Bob Moog on the Minimoog

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Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby synthmax » Sat May 16, 2009 8:10 pm

I was watching videos of Bob Moog around the web, and it got me thinking about the man himself. I would argue that the instrument he is most known for is the Minimoog, which is, of course a small sampling of his larger and more sophisitcated creations. As an engineer, I wonder if he took great pride in the Minmoog, or did he secretly resent that it was not some more sophisticated creation that took the spotlight?

I am an engineer by training, and I tend to value my work by how much of a miraculous feet of technical achievement it is. Whereas, to users and managers, it could be the simplest thing that was just right that matters. I wonder if Bob went with the flow and enjoyed the success of this instrument, or did he in ways try to play it down and always have an eye on the next technical miracle?
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Murderhausen » Sat May 16, 2009 8:19 pm

Bill Hemsath invented the Minimoog.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby adhmzaiusz » Sat May 16, 2009 10:36 pm

I think he prided himself mainly on this:
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Because it was a breakthrough, and you see why its called a ladder
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby xpander » Sat May 16, 2009 10:57 pm

synthmax wrote:As an engineer, I wonder if he took great pride in the Minimoog, or did he secretly resent that it was not some more sophisticated creation that took the spotlight?

well, he liked it enough to remake it. from what i've seen with different designers, the ultimate satisfaction comes from seeing any of their instruments used to create music- it doesn't matter which instrument or what type of music.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Dj Pound » Sat May 16, 2009 11:00 pm

What a brilliant mind.

....Sometimes i ponder what the electronic music world would of been like had Bob not been born?
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby seamonkey » Sun May 17, 2009 10:18 am

When I purchased my Andromeda, I was given a copy of the Bob Moog DVD. It's a wonderful look into the man who gave us the Moog products. It's not an in-depth look into the history of Bob but it's nice spending some time with him and listen to his stories.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Christopher Winkels » Sun May 17, 2009 1:36 pm

It's a good question.

I think if one creates anything that has resonance (pardon the choice of word, but it's appropriate) with other people - where those people use, value and indeed venerate the object in question it's is bound to be a source of price.

Sure, Bob Moog might have been more personally proud of the large modular systems he engineered, but that would likely have been tempered by the realization that those were instruments costing many multiples of what a Mini did. By dint of that alone they were not going to end up in the hands of many players. Add to that the issue of size, ergonomics, portability (always an issue for live musicians) and relative robustness and it's easy to see why the Mini became what he was most closely associated with.

Engineers too sometimes lose sight of the fact that the best engineering solution isn't always the ideal product for the public at large.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Yoozer » Mon May 18, 2009 8:54 am

Dj Pound wrote:....Sometimes i ponder what the electronic music world would of been like had Bob not been born?


Since we still had Don Buchla, Dave Smith, Alan Pearlman et al - maybe not that different ;).
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby elmacaco » Mon May 18, 2009 4:43 pm

The interesting thing about the minimoog and bob is that it was made and created not by him, and against his direct orders. I think the guy Murderhausen mentions is the guy who slapped together a small portable system out of factory scraps, the short keyboard was from a keyboard that snapped in two and couldn't be used for the modulars, etc. When they showed it to bob and asked if they could make a few to see if musicians liked it he trashed the idea and said no... then he went on vacation and they did it anyway, and essentially saved the company.

I think the story is at the moogarchives site. Pretty amazing. Still Bob's circuits, but it's funny how he gets the credit for an instrument he didn't create and also tried to quash!
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby gs » Tue May 19, 2009 10:57 pm

If you follow the story of the Minimoog from an article at Sound on Sound, it says the actual idea came from Gene Zumcheck, a Moog employee, who built his own portable monosynth called the Sonic 5. He showed it to Bob and the team, Bob didn't like the idea, and the rest of the team that included Hemsath put together the first Mini based on Zumcheck's Sonic 5 design. Soon afterward Moog fired Zumcheck and actually kept his schematics for the Sonic 5, made a few changes, and put out the Sonic 6 based on that.

Not to take away from Bob Moog, I love the guy, love the movie, and everything about him. These were simply the company politics and stuff from the day, these things happen.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Bitexion » Tue May 19, 2009 11:33 pm

I think the synth as we know it would have been "invented" no matter what. Just like someone else would invent the telephone if Bell didn't patent it first. I mean, the theory about sound waves and synthesis has been around since the 1800's.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Murderhausen » Tue May 19, 2009 11:43 pm

I don't know about Gene Zumchek (or whatever that name was, should have quoted), but if he did invent the Sonic V, he would have been a Musonics employee while doing so. The Sonic V was pioneered by Bill Waytena who couldn't sell the thing without a name, and ended up buying Moog for nothing more than their debts of $250,000. Waytena was a venture capitalist and not an engineer, though, so I would believe that someone else designed his first synth and remained under his employ when Moog was taken over by Musonics.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Murderhausen » Tue May 19, 2009 11:44 pm

Bitexion wrote:I think the synth as we know it would have been "invented" no matter what. Just like someone else would invent the telephone if Bell didn't patent it first. I mean, the theory about sound waves and synthesis has been around since the 1800's.


I agree that surely someone would have created a portable, performance-oriented synthesizer had Moog's company not done so first.
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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby Micke » Wed May 20, 2009 2:32 pm

Here's an interesting story on the birth of the Minimoog:
http://fiftieth.shotnews.net/NSF/pinch.pdf

According to this writing it'd appear that the idea for a portable performance-oriented synthesizer came from Bill Hemsath. Co-designers were Jim Scott, Chad Hunt and Bob Moog.

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Re: Bob Moog on the Minimoog

Postby OriginalJambo » Wed May 20, 2009 11:29 pm

To be honest from what I've read in Analog Days and seen in the Moog documentary it seems quite apparent that Bob was immensely fond of the Theremin, possibly more so than his own creation.
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