Wersi Bassie (bass/mini synthesizer) advertisement from page 48 of Contemporary Keyboard Magazine December 1977.
This small 1/4 page advertisement appeared religiously in back half of CK from September 1977 to February 1978. And I got to tell you, it pulls me in every time I see it. One reason is the cute logo with the circle surrounding the C to E keys creating a stylized 'W', along with the logo-text font with the 'W' that also emulates the same C to E keys in reverse colours.
But its the photo of the machine itself, and not the ad's design, that does most of the pulling.
You see, as I mentioned at the end of a Moog Sonic Six blog post last January, I love portable synthesizers - especially the ones with suitcase handles. Seriously. The Sonic Six, the EML 101, all of them. Mini-synths like the DX100, Prophecy, CZ101, CS01 also fall into this category - although they don't have built-in handles :o( .
And the Wersi Bassie is just enough of a different beast to make me look twice and then pull out my credit card.
Just look at the description in the ad:
"Advanced electronics delivers pure bass guitar sounds with a full range of flute stops-plus synthesized woodwinds and brass."Now, I have to admit I don't know enough about organs to understand a flute stop, but put the text 'bass guitar sounds' and 'flute stops' so close to each other in the same sentence, and you can count me in.
The Bassie was a German import from the late 70s, and its name in German was even cooler than the English import - Baß Synth.
According to Till Kopper's awesomely cool Web site page for the Wersi synthesizer, that crazy ß is "...more or less the equivalent to a double "s". And to make things more complicated: the german speaking parts of Swiss don't use this letter officially." Nice.
Till's page contains a lot of great reference information on the Wersi Bassie, including a great photo of the front of the machine. There are also photos of the inside of the machine and some audio samples. Definitely check out the page.
MATRIXSYNTH, as always, is also a great source of good photos. A quick click on the 'wersi' label brings up quite a few posts, a lot of which are posts about this synth.
Interestingly, a quick Google search didn't bring up any photos of the Wersi Bassie that actually has the 'Bassie' name beside the logo (lower front left, under the keyboard and horizontal sliders). All the photos have the German name. But, if you look closely at the photo in the ad, it definitely includes the word 'Bassie' beside the logo. And the ad-copy definitely refers to the synth as 'Bassie' as well.
I did find one image of a Bassie with the 'Bassie' logo-text, but its actually a photo of a brochure/manual cover (?) from a MATRIXSYNTH auction photo set on Flickr. And I think it is the exact same photo used in this ad. All the other photos of the front of the machine in the Flickr set have the German version of the name on it.
The one other difference I spotted was that in all the photos of the German version, the square wave button is gray, like the saw wave buttons to the left of it. But in the Bassie photo in the ad (and the brochure/manual cover photo), the square wave is very light in color - probably white like the WAH-WAH buttons.
I wonder if 'Bassie' actually ever appeared on a production model? Or were they all imported with the German version?
Anyways, you can view/hear a good demonstration of most, if not all, of the features of the Wersi Bassie in this YouTube video. I have to say, the bass guitar sound does sound kinda yummy to me:
Even cooler, it apparently came in kit form as well. Here is a great YouTube video of an admittedly not-fully-functional kit version of a Wersi bassie. Notice that the buttons have been replaced with switches in this kit. And there is no logo to be found on the front panel.
Well, time to go explore Till Kopper's Web site a bit more. It seriously has a lot to offer. And most of it has English translations of the German text. Till - much appreciated!