by Pale Pyramid
This review is about an electric piano called a Wurlitzer 200A . I have owned it for about 12 years . I bought it from a blind man who sold old vintage electric pianos . The price was $300 dollars . True story .
The back story I have heard about these is they were made as affordable electric piano for school students . Ray Charles also honed his chops on one . Skarbee make a pretty decent VI of it for Native Instruments and mine sits at the back wall of my studio with a plastic kneeling nativity scene camel atop it . I don't always play it . Plugins can be so darned convenient can't they ? But it's still an inspiring instrument to fire up . When you want that weight and feel on your track it can't be beat , save for the noise floor LOL .
Somewhere between Cheap , crafty and sturdy . Ever seen the 1965 mustang interior ? It's heavy and has for screw on legs . I see that lot's of people unscrew the legs and lay it atop a table or a even larger organ or electric piano . The lower body is wood covered in black vinyl .The upper body is fiberglass , possibly . They attach by hinges on the back and if you remove the volume knob and vibrato knob (which are made of plastic) the top opens up and you can see it's innards . This looks like a spiders web . There are transistors galore and wire running every where like wild strands of hair . It almost seems haphazard and a work of brilliant engineering by a budget conscious music company . There is loads of old pro sumer gear that I see looks this way like the Echoplex EP-3 for example . I amazed that it still fires up every time !
There is an on off knob which also sets the volume level of the internal speakers .The internal speakers can be bypassed via a TRS output on the underside of the Wurlitzer . The other knob sets the intensity of the vibrato . There is a foot pedal that screws in which governs sustain . The keys are weighted which give it the feel of a real piano .
Friggin' Sweet . 12 years later I still love it's gritty , bluesy soulful sound . It sounds like Motown or old R' N B' or the 1960's AM radio . Hook it up to an amp . add a chorus pedal or flanger . Killer sound . It might not be a Rhodes but it can still make you cry .
These things go for quite a bit more now depending on their condition . I've seen them for over $1000 . So not as easy on the budget these days . There are plugins that do a pretty good mimic . But hearing a real Wurli 200 A out of an amp , laying your fingers on the old worn in keyboard , try to make a plugin of that ! I will make sketches on a Wurli plugin but for a recording it's got to be the real thing !
A soulful instrument with a lot of personality . It has stories to tell . I love mine and will never sell it . Highly recommended .