Frequently Asked Questions
This page isn't a detailed taxonomic FAQ as you might find on many topics around the Web or net; it is an attempt to address questions that are actually frequently asked — of me, or the mailing list (whose archives are also an excellent source of information).
Despite Philip Dodds's claim that there were 3000 Chromas made, there has been some speculation that the number may have been significantly lower. See the Index of Known Instruments. See also the following ChromaTalk threads:
- Expander - how rare? (February 2001)
- Could there only be 1000 Chromas (and not 3000 or so)? (May 2002)
- First Chroma Serial/Model Number Overlap? (October 2003)
- How Many Chromas? (January 2008)
- Registry Approaches 500 Instruments (March 2008) – particularly Ken Ypparila's  posts that Steve Grom [21030502+] of Fender estimates that about 1200 Chromas and 50 or 60 Expanders were produced.
See the Price History for a listing of known transactions.
Who plays (or played) the Chroma?
The instrument shows up on a number of recordings. I have Herbie Hancock and Weather Report/Zawinul records on which it features prominently enough to be recognized. There are a number of other well-known players, including Lyle Mays and Oscar Peterson. The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers review lists a number of players. This site now includes a fledgling Discography.
They seem to have been manufactured for the European (2101) and North American (2103) markets. David Clarke [21030085++] outlined the differences in his July 1999 ChromaTalk posts All sorts of Values and Other 2101/2103 difference. We have no similar data to date on models 2102 or 2104, which are significantly less common.
This is not an error number; it is a list of the boards that have failed the initialization/auto-tune process. So 'Err 012' means that boards 0, 1, and 2 are out. See Diagnostics: Error Messages in the Performance Manual.
Sometimes notes don't sound. What do I do?
How often should I change the internal backup batteries?
This is a memory expander mod offered by Ken Yparrila (Chroma Cult) in the 1980s: see the Chroma Cult 1986.10.02 Mailing (this page also includes a picture of the modification internal to the Chroma). For external pictures, see A mod Chroma on Ebay.de, ChromaTalk September 2003; and Chroma with Memory Expander on eBay.de, September 2004.
See the Polaris section.
See the Rhodes Super Site.