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Circuit bending is the creative short-circuiting of low voltage, battery-powered electronic audio devices such as guitar effects, children's toys and small synthesizers to create new musical instruments and sound generators. Emphasizing spontaneity and randomness, the techniques of circuit bending have been commonly associated with noise music, though many more conventional contemporary musicians and musical groups (such as Devo) have been known to experiment with »bent« instruments.
1 The experimental process
2 Innovators in circuit bending
3 Significant instruments
4.1 BENT Festival
6 See also
7 External links
7.1 Blogs, Wikis, and other online communities
7.3 Other websites
 The experimental process
Circuit bending is a process that has been developed largely by individuals experimenting with second-hand electronics, often not associated with musical production. Aesthetic value, immediate usability and highly randomized results are often factors in the process of successfully bending electronics. Although the history of electronic music is often associated with unconventional sonic results, such innovators as Robert Moog, Lev Sergeivitch Theremin, etc. were electrical engineers and concerned with the consistency and sound design of their instruments. Circuit bending is typified by inconsistencies in the instruments built in an unscientific manner.
While many pre-fitted circuit bent machines are on offer for sale at auction sites such as eBay, this somewhat contravenes the intention of most practitioners. Machines bent to a repeated configuration are more analogous to the well known practice of mods, such as the Devilfish mod for the Roland TB-303, or various Analogman or [Pedaldoc] guitar pedal circuit modifications.
Typically, circuit bending is a matter of dismantling a piece of consumer electronics, connecting via wire or alligator clips any 2 circuit locations and sending current from one part of the circuit into another. Sonic results are monitored through the device's internal speaker or by connecting an amp to the speaker output. If an interesting effect is achieved, this connection would be marked for future reference or kept active, either with alligator clips, or a soldered connection, often routed through a switch. This is repeated in a trial and error basis. Overloading a component may produce desirable effects, and thus the reliability of continued use or reproduction of effects in another scenario is unlikely. As a general rule, areas around the power supply or big capacitors are avoided.
 Innovators in circuit bending
Although similar methods were undoubtedly used by other musicians and engineers previously, this method of music creation is popularly held to be pioneered by Reed Ghazala in the 1960s.
Ghazala's experience with circuit-bending began in 1966 when a toy transistor amplifier, by chance, shorted-out against a metal object in his desk drawer, resulting in a stream of unusual sounds. Ghazala has written of his discovery process in EMI magazine and recently for John Wiley & Sons, publishers of Ghazala's Extreme Tech project book Circuit-Bending, Make Your Own Alien Instruments
Mark Vail's book Vintage Synthesizers has a section in which Serge Tcherepnin, designer of the famous Serge modular synthesizers, discusses his early experiments in the 1950s with transistor radios, in which he found sensitive circuit points in those simple electronic devices and brought them out to »body contacts« on the plastic chassis. Prior to Mark's and Reed's experiments other pioneers also explored the body-contact idea, one of the earliest being Thaddeus Cahill (1897) whose Telharmonium, it is reported, was also touch-sensitive.
 Significant instruments
A list of well known toys and instruments used in circuit bending usually because of their low price and 'bendability'
Speak & Spell
Speak & Math
 BENT Festival
Since 2004 this annual festival located in New York has invited the public to get involved in circuitbending, offering in-depth workshops and live performances by circuit bending musicians. 
Artists who create and use circuit bent instruments are featured on a compilation CD entitled »Noise and Toys Volume 1,« which was officially released in 2006 on We Are Records. Many varied musical intentions are apparent in this collection, but there is an almost physical tie binding these compositions.
Also in 2006 a Compilation was put out by TIGER CLAW RECORDS (Madison Wisconsin USA). It was titled »The Blown Circuit Comp- A Tribute to Circuit Bending« It features 12 bands from various locations around the globe. This was TIGER CLAWS first release.
 See also
Electronic art music
MOS Technology SID
 External links
 Blogs, Wikis, and other online communities
Yahoo! Benders list — well known Yahoo! mailing list on the subject
Yahoo! Bendersanonymous list — Another well known Yahoo! mailing list on the subject
Getlofi — Up-to-date information on everything circuitbending and DIY
Circuitbending — a major LiveJournal group
BendWiki a Circuit Bending Wiki
CIRCUIT-bend.community a Circuit Bending Forum
www.bentfestival.org Official Bent Festival Website
BEND THIS TOO! Second Annual Night of Circuit Bending in Los Angeles
 Other websites
Anti-Theory.com Reed Ghazala's comprehensive website on circuit bending
oddmusic.com's circuit bending section Gallery of some of Reed Ghazala's work, facts, history, tutorial, benders guide, tools of the trade and more
Bent MONKEY Cage-california Circuit Bending illogical techniques exposed
Bent-Tronics.com — Circuit bending supplies and more.
Casper Electronics Instrument Builder Pete Edwards' site with tips, techniques and tutorials.
Alien-Devices.com Circuit bending info and schematics
circuitbenders.co.uk — An extensive online circuit bending resource
Pixelh8 Music created by Hardware and Software Circuit Bending.
sailormouth — tutorials including more advanced techniques
FoodTeam — Includes a gallery of instruments not commonly circuit bent
Master China and Jones — Gallery of odd circuit bent creations with sound samples. Also see
Electric Chinese Orchestra — a circuit bending performance group in Seattle, WA.
The Bender's Pad reviews, submit your instruments, forum, info and more
Overdrive Spider DS-1 Circuit Bends a guide on how to circuit bend the Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal.
Burnkit 2600 Band site and blog with tons of info on mods and circuit bending (tr-505, tr-626, HR-16).
Storm's Corner information on bending the HR-16 and SK-1, plus many links to other resources.
Mystery Circuits circuit bending by Mike Walters.
Gieskes Circuitbending by Gijs.
RoilNoise Circuit Bending a few bits and pieces about bending, with links and a flash animated circuit bent Speak and Spell!!
http://www.blankstare.biz Circuit bent instruments by Jeff Boynton with unusual, often highly complex interfaces
Future Sound Systems circuit bending by Future Sound Systems
Robot Companion circuit bending by Robot Companion
Xdugef circuit bending by Xdugef
cosmods circuit bending site and blog
CB Workshops circuit bending workshops in Switzerland by SGMK
Computer Truck circuit bending artist in France
BENTPEDALS.COM John Ingram's collection of bent guitar effects pedals