Monday, April 02, 2012

SONICA SN 595 of 650

via this auction
"Only 650 of these strange instruments were made since their they began manufacturing them in 1979. Shaped like small lute with a guitar like neck and speaker inside that was the voice. They player could sound notes by touching the frets on the neck that produce at between sitar and violin. Comes with case and original user manual/warranty certificate.

After Mattel had used the concept for the "Magical Music Thing," Frank Evantoff developed a more precise keyboard and incorporated it into this new instrument, which he called The Sonica. In 1979, the first Sonicas were produced, a collaboration with Larry Heller. There were 650 eventually built, but very few are seen nowadays. Serge Tcherepnin of Serge synthesizers (analog modular) did the oscillator design, and the oscillator inside the Sonica is indeed a Serge oscillator! ( LOOK FOR SERGE TCHEREPNIN'S NAME ON THE HAND PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD!!! ) The bodies have an interesting gourd/phallic shape, and were carved wood. The neck is incredibly comfortable, and easily fits into the hand, facilitating the sliding action used for playing the Sonica.

The sound of the Sonica can best be described as somewhere between a sitar and violin. When run through a simple delay, an amazing array of soundscapes are derived. The front panel features a Key/Pitch Knob, and an On/Off Volume Knob. It boasts 15 keys with additional half step notes. It also features three buttons. Analog “Slider” which is a tremolo type effect, Analog “Tone” which is actually a tonal boost, and “Half-Step” which raises the note an octave. It features a built-in speaker, with an 1/8 inch output to connect to an amplifier or recording device. It runs on one 9-volt battery which is installed by accessing a plate on the backside of the device. The Sonica really shines when sent through a tube amplifier, producing a crystalline sound unlike anything I’ve heard before."

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