Milt Playing with Pick Ups! (It's True) - Thanks to John Keene!

Access: Anonymous


If my eyes serve me correctly Milt is playing a Deagan Electravibe from the early 1970's. It sounds better than I thought it would honestly. More so on the Summertime cut than the opening cut where the more subtle mallet gestures don't really come through clearly. I found one for sale presently on a website that includes a picture of an advertisement with Bobby Hutcherson playing it also. I think a lot of the guys tried it out around that time period. The advertisement can be found here:


It was a flaky axe. The pickups were unreliable, it was easy to overload the preamps by playing strongly on it, the damper mechanism was unreliable, the bars were too narrow for four mallet playing... great idea, but never brought to a workable form by Deagan.

The only guy I know in the Philly area that played one for a long time was Danny Harmon.

I owned one of these back in 1976 after trying a Jess Oliver pickup bar. If I knew then what I know now (isn't that always the case), I think I could have made it work better with better amplification, mixer, different mallets, and of course - an adapted technique to playing one. I also seem to recall that there were models available with and without the preamp, so that may have contributed to my inability to get a decent sound out if it.

I do remember that it was extremely heavy and bulky to move, with the pickups set into the bars so you couldn't take the bars off. Plus, the legs packed up inside the lid, so imagine all that weight to carry. Having said all that, Milt gets as good a sound on it as I've heard anyone get considering it's 1970, and the small bars don't seem to hang him up at all. He's got the tremolo set exactly right, and I suspect that Deagan may have given him one to take out and provide feedback. He does look cool playing one.