From the Archives: Wurlitzer 120


This Wurlitzer 120 arrived in exceptional condition. It had spent many years in the original (and only) studio, a carpeted, finished basement housing an enormous collection of jazz records. Really the only indication that this keyboard is a late-50s vintage is the splatter-paint finish. It doesn’t show any of the cosmetic wear that you’d expect from a 60-year-old piece of gear. There’s a little bit of dust in the cheek block tolex, a little bit of patina on the metal parts, and that’s it.

Back to the splatter paint (which is an amazing and underrated detail, by the way). This Wurlitzer is in such great shape that even the sharp contrast between the different colors in the splatter has been preserved. Some 120 Wurlitzers are so dirty, it’s hard to tell what color its supposed to be. But this one looks like it just left the showroom floor.

There’s a lot to say about the Wurlitzer 120’s amplifier, reeds, and mechanical action. But we still can’t get over the cheek block. The Wurlitzer 140b and 145b also have controls mounted in the cheek block, but in those models the holes are just drilled right into the wood. Here, the cheek block is lined in cream-colored tolex. It’s a beautiful detail that adds another contrasting texture to the keyboard.

Further Reading

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