Saturday, 14 March 2015

Ace Tone / Roland - Rhythm Ace FR-2L

This beautiful drum machine was produced in 1967. It was the second drum to be manufactured by Ace Tone, which was destined to become Roland (1972). The Rhythm Ace was developed by Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder of Ace Tone.

In 1967 the Hammond Organ Company also distributed Rhythm Ace products under the Hammond brand. The Ace Tone FR-2L was also sold as the Hammond Auto (1972).

The Cymbal, Claves & Snare buttons are very useful on the FR-2. In comparision the FR-1 had voice cancelling buttons for Cymbal, Clave, Cowbell and Bass Drum.

The sound of this machine is wonderful. It's very closein tone to my FR-1. It's warm analogue tones are as beautiful as any of my drum machines ... even the CR 78 and TR-808. The circuit boards are all discrete components.

The controls are as simple as they come. Just 2 knobs for volume & tempo.
The rhythms are all preset. You can push two buttons in at the same time to create more complex patterns.

Looks like this was meant to sit on top of an organ. It's lovely to behold.
As far as I can tell, the FR-2 came in 2 models The FR-2L which you can see above &
the Hammond Auto Rhythm FR-2D which came out in 1972. The FR-2D is almost identical to the 2L apart from having a solid wood book stand & a black face plate.

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

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