Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ace Tone FR-3

The Ace Tone FR-3 was released in 1967.
The FR3 was also sold in the USA as the  Hammond Rhythm 2.

To make matters more confusing the newly founded Roland Corporation released an improved version of the FR3 in 1972. They called it the Roland Rhythm 33 ( TR-33)

Anyway, this pre-Roland made rhythm box was designed by the great Mr Kakehashi. . It has beautiful percussion sounds !!!  Pure analog. A common problem however is a hum caused by the power transformer. It appears that the position of the transformer is too close to the gyrators (coils & caps). A easy fix is to move the transformer ... outside the case or away from those coils.

At the moment, this machine is all original, with faults and all. I think the hum is part of the charm. 
There are mods out on the net for adding drum triggers, midi clock, etc.

Ace Tone  itself was was  founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in 1960. Their first products were amplifiers.
They became the Roland Corporation.

The Rhythm Ace series of drum machines were sold under multiple names: Hammond & Multivox  in the USA, Bentley in the UK
For example the Roland Rhythm 77 (1972) was sold in the UK as the Bentley  & in the USA as the Hammond Auto-Vari 64 (1964). The equivalent Acetone was the Ace Tone FR-7L.

 The Ace Tone FR-2L as called the Hammond Auto  in the USA (1972).

So in 1972, when Kakehashi left Ace Electronics and established Roland Corporation
he released improved models  of the FR-3 & FR-7

The Ace Tone FR-3L became the Roland Rhythm 33 (1972, TR-33)
The Ace Tone FR-7L became the  Roland Rhythm 77 (1972, TR-77)

For more info on the history of Roland Drum Machines click here


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  2. I would think that this guy is closer to the Tr-55, looking almost identical, no?

  3. They are all very similar. The FR6 is supposed to be the rebadged TR55 (internally). Externally, yes I think the FR3 looks like a 55