Got Distracted By Circuit Bending

I got the urge to try my hand at circuit bending and it’s really got its’ hooks in me!
I’ve experimented with 3 item so far and while I’m learning a lot I have yet to find any true “bends”, as in any thing that actually modulates the sound.

Anybody got some resources (beyond the anti-theory page) that might help me identify the components I should be looking for? I may be using toys that are too new… need to hit up the junk shop again.


Anecdotes, advice, success stories much appreciated!

just get some wires hold one end in place and move the other over any bit of metal in the circuit yiou can see - if it makes a noise solder a switch/button/dial on to the bastard an keep going…

sounds fun,what are some good toys to start with?

Evidently older is better (or probably easier). I’ve got a hunch that the newer toys I’ve tried so far don’t actually synthesize the sounds but just playback recordings from memory. I think that may mean far less bending opportunities.

So far, after exhausting the possibilities on a Fisher Price Sesame Street Tune In TV, Toy Story “match the sounds” game, and one of those annoying shaking-and-laughing teddy bears all I’ve successfully done is change the language of the teddy bear to japanese (I guess that’s sorta neat) and get your basic zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt out of the Toy Story game by sending power directly to the speaker. I’m gonna hit a local junk store and try to find a toy keyboard this afternoon (something that can make a sustained sound so I don’t have to continuously hit buttons with every circuit change).

i was messing with a speak n math this way, but er… well i seemed to touch the wrong capacitor and it fried. :(

I’ve been messing around with a Speak and Math off and on. I’ve heard there are really good bends in them, but I haven’t found much so far. It’s also kind of a pain because the buttons are on the opposite side from the PCB, so you have to keep flipping it over and stuff.

I think the stuff you want to be messing around are the ICs since that’s where a lot of the actual sound processing occurs. Playing around near transistors and diodes is probably good, too, since they can have a lot to do with adjusting the signal. You could also try adding in extra components between contacts like capacitors or variable resistors so see if you can get any cool sounds.

Found a much more technical and specific website for circuit bending:

Good stuff. I also picked up a tiny little Yamaha Portasound PSS-30 and even though the above site insists there are no good bends (or eastereggs as he calls them) I’ve successfully drawn out about 6-8 connections that make nice “lo fi” sounds. Time to get some some switches and pots!

Feels good to get some level of success out of this finally! :walkman:

This thing is little! About 14 inches at the most:

it might be a good idea for some of you to get a prototyping breadboard:

get a bunch of long different color wires
then you connect the leads from it to your device, add some components to your breadboard and tweak, find a good connection and weld a wire to the devices pcb board. use the breadboard as a controller

check out

they are good for doing things like a theremin but using light instead, similar to a roland d-beam.

Just finished my first bending project and I think it came out great!

See above for the before shot.

Added: Line-out jack, two pots that produce nice pitchy oscillating interference by themselves and even more with the voices and beats, distortion/glitch modulation switch, and a hard reset switch. And a “sweet-ass paint job.” :P

I’ll add some samples later (having fun tracking the loops right now, yay!)

Haha Man, that looks fun!
those speakers and paint job are fresh.
though the picture makes it look like it has a bluetooth interface!

I friend of mine sent me this link today -->

There are even steam-powered synths :D

Dang! I knew I left something out! :D