Maestro Rhythm King MRK-1


This vintage Rhythm King is fully functional and in very good condition.  

Some wear on the side as seen in the photo. This unit has been modified with a new start/stop foot switch.  Recently serviced and sounds amazing. 

The Maestro Rhythm King MRK-1 & MRK-2 are American built drum machines from the 1960s–1970s. Most famously used by Sly & the Family Stone. They are completely analogue of course and like all these old machines, have their own distinct sound.

The Rhythms

  • BossaNova
  • Samba
  • Bolero
  • Rumba
  • Cha-Cha
  • Mambo
  • Tango
  • Pasa Doble*
  • Slow Fox
  • Slow Rock
  • Swing*
  • Swing Ⅰ**
  • Swing Ⅱ**
  • Dixie
  • Shuffle
  • Go-Go
  • Disco*
  • Swing Waltz**
  • Waltz
  • March Polka
  • Western

*MRK-1, **MRK-2.

Both models are identical sound-wise. The MRK-2 introduced a balance control between drum and cymbal sounds, a metronome which is activated by pulling the tempo knob out and some minor changes in the rhythm patterns. 

Although there are eight manual sound trigger buttons on the front panel, there are more than eight sounds available, so sampling involves a bit more work than just pressing those buttons. Also of note are the two Cymbal sounds which have varying decay and attack depending on which rhythm or combination of rhythms are selected. You might get an open high-hat, maracas or something in-between.

Any Lowrey Organ players from around the early 1970s may recognise the sounds and rhythms of these machines as they were often built-in or added-on to some models from this period, such as the Holiday model.