Talk:Talk box

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Earlier precedent for use of a talkbox than "the bag" or Heil"[edit]

please review this entry, it documents the use of talkbox (verifiable by video) in a song "Forever" by Pete Drake - in 1964.

Removed "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" from list[edit]

Someone keeps putting this in talkbox lists on Wikipedia and it's driving me nuts. Daft Punk do NOT use a talkbox, they use a Vocoder (a Korg MS2000 to be precise) - the two are very different things. Davetibbs 12:17, 2 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is exactly the problem with WP:LISTCRUFT. I have removed the list entirely since it's a magnet for this type of thing, it's totally unsourced, and the article body already gives good examples. Eleland 16:03, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But HBFS does use a Talk Box. Other Daft Punk songs, like Human After All and Prime Time of Your Life use a vocoder but Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger is talk box. Or at least that's what I've heard. Sources anyone? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:44, 17 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The song definitely uses a talkbox, not a vocoder, notice when the voice hits the 'lower notes' (i.e. 'Never over') you hear a very crunchy guttural sound. You can't achieve that with vocoders. I happen to own both (a korg MS-2000 and a talkbox) and its obvious which one it used. You may be mixed up as the MS-2000 was used in numerous songs on the album and could have been used as the instrument run through the talkbox. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:37, 11 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I tend to agree, being familiar personally with talkbox and vocoder use, the sound in HBFS is not acheivable using vocoding. It might actually be instructive to include comparable recordings, I will attempt to provide those at some point in the future.

article makes no sense. whatsoever.[edit]

"A talk box works by producing an amplified sound with a horn driver, and directing the sound through a tube. The tube is typically taped to the side of a microphone extending enough to be placed in the performer's mouth. The performer then "shapes" the sound by opening or closing their mouth. The performer can also mouth words, and the resulting effect makes it sound as if the guitar is speaking."

"the" guitar? what guitar? there's been NO mention of a guitar. therefore this description makes no sense at all.

somebody: help it out a little.

anyway, about that talk comment below, "it deserves an entry", that is definitely 100% TRUE. hopefully that was never under serious debate.

Agreed, this description doesn't really make it clear how the talk box works. A clearer definition would be welcome.

I rewrote some of this to hopefully be much clearer.

I did understand most of it but I do think it needs to be written so it can be understood by someone who knows nothing of music hardware/effects, or maybe have a shorter paragraph that sums it up in very simple terms. --Fukhed666 07:47, 8 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The talk box is a widely used device in music. Though maybe not as notable as a guitar, it nonetheless deserves an entry.

California Love?[edit]

I'm pretty sure that 2Pac's "California Love" features a vocoder, not a talk box, but I'm not certain. Can anyone offer more evidence in this matter?

The vocoder/talk box sound produced in "California Love" is performed by Zapp's Roger Troutman. Troutman used a talk box.

It uses a TALKBOX.. Roger Troutman only used a talkbox. Plus you can see him playin' it in the "California Love (Part 2)" video.

Roger Troutman[edit]

There should be a bit in here on troutman, he really made the talkbox the mainstay of Zapp. The song "More Bounce to the Ounce" is a great example

I also saw in an interview that P-Thugg from Chromeo uses the exact same synthesizer and settings that Roger used to use. Unfortunately I can't remember where I saw this interview. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 30 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Artist wikilinks?[edit]

In the list of songs with talk boxes in them, shouldn't someone add wikilinks to the artists- at least? --DJ Wings- Freestyle here 17:03, 7 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Someone should! I took it one step further and merged the artist and song lists - after all, many of the bands mentioned spent 35 of their 40-year careers without using the talkbox. The songs are what matters. I also limited 3 song maximum per artist.
I removed these as they were not cited with any song, please re-add them with an example of talk box use (I don't doubt George Clinton but don't know of any talk box song myself):
* George Clinton
* Brian May of Queen
* Jennifer Batten
* Dave Bunce of UPP
Arru 14:11, 9 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Q-united's additions[edit]

User:Q-united added this information; I'm relocating it to this Talk page instead: Hi , I've been playing the Talkbox for a couple of years as well as Vocoder. The list mentioned above is correct, exept for Kid Rock - "Only god knows why" which is a vocoder. Since most of the song are not in my favorite genre, i added some more songs which are. How do i know this? 15 years of recearch before i started playing myself. P.S. No samples allowed!

Best regards , Quint Gremmen. (NL)


The Human Body - (Roger Troutman) - "Freedom", "Truth Be Known".

Bootsy Collins - "#1 Funkateer", + Shine-O-Myte

Stevie Wonder - "Love Having You Around".

Johnny Guitar Watson - "A Real Mother For Ya", "Your Love Is My Love".

The Lafayette Afro Rockband - "Darkest Light", "Scorpion Flower", "Voodounon"

The Isley Brothers - "People Of Today".

Supermax - "Lovemachine".

Chaka Kahn - "Never Be Another Fool" (Prince).

Stanley Clarke - "I Wanna Play For You".

Harvey Mason - "Fair Tee Well".

Soullive - "Romantic", "Back Again".

Slave - "Stellar Funk".

The Wild Magnolias - "Cory Died On The Battlefield", "Smoke My Peace Pipe (Smoke It Right)".

Jestofunk - "Stellar Funk".


Lenny Kravits - "God Save Us All".

Solution - "Bad Brakes".

Everlast - "Babylon Feeling".

Manfred Mann's Earth Band - "Don't Kill It Carol".

Scritti Politti - (Roger Troutman) "Boom There She Was".

Foxxy - Get off


Dax Riders - (Roger Troutman) "Real Fonky Time", "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life", "Music Paradise".

Lo-Fi Allstars - "Dark Is Easy", "Don't Be Afraid Of Love".

Boom Boom Satelites - "Limbo".

MJ Cole - "Talkbox"

Global Deejays - "Talkbox"

Fatboy Slim - "The Weekend Starts Here".

HIPHOP / R&B (no samples)

Kool Keith - (Roger Troutman) "Master Of The Game".

Mr.Shadow - (Roger Troutman) "Haters".

Scarface - (Roger Troutman 99% sure?) "Untouchable".

Jacky Jasper - (Roger Troutman) "Westside".

Ahmad - (Roger Troutman) "The Jones", "We Want The Funk".

Eazy E. - (Roger Troutman) "Eternal E."

2Pac - (Roger Troutman) - "Playaz Need No love".

Fu-Schnickens - (Roger Troutman) - "Express Yourself".

LBC Crew - (Roger Troutman) - "Beware Of My Crew".

The Click - (Roger Troutman) - "Scandalous".

EPMD - (Roger Troutman) - "Everybody get up".

The Firm - (Roger Troutman) "Five Minutes To Flush`.

Snoop Dogg - "What's My Name".

The Beatnuts - "Buddah In The Air".

Above the Law - "Summer Days", "Apocalypse Now".

Kool G. Rap & CNN - "My Life".

Eric Benét - (Roger Troutman) "If you want me to stay".

H-Town - (Roger Troutman) It's A Thin Line Between Love And Hate".

Nu-Flavor - (Roger Troutman) "Sweet Sexy Thing".

Keith Sweat - (Roger Troutman) "Nobody".

Johnny Gill - (Roger Troutman) "It's Your Body".

Big Bub - (Roger Troutman) "My Way"

Sounds of Blackness - (Roger Troutman) "Hold On".

LSG - "My Body".

I know it's a very late reaction to the questions stated below. But here it is. When i made this list, i upgraded the list that was allready on the talkbox page. This because it consisted mainly out of songs in the rock genre. I took an evening to verify those songs. All of them exept one were correct and with my addition i'm 100% sure that the combined lists covers 95% of all the songs with a talkbox ever recorded. I would not even dare to do this with vocoder songs, because there are way to many of those to catalogue. I made this list only for people who want to know which of the two effects they are listening to.

Q-united 1 September 2006

--Q-united 00:17, 12 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(copied here by JHunterJ 00:25, 12 July 2006 (UTC))Reply[reply]

  • Q-united: thank you, that is an awesome list. However, I was wondering before, and even more now, what kind of coverage this list should have. The late 70s and now the 00s has seen a major return of both the vocoder and the talk box. We can't have every song ever listed.
So what are the reasons for having the list at all?
  1. Providing readers with well known examples so they can figure out how the talk box sounds
  2. Providing readers with a variety (many genres) to exemplify the many applications of a talk box
  3. Listing bands that are talk box players - this is like 4-5 bands including Peter Frampton and Zapp
I didn't know that Roger Troutman had been featured by that many acts, and I think all of them should be listed - but in the Roger Troutman article. What I'm saying is that I appreciate this a lot, and wish to keep all of it, but it has to go into the respective artists pages since this list is already beyond bloated. Are you with me? Arru 15:05, 13 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The list is extremely bloated and hard to read. I was thinking that it might be better to have a table with the artist, song, and album rather than a huge list of text entries which needs a lot of copyediting in addition to sourcing. Willbyr (talk | contribs) 16:54, 8 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unmaintainable list[edit]

The list of songs is HUGE, which is no surprise as there are more than two bands in the world with a talk box, and everybody wants their favorite included. Naturally. I've stated some ideas for inclusion above, without any feedback on this I'm going to do a major cut of the list down to 10-20 entries just based on those points and my personal taste soon. Please help me on this! Arru 22:36, 25 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. I'd say, to keep it conforming to a strict criterion, take out all artists that only have a single song entry, as a one-off experimental use seems hardly worth mentioning. In fact, I'll do that now. MightyMoose22 >Abort, Retry, Fail?_ 22:58, 25 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Great job! I added Daft Punk as a notable example (after listening through their material and finding that talk box is probably their main robotic effect). On another note, Peter Frampton is perhaps not a regular player, despite having introduced the world to the talk box more or less? Arru 12:15, 26 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Roger Troutman has done so much with so many people, he could probably justify his own section. "One of the Talk Box's most prolific players, Troutman has performed and recorded with a multitude of acts over the years, such as..." Or maybe it should be saved for his own article, which I have noticed doesn't exist at the moment. What do you think?
    As for Frampton, at the moment he only has two songs on the list, so maybe something like "although Frampton is somewhat synonymous with the Talk Box (largely due to the success and popularity of Frampton Comes Alive), he uses it on a few songs", or something similar? MightyMoose22 >Abort, Retry, Fail?_ 12:34, 26 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Sounds great about Frampton, go ahead. Weird that Roger Troutman didn't have his own article, would be more logical to have Zapp redirect to him. We could certainly mention a number of songs with Roger Troutman here (covering his long and sadly ended career), and perhaps move them if a proper article on him gets written later. After all, he is the funk talk box player. Arru 08:25, 28 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In regards to Frampton, he also uses a talk box in a Geico commercial...not sure if it's worth mentioning, but it works as a visual reference to the way a talk box is used. Willbyr (talk | contribs) 16:52, 8 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

-certainly the list is very long. just thought d add john petrucci "home" metropolis 2, and dimebag darrel "my fear" cant remember the album. i only thought these important because they were 2 of the most significant guitarists of their time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:19, 15 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Missing information...[edit]

I'm pretty sure you've missed some of the salient points of the history. In fact, if you watch the commentary on the Frampton: Live in Detroit DVD I'm pretty sure that Pete credits Peter Drake's "I'm Just a Guitar" from 1964 as an early example of a talk box and that he met Peter Drake and begged him to give him one (which Peter Drake apparently denied!) before finding another source for the talk box. This pushes the invention and first use of the talk box well before Bob Heil and Joe Walsh.

Alice in Chains[edit]

Er, I'm pretty sure there's no talk box used in Man in the Box by Alice in Chains.

There's some evidence. Well, at least it shows it need not be played with one.

Update to Missing information...[edit]

Quoted from:

While the vocoder has found its niche among experimental musicians, the talkbox tends to be favored by popular guitarists, who prefer the device's warmer, more expressive sound.

"A vocoder doesn't draw people in as much as a talkbox," Mr. Frampton said. "It's very electronic-sounding, not at all human. Whereas the talkbox is more analog, it relies more on the note you play and the way you move your mouth."

Mr. Frampton was introduced to the talkbox in 1970 during recording sessions for George Harrison's album "All Things Must Pass. During a slow moment, Pete Drake, a pedal steel guitarist, pulled out a small handmade wooden talkbox that he had used in the 1960's on a series of "talking steel" hits inspired by Alvino Rey's talking steel records of the 40's.

"All of a sudden the pedal steel started singing to me," Mr. Frampton recalled. "I couldn't get my jaw off the floor."

Update to Missing Information[edit]

The information about Pete Drake pre-dates what I had to say. The History section suggests that the first use of the Talkbox was on 'Rocky Mountain Way' but the first time I ever heard a Talkbox was Iron Butterfly's 1970 album, Metamorphosis on the 13 minute track, 'Butterfly Bleu'.

[Response: I saw Iron Butterfly do that song 'Butterfly Bleu', when it was current, on television, during a studio gig with an audience. 
Mike Pinera, the featured guitarist on that song, was playing with what looked like a large bagpipe bag. 
I now assume from this article, that was Kustom Electronics' "The Bag" device, 

contrary to your above statement that you heard a Talkbox on that song.

Mike Pinera is still around, according to his Wikipedia page, (to which you can link his name in this article). Therefore, an experienced editor could contact him, to confirm his device choice for that effect on that song.

At the same time, for the Wikipedia page of him, and the one of that band, 

maybe he can be gotten to identify that show, as detailedly as possible, please?

Also then, for that page on him, maybe he can be gotten to confirm his choice of 

which device he used for that effect on the band Ramatam's self-titled album (including the link), which was his next released such recording, and any other such uses of his, please?

Thank you!] 

[Deletable p.s.: Sorry if this was ramblingly newbie.

I remember seeing Alvino Rey and that "singing guitar" bit on the King Family's 

television show, so thanks for the childhood flashback of that helping get me into guitar.] (talk) 09:04, 15 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tool's Adam Jones[edit]

I saw tool just last week and Adam definately used a talk box on Jambi but not on Rosetta Stoned, u may have confused it with the vocal distortion/vocoder effect Maynard uses throughout —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:08, 7 December 2006 (UTC).Reply[reply]


Umm I have a "Heil Sound Talk" box. I can take some pictures of it and put it up here. That is if you all want any pictures. I'll wait until its discussed before I upload anything. 5150 02:41, 15 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I know it's a bit late to respond, but... do it! Generally the way things work on this thing, is you do it anyway and see if anyone complains. It's then optional to have a war over it. Upload your pictures, even if they don't end up in the article they'll be in the Commons for all eternity. Since the box is so important to this article, put a pic in where you think best. (talk) 23:14, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

cars hiss by my window[edit]

i'm 99.999% sure this was just jim scat singing. i'm taking it out. 23:16, 2 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Songs featuring a talk box[edit]

I think that the list of song featuring a talk box should be placed into separate page. Don't you think so? Geevee (talk) 19:30, 10 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If no one will object in a week, I'll do it. Geevee (talk) 13:31, 11 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done. Geevee (talk) 07:10, 21 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Joe Walsh and talkboxes[edit]

While "Rocky Mountain Way" was probably the first big hit song to feature a talkbox, it's not the first song to use one; in fact, it's not even Joe Walsh's first use of a talkbox. In the guitar tablature book Selections from Joe Walsh: Look What I Did! And Then Some... (Hal Leonard, 1996, ISBN 0-7935-4471-8), apparently out of print, there is an interview of Walsh by John Stix on page 10 (interviewer's question bolded):

Is "Here We Go" the first time you used a talk box? Yes, it is. I was introduced to it by Bill West from Nashville. He was Dotty West's husband. Bill invented it a long time ago. He gave it to Pete Drake, who used it on a song called "Forever," in the late '50s. Then, nobody used it for a really long time. Bill laid the original one on me onetime[sic] when I was in Nashville. I used it for "Here We Go." Later, I used it on "Rocky Mountain Way." That's where everybody became aware of it. At some point Peter Frampton asked me about it, and I showed it to him, and he used it on that big album he did. I still have the original. I'm going to give it to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Dwarfmuncher 12:08, 21 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As a 50 something, I agree that Jo Walsh, especially on Rocky Mountain Way, probably did the most to popularise the Talk Box in the 70s and bring it into the rock mainstream. This was then picked up by Frampton who brought it to a wider 'pop' audience. I feel that the weighting of the article towards Frampton is misleading. [Anon] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:46, 25 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Voice box - an alternative name[edit]

I noticed in the album notes for Use Your Illusion I by Guns N' Roses this is called a 'voice box'. Should this be included as an alternative name for the talk box or is it mistakenly named? --Neon white (talk) 17:52, 26 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I dunno, does it sound like one? Have a listen to some Frampton (purely for research) and see. Note don't make the mistake of listening to the other meaning of "frampton", being the farting noise produced by a lady's front bottom during vigourous intercourse. That will sound nothing alike, or so I hope. (talk) 23:08, 4 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hillel slovak used talk box for RHCP put that in —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 29 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The Sonovox makes an even earlier appearance in the 1940 film "You'll Find Out" starring Kay Kyser and his orchestra, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre. Lugosi uses the Sonovox to imitate the voice of a dead person during a seance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:15, 20 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How can this be?[edit]

From the main article; "Frampton acquired one as a Christmas present from Bob Heil in 1974. It was a hand-built Talk Box in a fiberglass box using a 100-watt high-powered driver. This was the Heil Talk Box used for the Frampton Comes Alive tour and album.[9][10][11][12] He then promptly locked himself away in a practice space for two weeks, and came out with some mastery of it. Frampton used it on his 1975 album Frampton and 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive! and probably incorporated it in live shows as early in his 1969-1971 stint in Humble Pie." How did he play the Talk Box with Humple Pie several years before he obtained one? ( (talk) 08:57, 9 June 2011 (UTC))Reply[reply]

Alvino Rey's carbon mic[edit]

A carbon mic can't work in reverse as a speaker. Only a few types of mic can (and generally shouldn't be!).

It is, however, fairly low-resistance and capable of taking a fair amount of power. I can guess, therefore, that he put the mic in series with his guitar's output, so the mic was amplitude-modulating the guitar. Wouldn't sound exactly the same as a talkbox but I can imagine it would be good enough.

Alvino's own article has the same paragraph, except the bit about the mic working as a speaker is not there. I'll go trim it here, too. (talk) 01:14, 1 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This page is the target of paid editing, see here. -War wizard90 (talk) 03:01, 17 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No mention of "vocoder" in the article?![edit]

Hi there, what's the relationship between the two? Thanks. (talk) 13:24, 18 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You might want to read the rest of the Talk page. A Talk Box is completely different than a vocoder. It's like wondering why tractors aren't mentioned on a racing car page. Meve Stills (talk) 13:32, 18 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They're not completely different; in the end, both devices modify one signal with frequency modulations from a second signal. The two are commonly confused, and the aforementioned rest of the talk page bears that out. I can see the relationship between the two as something a general reader would be interested in. Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 02:22, 19 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Sofa. Talk boxes and vocoders are often conflated by the general listening audience, an effect that can be seen in the Notable uses section. Adding a few sentences to distinguish the two is worthwhile. Myconix (talk) 00:44, 24 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vocoders in "Notable Uses" section[edit]

A lot of the songs in the Notable uses section (e.g. all Daft Punk songs) don't use a talk box. They use a vocoder, which has a similar effect but is completely different mechanically. I've removed the ones that I know for sure aren't talk boxes, however, I can't say for sure about all of them. It might be worth considering to add citations to all of the songs that can be verified, and remove the songs for which verification can't be found. Myconix (talk) 00:30, 24 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

kinda patchy[edit]

This article needs more about the device itself -- makers, construction, technique, mention that overuse of the high-powered boxes was thought to loosen dental fillings, etc. Needs less about the various people who used them, most of whom frankly (sorry) are NOT that "notable". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:09, 8 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notable examples[edit]

No mention of Bon Jovi's use on "Livin' on a Prayer" and "It's My Life"? I think slightly younger generations will be more familiar with those than the Frampton tunes.Jules TH 16 (talk) 21:09, 2 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Totally agree. It was also a bit weird for me reading this article without Richie Sambora and Bon Jovi being mentioned - as very famous and awards winning examples in popular music. Can't believe it's really missed here. (talk) 14:52, 7 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, Mötley Crüe's "Kickstart My Heart". Jules TH 16 (talk) 19:24, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Where the heck is Richie Sambora?[edit]

Can't believe someone removed him, probably the most constant user of talkbox Claudia07822002 (talk) 23:22, 24 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The "Notable uses" list[edit]

The Notable uses section is essentially a very (and therefore, too) long list. Not all its entries are equally notable! Maybe 5 to 7 entries would suffice?

So, some issues for the bulk of this list:

  1. Should it become a list article?
  2. Would the list be more useful as a table, which would let the reader easily sort it by song name, artist or - if supplied - album or year?
  3. Should the list or table have a "genre" field?

yoyo (talk) 11:08, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The guideline for excessive information is WP:INDISCRIMINATE. The most important entries should be kept and supplied with more prose context, if possible. Less important entries can be removed. I don't think a table is appropriate because prose descriptions can be much more nuanced. Binksternet (talk) 14:39, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The right thing to do is to ensure that the list only contains entries with a third-party source showing why the use is notable. There are already examples in the body text (for example, Steely Dan's "Haitian Divorce" is sourced in the body text, yet the list contains "East St. Louis Toodle-oo"). While laborious, this is a good way to filter out personal opinions and is the way that lists of notable people from cities/universities/whatever are usually handled. Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 23:44, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]