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Publication numberUS3257494 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 21, 1966
Filing dateAug 1, 1963
Priority dateAug 1, 1963
Publication numberUS 3257494 A, US 3257494A, US-A-3257494, US3257494 A, US3257494A
InventorsBrent Starck
Original AssigneeStarck Piano Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Volume control means for musical instruments comprising hand operator roller bar
US 3257494 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

3,257,494 MPRISING June 21, 1966 B. sTARcK- VOLUME CONTROL MEANS FOR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CO HAND OPERATOR ROLLER BAR Filed Aug. 1, 1963 PRE- AM P.

POWER AM F.

GAI N CONTROL VOICE NET WORK KEY SWITCH SWELL CONTROL IVIDERS PEDAL KEY 5W- PEDAL DIVIDERS s 257 494 VOLUME CONTROII MEANS FOR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS COMPRrsING HAND OPER- ATOR ROLLER BAR .Brent Starck, Wilmette, Ill., assigner to P. A. Starck Piano Co., Chicago, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Filed Aug. 1, 1963, Ser. No. 299,217 6 Claims. (Cl. {i4- 1.09)

This invention relates to improved control means for musical instruments and, more particularly, to improved means for controlling volume output of musical instruments employing electronic sound systems.

Musical instruments utilizing electronic sound producing and amplifying systems, such as electronic organs, typically include, among various other control means, some type of control for regulating the volume output of the sound amplier. Electronic organs particularly employ a so-called swell control which is designed to provide the operator with a convenient means for giving expression to the music by gradually or abruptly changing the audible volume output of the instrument. In the past, such swell controls on organs have been operated by foot engageable pedals or, in other instances, by a manual control knob or key located generally adjacent the instruments manual keyboard. However, such previously known control means have not proven fully satisfactory due largely to their inconvenient location and accessibility. For example, the foot pedal operating means are usually located to one side of a foot operated bass pedal keyboard and it is normal practice for the operator to maintain one foot on the expression or swell control pedal during play ofthe instrument, leaving the other foot free to manipulate the various pedals of the bass keyboard. In certain instances, depending on the extent of the bass keyboard, this requires an awkward cross-over of the operators legs. In other instances, it is necessary to use both feet to manipulate the bass keyboard, thereby making the swell control unavailable for operation. In installations where the swell control has been provided adjacent the upper manual keyboards, the same is generally placed adjacent one end of the keyboards. Generally such manual swell control means constitute either a rotatable control knob or a depressible key which, in either event, must be manually engaged by the operator. It will be understood that in such installations, use of the operators hand to manipulate the swell control necessarily prevents use of that hand, at least temporarily, for playing the instrument.

In view of such deliiciencies, the need for improving such control means, particularly as applied to electronic organs, is apparent andit is to this that the present invention is directed. In this respect, it will be appreciated that while the present invention is hereinafter described "in association'with an electronic piano-organ instrument,

itsfeatures are also applicable to other types of electronic instruments, for example, electronic guitars, where volume control means are employed.

In brief, the present invention comprises a unique manually engageable, horizontal roller bar means for controlling operation of a variable rheostat in circuit with the electronic sound amplifying system associated with a musical instrument, such as an electronic organ. One of the more novel ,aspects of the present control means "resides in thelocation and mounting of the rotatable roller barin juxtaposition to and substantially along the vlength ,of a manual keyboard of the organ instrument so that the same is conveniently engageable substantially throughout the playing range of the keyboard. Swell control operation to achieve desired volume expression is brought about simply by engaging the roller bar with the palm of the hand and rotating the same, while the Patented June 21, 1966 "ice tion is directed to improved control means for regulating.

the swell or volume output of an electronic sound system associated with a musical instrument which is uniquely accessible to the operators hand throughout the registry of the keys or'other means by which the instrument is played.

The main object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved control means for use in electronic musical instruments whereby to manually regulate the volume output of the electronic sound system thereof.

Another important object of this invention is to provide a new and improved control means, as aforesaid, which is manually engageable and operable by the operators hand while the same hand continues to manipulate or play the instrument.

A still further object of this invention is to provide a new and improved manually operable means for volume control of electronic musical instruments which includes means for adjustably accommodating the operating sensitivity of the control means to the individual operators touch.

A -still further and important object of this invention is to provide a new and improved swell control means which is manually engageable by the operator of an electronic musical instrument and is particularly useful in such musical instruments wherein foot controls for such purpose are not feasible.;

The above and further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will appear from time to time in the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, where- FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of an electronic instrument embodying the control means of this invention;

FIGURE 2 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 2-2 of FIGURE l yand looking in the direction of the arrows thereon to illustrate the operational location of the control means of the present invention with respect to the manual keyboards of the instrument;

' FIGURE 3 is another cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIGURE l and looking in the direction of the arrows thereon to illustrate the structural features of the present invention;

FIGURE 4 is another cross-sectional View taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 3 and looking in the direction of the arrows thereon; and

FIGURE 5 is a schematic diagram of a typical electronic sound reproducing network employed in the instrument lof FIGURE 1 and illustrating the relationship of the control means of the present invention thereto.

Turning now to the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in the accompanying drawings, FIGURE 1 illustrates an electronic musical instrument, designated gener-ally at 10, with which the present invention is useful. In this particular instance, instrument 10 constitutes a combined electronic piano-organ which includes a conventional cabinet 11, having a normal piano manual keyboard 12 extending substantially along the frontal Vlength of the cabinet 1v1. Disposed to the rear of keyboard 12 and elevated thereabove is a shorter organ manual keyboard 13. Associated with the organ manual and shown adjacent the left hand end thereof in FIGURE l is' an organ stop keyboard 14, while Ian on-and-off switch for controlling energization of the electronic organ is indicated at adjacent the left hand end of piano keyboard 12. The usual bass keyboard 16 for the organ is provided for foot engaging operation along the lower marginal reaches of cabinet 11 and a piano tone control pedal 17 is also provided adjacent thereto. It will be understood that the piano keyboard 12 and the tone control pedal 17 serve as the conventional operating means for the piano portion of instrument 10, while the manual organ keyboard 13, the stop keyboard 14 and the bass keyboard 16 serve in a similar capacity for operating the organ portion thereof. In this respect, the organ and piano instrument portions are capable of independent or simultaneous operation. p

As previously mentioned, the manual keyboard 13 for operating the electronic organ is disposed horizontally above and to the rear of the piano keyboard 12 flush with a substantially planar platform member 2t)` `of a supporting structure therefor. It will be noted further that the white keys of keyboard 13, typified by key 21 illustrated in FIGURE 2, are mounted so that a leading edge 22 thereof lies substantially coplanar with the fronv tal edge 23 of the platform member 20. For conveniencey of accessibility, the organ manual keyboard 13 also is offset slightly to the left of the longitudinal centerline of the instrument 10 since that keyboard is normally played by the fingers of the oper-ators left hand. Mounted intermediate the organ keyboard 13 and the piano keyboard y12, substantially forwardly adjacent of the leading edge 23 of the platform member 20 and the adjacent leading edges y22 of the white keys thereof illustrated in FIGURE 2, is the improved control means of this invention indicated generally by numeral in FIGURE l.

As will be understood best with reference to FIG- URES 1-3 of the drawings, the control means 30 comprises a substantially cylindrical roller bar 311 disposed horizontally between a pair of laterally spaced mounting pads or blocks 32, 33 located adjacent opposite ends of the roller bar. Such mounting blocks are iixedly secured to an underlying mounting panel 34 of the instrument cabinet 11 which extends substantially angularly upwardly between the piano keyboard 12 and the organ keyboard 13. It will readily be seen from FIGURE 2 that the mounting of the roller bar 3'1 between the blocks 32 and 33 effectively locates the same in such a position that it is readily engageable by the palm of the operators hand when the fingers of that hand are engaged with the various keys of the organ keyboard 13, thereby to provide convenient operational accessibility.

As best shown in FIGURE 3 of the drawings, the l roller bar 31, .constitutes .a substantially solid cylindrical rod, preferably made of wood or asimilar material lcompatible with cabinet 11, which is fitted at one end 35 thereof with an axle shaft 36 which extends coaxially outwardly for reception in a cylindrical sleeve bearing 37 housed within a blind bore opening 38 formed inwardly of one end of mounting block 32. Sleeve bearing 37 is preferably made of a relatively soft or pliable bearing material, such as felt or plastic.

A pair of mounting bolts 40, 41 pass upwardly through the mounting panel 34 and threadingly engage suitable openings in the block member 32 to fasten the latter in position on the panel member 34. It will be appreciated that the opening in block 32 fwhich receives mounting bolt communicates with the bearing sleeve 37 so that one end of bolt 40 engages the sleeveVV bearing while the enlarged head end thereof engages a compressible felt or rubber washer 42 disposed between itself and the adjacent face 43 of the mounting panel 34. By this expedient, the radial engagement pressure of the iiexible sleeve bearing 37 on axle member 35 maybe adjustably regulated in accordance with the threaded positioning of mounting bolt 40. This serves to eifectivelybrake the axle 35 and provides adjustable regulation of the freedom of rotation i for the roller bar 31 to accommodate its operational sensitivity to the operators, touch.

As illustrated best in FIGURE 3, the opposite end of the roller bar from that carrying the axle 35 is provided with an axial opening 45 receptive of a cylindrical operating shaft 46 associated with a variable rheostat 47; the latter being housed wit-hin chamber 48 formed internally of the second mounting block 33. The axial opening 45 of the roller bar is also formed with an enlarged stepped shoulder portion 50 at the outer end thereof and a slot 51 receptive of a connecting pin means 52 which extends through the operating shaft 46 for the rheostat. This provides positive connection between the roller bar and shaft 46 so that the same are conjointly rotatable. This interconnecting arrangement is particularly illustrated in FIGURE 4 of the drawings.

Mounting block 33 is hollowed out at one end to provide the internal chamber 48, previously mentioned, which receptively houses the rheostat 47. Thus chamber 48 is enclosed on two sides by the Wall portions 53 and 54 ofthe mounting block. The remainder of chamber 46 is substantially closed over by a met-al mounting bracket formed with two transversely related wall portions 55 and 56, theV latter receiving screw means 57 therethrough for connecting the mounting bracket to the mounting block 33. Wall portion 5S is formed with a central opening for passage of the rheostat operating shaft 46, while the rheostat unit 47 itself is supported by wall 55 and affixed thereto by a pair of locking nut members 59, 60 disposed on opposite sides of wall 55 and threadingly mounted on a threaded cylindrical collar 61 extending outwardly from one end of the rheostat unit in surrounding relation with the operating shaft 46 so that the latter is rotatable therewithin. Mounting bolts (not shown) corresponding to the mounting bolt means 41 associated with mounting block 32 are similarly utilized to fasten mounting block 33 to the panel 34; threaded openings (not shown) being provided for that purpose in wall portion 56 of the mounting bracket.

From the foregoing it will be recognized that rotational movement of the bar 31 serves to effectively adjust the variablerheostat 47 which in turn is coupled by conductor means 65 and 66 in circuit with the various electronic components and `stages of a typical electronic sound amplifying and reproducing network for the instrument. In this regard any suitable electronic network, of which numerous are known in the art, may be utilized with the present invention, but for purposes of the present description, a typical system is schematically set out in FIGURE 5 of the drawings. As shown in that figure, the rheostat 47 is connected in circuit between the power .amplifier and the other component sections of the electronic network, indicated as comprising a generator, dividers, pedal key switches, pedal dividers, key switch, voice network and preamplitier, according to recognized practice. Regardless of the particulars of the electronic network employed, those familiar with the art will readily understand that regulation of the variable rheostat 47 in the illustrated installation serves to variably adjust the output of the power ampliiier and thus the audible output of the speaker 71. This then provides the desirable swell or volume control familiar `to electronic instruments, such as electronic organs. It will also be understood that the improved control means 3G of this invention provides a conveniently accessible and manually engageable operating means in roller bar 31 for readily regulating swell control of the electronic system, thereby permitting Vthe instruments operator to achieve desired volume expression in the music; In operating the instrument 10 herein described, the player will normally manipulate the keys of the organ manual keyboard 13 with one hand while his other hand lingers keyboard12 when'playing both the piano and organ sections of the instrument. In other eircumstances, both hands may he employed on the organ keyboard. In either event, the positioning of the roller bar 31 adjacent and forward-ly of the keys of keyboard 13 automatically place-s the palm of they operators hand in a position whereby the same may conveniently engage the roller bar.

When swell control is desired in the music, the operator merely engages the roller bar and rotatably shiftsthe same appropriately to increase or decrease volume by moving his wrist upwardly or downwardly, thereby to correspondingly regulate the rheostat means 47. Importantly such operational manipulation of roller bar 31 ad vantageously may be carried out without interrupting or disengaging .the players fingers from the keys of keyboard 13. It will also be recognized that the linear extent and disposition of roller bar V31 provides operational accessibility of the control means of this invention substantially throughout the full range and extent of keyboard 13. Of added importance is the provision of the sensitivity control which serves to regulate the rotational freedom of roller bar 13 .as provided by the abovedescribed simplified brake means, comprising bearing means 37 and the mounting bolt 40 engageable therewith. By this expedient, the force necessary to effectuate rotational movement of bar 31 may be adjustably regulated to meet the touch or feel of the individual operator.

From the foregoing, it is believed that those familiar with the art will readily recognize and appreciate the unique features and advantages of the present invention which serve to mark the same as a novel departure over previously known control means of this class. It will be understood and recognized that While the control means of this invention have been described in association with an illustrated combined piano-organ instrument, such is not necessarily so limited in its use and application, but is generally applicable to electronic sound systems, particularly as lapplied in musical instruments wherein means operators hand while the same is playing the instrument, variable rheostat means having circuit connection with the Velectronic network of the instrument so as to variably regulate the volume output of the amplifying means thereof, and means operatively interconnecting said bar means and rheostat means whereby the latter may be operated in response to manipulation of said bar means.

3. In an electronic organ having electronic sound producing means including amplifying means and a m-anually engageable keyboard, improved swell control means for selectively varying the volume output of the amplifying means comprising, an operating b-ar disposed substantially along the length of and adjacent the frontal margin of the organ keyboard, means rotatably supporting said bar means at its opposite ends whereby the same is rotatable about a substantially horizontal axis in response to manual engagement `by the hand of the organ operator while that hand is manipulating the organ keyboard, variable rheostat means mounted adjacent one end of said bar means and having an operating shaft a-ligned coxially therewith, means interconnecting said operating shaft and 'said bar means for conjoint rotation whereby `adjustable operation of said rheostat means is effected by rotational movement of said bar means, and electrical circuit means interconnecting said rheostat means and the amplier means of the instruments electronic network in a manner enabling adjustable operation of the rheostat means to vary the volume output of for controlling volume output is desired. Further, while the particulars of the present invention have been described in association with a specific preferred embodiment thereof, the same is generally susceptible to modification, change and substitutions of equivalents without departing from its Aspirit and scope. A-s a consequence, it is not intended that this invention be limited by the herein above described and illustrated embodiment, except as may appear in the following appended claims.

I claim:

1. In a musical instrument having an electronic sound producing system including amplifying means and manually engageable means for playing the instrument, improved control means for selectively varying the volume output of the amplifying means comprising, ran elongated man-ually engageable actuating means comprising a roller bar rotatably mounted adjacent the means for playing the instrument and extending substantially -along the playing area of the latter so as to be readily accessible to 'and selectively operable by the instrument operators hand while that hand is manipulating the means for playing the instrument, variable rheostat means having an operating shaft mounted adjacent said actuating means, and means operatively interconnecting said actuating means and said shaft of said rheostat means whereby the latter is operatively responsive to rotatable manipulation of said actuating means, said rheostat means having circuit connection with the electronic amplifying means of the instrument-s so as to variably regulate the volume output thereof.

2. In a musical instrument having an electronic sound producing network including amplifying means and manually engageable means for playing the instrument, improved control means for selectively varying the volume output of the amplifying means comprising, an elongated rotatably mounted bar means disposed adjacent the means for playing the instrument and extending substantially along the length of the latters playing area whereby said bar means may be rotatably actuated by the instrument the amplifying means.

4. The combination as set forth in claim 3 including adjustable brake means for regulating the rotational freedom of said bar means.

5. For use in a musical instrument having an electronic sound producing system including amplifying means `and a manually engageable keyboard for playing the instrument, an improved control means for varying the volume output of the amplifying means comprising, an elongated roller bar disposed along the leading margin of the instruments keyboard, means rotatably supporting said roller bar whereby the same may be rotatably actuated by ythe hand of the instruments operator while that hand is manipulating the keyboard, variable rheostat means mounted adjacent one end of the roller bar and having circuit connection with the instruments electronic system for adjustably regu-lating the volume output thereof, means operatively interconnecting said rheostat means and roller bar whereby rotational manipulation of the latter serves to variably adjust the rheostat means and brake means associated with the roller bar for adjustably regulating the rotational freedom thereof whereby its sensitivity to the touch of the operators hand may be regulated.

6. The combination as set forth in claim 5 wherein said means supporting said roller bar comprises =a pair of mounting blocks disposed at opposite ends of said rol-ler bar, shaft means extending coaxially between said mounting blocks and said roller bar, exible sleeve bearing means mounted in one of said mounting blocks for journalling said shaft means, said bearing means being radially adjustable for regulating contacting pressure thereof with `said shaft means, and bolt means threadingly engageable with said one mounting block for fastening the same to an underlying support member and having one end engageable with said bearing means whereby the radial contacting pressure of the latter with said shaft means may be adjustably regulated in accordance with the threaded positioning of said bolt means.

References Cited bythe Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,201,232 5/1940 Helberger 84-1.27

ARTHUR GAUSS, Primary Examiner.

B. P. DAVIS, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2201232 *Apr 21, 1938May 21, 1940Helberger BrunoElectrical musical instrument
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3553336 *Jun 20, 1968Jan 5, 1971Allen Organ CoAccenter touch bar for electronic musical instrument
US3808344 *Feb 29, 1972Apr 30, 1974Wurlitzer CoElectronic musical synthesizer
US4966053 *Mar 20, 1989Oct 30, 1990John DornesMusic synthesizer with multiple movable bars
US5196640 *Feb 10, 1992Mar 23, 1993Yamaha CorporationControl mechanism for electronic musical instrument
WO1988010488A1 *Jun 27, 1988Dec 29, 1988John DornesImproved music synthesizer adjunct
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/711, 984/354, 84/718, 84/675
International ClassificationG10H1/46
Cooperative ClassificationG10H1/46
European ClassificationG10H1/46