MB&F : Music Machine 3


The latest of MB&F’s tenth anniversary releases is a third Music Machine that is both clearly in tune (no pun intended, truly) with the previous Music Machines and very much in line with their anniversary tagline of “A creative adult is a child who survived.”

With the previous Music Machines designed to reference formative parts of the childhood of Max Büsser (and many of his admirers) and in particular various Star Trek series, to have this one with a Star Wars theme, especially in light of a reunion (more about that later), is particularly apt.

This final science-fiction/ popular culture related Music Machine is again a partnership with masters-of-music-boxes Reuge, who have proven that 150 years of making music boxes doesn’t mean that you’re stuck in the past.

The Music Machine 3 is designed to resemble the Star Wars TIE-Fighter. Made in aluminium and steel, it comes in three limited edition variants – high-gloss black or white, and an anodised chrome finish.


This final Music Machine measures 40cm by 38cm, and stands 28cm tall. It weighs 6kg, which is around the Melchior range.

The shape of the wings is designed to transmit sound down to the base, which was made by guitar and sound speaker makers JMC Lutherie (Vallée de Joux ) from 350-year old spruce pine from the Risoud Forest. For the first time in the Music Machine series, the tooth-and-comb cylinders are powered by two entirely separate movements; one cylinder rotates clockwise and the other anti-clockwise.

Each movement is wound using a key disguised as an engine thruster and in this final Music Machine, each hold three tunes : the ‘Star Wars’ theme, ‘Mission Impossible’ theme and James Bond theme on the right, and the themes from ‘The Godfather’, ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ and ‘The Persuaders’ on the left.

The cylinders are handmade, each pin (just under 1,500 in total) having a hand-polished finish. The pins play against two combs of 72 notes each, hand-tuned from a steel alloy (lower bass notes are thickened with lead). The frequency of each tooth is machine-tuned before the comb is attached, but the final fine-tuning is done by ear.

Each cylinder has a power reserve of 15 minutes, with one complete turn for each of the three melodies that it holds. Both movements are linked to a regulator fan, which uses air resistance to mitigate against the fact that the cylinders have more torque when fully wound. The resistance provided by the fans allows for a more constant release of power.

The music is powered by two independent movements mounted on the two tail sections. Each movement has its own winding key (disguised as thrusters), a mainspring barrel, horizontal cylinder with pins, and comb with hand-tuned teeth sounding each note. An air regulator in the form of a circular fan (resembling a rotating radar dish) governs the unwinding speed/ music tempo of each cylinder. The side wings also play a vital role in propagating sound vibrations down from the combs to the naturally amplifying resonant base.

As mentioned at the outselt, the Music Machine 3 is a limited edition of three models, with a total of 99 pieces. The breakdown is 33 in white, 33 in black, and 33 pieces with ‘chrome’ finishing.



Main body: aluminium with lacquer finish
Matte sections: protective varnishing
Gloss sections: White UV-resistant lacquer; black lacquer or ‘chrome’ anodised finish depending on version
Resonant amplifying base by JMC Lutherie: 350-year-old resonance spruce with 21st century composite materials like NomexTM honeycomb Kevlar.


Dimensions (with soundboard base): 400mm long x 340mm wide x 280mm high
Total weight: Approximately 6 kg


MusicMachine 3 features two 3.72 movements (3 refers to number of melodies on each cylinder; 72 refers to number of notes on each comb); one movement is ‘right’ configured; one movement is ‘left’ configured (they rotate in opposite directions)

Main plate: polished brass decorated with Geneva waves. The main plate holds both movements; each movement includes a mainspring, cylinder, comb, and regulator
Mainsprings: wound via conical, grooved winding keys in the form of thrusters, in nickel-plated brass
Barrels: satin stainless steel
Regulator fans: nickel-plated brass
Cylinders: nickel-plated brass
Start/stop and repeat/continue functions
One melody = one revolution of the cylinder. Three melodies per cylinder
Length of each melody: 35 seconds
Power reserve per cylinder: 15 minutes
Pins : hand-applied and hand-polished
Length of pins: 1 mm; diameter of pins: 0.3 mm
Pins per right cylinder: 1,279;
Pins per left cylinder: 1,399
Combs: steel alloy and lead; 72 teeth per comb; each comb attached to nickel-plated brass vibration plate
Winding keys: nickel-plated brass


Right cylinder – extracts from:
‘‘Star Wars’ (1977) by John Williams
‘Mission Impossible’ (1960) by T Lalo Schifrin
‘James Bond’ (1962) by Monty Norman
Left cylinder – extracts from:
‘The Godfather’ (1972) theme by Nino Rota
‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’ (1983) by Ryuichi Sakamoto
‘The Persuaders’ (1971) main title by John Barry
Left cylinder

This is one trilogy of which I am certain there will be no unexpected prequels.

Pricing is as follows :

Musicmachine 3 Black
Black lacquer finish
Limited edition of 33 pieces
CHF 18’900.- including VAT *

Musicmachine 3 White
White UV-Resistant lacquer finish
Limited edition of 33 pieces
CHF 18’900.- including VAT *

Musicmachine 3 Chrome
Chrome anodised finish
Limited edition of 33 pieces
CHF 18’900.- including VAT *

As a recap, here are the previous Music Machines 1, 2, and the Starfleet Machine.




How else to end but this? A tweet from Carrie Fisher, who posted this photo from the Lucasfilm Comic-Con panel for Star Wars : The Force Awakens last week.


Categories: Limited Editions, MB&F

1 reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: