Miscellaneous Rumbles

Way off topic, but it’s been haunting me… The last note


The last note in Herb Alpert's "Casino Royale"- does anyone happen to know what the heck the instrument used is?

It's not a piano (which a lot of folks use instead), not a bass guitar, not a harpsichord, not any kind of acoustic or electric guitar I can figure, and considering the movie came out in 1968,, most of today's synths are out of the question.

I've been playing around with an arrangement of it which may work out and become something, but that "final" note eludes me utterly. I even reached out to Herb Alpert on Twitter about three months back, but no luck.

Link to the original movie version:

There's also a 'live' version out there (at a rodeo, no less!), but the ending is not focused on the performers (who are obviously miming to a recorded track anyway)

Any help would be appreciated.


Sounded like some sort of reed instrument to me.


To my untrained ear it sounds like an electric guitar through a fuzz pedal.


The Kinks used to make razor slices in guitar amp speaker cones to get some of their early tone. Could it be an electric guitar thru either a sliced speaker cone or an amp not built for guitar (like a cheap 60's record player)?


Quite the consensus, eh?

Herb gotta lot of Radio play time mid-60's, everybody loved the vibe...


Maybe a 1966 Maestro FZ-1A?

Sounds like the fuzz on that "Count Five" song Psychotic Reaction, maybe?


A distorted electric guitar and a vibraslap


To me it sounds like someone vocalized it, with buzzing of lips as a brass player would do, only no horn involved. Possibly a brass instrument mouthpiece.


I'm pretty sure it's a kazoo.


I'm pretty sure it's a kazoo.

– NJDevil

Possibly the same one used on Crosstown Traffic ;) To me it sounds like some sort of wood percussion instrument that would be struck or plucked and it vibrates. The buzzing slows down like it's running out of energy.


tuned vibrating ruler


Once you master the basic technique...


One of my favorite movies. If you listen to an actual recording -- not the streaming computer junk -- it's some kind of fuzz box. My friend has an old Univox Super Fuzz and you can get that sound on one of the settings. Alpert usually used the Wrecking Crew as his studio musicians, so those guys would have known what to use. Nothing way off topic here; stuff like this is why I love this place.


I pinned down the actual note as a low Eb (probably a D as recorded) on a piano. If its some kind of guitar, it is either detuned or maybe a baritone, perhaps even a bass of some sort. But in all those cases, the sheerflatness` and lack of any harmonics in the note leads me away from any kind of guitar.

The Vibraslap option is intriguing... less sure about the kazoo..

More theories, more chances to figure it out! And Herb, if you happen to be passing by, PLEASE help me out??


I'm hearing fuzz Bass. I may be wrong.


Sounds like it could be a Bass Harmonica


At first, I liked the idea of the Vibraslap, but after listening to the recording again, I don't hear the same decay that you get from the Vibraslap. Not sure what it is, but I think that I know what it isn't.


That's about where I am, Bob. Right now, I'm looking to a low D -two below Middle C- on the Grand Piano. It sounds good, but not "right". If I can't come up with the actual instrument, it would do, however. It's a single string that decays at almost the same rate, at least.

Joined me a Herb Alpert forum just to ask the question over there, as well. We shall see what they come up with, if anything.


I bet it’s Bill Pittman on his Dano with a fuzz.


Found a site with the AFM call sheet for Casino Royale, but not a lot of help there, either...

"02/22/67 - Colgems - Casino Royale: Herb Alpert - trumpet, Nick Ceroli - drums, Tonni Kalash - trumpet, Sal Monte - ?, Lou Pagani - piano, John Pisano - guitar, Pat Senatore - bass, Julius Wechter - marimba, Jules Chaiken - trumpet, Bill Pitman - guitar, Ernie Tack - trombone, Dave Wells - trombone."

I also found a quote from Alpert himself where he said that his contribution to the song consisted of adding the trumpets and the maracas to the recording Burt Bacharach did in London ("... He sent the tape and I put a couple of trumpets on, added some maracas (shaker) and sent back the two-track stereo tape..."), which leads me down a puzzling road, given the call sheet above.

Ah well, it's fun to dig into these mysteries.

The Hunt Continues.


Oh thats easy! I have a 1960's japenese guitar imported to ny from a "import" company. They were pushing these all mahogony slab guitars. Silver surfer. For the folk music. Crude and very cheap single coils. Run that into a low watt amp with super crappy ruined speaker. You get that sound. I use a altoid box amp that my daughter bought me from etsy a few years ago. I hang it on the microphone. I have a busy day today, but will set it up and make you a clip. Also easy to get that tone fromthe spirt in the sky song. Ripping up speakers was a popular trick in those days to get "dirty" sounds.


http://guitarz.blogspot.com... Link tophoto of a good condition version of my guitar. The one i own has hand painted ( buy a teen i think) and not as good.

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