Blue Note (Gottlieb, 1978)

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Quickie Version

 Standup targets all day. 
 Go-To Flipper:  Right

Full Detail

Skill Shot: hit the top lane lit in green for 10,000. The Skill Shot is deactivated as soon as you hit a switch, when the value of each top lane reverts to 1,000. Which lane is lit appears random.

Completing the top A-B-C lanes is only relevant if extra balls are enabled, since that’s how you light the saucer on the right for an extra ball. If EBs are off, ignore the top lanes other than making the Skill Shot.

The standup note scale “do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do” targets on the left wall of the game are where it’s at. They score 500 the first time hit, i.e. when lit, but then score 5000 per hit after that, i.e. when unlit. This is a unique reversal to most games - - something unlit scoring more than when it’s lit. You may have to remind yourself of that as you play, avoiding the instinct to preferentially hit lit things. This is where the bulk of your non-Skill Shot points will come on this game. Ideally, try to hit all but one of the targets once to un-light them, and don’t finish the targets! If you finish them, one will light for a Special; if you happen to hit that one, the targets then reset and revert to their initial 500 point values.

There are two spinners: the central [left-most] one can be worth 10, 100 or 1000 points per spin; the right-hand spinner changes the value of the central spinner. While at 1000 points per spin this is good value, I’ve found that shooting the spinner is not the best strategy. Balls through the spinner go directly into the center of the three bumpers, and it’s not uncommon for those to spit the ball back down through the spinner and into the center drain. Unless your spinner is super-juicy, the cost-benefit just isn’t there. Most Sing Alongs give maybe 5-7 spins per shot; compare that to the 5000 you get for hitting each standup target already completed.

The offset flippers and lack of a left outlane make ball control strategy on Blue Note, unlike most other games. You’ll want to hold the left flipper up at times as a kind of shield and a means to deflect the ball to the right flipper, which is the one you want to be taking your shots with. Ball transfers from left to right from a cradle are alley pass or nothing: there’s no post for a post pass, and these Gottlieb flippers don’t react well for tap passing. Alley passing can be tricky, though, due to both the flipper offset and angle. If you weren’t able to use the left flipper to deflect the ball to the right one and up end with the ball cradled on the left, backhanding the ball into the left side of the left-hand bumpers is actually a good plan.

Key Feeds: kick out from the saucer [beware center drains!] and balls coming down through either spinner.

This page is one of many in the The Players Guide to Classic Pinball by written by Bob Matthews