Dana's Ribbon Controller project

The grey-colored unit on top of the keyboard is the Doepfer Ribbon Controller.
I wanted more control of it, for playing actual MUSIC on, so I had my dad build a box around it.
I'm lucky to have a master craftsman in the family!

The box is beautiful. All wood, with a wood-grained Formica covering. The wooden knob to the right of the slot - in the photo above - slides freely over the ribbon, which is enclosed inside the box.
I drew the paper keyboard on my computer, in scale to where the notes fall in relation to the ribbon.
Now I have a visual guide, as to where the notes are, and - unlike the theremin - a tactile playing surface to play the notes ON.

A shot from above.

A 3-D shot.

The Doepfer module was temporarily being housed in a double-width synthesizers.com panel.
I had a custom single-width panel made up by Larry Hendry and Dave Bradley to fit in with the look of my s.com modular. Now, the finished module looks like this...

The end result is a variable pitch controller that's much easier to play than a theremin.
My re-design is inspired by Paul Tanner's "Electro-Theremin". This version is all control voltage, however.

True, I could have just used the slew limiter for automatic portamento, and avoided the cost and hassle of putting a ribbon controller together, but there's something more satisfying in having true "hands-on" control of a full range of notes, all slurred together. I can control the vibrato like a human voice, and sweep to intense highs or lows without touching a knob on the modular.

How does it sound? Click here.

I used the synths' vibrato, because I haven't yet developed the skill
to do a really good MANUAL vibrato with the ribbon alone.