Going on a bender

Tim Kaiser sometimes uses a technique called “circuit bending” to coax interesting sounds out of old electronic equipment.

Objects like old keyboards and electronic toys are good for circuit bending. By exposing a device’s circuit board, a circuit bender can make new connections on the board. Making these connections causes the electrical current running to the speakers to bypass the components that make the machine sound how it was originally supposed to. Sometimes nothing happens, but sometimes the machine makes a new sound, something its creator never thought of. The circuit bender marks what new connections make cool sounds, and they have their own “bent” instrument.

Do you have questions about the science of sound? Want to know more about circuit bending and instrument making? Leave your questions for Tim Kaiser, and keep your eyes on www.smm.org/buzz for the answers!

A circuit bender has made new connections on this electronic instrument. Now it makes new and different sounds.

Photo courtesy bre pettis via flickr.com