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Was Don Buchla a bassist? Did he develop an EUB synth controller?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Snaxster, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello and Happy New Year. Mostly because I don't play double bass, I never posted on the DB side of TalkBass until today. But now I have two questions that maybe (just maybe) a double bassist among us can answer:

    Was Don Buchla a bassist? Did he develop an EUB synth controller?

    If you didn't know:

    The recently late Don Buchla was one of the few most important thinkers and inventors ever to work in the realm of audio synthesis (or of "electronic musical instruments", to use his nomenclature; Buchla rejected the term "synthesizer" for describing his devices, I believe). A contemporary of Bob Moog, Don Buchla's rationale for the design and use of audio synthesizers differed significantly from Moog's. Eventually others would dub their respective approaches to audio synthesis the East Coast Style (Moog) and West Coast Style (Buchla).​

    As I do online research of audio synthesis in general, I encounter nearly everywhere copies of one particular historical photo of Don Buchla. Though I have yet to see a credit or date for the photo, it is featured in the webpage for a 1982 Keyboard Magazine interview with Buchla. So there is some chance that it was taken then or shortly before.

    In the photo Buchla is surrounded by his inventions and other electronic equipment. And at his left side is what looks to be a custom electric upright bass fitted with an electronics control panel. The panel features several knobs and perhaps a 1/4" jack. To me, it looks as if the bass is fitted with only two or three strings. Here is the photo:

    Don Buchla ca. 1982? with EUB.

    And here is a part of the photo that I enhanced, taking my best guess at the outline of the instrument:

    Don Buchla ca. 1982? with EUB enhanced.

    My many online searches for info come up completely empty. C'mon you old timers (even older than I am, preferably) and electronic music scholars, please help out here. If you have the answers or any clues, post them in reply.

    Thank you,


    P.S. - Bonus, from the aforementioned Keyboard Magazine interview, this by Don Buchla:

    “Where is your music? Is it in your hands, or is it in your head? How much is music and musicality, and how much is technicianship, and where do you draw the line?”

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