Shbobo Shnth patches and appreciation


i’ll buy that. but i think pete’s instruments allow/demand expertise more than most. there’s almost something elitist about them!

it happens that they also lend themselves well to just letting the interior of the thing just go at its own evolution - fits well with noise practice which (as you say ) can often be about the free running of a system (i take this approach a lot in “noise” pieces - but ofc noise can be performative/virtuoustic as well - thinking R.H.Y. Yau or something - anyways.)

shnth and tocante are maybe the least so - more deliberately like toys (tocante literally designed for children)


Do you think it rewards playing too? Or rather, are there are patches that reward playing?


I mean, it’s like asking if programming is rewarding. “It depends”.

But I’ll put it this way: when you see people playing it after assembling them in a workshop, the expression on their faces is almost invariably :smiley:

But that’s a first impression. The longer-term reaction to the “depth” is going to depend on the effort put in.


Maybe this video of a shnth workshop helps?


The last few days of this thread really make me want a Shnth… Even though I already feel like I have too many things to play/learn.

I’ll say in general about C-L and related instruments - the noise aspect is the easiest thing to do with them, but if you put the time into learning how to really play them they reward you with subtlety and responsiveness unlike other electronic instruments I’ve played.


This intro video of my trying to be relax and hip and cool and stuff, is quite something…


Rediscovered JUSTINTS a couple of days ago. Found some instructions here, but would love a brief cheat sheet. Does one exist already? Otherwise I’ll make one.


It’s one of the funniest moments I’d ever seen in person. So glad it’s immortalized.


Found this old vid. Haven’t seen it posted here before, thought it might suit this thread… Peter talks a bit about the Shnth, Justints and other fun stuff. :slight_smile:

Always a delight following his reasoning and ideas behind his work, and in general hear him think out loud :smile:


Thank you for the link, just got a Shnth and love it!


Just got a Shtar a few days ago, but uploaded some bad code to it and can’t figure out how to achieve orange light mode (recovery mode)… peter says the top fret is the tar button, but hadn’t worked yet after trying… peter is great but can be inconsistent w replies, so if anyone here has an idea, very open to it! Thx!


Update: pete was VERY good w replies, and looks like something got properly fucked up… still working through a series of questions he had to diagnose the prob, but will probably be sending it in. He said that this only happened one other time, w a shnth, and he is fully invested in making the shtar bulletproof for’California noise hackers’ :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Recently got the Shnth, and love it so I’m branching out into other CL gear. Can anyone point me to a good walkthrough of assembling Meng Qi’s Namasitar? I think I found a BOM, but definitely need some instructions or walkthrough of putting one together. Thanks!


Jeez, what a great thread. Been thinking about diving into CL(etc.) instruments for a while. Bookmarking this for later research.

Still bummed that workshop at huds happened a couple of months before I arrived @Rodrigo!


I built a Tocante at that workshop too. I very much wish I could tune it a useful scale, because everything else about it is just so great. I feel I’d have more control with a Shnth.

Also, I totally understand the shy/introvert thing, but the next time we’re all in a room together I’m going to spend more effort trying to get you cats to say hello :wave:


Your Namastitar question might be more on topic in the general Ciat-Lonbarde thread: Mobenthy/Ciat-Lonbarde (synthmall) thread . There might be more people following that thread, too.

I bought one of Meng Qi’s Namastitar PCBs and my current plan is to install it in the soundbox of a three-octave (diatonic) wire-strung folk harp I bought long ago. (Off-topic aside: It’s triangle shaped, which means a linear increase in string length, which is non-optimal for a harp. It means that it has more steel strings and fewer brass strings than one would want). A contact mic attached beneath the top of the soundbox would go to the PCB’s inputs and a audio jack at one end of the soundbox would be wired to the outputs. I would be mounting the pots along the side of the soundbox instead of directly on the circuit board.

My question involves the 10K resistor ladder. I’ve never seen one of Peter’s original Namastitars but my understanding is the the frets were the equivalent of the contacts of a stylophone and the strings were the equivalent of the stylophone’s stylus. This is really elegant because the same action – fretting the string – affects both the acoustic and the electronic functions of the instrument.

Meng Qi’s version used a stylophone approach for the resistor ladder, but his PCB doesn’t include the stylophone portion so we don’t know what resistors he used to sum up to 10K. This is comparable to Peter’s Namstitar paper circuits which treat the resistor ladder as a potentiometer. I haven’t actually heard of anyone else completing this instrument besides Meng Qi, so I don’t know what they did for this.

With a harp, I don’t see a way of using the strings as a stylus, and a stylophone interface would be too awkward. At the moment, I’m considering using a 10K softpot in place of a resistor ladder. This could run alongside the bottom of the strings so that one hand can pluck while the other controls the ribbon control. I just don’t know how well this would work. The resistance of a softpot would increase linearly from 100 to 10K ohms – I won’t know if this provides playable control of the circuit until I wire it up and test it.


I haven’t finished the build, but I did buy a cheap guitar which I modded (among other things) with the intention of building a Namasitar PCB into it.

I took the guitar to a luthier and had them route a channel right along the frets and then I soldered resistors to each fret to create the ladder.

I’ve not seen my PCB in a while, but from memory the PCB allowed you to use the onboard ‘stylophone’ or wire it up to an actual resistor ladder.

I don’t have any useful suggestions with regards how to implement it with a harp, but one of the most useful things about the fretboard ladder on a Namasitar is “fretting” multiple frets at once to create notes ‘in between’ the individual frets.


Thanks, Rodrigo –

You can see that the PCB that Meng Qi designed for his stylophone Namastitar included the stylophone pads and places for all the resistors:

But the PCBs currently available assume that you are building the resistor ladder externally:

I can’t really read the values of the resistors he used:

How did you know what values to use for your resistor ladder?


I have a Namasitar, and took measurements years ago (and exchanged some emails with Meng Qi) about it. My original notes/sketches attached for the sake of completism.

It’s 10k resistors all the way down.

I have one of the oldschool Meng Qi PCBs too (which I bought to build into the modded guitar), which I remember being designed in a way that you could just bypass the in built stylophone bit.


Thanks, Rodrigo –

Okay, that might change everything. On the PCB the spot to connect the resistor ladder is marked “10K ladder.”

I interpreted that as a resistor ladder equivalent to a 10K variable resistor, but instead it now sounds like a resistor ladder made from 10K resistors in series (in the stringed instrument version, complicated by having multiple “styluses”), with the fretted version having 15-16 resistors and the stylophone having 21. So if I want to use a ribbon control I’ll have to figure out how to scale up the resistance (use the softpot to control a digipot or something).