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Ace Tone

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Ace Tone TOP-1

Ace Electronic Industries Inc., or Ace Tone, was a manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, including electronic organs, analogue drum machines, and electronic drums, as well as amplifiers and effects pedals. Founded in 1960 by Ikutaro Kakehashi with an investment by Sakata Shokai, Ace Tone can be considered an early incarnation of the Roland Corporation, which was also founded by Kakehashi.[1] Ace Tone began manufacturing amplifiers in 1963.[1]



Ikutaro Kakehashi began learning practical mechanical engineering as a teenager, and found there was a demand for electronics repair in Japan following the end of World War II. After recovering from tuberculosis in 1954, he opened a goods store in Osaka and began assembling and repairing radios.[2] He attempted to build an electric organ in the late 1950s from spares, including parts of an old reed organ, telephones and electronic components, and started a business in 1960, initially making amplifiers. He subsequently designed an organ that was sold by Matsushita.[3]

In 1964, Kakehashi designed his first hand playing electronic drum, the R1 Rhythm Ace, constructed from transistor circuitry. It was designed to be attached below the manuals on a home organ, and had six buttons that created a variety of percussion sounds. It was presented at that year's NAMM Show. However, it lacked automatic accompaniment and so was unsuccessful.[3]

In 1965, Ace Tone established a US distribution agreement with Sorkin. In 1967, the company introduced the Rhythm Ace FR-1, which allowed a variety of automatically-played popular rhythms with a variable tempo. It was commercially successful and led to partnership with the Hammond Organ Company, who added Ace Tone's rhythm units to its range of instruments.[3] At the end of the 1960s, Ace Tone began manufacturing guitar effects boxes, such as fuzz which was modelled on an earlier Gibson model.[4]



Electronic Keyboards




Combo Organ

  • TOP-1[6][8] (1968 or 1969)[9]
  • TOP-3 (Phenix)[7] (1965)[9]
  • TOP-4 (Phenix) [citation needed]
  • TOP-5[9] (c. 1969)
  • TOP-6 (c. 1972)[9][10]
  • TOP-7[9]
  • TOP-8[9]
  • TOP-9[6][Media 3] (1968 or 1969)[9]
  • GT-2 (c. 1975)[11] — predecessor of Hammond X-2 (c. 1978) and possibly Hammond B-100W (c. 1983)
  • GT-5 (c. 1971)[11][Media 4] — predecessor of Ace Tone X-3/X-3W (c. 1978) and possibly Hammond B-250W (c. 1983)
  • GT-7[10][Media 5] (1971)[9] — predecessor of Hammond X-5 (c. 1978) and Hammond B-200 (c. 1980).
  • X-3/X-3W (c. 1978)[12] — although model name evokes Hammond X series, it was shipped under Ace Tone brand.
combo organ accessories

Home Organ

Ace Tone unknown  home organ model. (possibly Ace 3000 in the 1970s)

Organs (OEM)

National SX-601 (1963) exhibited at Roland Corporation Hamamatsu Lab.
Hammond VS-300 Cadette (1973–?)
  • National (Panasonic) SX-601 (1963)[7][8]
  • Hammond VS-300 Cadette (1973–?) — although early Cadettes was built in Japan by Yamaha/Nippon Gakki, later models in the United Kingdom was built by Ace Tone/Nihon Hammond.[Note 1][Note 2]
  • Hammond F 1000 / 2000 / 3000 (1970s) — these models built in England in the 1970s, were variations of Ace 1000 / 2000 / 3000 designed & built in Japan, based on Hammond Cadette series.[14]

Electronic Piano

  • AP-100 Electronic Piano[11]





Drum Machines

FR-2L / Hammond Auto
FR-3S, sold under the Multivox brand. Note that it share several similarities with Korg Minipops.[Note 3]

Note: Rhythm Ace series were known to be shipped under multiple brands as follows:

Since 1967, Hammond Organ Company distributed Rhythm Ace under Hammond brand.
Hammond Auto-Vari 64
(based on Roland Rhythm 77)
[A][H] Ace Tone model also shipped from Hammond.
[R][H] Hammond shipped far improved model based on Roland's improved model.
[S][H] Hammond models manufactured by Nihon Hammond.
In the 1970s, possibly several models were also distributed under Multivox brand by Sorkin Music, an early general agent of Ace Tone in the United States.[Media 17] On the other hand, late-1970s models such as Multivox FR-3 seem to share several similarities with Korg Minipops.[Note 3]
[M]     Multivox models
[A][M] Also shipped from Multivox
In the mid-1970s, "ACE TONE" brand was taken over by Sakata/Nihon Hammond.[Note 2]
[S]     Sakata/Nihhon Hammond models
[A][S] Also shipped from Sakata/Nihhon Hammond.
In 1972, Kakehashi left Ace Electronics and established Roland Corporation.
Roland Rhythm 77
(based on FR-7L)
[R]     Roland released improved models in 1972:


An Ace Tone Mighty-5 Amplifier

Guitar Amplifiers

Tube Amplifiers
  • A-10 Fighter
  • Mighty-5 (Head/Cab) — 50Watt
  • Rockey (Combo) — 15 Watt 1× 12"
  • Elite (Combo) — 4 Watt, 1× 8" (a.k.a. Model A-1R)
  • Duetto (Combo)
  • Model-101 (Combo) — 1× 8"
  • Model-201 (Combo)
  • Model-301 (Combo)
  • Model-601 (Head/Cab) (c. 1968)

Bass Amplifiers


Vocal Amplifiers/Channel Mixer

  • VM-4 Solid State Channel Mixer (4ch Powered Mixer)[6]
  • VM-6 (6ch Powered Mixer)[6]
  • VM-30 (Combo)[6][10][13]
    • SL-30 (Powered Cab for VM-30)[6]
  • VM-45 (Combo)[11]
  • VM-50/VS-50 (Powered Mixer/Cab)[11]
  • Channel Mixer VM-80 Professional/VS-80 (6ch Powered Mixer/Cab)[8][10][11][13]
  • VM-85/VS-85 (Powered Mixer/Cab)[11]
  • VM-150/VS-150 (Powered Mixer/Cab)[10][11]
  • VM-200 (Powered Mixer with Wireless Mic & Cab)[13]
  • Echo Mixer MP-4 (4ch Mixer)[6]
  • MP-40 (4ch Mixer)[11][12]
  • PH-1 (Mixer)[12]
  • PH-2 (Mixer)[12]
  • PH-600S (Powered Cab)[12]
  • PH-1200S (Powered Cab)[12]

Speaker Systems

  • BSP-6 — 2× 12" speakers[13]
  • SP-15 — 1× 15" Gold Bond speaker[13]
  • SP-30 — 2× 15" Gold Bond speakers[13]
  • SP-35 — 2× 15" extra massive speakers[13]
  • SP-45 — 3× 15" Gold Bond speakers[13]
  • SP-10 — 2× 15" + 2× 8" speakers[13]
  • SP-410 — 4× 15" speakers[13]


  • AD-171 Dynamic Microphone[11][12]
  • AE-181 Electret Condencer Microphone[11]
  • AD-191 Dynamic Microphone[12]
  • AD-201 Dynamic Microphone[12]
  • Mic Adapter MP-1 (2ch Mic Preamp)
  • Multi-Vox EX-100 (Wind Instrument Preamp)[6]
  • Psyche Light PL-125[6]
  • Tuning Gun AT-32 (Tuner)[6]

See also



  1. ^ "Hammond VS-300". The Organ Forum. December 20, 2012. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. Out of interest, certainly as far as the UK goes, only the very early Cadettes were built by Yamaha. The UK's VS300 was built by Ace Tone, as were all small Hammonds by then. ... You can tell by the cabinet styling and the pedals used. If the cab and pedals look like a B series Yamaha, then that's who made the organ. Otherwise it's an Ace Tone. The plate on the back will either say Yamaha/Nippon Gakki or Nihon Hammond.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nihon Hammond: In the mid-1970s, Ace Electronic Industries Inc. was restructured and "ACE TONE" brand was taken over by Nihon Hammond established circa 1970, a joint enterprise of Hammond Organ Company in Chicago and Sakata Shokai in Osaka, Japan.
  3. ^ a b "MULTIVOX RHYTHM ACE FR-3 – Vintage Rhythm Box 1979 – HD Demo". MatrixSynth. June 3, 2012. This is a quite rare little analog rhythm box from 1979. ... The mechanical hardware looks to me like old Korg Minipops units. Was Korg involved? ;-)
  4. ^ In 1967, FR-1 was introduced as option of Hammond organ.
  1. ^ Ace Tone Canary S-2. organ69 (image).
  2. ^ Ace Tone Canary S-3. organ69 (image).
  3. ^ a b Ace Tone Top-9 Combo Organ. EstEcho (images).
  4. ^ Ace Tone GT-5. Orgel Wiki (image).
  5. ^ Ace Tone GT-7. Orgel Wiki (image).
  6. ^ Ace Tone B 422. VintageSynth.hu (image).
  7. ^ Ace Tone Multistrings SY-5 (image). Audio Playground Synthesizer Museum. Archived from the original on June 30, 2008.
  8. ^ Ace Tone PS1000 Monophonic Synth. EstEcho (images).
  9. ^ Ace Tone 2 VCOs monophonic synthesizer SY-100 (image). Vintage Synth Explorer forum. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. ^ Ace Tone EC-20 Echo Chamber. EstEcho (images).
  11. ^ Ace Tone Twin Ace (FW-1). effector.hamazo.tv (images).
  12. ^ Ace Tone Wah Master (WM-1). effector.hamazo.tv (images).
  13. ^ Ace Tone Rhythm Producer FR-15. EstEcho (images).
  14. ^ Caknobs (December 30, 2011). [caknobs] RhythmProducer FR-15's instructions (with CMU-810 FaderBoard). YouTube (video). Today's main machine is "ACE TONE RhythmProducer〔FR-15〕". This RhythmBox was born in 1975. This time, I made the system, without sampling FR-15's sound.
  15. ^ Ace Tone Rhythm Fever FR-106. EstEcho (images).
  16. ^ a b c "Dubsounds Hammond Auto-Vari 64 Samples", Vintage Drums, Dubsounds
  17. ^ "Multivox Archive Page". (images). Audio Playground Synthesizer Museum. Archived from the original on May 21, 2003.


  1. ^ a b "Lifetime-Achievement-Award Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi" Archived April 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Musikmesse International Press Award 2002, 2002, retrieved April 2, 2006
  2. ^ Lenhoff & Robertson 2019, p. 307.
  3. ^ a b c Lenhoff & Robertson 2019, p. 310.
  4. ^ The Boss Book : The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Popular Compact Effects for Guitar. Hal Leonard. 2001. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-634-04480-9.
  5. ^ a b Ikutaro Kakehashi (March 2003). I believe in music. Hal Leonald Corp. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-634-03783-2.
    In 1964, Canary S-2 and R-1 Rhythm Ace were exhibited on Summer NAMM, but finally not released.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa acetone 1969
  7. ^ a b c d e All About Electronic & Electric Musical Instruments. Seibundo ShinkoSha. 1966. ASIN B000JAAXH6, 電子楽器と電気楽器のすべて.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Stachowiak 2012
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Combo Organ Heaven 2006
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab acetone 1972
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Ace Tone 1975
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak acetone 1978
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u acetone 1971
  14. ^ a b "Hammond F 1000/2000/3000 Series", De Hammond Encyclopedia (in Dutch), Hammond Toonwielorgelvereniging Netherland [Hammond Organ Club Holland], retrieved August 6, 2013
  15. ^ Gordon Reid (November 2004). "The History Of Roland Part 1: 1930–1978". Sound on Sound (Nov. 2004). Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
    Precisely, R-1 was not a drum machine, but a hand-operated electronic percussion.
  16. ^ a b acetone 1976