ARTURIA – Introducing Wurlitzer V
The Wurlitzer V is a high end software recreation of the classic Wurlitzer 200A electric piano.
Unlike sample libraries, its physical modeling engine reproduces the very acoustic properties of reeds, key action and amplification, bringing you high realism while offering maximum flexibility on sound.
As most producers know, the legendary bright and overdriven Wurlitzer sound heard on classic records also comes from the use of fine amplifiers, micing and processing. This is why the Wurlitzer V goes further by putting you in command of a studio from the 70’s, filled with vintage stompboxes and classic tube amps… everything you need to get a true classic vibe!
If you are looking for a lively electric piano combined with inspiring studio tools, the Wurlitzer V is the ultimate package.
More details here : http://www.arturia.com/evolution/en/products/wurlitzer-v
One of the most cult proclaimed keyboard instruments in the history of music is the Wurlitzer Electric Piano. With its rough and phat sound, the Wurlitzer has left an immense mark on several classic recordings with a variety of performers such as Ray Charles, Steely Dan, the Doors, Sun Ra and Queen just to mention a few.
The Wurlitzer’s basic principles were developed in America in the middle of the 1930s by a man named Ben F. Meissner (b. 1890). In 1932 he patent and licensed several new revolutionary electrical ideas e.g. several TV-components, electron pipes and the Wurlitzer principles (the string less piano). Meissner came up with the idea to place electromagnetic pickups on each string inside an ordinary acoustic piano. In order to achieve a more powerful tone he added reeds inside the piano which he blew air into. His concept caused great interest from different piano manufactures around the country, and his ideas were sold to the Everett Piano Company who came to develop his original ideas. They started to work on the concept but what from the start was supposed to be an electric form of a piano, instead became a more electric organ under the supervising of the Everett Piano Company. But the idea had now reached the big jukebox and organ company, Wurlitzer who realized that the invention had a far greater potential. They took over the development of the piano and instead tried to come up with a electric version of a piano more similar to the Rhodes, than to an organ. To achieve their goals they designed a felt dressed hammer which was placed in the piano in order to stroke the metallic reeds. The vibrations from the stroke on the reeds produced a big fat and rich tone, which was picked up by a pickup system converting the tone into electric energy and leading the tone out of the built in speakers on the front of the piano. The Wurlitzer Electric Piano was born.
The Wurlitzer was in some ways relatively similar to the Rhodes regarding it’s construction and it’s design, but it was also in many ways different. The Wurlitzer was a lot lighter than the Rhodes (who weights at least twice as much) and therefore a lot easier to transport and to carry on the road. It also had built-in speakers with a separate monitor speaker, and a built-in tremolo which early Stage models of the Rhodes did not have.
Wurlitzer released their first electric piano in the beginning of the 1950s. The piano received great attention from the branch organizations and in 1956 the first Wurlitzer album was made by Sun Ra and Demons at Play. Another contributing fact which helped launch the piano was Ray Charles elegant Wurlitzer playing on his huge hit “What I’d Say” from 1959 which gave the Wurlitzer increasing attention. The most famous models are the Wurlitzer 100 and its improved version, the Wurlitzer 200 which replaced the 100 in 1969. The Wurlitzer quickly reached great successes, in particular during the 1960s and the 70s. The piano quickly became popular among touring bands who found it to be a lot lighter than the Rhodes and that the Wurlitzer’s sound more easily could fit into a guitar based band than a Rhodes. The Wurlitzer proved to be useful in more pop and rock oriented music were the Wurlitzer’s thicker and rougher tone easily could be used as a replacement to the guitar. As the popularity of the Wurlitzer grew, keyboardists seemed to become more and more divided into two camps, Rhodes or Wurlitzer. The Wurlitzer however, do work very well in soul/funk music as well as in pop and rock. A great example of that is the soul and funk music of legendary Donny Hathaway, who easily fits the Wurlitzer into his music.
Today it is quite hard to get a hold of a Wurlitzer in good condition. They are sadly not the most frequently used keyboard instrument in the music industry and are quite rare these days. However, if you are not into to much rush, got a fat wallet, and are a bit lucky there are some for sale.