Thursday, December 31, 2020

ARP 2600, Omni-2, Piano and Quartet infosheets, 1979






Set of ARP 2600, Omni-2, Piano and Quartet infosheets from 1979.

Catalogues, info-sheets, brochures? I just don't know which is which anymore. I definitely haven't been consistent over the last 11 or 12 years that I've been yapping on and on through this blog. And my tags are a dog's breakfast because of it.

In my head, catalogues are usually larger marketing documents that contain a little bit of everything, bound together in some way. Saddle stitch, glue or whatever.

Love 'em. 

I got a lot of 'em. 

Roland. Korg. Casio, Akai... they even have covers that say "catalog" or "catalogue" on 'em with a year/date and volume number - very official looking.  But scanning large catalogues takes a lot of time and I'm an "efficiently lazy" person by nature, so you don't see a lot of them on the blog.  

Info-sheets, on the other hand, are those one-pagers (often two-sided) that contain a lot of information and specs on one instrument. Often, they are part of a larger group of similarly designed info-sheets like the ones above.  And usually I scan these similar documents all at once, and then spread out their posts over time so that in my head I feel like I'm being more productive. 

I gotta tell ya, lately I've been feeling like I'm running out of things to say. 

How many times can I say...

"Lovely!" 
"Consistent design!"
"Logo!" 
"Font!"
"Large photo!"
"Diagram!"
"Did I mention diagram!"

Now, I gotta say that all of the above applies here and posting them all at once really shows off the lovely consistent design with large photos and diagrams. I could literally post a scan and just write LCLFLDD underneath the images and call it a day.  

There isn't much else coming outta my head these days synth-related. 

Hence, lets continue on with my original thought. Where was I? Catalogues. Info-sheets... oh right...

Brochures. 

Brochures, in my head, are usually smaller that catalogues, but larger than info-sheets. Maybe stapled if they are more than two pages. 

Sometimes they tell the company story and feature more than one instrument - I'm thinking in particular of that 1974 "Arp Story" brochure that I had posted earlier this month. 

But, isn't this just a catalogue? 

To make it even more confusing, each of those pages can also be found in the wild as individual "info-sheets", and ARP even created addition info-sheet inserts for this brochure of newly released instruments to increase the shelf life of the original brochure. 

But how about those Roland "We design the future" brochures I fetishize over?


Drool. 

*tick tick tick*

(Its literally two hours later because I started looking at these lovely beasts. I still have so many to scan from this series.)

Anyways, like those ARP info-sheets above, these Roland brochures feature one instrument and usually contain a diagram or two, some specs, and are part of a larger group of similarly designed documents. The only real difference between those ARP info-sheets and these Roland brochures is a fold. Seriously. A FOLD. 

I guess my point is that I have no standardization. 

Hey... I'm surfing around the blog now... what about this ARP "promo/datasheet"...?


Or these Moog "reference sheets"... ?


Do I go back and change them all to "fact sheets" now? 

So much work. 

Double ugh.   :)

ARP "From Jimmy With ARP" advertisement, Downbeat Magazine 1974

 


ARP "From Jimmy With ARP" half-page black and white advertisement from page 41 in the June 20, 1974 issue of Downbeat Magazine.

Well, look at this! I hope you are noticing the trend. As part of trying to get all my 2020 ARP 50th anniversary celebration posts... eeer... posted, I've been uploading quite a few ARP pieces this month, including two of the many ARP advertisements from the time period that used a very similar half page, black and white format. 

And now... I've posted the third. With more to come.

I love that all three of these ads all fit into a theme, but yet they are all very distinguishable from each other. There isn't a stagnant "photo/artwork at top" - "text in the middle" - "Logo in bottom right" format to them. Each of the ads has kept a unique look. As unique as the different artists that are featured in each one. 

One other thing I like about all three ads is they all contain one of those little cookies I went on about in my last Carpenters ad. This earlier ad uses the code "DB-620" (Downbeat June 20), but curiously leaves out the "year", unlike that those other 1975 ads included (DB 1-16-75). Looking at a few of the other earlier ARP ads like the Edgar Winter ARP ads that appeared around six months earlier, they too used the earlier cookie format that didn't include the year. No real other comment to make on that fact - just interesting that they changed the format.

Another little thing that separates this earlier ad from the others is the little picture in the bottom right hand corner of three of ARP's products. This little photo also appears in Edgar Winter's Frankenstein and Freeride ARP ads, but not in Billy Preston's Space Race ARP ad or Stevie Wonder's WonderArp ad (none which I've posted yet). Once I've mapped out the timeline for all these half-pagers, it will be interesting to see when exactly they were added and removed. 

My past experiences of 'Zep run along the same lines of The Who. I didn't really understand or 'get' the synth influences first time around. The one thing I do notice when looking back, is that fans of Townsend were much more accepting of the band's use of synthesizers where Led fans weren't so sure they shared their favourite band's love for them.  Just my observation - your mileage may vary. 

Now, where deeper knowledge of most Zeppelin songs flew over my head (except for the mandatory ever butt-grabbing Stairway to Heaven), there was one song I was always willing to get behind...

Carouselabra. 

For some reason I've always had an affinity for that one. Maybe it was the synths that first got me hooked? Maybe?  It could also have been that some of the dreamier parts reminded me of Alan Parson's stuff.  I dunno. Hard to say. But I can tell you when the topic of Led Zeppelin came up with friends at a party, I would turn the convo towards that song, and trying to convince them to play it on whatever stereo system was handy.

Just for fun, I googled the song to see what others had to say, and this rather interesting post on Cheatsheet.com came up - "What Robert Plant Regretted About Led Zeppelin’s ‘Carouselambra’". It takes a little bit of a deep dive on the lyrics of the song.  

Go Cheatsheet! Go Carouselabra! 

And okay... go Stairway to Heaven!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

ARP "Meet the Carpenters new string ensemble" ad, Downbeat Magazine 1975

 

ARP "Meet the Carpenters new string ensemble" black and white advertisement from the March 27, 1975 issue of Downbeat Magazine 1975.

I'm a cookie addict. As someone who likes to eat. As an online marketing professional. As a curator/archivist. Yum! But more about that in a sec...

Following hot on the heels of my post about ARP's 1975 advertisement that featured Pete Townshend of The Who and his 2600 is this lovely promo featuring the Carpenters and ARP's String Ensemble. As far as I can tell, this advertisement showed up in various issues in a few different publications in 1974 and 1975, but I've even seen it referenced in 1976 as well. 

It's interesting that it got so much page time, so rather than blog about The Carpenters, a band I unsurprisingly know very little about, I thought I'd take a look at the marketing side of things. In particular, the little "cookie" that followed this, and many other ads around like gum on a shoe to tell the company where someone saw this advertisement.

In a way, it's similar to the common digital cookie that can end up following you around the web, annoying you with an ad for a Home Depot lawn mower you were looking at earlier in the day. ARP placed a cookie in the mail-in section of many of their ads, so if you bothered to fill it out and mail it in, ARP knew you were responding to this very specific advertisement.  You can see that cookie in the close-up below (red box). 



DB 1-16-75. 

Downbeat, January 16, 1975. 

I can hear you say "but you said this advertisement was from the March 27, 1975 issue!" It sure was, but the advertising campaign or budget utilizing this ad probably first appeared in the January issue. Smart. 

If you look closely at the Pete Townshend ad I posted, it has a DB 6-5-75 cookie, so that particular ad campaign probably began in the June 5, 1975 issue of Downbeat - the one I scanned! And, if you compare it to the same ARP/Pete ad that appeared in the May 22, 1975 issue of Rolling Stone, you can see it uses a different code - RS-142. 


So, RS = Rolling Stone. But what the heck is that 142? Well... 

I'm not sure. No, really. Not sure at all. 

The May 22, 1975 issue of Rolling Stone was issue 187. Since Rolling Stone was produced bi-weekly (I think?!?!) at that point, it would mean that if that number referred to the issue number, the first appearance of this ad would be almost two years before. Which doesn't appear likely. So, yeah. Still a mystery. 

But the point is, when all those cut-out return forms start making their way back home, those little cookies let ARP have a better idea of which ad in which magazine worked best to get you to respond.  

When I first started noticing these cookies in magazines, I first thought maybe the code wasn't a company code at all - maybe it was included by the magazine as a courtesy or to show the company that got the form back that the reader saw the ad in that particular magazine. To try and solve this question, I started looking at other ads that included mail-ins. 

Sure enough, many other ads included a little cookie in their clip-out sections as well. But, the cookie in different ads were often in different formats. For example, in that same issue of Rolling Stone that the ARP RS-142 cookie is found, we also get the company below using a fictitious department called "Dept RS" as the cookie. This is interesting because if the reader decides they don't want to cut out the form from their precious magazine, they would still use this address to write to the company and the company would STILL know how the reader found them since the address on the letter would have included the cookie. 



Another ad for a reggae record from the same Rolling Stone mag used the PO Box (Box 6/RS) for their cookie:



"Feelin' High". Ha! Yes, I'm nine years old. 

And finally, this Monty Python ad below from the same mag has just a little "rs" in the bottom right corner. Adorable. 


I've seen them in all manner of magazines. Those I collect - like Contemporary Keyboard/Keyboard, Electronic Musician, Electronics & Music Maker,  etc... as well as magazines I just happen to be flipping through at a friends house or online. From the 70s to the 90s and beyond. Those little cookies are everywhere. 

I get especially excited when I see an ad with a cookie, but the cookie is for a different magazine entirely. It's like someone forgot to update the ad for the new mag.  That's pure adrenaline! Makes my day.

Once I started looking for them, I couldn't stop, and to this day I still look for them.

Now you will too! You got lots of time during your covid lock down anyways.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

ARP "Pete's ARP Opera" half page advertisement, Downbeat Magazine, 1975

ARP "Pete's ARP Opera" black and white advertisement from the June 5, 1975 issue of Downbeat magazine. 

I'm betting that Pete's face sold a lot of synths for ARP. 

If you were familiar with The Who... Pete Townshend... or ARP Instruments at the time, you definitely had come across this image in the media. It was everywhere - including this ARP advertisement in Downbeat. Prior to 1976 there weren't a lot of synth magazines to promote your synth products. So Rolling Stone and Downbeat were two magazines that managed to hoovered up more than a few advertising dollars from synth companies.

Let's face it, ARP loved using endorsements as a marketing tool, so when Pete sent promotional photos of himself with his ARP synths to them, it was a match made in heaven. Not sure I can call it serendipity... but it's something. 

According to ARP's own Arpeggio newsletter from April 1974, the original "outrageous self-portrait of Pete Townshend with his ARP 2600 has appeared in dozens of magazines, including Penthouse, Downbeat, Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Cream, and many others. Pete presented this photo to ARP about two years ago, and it has really made the rounds". 

No kidding. That quote also provides us with an estimated date the photo was taken - that issue of Arpeggio came out in April 1974... and two years earlier would have been around 1972. And that 1972 date is confirmed through other sources too.  Nice. 

And then three years later that photo showed up in this ad for ARP. That's a pretty good shelf life. 

Back in my early days, I was familiar with The Who mostly because a few of my friends considered themselves Mods during that culture blip in the 80s. It was one of those bands I listened to, but never really picked apart or dove too deep.  As a result I never really tuned into the fact that Townshend was such a synthhead. But as I got older and started hanging out in Usenet groups like rec.music.synth, I became aware just how synth-heavy the band was. Baba O'Riley. Who Are You. Won't Get Fooled Again. So many familiar songs.

I guess my point is... I want to squeeze the cheeks of this face. 

If you want to see a lot more of Pete and his synths, in particular his ARPs, check out the "The Electronic Music of Pete Townshend" page on Petetownshend.net.  Lots of great stuff there. 

Side note: the same site came out with a nice little post when Korg reissued the 2600 early in 2020 - it has some good bits about Pete and the use of the the ARP synths, including the Reverb feature video on the 2600 that came out at the time as well. Which of course includes a few of RetroSynthAd's ad and brochure scans!

Friday, December 11, 2020

ARP Literature Order Form, 1975



ARP three-page Literature Order Form from 1975.

I know its Friday afternoon - the time that company's put out news releases they don't want anyone to see and the place that blog posts go to die. Well, tough! There are still a few weeks left in ARP's 50th anniversary and there's stuff to be posted!

To many of you peeps, an order form ain't that glam, but for a collector... dat right dar is pur gold. 

It's a checklist for what is potentially out there... waiting... for me. It's a list of search terms to plug into Google and eBay. 

The thing that is so striking about this lit form are the prices. I get they are 1975 prices, but even for 1975, many of the items are cheap as borscht.

Mmmm... borscht.  Sorry, my blood sugar is getting low. 

I'm guessing those cheap prices are so dealers will buy 'em and pass them on to potential customers. 

Just look at 'em:

2500 manual - $3.60. 

2600 manual - $3.60. 

Odyssey manual - 90 cents! 

ARP Educator's brochure. Wut?!?!? Never come across that before.  12 cents! 

Odyssey cassette course. Never seen that either I don't think. $6.00. 

Now, let's flip to page two - and specifically "Dealer Materials". Boom! Promotion Kit! Musician's Workshop Invitations! Educator's Clinic Invitation! Decals! Tie tacks!  The list goes on and on. 

Let's flip to page three. Arrrrgh! 

Dummy plug? If someone knows what these are, contact me. Wait - never mind. Googled it. 

From an August 2012 post in one of the modular forums... someone going by the name Sempervirant had this to say... 
"A dummy plug is just a plug with no cable attached. I remember seeing one in Automatic Gainsay's videos on YouTube, where he was demonstrating the ARP 2600. Most of the internal connections on the 2600 are normalized (which is why it's considered a semi-modular). If you want to break one of those internal connections, but don't actually want to patch something else in, you just insert a dummy plug to bypass the normalized connection." 
And then, later on in the discussion, Sempervirant was nice enough to find that AG video - thank you very much! Go to 5m:58s to see him use one. Sweet. 


I have an ARP 2600, and many other semi-modulars and never knew dummy plugs existed.  Just goes to show you, we never stop learning. 

Now to find out if those ARP patch cords are branded at all. I gotta know. 

Now.