The banjo synthesizer

Music Technology
The banjo synthesizer


The Electric Peasant’s Banjo Processor takes the traditional instrument to sonic realms few have dared before, using a pitch-to-voltage converter along with a collection of bonus features –

When The Peasant built the SynthCase project, a keyboard was not included, as playing one is not something that he has ever learned to do. However, The Peasant is a banjo player, and so thought that it would be very interesting to use a banjo to control the analogue synthesizer. A number of years ago a pitch-to-voltage convertor circuit board, designed for guitar use, was purchased from fellow DIY enthusiast Harry Bissell. This pcb only used the bottom three guitar strings to extract the CV output, and so it was decided to expand the board to work with all five strings on the banjo. The board was designed to output CV, envelope, and triggers, and also included a built-in bass synthesizer. A special hex pickup was required to deliver individual string outputs to the circuitry.

During the design phase, “feature creep” reared it’s ugly head, and the final project ended up including a preamp/mixer section, using the hex pickup and an input for a regular banjo pickup. Some extra functions were added to the bass synth, and some quasi sawtooth outputs were added courtesy of another small pcb from Mr. Bissell.

The pitch converter alone could prove much fun for guitar players. And as you might imagine the aforementioned SynthCase project is an impressive sight to see. Check out the Banjo Processor’s jumbo pictorial over at EP’s site. [via Deviant Synth]

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