Featuring: Norm's Stylophone Collection

** DO NOT contact me about web-design for this domain. **
It amazes me how many dumb web design companies can't read! They claim to have looked at this site and comment how basic and mundane it is, yet they clearly did not read the first line.

There is a reason this page looks basic and mundane, I made it like that. The design does not matter, the information does, so its important to me to keep the info forthright.

When the page is complete, I may split it into different sections, and maybe jazz it up a bit, but for now, basic is best!

Prelude & Disclaimer:

This website is about the Vintage British Stylophones made by Dubreq. If it has an MP3 socket, it may still be a genuine Dubreq Stylo, but it ain't Vintage!

Its pretty hard to talk about vintage Stylophones without mentioning 'that man'. Sadly Mr Harris was used to advertise the Stylophones in a big way and he is entwined with them. Whilst I hate him for his vulgarity, I simply cannot run this site without mentioning his name.

If the mention of his name seriously offends you, please do not read any further. I will try to blur or otherwise obscure any images of him which may appear on this site.

This site will be added to when I get the energy and/or time. If you need any info before this site is completed, please contact me via my other website: Normsweb.com

A Brief History of Dubreq Synths:

* please note: all dates herein are approximate, though are believed to be fairly accurate. *

In 1968 the first Stylophones were launched (Thanks to a broken toy piano, which will be explained later). This battery powered hand held analogue synth with its unique method of playing, by running a stylus up and down a plated circuit board, took the world by storm.

Between 1968 and 1985 there have been 2 revisions to the original release. Revision 1 Stylophones were produced from 1968‐1970, Revision 2 were produced from 1970-1975 and Revision 3 produced from 1975-1985.

There were also bass and treble Stylophones. The 'standard' Stylophone is black and white in colour with a silver grille. Treble stylophones started out as all white with a black grille, then became all white with a silver grille for rev 3. Bass stylophones are a bronze/light-brown colour and have gained the nickname 'gold stylophone' due to this. The bass stylophones never really worked very well due to the way the oscillator produced the notes (and probably not helped by the size of the speaker!). In comparison, not many bass stylophones were sold and they are now quite rare indeed.

Around 1972 (then again in 1974 it seems... if any of you have any info on this, please contact me) they released the 'Piano Mate', a quite weird poly-synth that didn't have a keyboard. It has 2 attachments, treble and bass keyblocks (or whatever they are officially called) that sit atop a standard piano and the synth sound is mixed with the standard piano sound. These did not catch on and not many were made AFAIK. They are quite rare, but do come up for sale now and again. (Video on my youtube channel: Click Here!)

Around 1975, the 'New Sound' Stylophone was introduced. Its name coming from it now having a square wave oscillator, which gave a very different tone to the original ones. The new sound had a volume control, a vital addition that was for some reason omitted on the originals.

The New Sound had a wood effect grille, which was completely different than the other British Stylophones, yet resembled the early American licensed stylophones which were made in Chicago, and also had a wood effect grille.

Around 1977 the Stylophone 350s was produced.

* New information *
It appears that the date of 1977, which was deemed to be correct by myself and many sources, is incorrect. Thanks to Lewes who found an old 350s in an attic, we now know the release date was 1975 or before. The official Dubreq website just says 'mid 70s'.

The 350s takes some of its design ideas from the Piano Mate, and infact, the circuit board in the Piano Mate is numbered 3506 (3506 - 350six - 350s?). I feel they were trying to resurrect the failed Piano Mate in a new form, but unfortunately the 350s didn't take off either. It is a big, somewhat ugly synth that is quite difficult to actually play properly with its dual stylus's.

The 350s had a very similar wood effect grille to the New Sound, only about 6 times bigger of course!

Although there were said to be only about 3000 350s units produced, there were several board revisions: The original early ones had the number 6510 on the board, then there was 6510A and 6510B. Recently I have found out about another revision of the board, the 6510C. It's possible the 6510C may have been an American only release, as one I saw had an American addressed guarentee card with it.

350s units with the 6510C board revision also seem to have a 3.5mm 'battery eliminator' socket fitted.

I have only ever seen pictures of 2 units with the 'battery eliminator' socket installed, so if any of you have more information on this, please contact me.

Around 1985 Dubreq sadly had to close their doors and no more Stylophones were made. I can't help wondering what would of happened if the Piano Mate would of had a proper keyboard instead of having to be used with a Piano... It would certainly of made it more portable, since a piano is too big and heavy to easily carry from gig to gig.

So what about the Toy Piano? In 1967, Brian Jarvis, co-founder of Dubreq Studios was asked to repair a toy piano for his neice. When fixing it, he discovered it was a plinky-plonky pile of rubbish, he thought (and I'm paraphrasing here) 'I'm sure I could make something better than that!'

So, he got with his mate, Dubreq Studios co-founder Burt Coleman and they designed the prototype Stylophone.

Between 1968 and 1985 over 4 million Stylophones were sold all around the world!

Every Stylophone fan needs to thank Brian's neice for breaking her toy piano, because without that, we would not have had the wonderful little music maker we all know as the Stylophone. -Thanks Neice!

Are All Vintage Stylophones Rare?

No, only certain ones are rare. Here I am talking about fair/good condition used ones, obviously ones brand new in sealed boxes are a different matter.

White Treble Stylophones: If it has a silver grille, its not rare at all they come up very often on auction sites.

Black grilled Treble Stylophones are kinda rare, and very early ones with gaps in the keypad are rarer still, yet they do both appear on auction sites now and again.

Black & White Standard Stylophones are not really rare, even the very early 'gap tooth' models do come up pretty frequently on auction sites.

Bronze/Brown Bass Stylophones are very rare, with the early 'gap tooth' ones being very very rare indeed and in over 10 years of collecting I have not seen even 1 come up for sale

The wood-effect New Sound Stylophone: They do come up regularly on auction sites, often thought to be more rare than they actually are with many sellers asking silly prices.

Stylophone 350s: Not really rare, more uncommon, they do show up on auction sites regularly.

The Pianomate: Not a stylophone, but a vintage Dubreq synth non the less. They are pretty rare, but do come up for sale now and again.

So how do I know this and what gives me the right to say which are rare and which aren't? I've been buying and collecting vintage Stylophones for over 10 years, so I have seen how regularly each type comes up for sale. This is purely my own view based British sale and auction sites, different countries will have other results

I will expand on this info with pics and stuff when I get time.

So How Much Should I Pay?

This depends a lot on what you want. If you want an immaculate Stylo in a perfect box you are obviously going to have to pay more, though having said that, I've just bought a very good condition early revision 1 standard Stylophone in a very nice box for less than £15 including postage.

So, all I can tell you are the maximum prices I've personally paid for each type of Stylophone. (and I've bought way too many over the years!). These prices exclude postage costs & are genuine prices paid by me when buying Stylos over the years.

Standard (black & white): £20 for rev 1, £16 for rev 2 & £12 for rev 3.

Treble (white): £25 for a rev 1 with a black grille, £18 for rev 2 with black grille & £10 for a revision 3 with silver grille.

Bass (bronze): £?? for rev 1, £?? for rev 2. £?? means I haven't been able to find one of those yet. How much would I pay for either of those? I hate to think, but they certainly won't come cheap since they are super rare and hundereds of collectors are looking for them to complete their collections. £18 for rev 3. Yes, I got it that cheap, I took a chance on a listing that stated it was a white stylophone, but the poor quality picture seemed to show a bass Stylophone. You could say I got lucky, though it did need a full electronic restoration.

New Sound (wood effect): £20 for an immaculate one in a very nice condition box.

Stylophone 350s: £50. Looking at some of the asking prices today, that seems hard to believe, but its true. I've bought 8 350s over the years, and the most I've ever paid has been £50 (excluding postage). The cheapest was 99p, after the high bidder retracted their bid. £40-£45 is the average price I've paid.

Prices paid for the PianoMate and Dubreq 125 amplifiers coming soon.

How Did Norm Get Into Stylophones.

I remember in the mid to late 70's Gramps having a Stylophone, he would occasionally get it out and play us kids a tune on it.

I also remember being allowed to listen to the Rolf Harris demo disk, and hearing multiple Stylophones playing together in harmony. That music stuck in my head as did a love for the Stylophone.

The love laid dorment until around 1997, when I found an old Stylophone at a second hand shop, so bought it. I had that one for about a year, then got offered some decent money for it, so I sold it. I regretted selling it, but at the time, money was more important.

Around 2012 I found a Stylophone going for a price I could afford on an auction website, so I bought it. Then in 2014, when Mr Harris got found out, people just wanted to get rid of Stylophones and anything else RH had been involved in, so I was able to buy Stylos for basically the price of postage (around £3), and that's how my collection started.

Some Random Stuff:

Roland Rat (pictured) was on British TV in the early 80's, there was a segment in one of his shows about Stylophones, and he called them Styrofoams!

I can't remember much at all about the show, but the fact he called them styrofoams struck me as very funny and it stuck in my head, If any of you can remember that show or know of a video clip of it, please contact me!

When I first started my collection (well over 10 years ago), I saw a picture of a New Sound Stylophone sitting atop a 350s, I was in awe of that picture and dreamed of being able to own and take a picture of such wonderful Stylophones. Several years later, I was able to take this photo of Stylos from my collection.