Maestro W-2 “Sound System for Woodwinds”

Maestro W-2 "Sound System for Woodwinds"
Maestro W-2 “Sound System for Woodwinds”

This odd little thing, made by Gibson/Maestro in 1967, is not a synth but an early effects processor designed to be used with a mic’ed signal from a woodwind instrument.  It is basically made up of circuits more commonly found in an organ: frequency dividers to drop the signal down by an octave (8′) or two octaves (16′), fixed low pass, high pass, and band pass filters, and a fuzz circuit.  You can plug anything into it and it will make it sound trashy and huge.  It’s pretty cool.

The W-2 didn’t look like it had ever been worked on before, but it was actually missing a resistor that from the way the board looked seemed like it had never been there, meaning two of the voices never would have worked.  It took a long time to figure that out without a schematic to refer to.  We always check that everything is OK with the components that are there, but who thinks to check for components that are missing?

Work done: replaced all of the electrolytic capacitors, cleaned all the switches and pots, (customizable 15-contact spring switches as used in combo organs) and replaced three transistors to fix two octave dividers.  Finally, added in that missing resistor once Darian deduced what was going on.

3 thoughts on “Maestro W-2 “Sound System for Woodwinds””

  1. Question for you:
    Picked up the mouthpiece with pickup to try it out as a standalone line out, but assumed the out from the pickup was 1/8″ or 1/4″ based on the input to the processor. It is most certainly not either.
    Do you have any leads on what style of output it is, or if it’s proprietary to the Maestro?


    1. It’s a two prong male to 1/8″ male cord. Look in the last few photos here:
      Conn used them for the multivider, Gibson for the Maestro for Woodwinds and Hammond for the Condor too.
      I think the original pickups were made by Teledyne and were basically earpieces. If you check Ebay for saxophone pickups, they periodically come up for sale.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *