Setting the Moog for Musicians Everywhere

Moog Synth

It’s not possible to discuss electronic music without encountering the influence of Bob Moog. One of the first inventors of the portable synthesizer back in the late ’60s, his instruments have been used by a myriad of musicians and artists, from The Beach Boys to Aerosmith to John Cage.

Whether it’s the overdriven monophonic synth bass powering bands like Parliament and Devo, or the whirling Theremin sounds used by Jimmy Page in Whole Lotta Love and No Quarter, Moog Music has been a driving force. And since Bob’s passing in 2005, his current legacy is only gathering steam.

This past weekend rang in Moogfest 2010, a three day festival in Asheville, NC, where Bob spent the last few decades of his life. With more than 60 acts ranging from bands to DJs to Theremin soloists to synth geeks playing at five different venues in downtown Asheville, the event averaged 7,000 to 7,500 people daily to help raise money for the Bob Moog Foundation. The foundation’s goal: the creation of a “Moogseum” in Asheville centered on Bob’s extensive archives.

Today, Moog Music makes an incredible array of electronic instruments, ranging from their signature analog synths to pedals to guitars to iPhone Apps. Here’s a quick look at some of the goodies:

The Moog Guitar

Etherwave Theremin

Moogerfooger Ring Modulator Guitar Demo

Filtatron iPhone app

One constant point of contention is the pronunciation of his last name. Though many people, including members of his extended family, pronounced it “moo-g” as in the sound from a cow, I recently found out that he preferred that which rhythms with “vogue”. During one NAMM show some years ago, when Jim and I approached the Moog booth to discuss how might be able to work together, the sales rep went to find Robert Moog himself to talk to us. As we waited and I started to fret about which pronunciation of Moog I was going to add to the “Mr.” in my head as I addressed him, he appeared, stuck out his hand, and preemptively said, “Hi, I’m Bob …”

And so Bob he became.

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