Kustom Electronics The Bag
Analog Tom of Analogman (who also provided me with the 2nd picture)
I believe the Kustom Bag was made between '69 and '70. There were supposedly less than 100 ever made, making it a very rare vintage effect indeed. It also predates the famous Heil Talk Box by a few years. Apparently, Jeff Beck used one for his Blow By Blow tour around '75.
People say that the Kustom Electronics who made this Bag is not the same as the Kustom Electronics who made the amplifiers. I think this information came from a single source and, like a lot of things on the Web, was repeated over and over until it became the truth. I'm not saying that it WAS, in fact, made by the Kustom amplifier company, I'm just saying I've seen nothing else to indicate that it was anything more that someone's opinion that was perpetuated into historical fact.
That was 1969 through 1970. That was long before we bought the company but I do know they never had great success with it.
Ricky E. Hall
I worked for Kustom Electronics in Chanute, Kansas, from 1976 to 1981 and can state for a fact that we built The Bag and Kustom Guitar Amps, Kustom Police Radar, Electronic Organs, mixers, equalizers, mobile computer terminal, police radios and lots of other cool stuff.
So... it IS the same company!
Mike Pinera used it when he played guitar with Iron Butterfly in 1970 on the album "Metamorphosis". The song Butterfly Blue features Mike taking the bag to it's limit. He used it with Iron Butterfly while they were on tour with Led Zepplin from 1970 to 1971.
Mike has also used the bag with his band, Ramatam, Mitch Mitchell (drummer from Jimi Hendricks) and also on The New Cactus Band.
Mike then loaned it to Jeff Beck when he came to one of Mike's rehearsals at Breakout Management in Long Island, New York. Jeff Beck refused to give the bag back to Mike.
The first talkbox...
The price on 1969 and 1970 price lists was 99.50$
It's your BAG: Make your own kind of music!
Free your musical mind... make your own sound! It's the wildest, most sensational, most individualistic musical innovation yet! The sound you make is different! The music you make is fantastic!
If your sound is amplified... and you play guitar, piano organ, or harpsichord... you can enter into a new dimension of sound, a new world of music!
The body is most perfect machine known to man. Now, with your body, your mind and THE BAG... you can liberate your sound... and produce the ultimate in creative musical sounds.
The Electro-Thoracic* sound of THE BAG is produced by channeling your amplified sound from your instrument into your mouth where you control it as you would the tonal qualities of a song.
(* produce variable alterations of multiple aural sensations.)
YOUR BAG IS OUR BAG!
Unplug speaker plug from top of amplifier, and replace with speaker plug of THE BAG.
Take the speaker cabinet plug and insert it into the jack on THE BAG cord.
The 2-position switch on THE BAG allows a choice of: amplifier and speaker cabinet "ON" and THE BAG "OFF"; or amplifier and THE BAG "ON", with the speaker cabinet "OFF".
HERE'S HOW TO USE THE BAG: After you've read the Operating Instructions, and you've connected THE BAG accordingly, strap on THE BAG. Grasp the tube mouthpiece between your teeth. Do not close your lips. Now, play your musical instrument as you would normally. You will note how the music is channeled through the tube and into your mouth.
Then, by changing the position of your mouth and lips, you create a new dimension of sound... your mouth becomes the speaker cabinet. The sound you emit is then amplified through a Public Address System. THE BAG IS equipped with a thermal circuit breaker which will prevent permanent damage in case of overheating.
Do not plug the end of hose on THE BAG while in operation. Do not lift THE BAG by the hose.