Seeing Double: Wurlitzer 700
It's always a pleasure to have two examples of the same vintage model in stock, but these Wurlitzer 700s are extra exciting. The 700 is not as well-documented as the later plastic-top Wurlitzer 200, and are often overlooked by collectors because of their traditional spinet-style cabinets. (This is a mistake: the 700 is a tone machine, with a tube amp and a 12" speaker.)
Acquiring two 700s gave us the rare opportunity to compare two rare electronic pianos. It is unusual but not surprising that consumers apparently had multiple finish options on the 700. Because Wurlitzer manufactured acoustic pianos (14,000 in 1965 alone!), they certainly had the resources to offer a choice between oak and mahogany. Although the design of the pianos is pretty utilitarian - neat lines, extraneous ornamentation kept to a minimum - the wood grain is lush and beautiful. The 700 was clearly for consumers that liked their pianos equal parts practical and heirloom-quality.
The other major difference is the location of the volume knob, the headphone jack, and the indicator light. On the oak 700, all of these are located on the cheek block. On the mahogany version, the volume knob is on the fallboard, while the headphone jack and indicator light are on the bottom panel. It's a subtle distinction, but it does affect the overall aesthetic of the piano. Putting all of the visible electronic elements on the cheek block gives the consumer a mini control panel, underscoring how futuristic the whole "amplified piano" concept is. On the other hand, the mahogany 700 emphasizes its traditional side by scattering the parts discreetly across the wooden case. Either way, the 700 is tradition and technology unified. The details are simply different ways of approaching the overlap.
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