Guitars Made of Digital

High on powdered chocolate, again, our resident columnist Fat Roland attempts to explain why florists called Clint are essential for synth construction…

Illustration: fat roland

I’m going to tell you how to build a synthesiser mainly because I’ve been snorting Cadbury’s Highlights and I want to drizzle you with my knowledge juices before everything dries up.

“Synthesisers”, or in the modern parlance “synths”, are guitars made of digital. They were first used on such 1970s classics as The Whom’s ‘Toblerone Sunset’ and Roger Dogbat’s prog epic ‘Eagle Beef Trouser’. Years later, rave kids licked synthesisers to get high because the government introduced the poll tax. And that, pretty much, is the entire history of the synthesiser.

Making one is as easy as assembling a washing machine from bacon, or fashioning Phil Oakey’s face from carpet fluff. You will need the following materials: plastic, metal, wood, buttons, sliders, electricity, 17 cylinders of glue, an outside generator, the contents of the nearest drawer to you and a sticker with the word ‘Casio’ on. Lay everything out on two trestle tables, a hedge, an airport runway, or anything that’s long.

Firstly, connect A to B, looping D over C. I’ve no idea what those letters refer to: trust your best guess. Then connect the flange tube to the MIDI shafter, being careful not to molest the modwheel harness. If you hear a croaking sound, this has gone badly wrong and you should tip everything into a furnace. Now cover it all in glue. This doesn’t help construction, but the gentle wooze from the fumes will pass the hours.

This next bit is crucial. Telephone a florist called Clint. Feel the vibrations of his soft voice as he tells you of his wilted petunias. “I used to know a milliflora,” he rumbles, “but it broke my heart.” Record his manly timbre into the synthesiser’s vibrato port, which you can access by unclipping the trombone holder. This will give your keyboard’s output an illusion of “emotion” and “meaning”. Probably.

Allow six days for everything to settle before playing your first notes. It’s very important that, in the early fragile stages of your new instrument, you only attempt funeral marches or Coldplay songs. Anything more adventurous will lead to audio mould, sonic gas, or in very extreme cases, Elton John.

Good luck following my instructions. If you want me to teach you anything else, please let me come and live with you. Please. I don’t have much powdered chocolate left. I need to snort chocolate. Can I look in your cupboards? Bournville will do. Anything. PLEASE.

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