Archive for the ‘Sound and Video’ Category

Pioneers of electronic drums: Kraftwerk

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Here is a Youtube finding of a Kraftwerk performance from 1973 in the German culture magazine “Aspekte” with Wolfgang FlĂĽr playing his self-built electronic drum kit. Later this kit was also played on the record “Autobahn”

Sibi Siebert & Ufo Walter performing @Drummer-Meeting Salzgitter

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Here is the video I brought from the Drummer-Meeting Salzgitter last September: Sibi performing on his vintage SDSV accompanied by the fabulous bass player Ufo Walter who acts almost as a one man band with his loopers, effects and chaos pads…. enjoy!


1981 Suitcase Kit Replica

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Two weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a link to an old black plastic toolbox: “Hey, doesn’t this box have about the size as a Suitcase kit?” Indeed! It had! So he bought 2 boxes, I got one. We ordered all ingredients:

  • rubber foam (40mm and 20mm)
  • XLR connectors
  • 20mm plywood
  • black PVC
  • wire
  • transducers
  • 1 kOhm resistors
  • red felt
  • foam glue spray

The parts cost about 50 Euro. Assembling the suitcase takes a couple of hours. It is pure fun and worth every minute. Fortunately I already had an original Suitcase which I restored a couple of years ago. So I already roughly knew what to do…

Cutting the pads

…and the surfaces

assembling the pads

transducers on the backside

the slot for the connectors

those connectors haven’t changed in 4 decades

cutting the foam

soldering pad by pad. The resistors soften the signal


the bottom layer of foam

The plan



adhering the felt onto the top foam layer


cutiing the trays for the pads

the closed case

Finished, connected and ready to play

and here is a little video demo:

This Replica works very good. I don’t have any crosstalk problems and I am also looking forward to play my VST system. As we still have enough material and as I get the dimensions of Saga’s original Briefcase I am looking forward to clone this one, too.

Clap Box – A clone of the Simmons Analog Clap Trap

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

yes, it’s 2012. I just stumbled over a clone of the old Simmons Analog Clap Trap. It’s an app made by Puremagnetik.

And here’s a pic of the original:

The Stepp guitar

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

The internet is full of coincidences. Watching the Kate Bush video “Experiment IV” I was already enthusiastic about the Simmons kit when I saw the guitar player’s synth guitar.

I was sure that I have seen this before and I was right! It was the “Stepp Guitar” synthesizer.

taken from Complete Simmons Drum Book

In the “Complete Simmons Drum Book” Bob Henrit writes about the “Stepp Guitar”:

Over the last few years when I’ve been visiting either of the Simmons factories, I’ve frequently been confronted by a very futuristic guitar which has always been whisked out of sight the moment I’ve asked any questions about it. However, this bunch of hi-tech components has finally emerged as the ‘Stepp’ guitar, which now has only tenuous links with Simmons, to the sort of critical acclaim which greeted the original SDS.5 drum set. Being the go-ahead company that they are, Simmons have frequently carried out, via their ‘R and D’ department, feasibility studies on a number of percussion, and non-percussion-linked musical properties. They’ve not only looked into guitars, but also keyboards and the like.
Back in the early days at Abbey Mill, a chap called Steve Randall came along wit a sketch of a guitar on the back of a cigarette packet. This was his dream and he felt that Dave Simmons might well be able to help. They talked about the project and Dave experimented with an ARP 2600 and some pickups and applied what knowledge he had about voicing to get the equipment to produce guitar-like sound. From there he built prototypes, and then ran into so many problems that it became obvious very quickly that he’d either have to devote all of his time to the project, or none at all.
So, even though there were many times that the guitar could have been a total of Simmons venture, the board decided to pass on it in favour of drums. Steve Randall consequently took their joint work to a Cambridge consultant where it has resided ever since. Dave says that the formative ideas where mostly Steve’s, and post-Simmons he’d been searching for some time for very good brains, as well as a large amount of fonance to make the dream a reality. It has not, I understand been easy for him and has necessitated a great deal of stubborn determination to get this revolutionary guitar into the market-place.
The guitar, with its inherent complicated technology, was beset by many problems which were unfortunately not solved overnight. Dave Simmons says that, had his company remained involved, they would not have had sufficient resources left to fight their other drum battles. Obviously it would have been a great coup to have Simmons hi-tech drums and guitars, but the company decided they had a big enough battle on their hands building the market for drums, let alone guitars.
Just like Simmons drums the ‘Stepp’ guitar is unique. It’s not a bastardisation of an acoustic instrument, and they haven’t simply mounted a pickup and endeavoured to pluck control signals from the strings. They’ve taken a sideways look at the whole soncept. In their philosophy they parallel Simmons who always maintained that if you’re going to do something different, then you might just as well go the whole hog.
From bitter experience Dave knows that there are going to be guitarists who critisise the ‘Stepp’ in the same way that drummers originally derided the SDS.5 drums. They’ll probably say why should they pay a great deal of money for an instrument which sounds something like the guitar they already own? the fact is, if they’ve managed to make it sound like a guitar and play like one, then they’ve more or less ‘cracked it’. It is relatively simple then to persuade it to sound like an organ, a trumpet or perhaps even a drum!

While we discussed the guitar, Dave admitted that some of the problems Simmons have had with their products have been of their own making; they were simply too complicated. He feels that they ran perhaps too far ahead of the general public. It’s frustrating for the company, but they can understand the public too. For ‘Stepp’ guitar to be successful the people behind it will have to realise this. The player will want to pick it up, plug it in and scintillate. Because of dummy strings he may have to modify his technique a little, but otherwise one would have thought all the lessons learned from marketing Simmons electronic drums, could be just as succinctly and valuably applied to the ‘Stepp’ guitar.

(Steve Randall performing on his Stepp guitar)

What do I follow up with away from Simmons gear?

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Right, I unplug it and “pick” something else

Das Model

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Yesterday in my basement, the heart of the Simmons museum: Another proof that Simmons pads, at least my mesh head conversion, are as good as the high price japanese R****** pads but with much more sex appeal

Impressions from Ludwigsburger Trommeltage Part II

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I just finished editing part II:

By the way: Sibi exactly 25 years ago:

Impressions from Ludwigsburger Trommeltage

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The first snippet of my audio and video material is published on youtube

Sibi Siebert, who had the idea for this performance, obviously had a lot of fun…

Ludwigsburger Trommeltage

Monday, October 26th, 2009

The “Ludwigsburger Trommeltage“, famous drum event in Germany, has been a very entertaining event featuring (among others) Mike Terrano, Pete York, Carmine Appice and … last but not least … Sibi Siebert perfoming on a digital/analog hybrid Simmons kit, half SDSV, half SDX. Likely the first SDX live performance after at least 10 years (since Bill Bruford returned to acoustic drums and Danny Carrey changed to Mandala)

9 SDX pads plus 2 SDSV racks with 8 SDSV pads (cymbal included). He did a great show. And everything worked perfect (apart from his kick pedal and a noisy output at his sub mixer).I have a lot of audio and video material but it will take a couple of days to process all the raw material. Stay tuned!