Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bob Wiley's Ministar travel guitar

The Ministar travel guitar by Bob Wiley is like taking only what's essential for the electric guitar to work and making a guitar out of it. However, it seems to work pretty well. Read this great article by Gizmag for more info on Wiley's guitar lineup. Also, a video of the ministar in action:

Synth joystick with Atari Punk Console

This joystick is not just any joystick: it has an APC (Atari Punk Console) inside, and instead of controlling flight simulators it makes sounds. And there's more: with these instructables, you can make your own at home!

Misa tri-bass

Meet the Misa Tri-Bass. It's a very cool solid wood synth axe with 3 touch-sensitive "strings" and a big XY pad on the body.

The makers aren't new to guitar-like synth controllers: they've previously made the Kitara, a controller made famous by Muse, deadmau5 and others!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

DIY Laser Harp

You've all seen the laser harp used by Jarre. Now they are available from Goodchild Engineering. Very impressive build!

Found on Hack a day.

Olaf Diegel's 3D-printed instruments go live

Gizmag writes of the new project by Olaf Diegel, a 3D-printed instrument maker I've also featured previously. He has now made instruments for a whole band, and Frankfurt will get to see these instruments in action! Gorgeous.

Di Donato guitar

This one is a looker! Read the article on Gizmag on this amazing piece of craftmanship.

MIDI drumming robot: Fork-o-Drumbot

DIY MIDI-controlled robot percussion playing Superstition. Here's the link to the build log for those who want to make their own.

Found on Hack a day.

Farting pig as an instrument

A real thingstrument.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crazy 16-trackpad MIDI controller: RADIX16

More DIY for you. This guy made his own Akai MPC style controller - but with laptop trackpads! This means each pad can track it's own X/Y coordinate! This must be a first in the history of pad controllers!

Found via hack a day.

The FlightDeck - a touchless MIDI controller

Another cool DIY controller, this time made with distance sensors. Combined with the software, a MAX/MSP patch, this DIY enthusiast can now control his favourite synths like a wizard.

Found on hack a day.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

littleBits keytar and synth spin table demos

Here's some more from littleBits: a keytar and a synth spin table project.

littleBits are a product family of little electronics modules that can be connected together like legos. If you don't already know, they just started collaboration with Korg for a new synthesizer module product line...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Dentaku Ototo minisynth

Dentaku have created a mini-synthesizer the size of a cassette tape: Ototo. Looks fun!

dream 64: a free commodore 64 chiptune VST plugin

This is for the SID fans out there: a freeware SID-emulating VSTi for Windows.

littleBits and Korg to release modular synth product line

Korg just keeps bringing out some excellent toys for synth geeks. Now they have started collaboration with littleBits, a company making open-source modular circuit boards that can be connected like legos. That's right, Korg is now making open-source synth modules. They've released the monotron schematics already a while back and seems like it worked out just fine for them. It's great to see a big company like Korg embracing the DIY synth community like this!

Read this great article on create digital music for more info on the littleBits + Korg collab.

Friday, November 1, 2013

DIY Arduino-controlled guitar

No more fiddling with pots: this guy removed the knobs and replaced them with an on-board Arduino with a Bluetooth module. On top of that he wrote an Android application with which he can change presets on the fly and even create some tremolo-like effects by switching between the presets automatically.

Details on the project can be found on the Arduguitar home page.

DIY NES synth

Here's a great DIY build: a small keyboard imitates 4 NES controllers that are connected to the original NES running a NESK-1 synthesizer cartridge.

Check out also this demo of the NESK-1:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sonic Wind guitar

The Sonic Wind guitar is quite different from the traditional guitar. The creator calls it an open-chamber guitar.

Standuino Pi, frauAngelico and microGranny

Here's some Arduino powered synth magic for you. frauAngelico is a drum synth / sequencer, Standuino Pi is a drone synth and the microGranny a cool little granular sampler. Mix them up and you've got this:

Carboard synthesizer miniatures

Bumped into this set of very cool artwork by Dan McPharlin. He has creates little synthesizer miniatures from cardboard. I can almost hear them bleep and bloop.

Friday, October 4, 2013

ROLI Seaboard Grand

The Seaboard is a very cool new instrument from ROLI. It is a soft version of the classical piano keyboard, with polyphonic pitch bend and vibrato added in to mix things up. Yes, you heard it right, you can pitch bend multiple keys in different directions at the same time!

1972 EKO ComputeRhythm drum machine

This punch-card operated drum synth / sequencer is too cool to be true. Be sure not to miss the part where he programs in a new sequence!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Deep Step 606 and other Free VST instruments from SonicXTC

SonicXTC have released a new free VST, the Deep Step 606. You can download it at their freebies site here.

Check out also their free loop manipulator VST, Beat Twist, and their other nice freebies.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Amazing time-lapse of the building of a modular

This guy built his own modular and filmed it all with a time-lapse app for the iPhone. The synthesizer can be also heard on the soundtrack. Amazing work!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mixtape Alpha

The Mixtape Alpha is a $42 synth / sequencer smaller than a cassette tape. It is limited to chiptune style sounds, but is still very cool and very portable - you can easily take it anywhere with you.

The schematics and source code are available to download, which makes it possible to even build your own.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Oberheim 8 voice

Here's a great, in-detail introduction to the Oberheim polyphonic 8 voice synthesizer. It's just... beautiful...

Teenage engineering OP-1 and it's accessories

I really have no excuse for not introducing the Teenage Engineering OP-1 until now. It first gained fame being featured in the swedish house Mafia's music video for "One (Your Name)". It's a quirky portable music workstation.

Here's one example of the OP-1 in action:

And here's a tutorial to the ridiculous and wide accessories range, which makes the OP-1 even more a real Thingstrument.

The unit currently costs 800€, so it's not the cheapest toy you can get, but it can really do quite a lot for the buck.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The ANS synthesizer

The ANS synthesizer, imagined in 1938 and built in 1958 by Evgeny Murzin. It is controlled by glass discs that have the arrangement printed on them. It was used most notably on the soundtrack to Andrei Tarkovsky's film Solyaris. A curious fact is also that this thing is 720-note (or should I say pitch) polyphonic!

Also worth checking is this interesting article on the ANS.

Update: now a virtual version of the ANS is available for everyone to play with!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Korg monotribe jam

In this video, 12 Korg monotribes have a conversation.

The beautiful sound of a Buchla

Very nice patch! I could listen to this all day.

Tonto - a very nice modular synth

Not sure if it's the coolest, but it sure is one of the nicest modulars I've come across.

Brief history of the Minimoog

Here's a quick look into the history of the Minimoog. Totally worth the 8-minute watch.

6-neck guitar being played poorly

For your enjoyment, here's some more bad guitar playing with ridiculous guitars.

Alien electric guitar

This guitar sure looks good, but they still have to do some tuning work on it...

Mechanical orchestra made of guns

Pedro Reyes made a robotic orchestra out of dismantled guns. It's controlled with Ableton Live.

There's also brief shots of a bass, a violin, and a flute made of old guns.

The Grey Apparatus and other free VST synths from Creatorum Genius Labs

For the computer musicians out there using Windows,, here's some free russian VST synthesizers for you! The newest addition is the Grey Apparatus version 2, which is a hybrid between an FM synth and a "wavedraw" synth, where you draw the waveform yourself.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

ReacTj ReacTable

In case you've somehow missed it, here's a really cool video clip of the ReacTable, which Rolling Stone magazine called the hot instrument of 2007. I had to include it here.

SAM sings to Curiosity rover

SAM, or Sample Analysis at Mars is a mini-lab inside Curiosity rover. When it is used to investigate a soil sample, it gives out some audible tunes. So now the folks at NASA made it sing happy birthday to celebrate the rover's first year on Mars.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Telharmonium

Here's a clip from the documentary Magic Music From The Telharmonium. The Telharmonium was the first electronic synthesizer complete with a touch sensitive keyboard. Three different versions were built, weighing from 7 tons to almost 200 tons!

For those wanting more spoilers, you can read this great synthmuseum.com article about the instrument.

David Gilmour does On the Run on the EMS Synthi

Here's David Gilmour and showing how they did the the synth line for On the Run on an EMS Synthi A.

And here's a Synthi advert from days gone by.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Electronium

The Electronium is a huge electronic synthesizer built in 1960s by Raymond Scott. Here's a talk from the restorator of the thing. Keep up the good work in restoring this awesome piece of history!

EDIT: I had to include this MIND-BOGGLING composition of his using the Electronium.

Bruce Haack short documentary

If you've never heard of Bruce Haack, you should check this out. Bruce Haack was a real pioneer of electronic music, making electronic albums starting in the late sixties. The audio not the best but works.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Moby's awesome synth collection

Every synth enthusiast must watch this: Moby going through his collection of synthesizers. The old drum synths get a lot of screen time. And Moby couldn't be more wrong when he ends the video by telling us he's not cool.

Strange guitars compilation

Something for the guitarists out there. Check out this collection of cool / ridiculous and above all, strange guitars.

Eigenharp demonstration

Very nice demonstration of the Eigenharp, with step-by-step introduction to it's capabilities. So cool.

Frank Zappa playing the bicycle in 1963

Gotta love Zappa.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Array Mbira

Very cool instrument - like a thumb piano but bigger and better...

Array instruments has it's own interesting way of arranging the notes on this thing. See more here.

BEND: a circuit bending documentary

Here's another short doc for you to watch! Mainly people describing circuit bending with some nice bent sounds.

An early speech synthesizer - Voder

This is so cool. A short clip of an old speech synth in action.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Glitch - a film about circuit bending

Here's something for you to watch: a nice little documentary on circuit bending.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Friday, July 5, 2013

Free android synthesizer with Yamaha DX7 emulation

For all the Android users out there, here's a cool free app for you: Music Synthesizer by Raph Levien. It's an emulation of the legendary Yamaha DX7.

Via Music radar.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gimmick Graph, a unique free synth for Macs

Here's another free synth for you: Gimmick Graph - a synthesizer where you draw the waveform. This one is only available for the Mac users out there.

Found via this Sonic State article.

Free drum synth VST: EXD-80

Here's something for the Windows VST users: EXD-80, a free drum synth by Third Harmonic Studios.

It's a virtual analog drum synthesizer, and good for all kinds of electronic music and more. See more info in this article by Sonic State.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Crazy thumb piano / drone synth

Loving this one, nice enclosure & details!

Control music by ripples in the water

When the user creates ripples in the water tank, a few phototransistors and an Arduino detect the changes in light. The Arduino then sends some MIDI data to a synth. Interesting but seems a bit nonresponsive at times.

Worms making music

Two videos of worms "making music". Actually it seems they're more like circuit benders but that's OK too.

Arduino controlled drum jam by Jazari

Here's an awesome demonstration of the robotic drum and percussion ensemble by Jazari!

Found this from the #1 circuit-bending page, getlofi.com.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Ondes Martenot

The Ondes Martenot is an old electronic instrument that sounds like the theremin.

This guy made his own, modern version of the Martenot, for controlling a Korg Monotribe. Check it out!

The post at Hack a Day has some more information for those interested in building their own.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Peter Edwards of Casperelectronics on Circuit bending

Nice short video interviewing Peter Edwards on circuit bending, what else.

Electric kazoo

Doesn't get simpler than this! Just a glue a piezo to the kazoo, soldered to an audio jack.

Via the circuit-bending and musical diy Google+ community.

Breadboard based modular synth by STEIM

Here's a video demonstrating a breadboard based modular synthesizer by STEIM:

This seems like a great way to create a VERY complex modular with minimal effort - no need to have kilograms of patch cables and banana jacks!

For more info, see the webpage with documentation.

Found from the circuit-bending and musical diy Google+ community.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Guitarduino

This guy made some enhancements to his guitar with an Arduino... just awesome!!!

Read more on the details at Hack A Day.

The sidrazzi glitch synth kit

This one is really a strange instrument indeed. I'm not sure I fully understand what the sidrazzi even is. Seems to be on the glitch department. Here's a part of the author's description, though it doesn't help much:

The Sidrassi is an Organ, designed to reflect the glory of god with pure triangular voices. But it also allows exploration of the Devils' Tone, which is irrational pitch relationships achieved through analog modulations. 

And here's the video you're waiting for:

The AWESOME Paradiso synthesizer

Any synth enthusiast HAS TO SEE THIS!!!

Open-source DIY synthesizer: Struthi-1

The Struthi-1 is an open-source hybrid digital/analog synthesizer, costing 140€.

Demonstration of unusual world instruments

This great clip of Randy Raine-Reusch playing a lot of unusual acoustic world instruments.

Here's a list of the demonstrated instruments:

0:01 Thai khaen,
0:09 Appalachian dulcimer,
0:24 Chinese hulusi,
0:36 Chinese bawu,
0:46 Chinese dizi,
0:56 Chinese xun,
1:07 Thai (Lisu) naw (hulusheng in China),
1:15 Malaysian (Kayan) selingut,
1:19 Hawaiian one hano ihu,
1:23 Indian pungi,
1:29 Egyptian midjweh,
1:32 Vanuatu shark mouth flute,
1:37 Indonesian (Sunda) suling,
1:41 Slovakian Koncovka,
1:48 Chinese (Uighur, Xinjiang Province) satar,
1:50 Chinese (Uighur, Xinjiang Province) dutar,
1:54 Czech platerspiel,
1:57 Vietnamese dan nguyen,
2:00 Thai (Lanna) seung,
2:03 Ugandan ekidongo, ennenga or adunga,
2:06 Thai (Lanna) pin pia,
2:10 Kenyan nyatiti,
2:13 Vietnamese koni,
2:15 Vietnamese bro,
2:17 South African chipendani,
2:19 Bengali ektara,
2:20 Persian ney,
2:22 Philippine kubing,
2:24 Lao (Hmung) gaeng,
2:25 Chinese (Miao) kouqin,
2:27 Australian didjeridu,
2:28 Nigerian (Birom) yomkwo,
2:30 Malaysian (Bidayuh) kiromboi (snail shells),
2:31 Canadian North West cedar whistle,
2:32 American (Plains people) courting flute,
2:34 USA triple ocarina, Malaysian (Iban) engkulurai, Jewish shofar,
2:35 Indian conch, Bengali khomok,
2:36 Mexican ocarina,
2:37 Vietnamese (Ede) ding tac ta, Ghana aslatua,
2:38 Ivory Coast ahoco, Ghanian alghaita.

Awesome open-source softsynth: ZynAddSubFX

Here's an open-source softsynth with awesome sounds: ZynAddSubFX. It is available for Linux, Windows and MacOS.

Here's a sound demo with all sounds coming from ZynAddSubFX. The screenshot is rumored to be from an upcoming GUI rework...

Open-source DIY synthesizer: Auduino

Auduino is an open-source synthesizer on the Arduino platform. Making one costs you about $50.

Here's one built with a stylus controller from a Gakken SX-150. Note that the delay and the back-up tracks are not coming from the Auduino.

Auduino with a sequencer

Here's a dry example - in this one all the audio is coming from the Auduino.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Hydraulophone

This instrument uses water to produce sound. And it sounds fantastic!

The Carillon - a 48 ton bell instrument

Monster Tubulum

Check out this huge percussive instrument!

The double slide controller

Crazy complicated MIDI controller...

Samchillian tip-tip whatever

I heard about this instrument some years earlier but now someone made it into a ready product.

Here's the original Samchillian. Looks a bit different but also cool in a different kind of way.

Dennis Havlena's awesome acoustic DIY instruments

The Physics of DIY Instruments

Here's a really interesting short informational video on a composer and his strange instruments.


This piece of software allows you to make songs by emulating a Commodore 64 sound chip. Great stuff, and it's free to download!

The Banj-Fabulator

A contestant in the Red Bull Crestion contest shows off his DIY instrument.

Friday, April 5, 2013