Oral History -

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Jess Oliver was the inventor of the Ampeg Baby Bass, the first electronic upright bass instrument. The fiberglass body and unique design was key to projecting the sound of a double bass into an electric amplifier. His idea was one of the many used by the Ampeg Company.

John Oram is known as the father of British EQ, and has played an enormous role in the way recordings are made and how sound is heard on those recordings. At the incredible age of 15 years old, John had his first control mixer and made history with Dick Denney at VOX where the team created the first Wah Wah pedal, as well as the AC30, AC50, and the Super Beatle.

Gil Orr played a part in the era of popular music known as the Surf Sound. With the steady growth of instrumental hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Orr performed and recorded his guitar-playing style with boardwalk bands on the California coast. The Surf Sound hit its zenith when a group called the Beach Boys added vocals.

Sonny Osborne and his brother Bobby created one of the most powerful bluegrass sounds of their generation. The Osborne Brothers were powerful in popularity and their influence as well as their technique, which was not necessarily hard driving, but creative and flowing.

Harry Osiecki’s father started a music store out of his parent’s home. In 1933, he opened up his first store, which had a living unit upstairs for his family. Although he tragically died at a young age, his wife ran the business until her sons Jerry and Harry returned from war and took over. In later years Harry’s son managed the store before it closed in 2008.

Jerry Osiecki’s grew up in the music industry. His father started Osiecki’s Music store out of his parent’s home in the middle of the Depression. When he was little his father passed away but his mother kept the store open until Jerry and his brother Harry returned from service during the Korean War, in which Jerry played in the Army Band.

Lee Oskar played the famed harmonica lick in the classic 1970s hit “Low Rider” as a member of the band WARS. The success of this song led to name recognition within the music industry that resulted in the idea of designing and marketing Lee’s own line of harmonicas. Lee Oskar’s has been noted for offering a large range of innovative products, promotional material, and displays critical to the retailer and salesperson’s success in reaching their customers.

Tom Ostrander was the founder of Colonial Music in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Now a string of stores, the retail company began with the simple idea of providing top quality instruments to the area school programs. He was born in Phoneton, Ohio, which is in Miami County, and was encouraged to play music by his parents. He played in the school bands and sought to become a music director.

Andy Preston has a great philosophy regarding his music store, “Our staff are all repairmen and women first, not salesmen. We want them to know all about the instrument before they begin selling. This makes for happier customers and a confident staff.” Today, Andy’s Guitar and Drum Shop is one of the top repair and retail stores in the world.

Susan Brailove was the director of Oxford University Press and later formed her own music publishing company. With a tremendous understanding of the role of the music editor, Susan published a chronological history of the music engraver’s role. As a member of the Music Publishers Association she expanded the awareness of the music editor’s role within the music industry.