History

We all remember the Rolf Harris Stylophone of the 1970s, but it all started years earlier. It was invented by Brian Jarvis in 1967 and entered production in 1968.

Originally there were three types being the standard (black), treble (firstly white with a black grill and then white with usual silver grill), and the rarer bass (beige). All these had the keys marked with traditional music notes.

Next on the scene were the Rolf Harris promoted instruments which originally had music notes on the keys, but then updated to numbered keys. All three variants were still available but came in a new style of box.

Later in the 70s, and still promoted by Rolf was the “wood effect” New Sound Stylophone, which was the first to have a volume control and sounded quite different to the other models.

Also in the later part of the 70s was the excellent, bigger brother the 350s. This features two styli and much bigger keyboard. It also had many voices operated by switches and a photo sensor “wah wah” effect.

The Stylophone ceased production in 1975.

David Bowie is remembered as using a Stylophone in “Space Oddity” in 1969. Although seen as many as a toy, it was in fact a very useable and revolutionary musical instrument, and remains so today.