one of those built-in Leslie units: a light-weight, stand-alone box that can be placed on top of a small amp, effectively turning it into a Vibratone clone. The ideal amp is a Fender tweed style, with a top-facing control panel. When laid on its back, the controls are easily accessible and the Leslie cab slides down on it. Heinz went all the way, finishing his in red Tolex covering that matches his amp. Sweet!
the one-rotor phasing trick
The Henricksen article "Unearthing the Mysteries of the Leslie Cabinet" goes into the acoustics of the Leslie's upper horn and in particular the diffuser that's stuffed into the throat of the horn. He shows how that diffuser adds to the phasing effect by dispersing the apparent sound source. If one of the problems perceived with the single drum is its relative lack of phasing frequency modulation, then there should be a way to add a diffuser to the drum to achieve a similar effect. And in fact there is. The wooden drum that came with my early-'60s built-in unit has an .045" (1mm) thick aluminum vane screwed to the scoop, running down the middle and dividing the chute in half (click on left photo for larger view). The Leslie techs I've shown this to hadn't seen that before, so it was evidently not a widely-used solution. But it popped up again late in the foam-rotor days, as seen in the second photo (click on right photo for larger view). In any case, it's worth a try. I think a sheet of .020" (.5mm) thick aluminum should do the trick, or you could shape a vane from styrofoam and glue it in with silicone. (I suspect metal will reflect highs better than styrofoam.) You may need to add a balancing weight opposite the vane to keep the rotor turning smoothly.
Vibratones tend to have a dark tone, a result of the crossover (on the later style cabinets) and the speaker used. I have seen one cabinet which had a tweeter added, though it wasn't pointed into the drum. There's no reason why a tweeter couldn't be mounted coaxially in front of the stock speaker, however, so the high frequencies would be spread ariound the room, too. This would only make a difference on the early cabinets, which do not have the crossover in the cable.
links and sourcesTeagle, John and John Sprung. Fender Amps - The First Fifty Years. (Hal Leonard Corp., 1995. 256 pp.)
Vail, Mark. The Hammond Organ. Beauty in the B. (Miller Freeman Books, 1997. 240 pp.)
Hammond/Leslie FAQ: http://theatreorgans.com/hammond/faq/ (especially the Leslie cabinets section Appendix F, "Send in the Clones")
Maryland Organ Service's "Leslie Tone Cabinet Database": http://www.mosweb.com/knowledgebase/leslie/ and "Leslie Schematics and Diagrams Database": http://www.mosweb.com/knowledgebase/leslie/id5.htm
Henricksen, Clifford A. "Unearthing the Mysteries of the Leslie Cabinet" (Recording Engineer/Producer. April 1981) http://www.theatreorgans.com/hammond/faq/mystery/mystery.html
Leslie clone shootout report: http://theatreorgans.com/hammond/faq/files/shootout.html
Leslie technical information: http://www.captain-foldback.com/Leslie.htm
The Organ Forum: http://www.organforum.com
Stevie Ray Vaughan FAQ: http://www.angelfire.com/ks/keithcjulian/srvfaq5a.htm
Noble, Douglas J. "Stevie Ray Vaughan's Gear" (The Guitar Magazine. Vol 6 No 2, January 1996): http://www.djnoble.demon.co.uk/ints/STEVIER.VS.html
Carol Kaye describes her use of a Leslie cabinet for guitar on the Spectropop.com discussion board: http://spectropop.com/archive/digest/m268.html
Closing image: George Harrison sitting in front of a wide-panel Vibratone on the "Dick Cavett Show", November 1971. (The Vibratone is actually connected to Mick Jones' amp, however.) The band was Gary Wright's short-lived "Wonder Wheel".
Page created and original information © copyright 2002-2018 by Vance Bass (vrbass [at] nmia [dot] com). This information is provided for your research and information only. Commercial use prohibited without permission.
All these product and company names -- Fender, Leslie, Vibratone, Motion Sound, Trek II, MIT, Farfisa, Dynacord, Maestro, Songworks, Hammond, etc. -- are the registered trademarks of their respective owners. Some of the photos were taken from eBay auctions, and are the property of their respective creators. Thanks to all the great musicians who have sent photos, information and questions!
Revised 13 June 2018