Home-made Tannerin or Ribbon Controller - diyAudio
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Old 25th November 2012, 02:41 AM   #1
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Default Home-made Tannerin or Ribbon Controller

Hey, I've been thinking of making a simple electronic instrument as part of my course to do with building instruments.

However, I'm not that tech savvy when it comes to circuitry (but I'm a quick learner), but I know how to handle a soldering iron.
I'm just wondering if it could be possible to build a Tannerin or Ribbon Controller (whichever would be easiest) with some help.

The instrument doesn't have to be very sophisticated and, aslong as I can make some form of quirky sounds with it, I should be okay.
Would anybody be willing to give me some advice on what components I should get or any other electronic instruments that would be worth looking into?
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Old 25th November 2012, 02:45 AM   #2
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Would love to see what you come up with. It's supposed to be a simple circuit, but I've never seen a schematic. Let's hope someone here knows.
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Old 25th November 2012, 03:06 AM   #3
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There are some schematics online, but it'd be nice to have some guidance so I can get the best out of the schematics.

Also, I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what else would I need to get a ribbon controller to work?
Because I'm not sure if it's an instrument in its self, or just a peripheral for a synthesiser.
Could I simply make the ribbon and plug it into a PA or guitar amp and actually get a sound, or would I need to plug it into a keyboard first, and then play it?
I don't think the latter will get my penalised, because I'm really just using the keyboard as a medium for the ribbon.
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Old 25th November 2012, 03:12 PM   #4
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As far as I know, it generates its own sound. Jut plug it into an amp.
Now I see that there are kits and schematics online. There wasn't much a few years back when I searched. Cool.
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Old 25th November 2012, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Could I simply make the ribbon and plug it into a PA or guitar amp and actually get a sound, or would I need to plug it into a keyboard first, and then play it?......As far as I know, it generates its own sound. Jut plug it into an amp.
A ribbon controller does just that....controls an instrument. The original Moog ribbon controller as played by Kieth Emerson was designed to control an analog voltage controlled music synthesizer also Moog. It is essentially a long slide pot that generates a control voltage in proportion to where your finger touches the slide. Additional circuitry generates the gate and trigger signals that enable the sound when you touch it, and turn off the sound when you remove your hand.

Since analog voltage controlled synthesizers are not so common anymore, there are devices called ribbon controllers that generate MIDI data which can control a modern MIDI instrument. Most of these are not capable of generating the sweeping tones that the original was famous for.

PAIA still sells kits to build your own analog voltage controlled synthesizer, and they have instructions on making a ribbon controller. I built one of their synthesizer kits in the early 1970's.

PAiA Corporation: How to Build a 2 Note Ribbon Controller by John Simonton

The original Tannerin that was played on the Beach Boys Good Vibrations song was nothing more than an ordinary audio sine wave generator with a pulley in place of the frequency knob attached to a sliding handle via a piece of string. Some literature states that an ordinary Heathkit oscillator was used. Our local HP (now Agilent) sales rep claims that it was an HP200C oscillator. Either way, you just plug it into an amp. The HP has enough output to drive a small speaker.
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