Gear Tales

Sometimes musical instruments and gear find their way into our lives with seemingly more to it than just picking it out and purchasing.
Please share your stories about gear that had an interesting way of finding you. Perhaps you feel somehow it was meant for you even, what happened to make you feel that way about it?
I’ve got a few, I’ll share later.


My first hardware was an MPC1000, it popped up in a pawn shop and Ive never seen one since, they don’t really exist around me. I honestly didn’t know exactly what it did when I got it, I just knew I could make beats on it and now years on it led me to have a whole studio room. I think I’d really struggle to get rid of it even if it gets replaced


I grew up a trained jazz drummer but didn’t take my kit with me in college because I was sharing an apartment and it just wasn’t realistic (noise control, etc). The first week I was at university I found an SP202 in the trash. Turns out it wasn’t broken some dumbass just didn’t test a new power adapter. I ended up making 5 or 6 cassette tapes full of sound collage using that, a Digitech PDS1000, and a mini disc recorder (both I found at a pawn shop for practically nothing). I’ve been making electronic music since. That was in 2006.


The pan flutes came to me in a fun way.

I had just gotten out of a 10 day silent meditation retreat (Vipassana) and decided that LSD was a great idea. Big surprise, it kinda wasnt that great of an idea. I was having a hard time with my trip and lo and behold, a friend handed me the pan pipes. I then started beatboxing into them and what do ya know, it was love at first sound.

He even gave me that same set of pipes a year or so later. They have since been given to a kid but I have a new set these days that isnt all cracked up and junglefied


So, we got a pawn shop mpc that birthed a music studio, a drummer missing their kit that finds a much smaller alternative in the trash which changes their course towards electronic music, and a meditation devotee that decides to take the alternative accelerated route leading them to the soothing sounds of pan flute beat boxing, which after a year make their way back to him…
I love it, keep em comming! :slight_smile:

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:heavy_minus_sign:Tod Theremin :heavy_minus_sign:

I played in a Greatful Dead cover band in Michigan for maybe six years. One of the local shops had some strange homemade theremin that didn’t work. They told me I could have it and if I got it to work I could keep it if I plugged their shop a few times at gigs. I cracked it open and started connecting alligator wires from different terminals to another, to my surprise, it started working… :rofl:

About a year later I was in a basement jamming and everyone there was much higher than you should be in a basement, haha… I had the theremin there… Between almost every jam this guy would come up and start talking to my amp… He heard something in the theremin signal, it would pick up radio signals and things… He kept grabbing my shoulder and saying “Wait!, Wait!, Go back!” :joy: and then he’d start talking to my amp, “Tod?,'is that you? Tod, I can here you…”, grab me again. “Wait!, Go Back!, Tod, are you there?” Haha…

From then on Tod Theremin has always been a key part of my rig, eventually his young cousin theremini showed up, but Tod still has a special place in my heart… I should probably bust him out again and see what radio signals he picks up and run it through the OT… Maybe Tods got some new stuff to show me… :rofl:

More tales to come… :smile:


@Bark, If you like that one…
Wait till you here the one about the Rattle Snake, the Classical Radio Station, the medicine plant that prefers techno, and the pleading voices of thousands of past snake bite victims… :joy::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Coming soon to a reality near you… :sparkles:

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When I was 19 or so studying in Barcelona I had recently met a girl who was into film, and she invited me to her place to watch something old. When I got there her flatmate was hanging around too, and after introducing myself and making some small talk I saw a menacing-looking black box peeking out from behind his bedroom door. At this point I had messed around on Ableton and made some lofi tapes on minidisc but never touched proper hardware.

‘what’s that? is it a synth?’
‘oh it’s an ms20, you want to play around on it?’

So he dumped it on my lap with a fistful of patch cables and a pair of headphones and I went into a deep wormhole for about half an hour. I eventually took off the cans and handed the synth back breathlessly, hardly noticing the impatient look on my date’s face.

I didn’t see her again after that night, but I did buy an MS20 mini around 5 years later as soon as they were released. Love all over again. I wish I had kept in touch with that guy because it was really a defining moment for me and remains such a strong memory.

edit: damn now that I think about it it could well have been the guy from Pegasvs/Svper, who were based in bcn around that time and make heavy use of the MS20. Cool album alert:


Haha, the night you truly fell in love, just not in the expected way… :joy:


Got to get my follow up on Tod Theremin on the right thread here, I was off topic somewhere else as usual…

I will never forget, and I’ll probably have Tod around the rest of my life because of it…
The guy would do stuff like that repeatedly between every jam, sometimes during…
People didn’t even know what to make of it, they were captivated and mesmerized just being part of what was happening… Haha. I had been doing lots of training how to keep grounded when there’s seemingly no ground, so I kept my cool and kept playing, I’d even entertain him and try to “Go Back!” even though I wasn’t doing anything when he would say that… I was trying to find Tod for him and everyone was interested, we all wanted to know wtf was going on… Hahaha… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


This happened 3 times:

  1. ANALOG 4- I had been interested in getting into electronic music for the longest time- but I didn’t know the terrain(I had message my smart music friend about what I needed- “do I need a sampler or do I need this thing called a sequencer?” As I wanted something I could play on that allow me to make a track with just one or two pieces of gear(I was planning on a moog voyager, but eventually discovered a moog didn’t do this-apparently it was a single voice instrument :D)- I knew I wanted analog because I wanted that warm sound- and “warm” seemed like a nice description of music- especially since it was approaching winter at the time and I enjoyed the sounds of Deadmau5 and Last Step. My friend told me about Elektron and I discovered the ANALOG 4- watched a few of Cenks introductory videos of the machine and was like “yes! That exactly!”. So I found a used one online(thanks to the recently discovered power of overtime) and placed the order- a hefty investment for a newbie to electronic music, but electronic music was like some holy grail outside of my reach as a lowly poor folk artist(I was completely unaware of the notion of p-locking at the time of purchase. When I discovered it, I freaked out for the rest of the evening over the endless possibility of it.

  2. OCTATRACK- in the middle of my bout as a folk artist, I was too young to go to bars, so my friends opted for caffeine at the Waffle House instead. It was fun to opt for overwhelming stimulation and staying up till 5am in endless excitement and annoyance to the waitresses. Always in these instances I’d get inspired by the sound of the tapping of the spoon against the wall of my mug of coffee- and would always annoy my company discussing and demonstrating my intention of writing a song using the sound of a of coffee cups and glasses in/as a song- I could never figure out how I would do it purely acoustically. After buying the A4 I watched some demo videos of the OT and saw it’s glitchy effects- but it didn’t really hit me- what sampling actually IS and what the OT was actually capable of until the second month of me owning it and live recording some awkward voice recording to test it and played around on the sequencer/parameters and mangled that sample all good and stuff. It was a dream come true.

  3. DIGITAKT- I was in the process of selling all my gear and moving ITB- but I still wanted some Elektron feel while sequencing my stuff because nothing offers quite the capability for some quirk like the Elektron sequencer. Also, if I’m going to own an Elektron piece, it might as well be a sampler- because Elektron sampling is just magic(see: Octatrack). I was pretty underwhelmed by its release as it didn’t appear to offer anything new capability-wise- but it was cheap, would do midi sequencing, and would fit on my desk easily. Once it came it I was very unenthusiastic- like I had received a screwdriver in the mail- but I better check to make sure it works and that I understand it. But the layout was quick, and the limitations of the device were enough to offer a puzzle on how to get from point A to B not to mention the sample didn’t lead to the same nihilism that the Octatrack led to(for me personally) as it wasn’t so easy to eliminate all trace of source from the end result of anything I loaded into the machine. And that proximity to EVERYTHING and the encoders and the video game feel of the machine just made me feel excited every time I touched the device while also presenting me with a puzzle every time I had a crazy idea for what a sample is supposed to do.

Pardon my lengthy answer- and for sticking with just one company’s gear. This company and their line of grooveboxes just provided a multitude of capability reaching-things I wanted to do, but couldn’t figure out how I could do it.


Awesome, I like how they all made their way to you and then surprised you… Never imagined having an Octatrack revelation in a Waffle House…
My Waffle House at 5:00AM days were probably 20 years before I ever heard of an Octatrack…

Bye the way, Waffle House at 5:00AM ? :thinking: Is that a Midwest thing? Been there, done that… :smiley:

No post length limits enforced here on this thread, write a book if you want… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


It’s absolutely a Midwest thing-because WHs are not all over the country(a concept I didn’t realize until I was in the process of moving to Boston.

My time at the Waffle House was in 2006-2007, a few years before the OT was even invented(could my inspiration have had anything to do with the release of the OT- who’s to say :D). But the things that you want to do never dissipate until they’re actually done. That time with the OT was like dusty old puzzle piece clicking into place.

As a folk artist- I never understood the worth of sampling until that precise point.

Also, it was beautiful to consider every album I purchased a potential new instrument(if only I had kept that perspective and purchased albums instead of new instruments…)


I forgot until you said something. I totally had super late night Waffle House years from probably 94 to 97…
I guess where else do you go in the Midwest when you sneaking around with your high school buddies, and are too messed to go home? Haha…

I lost my friend Jimi at Waffle House! He was the craziest of all of us… One night he didn’t come home with us from Waffle House, and he never showed up at school after that and ran away from home! :joy::joy:

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Wow! Good on him! I hope it went well!

I had intended, in middle school, to run away from home-I had heard about others doing it- I had problems mixed with existential boredom and wanted to give it a try

I’m glad I didn’t- I was a stupid kid with 0 upstanding of the world and 0 friends- would n0t have panned out well for me…

I’m sure your friend was smarter than I was(he’d HAVE to be :smiley: ) I’m sure things worked out alright for him :slight_smile:

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Well, he never went back to school, we would see him around a little, I think he at least checked in with the parents, I don’t even know…

Super artistic wonderful being… Excellent musician, he was percussion and vocals in our band and could play just about any instrument by ear, and was one of those super creative types that could just get the vibe going on the spot whenever he wanted. My favorite memory of him was the day we crawled around on all fours in the forest and spoke to each other in the strangest tonal vocal noises for like 5 hours, while our friends jammed out a song they made up about cooking on the grill… We totally understood each other the whole time and nothing close to any type of human language was muttered… The grill singers had so much fun I don’t think they ate anything, they just freestyled “on the grill” for like 5 hours, I don’t even think they knew they were cooking… Haha

Unfortunately some years later Jimi passed on, some of the brightest shining ones jump out of here early…
Love you Jimi! Say high to the stardust for me, I’ll see ya in about 50 or 60 years, if all goes well… :monkey::sparkles:


I worked almost completely in the box and played livesets with ableton and a launchpad when a friend introduced me to the OT. I knew about the machinedrum cause I saw Thom Yorke using one but the OT seemed to be the hardware solution of my dreams. After watching tons of OT videos (this one impressed me the most at that time, I couldn’t stop talking about the OT. And since my ex-girlfriend was the one to spend most time with me, she had to listen to all my OT-fantasizing.
I had no job at that time and couldn’t afford one. So for my 30th birthday my Ex bought a used OT on ebay and organized all my family and friends to spend some money on this present (it was about 900 Euro). I didn’t have a clue at all and almost got a heart attack and had to fight not to break out in tears of joy (I was already pretty drunk, too :loopy: ) She had printed and bound the whole manual again, but with an inscription and fotos of my personal musical history… me playing my first guitar as a child, my first band gigs, cuttings from newspapers etc. Crazy present, very generous. Many people contributed. She even wrote to elektron if they could support me, and they made her some kind of reduced offer, but then she found the cheaper one on ebay.
Corny story, but I was very happy and grateful :slight_smile: . Great evening and memories. I even have a video somewhere showing the moment I opened the present.


Aw that’s lovely!


Last year i started to buy my first Synthesizer(s) when i came out off a detox clinic. I thought it would be a good idea to get another hobby, in order to stay clean. (Worked very good!)

A old friend of mine visited me in my apartment.
He used to play in small bands, mainly keys (piano and synthesizer). He owned multiple synths over the past years.
Proudly i showed him all my new gear. He has not a lot of technical knowledge, so instead of telling him all the specs and features of my synths, i thought it would be better to do a short demonstration.
So initialise a new patch, startet with square wave. My friend gave me a strange look, like “what the hell are you doing? this doesn’t sound right“.
I continued to create a nice sound, using filter, EG, LFOs etc.

After a few minutes, my friend said:”Wait! You can change the sound with this synthesizer?”

Turns out, my friend NEVER created a single patch! He used his Synths like a keyboard. Only used the presets! For years! The only thing he used was the D-Beam controller on one of his Roland’s. The fact that you can create and manipulate your own sounds, totally blew his mind.


I would have married her and lived happily ever after, you have her phone number? :joy::joy::smiley: :elot:

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