Forgotten Artifacts: Rodriguez Jr.’s ARP-2600 Is A Childhood Dream Come True
Forgotten Artifacts explores the vintage gear found in studios around the world. This month, Rodriguez Jr. shows off his ARP-2600.
The centerpiece of my studio today is, before anything else, a childhood dream.
The ARP-2600 is part of the history of electronic music. Alongside the Minimoog, it was a way of proposing a portable synthesizer that could accompany you onstage, contrary to the giant modular synths like the Moog Modular and ARP-2500 that, at the time, were the only options in the early ‘70s.
Like all legendary instruments, the ARP-2600 has an integral philosophy and sound. Allan R. Pearlman opted to create a machine that is completely open and malleable, so you can reconfigure it based on your needs, due to the fact that it’s semi-modular. Also, the sliding scale of notes in between the pitches is not serrated, allowing you the freedom to reach any frequency out of the regular music scales.
What is interesting to note about the machines of this era is that the goal was to create a perfect instrument; they were far from the concept of “copying” or “replicating” another already existing piece of equipment.
The ARP was built in the USA using military-grade components of the utmost quality, and each machine was crafted by hand, one by one, like the original Fender Stratocasters, which are now inimitable and legendary in their own right. Back then, people didn’t purchase a new machine because it was a bargain or an excellent copy, but because it was the right and necessary piece of equipment that could do what no other did. Nowadays, we over-consume — we buy ten cheap instruments and copies of originals trying to get the right sound when, in reality, the right machine should be capable of giving you what you want.
What this machine brings to a modern studio is that the ARP requires almost no extra processing to sound great in a mix. The sounds that come out of it are perfect as they are. It is a monster, replete with a sensibility that can generate every imaginable sound, and I am so happy that it is now a central part of my signature sound.
Rodriguez Jr is currently working on a new album, due in 2020.