Del Casher - Sonic innovator / inspiration for Birth of Roland Corp

Started by Elantric, February 06, 2017, 09:17:01 PM

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Del Casher - Sonic innovator / inspiration for birth of Roland Corp
Great evening with Del Casher,

Del Casher, Steve Conrad (Elantric)

at Thomas Nordegg's Sonica Studio

My old friend Del Casher - was involved in the Ecco-Fonic Tape Echo , Vox Wah-Wah and the 1st Roland
GR-500 Guitar Syntheziser

In 1958, Del Casher became the new guitarist for a popular instrumental group "The Three Suns"

here they are in 1953 (prior to Del Casher joining the band )

And here they are with Del Casher

QuoteWhile on tour for their album "The Three Suns in Japan", he introduced his new invention, the "Ecco-Fonic",[2] a tape echo device that was portable and could create echo effects that were previously possible only in the studio using large, expensive tape machines. At that time he became friends with Ikutaro Kakehashi, who was the founder of the Roland Music Corporation of Japan.

Later, Mr. Kakehashi, as chairman of Roland, invited Del to Japan to perform and introduce the first Roland guitar synthesizer. He signed on with Japan Victor and Japan's Union Records as a featured artist on more than 16 hit albums
If you are an old timer from Los Angeles - you might have shopped for electronic parts at
All Electronics
905 S Vermont St
Los Angeles, CA
In the late 1950's  - early 1960's this address was the home of Ecco-Fonic echo machines

Here's Del Casher (in the hat), performing with Frank Zappa and the original Mothers of Invention at the Whiskey a go go in Hollywood 1966
same stage where Johnny Rivers recorded Secret Agent Man

More old LA photos

Frank Zappa hired Del Casher to record the following tune  "Space Boy" in 1966

Del Cacher interviewed by Vintage Magazine, February 1997:

Frank Zappa was from Cucumonga; he came by one day, said he'd heard about me, and said he wanted to record something for a singer who had a song about a Russian cosmonaut who was lost in space (chuckles). I used to get these strange requests all the time, and Frank's request was no different. In those days he wasn't a guitar player, so he asked me to play guitar and bass, laying down tracks using the Ecco-Fonic to get the spacey sounds, while he played on a snare drum I had in the studio. I think this was one of the first recordings Frank did when he arrived in L.A. He was very pleasant, and he looked as weird as the sounds we created, but boy, was he talented! When he played the drum, I knew something great was going on, and we enjoyed that session so much he asked me to join his new group. I politely declined because my studio schedule was beginning to happen.....
Del Casher (aka Del Kacher) (May 21, 2006)

I produced the Florence Marly Space Boy with Frank in my Hollywood garage studio and then played guitar with the Mothers at the Shrine and the Whiskey in 1966. Later that year I developed and promoted the first wah wah ever with Vox for a 1967 release demo record and films at Universal Pictures...

He put the 'wah' in rock 'n' roll
Del Casher, a pop pioneer, helped invent the famous wah-wah pedal.
You've probably seen Del Casher, sporting a yachtsman's cap as he cruises around town in his fire-engine-red sedan, and never given him a second look. But the 73-year-old musician, who operates a sound studio on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, is one of the most critical secret weapons in America's pop music arsenal.
His credits alone are mind-boggling.
"In the 1960's, I did the Hollywood music business from A to Z," Casher said with a mischievous grin. "Played lead guitar on Gene Autry's 'Melody Ranch' TV show in the morning, and at night, Frank Zappa would hire me to sit in with the Mothers of Invention at the Whisky A Go-Go."
Casher, who arrived here from his native Indiana circa 1961, also anchored popular trio the Three Suns, was regularly featured as a soloist on "The Lawrence Welk Show," worked as in-demand studio session player with everyone from Phil Spector to Frank Sinatra, and appeared alongside Elvis Presley in 1964's "Roustabout."
Second only to Les Paul in terms of both musical skill and technical innovation, Casher developed the portable tape delay Ecco-Fonic system, the Fender Electronic Echo Chamber and, most significantly, was the first guitarist to use and record with the wah-wah pedal, a revolutionary sound effect that altered the tone and course of rock 'n' roll.
Del Casher, the creator of the wah-wah pedal, in his Burbank studio at CDP Sound, on Tuesday, November 29, 2011.
(Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Introduced by the Vox company as the Mid-Range Boost Switch, and proposed for
use with amplified trumpets, it was Casher who re-designed it, in early 1967, as
the foot pedal unit that enabled a player to re-shape his guitar tone into wild, undreamed of new capabilities.
After Casher began experimenting with it, first on a grail-like Vox marketing demo record and then formally introduced the wah-wah on the Vic Mizzy soundtracks of Phyllis Diller's "Traveling Saleslady" and Don Knotts' "The Ghost & Mr. Chicken," the new breakthrough caught the ear of numerous musicians.
Jimi Hendrix quickly elevated the distinctive effect to iconic heights on his masterpiece album "Electric Ladyland," and later, the wah-wah's undulating sound helped Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft" win an Oscar as 1972's Song of the Year.
While Casher's historic role as a behind-the-scenes wizard is impressive, the man is scarcely a relic from another age. His live performances are nothing less than flabbergasting.
Casher's wah-wah laced arrangement of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" goes beyond the exotic, his "Epiphone Blues" is an exercise in melancholy atmospherics that transports his audience into another dimension. From communicative, intricate jazz flights to finger-picking rockabilly workouts like "Big Foot," Casher's breathtaking facility and flawless playing ranks him as one of the world's top guitarists.
Casher, who has appeared locally at Viva Cantina and was a fixture at Mr. B's, both in Burbank, also has some deep Burbank broadcast roots: His performance of the NBC News Center 4 theme aired nightly from 1971 to 1988.
The guitarist currently has a regular, 6-10 p.m. gig every Wednesday at Bel Air's Luxe Sunset Hotel and, with any luck, we'll be able to find him a bit closer to home in the near future.
"I just love what I do." Casher said. "So I'm not turning down any work these days."
JOHNNY WHITESIDE is a veteran music journalist based in Burbank and
author of "Ramblin' Rose: the Life & Career of Rose Maddox" and "Cry: the Johnnie Ray Story."



Thanks for posting this. The Del Casher interview was awesome to read


Quote from: whippinpost91850 on August 18, 2017, 11:56:51 AMThanks for posting this. The Del Casher interview was awesome to read


Del Casher wrote>
QuoteTo me, Frank was one of the most exciting musicians I've known, because he went beyond being a musician. When I first met him, he said he was interested in playing guitar, and asked me what was the most expensive guitar, and I told him that the most expensive one was a Gibson ES-5, like the one I had, so he went out and bought one.

strange how life events unfold

in 1982 I worked on Frank Zappas ES-5 Switchmaster - because Frank wanted to use it, but several others had already "been inside" before me -

I had it for a week at Valley Arts and  got it working - but I understand others added more features and things are currently " very wonky "

Frank's quest was finding a tone of his own


Had opportunity to meet up with old friend Del Casher and Thomas Nordegg at LA Amp show

Thomas Nordegg , Del Casher, Steve Conrad



I´m amazed at the huge amout of usefull info this forum has.

Congrats Steve

Somehow I feel like in the old days of internet, in a good way. I missed them



1st solo = Frank Zappa
@ 2:50 is 2nd solo = Del Casher

Same band live @ The Whiskey 1966


One example of a Vox Amp with "Vox MRB (Mid Range Booster) control which inspired creation of the wah wah pedal