Duophonic pickup

The standard electric guitar is polyphonic, but the pickup ultimately sums all the notes down to a single output – which can be limiting as strings can’t be processed individually.

One solution was to create a 2 voice pickup that could split the outputs of the top and bottom 3 strings. Here’s a potential use case : a portable one-man band setup with a 2 voice instrument around the guitar which would allow a guitarist to process their strings individually to play bass register notes and normal guitar notes at the same time. When combined with hybrid picking styles (a la Martin Carthy and Chet Atkins), an octave pedal and some careful chord fingerings, it would be possible to play the simultaneous lead and bass lines.

This could be achieved with a fairly simple setup – two pickups, each amplifying only 3 strings of the guitar. Read more about it on our post at Banana Apparatus

DIY Guitar effects

For a while now, I’ve been obsessing over a (mostly) DIY music setup. The first step was to build a set of effects and studio tools for my guitar. Here are the circuits I’ve got up and running so far:

  • Fuzz factory.
  • One knob dirt boxes – Ritual Black Fuzz  + EQD Speaker Cranker + EQD acapulco Gold
  • Envelope following low pass filter
  • Clari(not) noise delay
  • Dual Voice Filter – two band pass filters + distortion for a cocked wah effect
  • A Phase 90 clone
  • BA328 based equalizer
  • Engineer’s thumb Compressor (still needs some troubleshooting)
  • A patchbay + signal splitter/mixer

It isn’t easy to find hammond enclosures cheaply in India, so I’m trying to think of an alternative ….maybe a eurorack-ish format with aluminium plates sitting between railings. That way I could add and remove modules as needed.

For now they sit in plastic electrical boxes that can be found in most hardware stores.

Here is a video of a few of the effects:

 

Modded Voice Looping toy

A friend got this fun voice looping toy from the souvenir shop at MoMA that lets you record 3 second long clips and play them back. It has a pitch/speed shifting dial, which is fun, but it does lack one or two features that could make it pretty usable. To remedy that, I added an option for line out, and a toggle switch instead of the pushbutton, so that it could play back a given loop infinitely. Here’s a quick test of the same:

Gear: Hacked MoMA voice box-> MXR Blue Box-> Digitech hardwire looper

Synths for ISRO

After my tinkering about with circuits and noise last semester during the toy lab, I decided to intern with Yashas Shetty, artist-in-residence at Srishti, and periodic hacker/noisemaker along with ISRO (Indian Sonic Research organization, of course; the local (and perhaps only) experimental sound lab). I made a couple of synths, in addition to taking apart printers, mucking around with feedback, and generally annoying the hell out of anyone within earshot with all possible forms of ungodly rackets. Anyway, here’re a couple of the synths i made, most of them based on existing DIY projects.

The first one’s the Auduino, the basic platform of which i used in my toys as well. It’s based on the arduino microcontroller, though i didn’t really alter the schematic or program much here. The casing was meant to look like really retro radios, and maybe partially inspired by Dieter Rams’ work (at least, that was the intention)

This one is the dronelab, which we designed to put into the mughal looking table/box thing below (hence all the wires). I’ve decided to simplify that, so the final form is going to look far less intimidating, be easier to play, in addition to being more durable.

      

And here’s An Atari Punk Console, housed in a box made from 2mm HIP.

                               

fridaynightmauves

i thought i had lost this recording, but thankfully found it sometime last week. It’s again in a stream-of-consciousness form of improvising – i’ve noticed it’s a form where i sometimes get confused as to the distinction between speaking through my guitar, and speaking to it.
I was in a sort of a creative slump when i recorded this…it helped me realize that one of the best ways to get around a feeling of being uncreative and generally useless is to just express exactly that feeling :)

lying still, feet in water

Another idea that I’ve never bothered to flesh out fully… but honestly,i quite like it like this.
This was relatively simple to make, I was attempting to create something along the lines of Brian Eno’s and Robert Fripp’s ambient work (although they did it with analogue tape-delay processes), and i ended up with this after a few overlays and filters.

The title doesn’t really suggest it, but a lot behind this piece was a memory i have of viewing kanchejunga from Pelling (Gangtok). Around sunrise, the mountain’s colour changes steadily, from a grey barely distinguishable from the sky, to a brilliant golden yellow, before it’s all too suddenly obscured by clouds.
I’m not very focussed when it comes to naming things, so i titled with something that somehow evokes a very similar emotion for me :)