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Discs

Here is the complete list of all the discs that were officially released for the Optigan, along with their original cover art, catalog blurbs, sound samples in mp3 format, and liner notes written by myself. The sound samples feature one special effect switch, followed by two chord buttons and a single note from the keyboard scale.

While most of the discs could be purchased individually (like records), most of them were also available in various bundles, which they are organized in for our purposes here. We often have some of the more common discs for sale at Shoptigan. If you would like to find others to buy/trade with, please go to the Swaptigan Forum. Otherwise, you can buy a copy of our Optigan/Talentmaker/Orchestron Sample CD-ROM.

The Starter Set

  • Big Organ & Drums
  • Pop Piano Plus Guitar
  • Latin Fever
  • Guitar in 3/4 Time

Entertainment Folio 1/Six Pak

  • The Blues Sweet & Low
  • Waltz Time
  • Folk & Other Moods- Guitar
  • Nashville Country
  • Banjo Sing-Along
  • Bossa Nova Style

Entertainment Folio 2

  • Gay 90s Waltz
  • Cha Cha Cha!
  • Hear and Now
  • Big Band Beat
  • Dixieland Strut
  • Bluegrass Banjo

Entertainment Folio 3

  • New Orleans Blues
  • Gospel Rock
  • Guitar Boogie
  • Swing It!
  • Champagne Music
  • Country Waltz

New Highlight 6

  • Romantic Strings (in 3/4 Time)
  • Big Top Marching Band
  • Polynesian Village
  • Singing Rhythm
  • Rollin’ Easy
  • Movin’

Joyous Sounds of Christmas

  • Majestic Pipe Organ
  • Sleigh Ride

Polka! Style Pak

(made by Opsonar)

  • Polka Music
  • Mazurka Music

Songs of Praise Style Pak

(made by Opsonar)

  • Cathedral Organ
  • Vox Humana

Country Style Pak

(made by Opsonar)

  • Down Home
  • Country Sunshine

Triple Header/Four Pack

  • Classic Guitar
  • Rock And Rhythm
  • Easy Does It With Vibes
  • Organ Sing Along

Test Discs

  • Test Disc T123
  • Test Disc T125
  • Test Disc T110

About the Liner Notes

Given the fact that complete and accurate details are not available for the Optigan recording sessions, I’ve had to simply do my best to piece together the information found below. This information primarily comes from the session notes attached to each of the mixdown master reels, but given the fact that these are merely MIXDOWN reels, they contain little information (if any) about the actual recording sessions themselves.

I began compiling these notes by attempting to pinpoint all of the who/what/when/where/why (why?!) for each individual disc, but soon discovered this strategy to be very time consuming and not very fruitful. In most cases it’s simply not clear whether the notes refer to recording studios vs. mixdown studios and recording dates vs. mixdown dates. So what I eventually decided to do was to simply make a complete list of studios and studio personnel, which can be thought of as the general technical forces of the Optigan recording project. Under each disc, however, will be listed whatever information is known about musicians and also the associated dates that are cited for those sessions. As I said before, it is almost always unclear as to whether these dates refer to recordings sessions or mixdown sessions, so I’ve opted not to try to guess. Instead, I offer the dates simply to give a basic orientation as to what time frame each disc’s general sessions took place.

The Rarity ratings are, of course, only relative to other Optigan discs, and very compiled from my fairly subjective viewpoint. Some discs may be more common in other parts of the country. Here is the rating system I used:

  • EC: Extremely Common
  • C: Common
  • UC: Uncommon
  • R: Rare
  • ER: Extremely Rare
  • IR: Incredibly Rare

Optigan Recording and Mixdown Studios

  • EMI Studios, Cologne, Germany
    (All of the earliest Optigan sessions were recorded in Germany in an effort to cut costs. German session musicians were apparently a lot cheaper than American session musicians, and the same might be said for studio and engineer rates as well. The German sessions are generally credited to the “Mattel Special Projects Band.” Most of these sessions were rough and improvised, but a large amount of the material recorded there did actually make it onto disc: in fact, roughly half of all Optigan discs feature German material.)
  • Western Recorders, Hollywood, CA
  • Golden West Sound Studios, Hollywood, CA
  • Wally Heider Recording, Hollywood, CA
  • Quantum Recording Studio, Torrance, CA
  • Whitney Recording Studio, Glendale, CA
    (The Whitney Studio, owned by Lorin Whitney, was home to the Whitney Pipe Organ, which is featured on countless recordings of sacred music.)

Optigan Producers and Recording / Mixdown Engineers

Generally speaking, most of the Optigan sessions were produced by Marshall Pearlman, with Mike LeDoux joining in during the post-German sessions. Johnny Largo can also be thought of as a producer during the post-German sessions, although his voice is not heard quite so often on the tapes. Johnny was apparently more responsible for contracting the talent.

There is almost no information available about who engineered the Optigan sessions other than that alot of the LA work seems to have been handled by Bruce Ellison of Bruce Productions, Ltd.

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