If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed an extreme paucity of the banjo in modern electronic music.
Banjos in trance music?
Banjos in IDM?
Banjos in avant garde erotic electroactoustic music?
Banjos in the work of Richard D. James?
The world may never know.
Number of dance music divas that make the banjo their instrument of choice?
Why no banjos in electronic music?
Maybe it’s because it’s hard to sound edgy and dangerous when your axe is a banjo.
Or maybe it’s just because nobody had the cajones to try it.
Gaze on the DIY glory of Electronic Peasant’s Banjo Processor Pitch-to-Voltage Convertor.
We call it the Banjo Synthesizer, cause it just sounds that much more awesome.
Here’s what the creator of the Banjo synth, Electronic Peasant, has to say about this beast:
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.
Full story and extreme banjo gear porn at the Electronic Peasant site.
Think electronic music needs more banjos? Leave a comment with your thoughts!