Circuit Bending: Making Music By ReWiring Devices and Toys
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Circuit Bending: Making Music By ReWiring Devices and Toys

Circuit Bending is one of the most desired and protected skills of sound designers worldwide. Learn the secrets here.
4.1 (20 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,000 students enrolled
Created by Jason Allen
Last updated 1/2017
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Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Modify electronic devices to add knobs and switches to create your own unique sounds
  • Create an arsenal of hardware devices unique to you - no one else in the world will have your devices
  • Create ultra-unique sounds using your circuit bent instruments!
View Curriculum
  • No knowledge of Circuitry or electronics is required
  • No software is required
  • A hardware unit to circuit bending will be needed to follow along, but don't go get one yet! I'll walk you through how to select something good for bending in the first few classes. These devices tend to be around $3 - $5 US

This is a class about the joy of Circuit Bending.

In this class we will first talk about what Circuit Bending is, and how it works. Then, we will actually circuit bend an old keyboard from beginning to end, going step-by-step through the entire process. In the end, we will have a cool new keyboard capable of brand new sounds, and I'll even make a track with it.

This might just be the weirdest class I've ever made. In this class we will hit the road, going to some thrift shops to look for bendable instruments, I'll do some time-lapse videos of taking things apart (complete with Benny Hill), and we will melt down some Spongebob Squarepants. You will have to join the class to see how that all unfolds.

And of course, once you sign up for this class, you automatically get huge discounts on many of my other classes - stay to the end to find out how!

You will not have another opportunity to learn Circuit Bending in a more comprehensive way that this. Start here.

J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater.

He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, Macphail Academy of Music, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.

Praise for other classes by J. Anthony Allen:

  • "I've had Live Lite for a while but never quite understood how to use it because of the different options in how to arrange audio. This course explains exactly how to do that and get the most out of Live."
  • "Great overview - I would start here for sure if you are just getting your feet wet with live. clear and to the point. session walkthroughs are great. looking forward to more"
  • "I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going thru this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me."
  • Who is the target audience?
    • This circuit bending course is designed for people who do not know anything about circuit bending, and have no experience with circuits or any electronics
    • This course is an excellent starting point for people look to get into the world of circuit bending
    • More advanced producers looking to expand their repertoire of sounds will also benefit from creating their own devices with this class
    Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
    Curriculum For This Course
    23 Lectures
    3 Lectures 15:57

    Welcome to the class! First a quick overview of the class, and then we will get started!

    Preview 04:23

    What is Circuit Bending, and how can it be useful to you in your music making. In this video I'll walk you through what it is, a little of the history, and some of the cool things you can do.

    Preview 07:09

    Not everything is bendable - and some things are easier than others. In this video I'll walk through what to look for and what works well.

    Preview 04:25
    Toys, Tools & Safety
    4 Lectures 20:38

    Before diving in, lets talk about some tools we are going to need. There are not many - just a few things.

    Preview 03:03

    Ok - welcome to one of the weirdest videos I've ever made. In this video we go on a covert field trip to a few different second-hand stores looking for children's toys.

    Preview 10:39

    The number one rule to Circuit Bending: Batteries Only! I can't say it enough.

    Preview 03:51

    A few other things about safety when we are working with electricity.

    Preview 03:05
    The (lack of) Science to Circuit Bending
    5 Lectures 24:40

    Alright - now is the time to get down and dirty with this. First, we need to open up our device and see what we've got.

    Preview 04:42

    A "Jumper" cable is just a simple wire that we will use to make some connections to find the right bends to make.

    Make a Jumper

    Our first connections! These are just test points, but we need to find things that we like, and we will make them permanent later.

    Making First Connections

    Next we need to map our connections. This is a process that will help us to know what we are going to solder, and it will help us form a plan of attack.

    Circuit Mapping and Notation

    Here is my notation file for this project. Feel free to download it and use it as a template if you like.

    Notation File
    Making The Connections
    7 Lectures 36:46

    There are lots of different types of switches. In this video I'll walk you though the different kinds, and the best kind for us. Also, a quick and easy place to buy them online.

    Types of Knobs and Switches

    Almost time to get to the serious stuff. Before we dive in to soldering, let me show you a few quick tips.

    Soldering Tips

    Time to make some permanent connections. In this video we will solder our first wires to the board.

    Connecting Wires to the Board

    Next, we need to mount those switches into our device so they look nice (or as nice as possible). My technique for this is a little ugly, but it works. After we get those switches in the plastic, we will wire them up!

    Mounting Switches

    Time to wire-up those switches and see how it works!

    Connecting Switches

    A few questions about connecting those switches you might have are answered here in this videos.

    Switch Details

    Now that we have created our fully-functional circuit-bent keyboard, we just need to close it up and try to get it be one solid unit again.

    Closing It Up
    Wrap Up
    4 Lectures 05:29

    Now that we have a cool new musical keyboard, here is a little snippet of a track I made using only our Circuit-Bent Spongebob keyboard.

    Some Music Made From My New Bent Keyboard

    Thats all folks! In this video an important piece of info as some parting words.

    Thanks & Bye!

    Bonus Lecture: BEND - A Circuit Bending Documentary

    There is so much more to Learn!

    Bonus Lecture: Discount Offers & Mailing List
    About the Instructor
    Jason Allen
    4.6 Average rating
    6,242 Reviews
    36,146 Students
    62 Courses
    Ph.D / Ableton Certified Trainer

    J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.

    J. Anthony Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Trainer. He is a co-founder and owner of Slam Academy, a multimedia educational space in downtown Minneapolis. Recently, Allen founded Hackademica – an innovative net-label for new music.

    J. has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance. Through his academic travels, Dr. Allen has received numerous awards along the way.

    If you run into him on the street, he prefers to be addressed as J. (as in, Jay.)