2020-09-23

A Little Night Music No.2

During which which I finally succeed in recreating the sound of a cheap children’s mooing’ toy using hundreds of pounds worth of equipment.

On an interesting Sound On Sound podcast interviewing a developer of Yamaha’s FM synths they mentioned the FS1R module, one of which I bought around the turn of the century when they were going cheap having not proved popular. On that prompt I looked up what they were being sold for these days and after getting over the shock I dragged mine out for a noodle.

Backing comes courtesy of an Argon 8M and Arturia Microfreak (C’est chic).

Made up on the spot - hard to believe I know.

What I’d forgotten was that the FS1R has the elusive MIDI Mode 4 allowing each string to have its own channel meaning amongst other things better tracking and independent pitch bend. A bit like MIDI Polyphonic Expression does today and allowing you to play in a more guitar like manner. (I may go wild and do a video at some point that demonstrates that rather more obviously than the one here.)

Perhaps of note is that the Yamaha synthesizer and Roland GR33 I’m using to convert the signal from the hexaphonic pickup on the guitar to MIDI are twenty year old technology. (Hexaphonic means it picks up each of the six strings individually for later processing. Some very clever modern pedals and software can work out individual notes from a standard guitar output but there are still some things that can’t be deduced using that method).

The Cyclone II is of similar vintage with some modern accoutrements, most recently Wilkinson WLS130 locking saddles which are a great aid to tuning stability on an old fashioned Fender type of tremolo unit if you’re attempting extreme wobbles. It also has a LSR roller nut, Graphtec string tree and locking tuners I stuck on over a decade ago and can’t remember what they are.

Tuning that doesn’t drift is particularly important for guitar synth but this isn’t much of an example of the guitar itself so I’ll do a video for that at a later date.

The Cyclone shouldn’t be confused with the Squier reissue which has Stratocaster rather than Jaguar pickups and most importantly lacks the go faster stripes of the original.


Noise Audio And Or Visual A Little Night Music


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