Want to bend
but lack any experience? This book is all you need
By Count Spankulus
I was a novice with no bending experience but plenty of interest. I
purchased this book because it was about the only reference I could find
on the subject.
I had ascertained from poking around on the internet that Reed really was
the Godfather of bending. It turns out that he is also an exceptional
This book starts at the very beginning: The history of bending, necessary
tools, soldering techniques, etc. Someone with no electronics experience
whatsoever will be able to follow every step. I never felt like any steps
were missing from the process. Reed explains every detail clearly,
concisely and often humorously without insulting the reader's
The book goes on to discuss bending about 15 specific instruments. This is
a great way to get a start and prepare you for the real fun: bending your
A must have for anyone interested in circuit bending
By John A. Madere
If you are interested in circuit bending and would like to start bending
your own instruments, this is the book for you.
I bought Mr. Ghazala's book last June and started bending an old toy
keyboard a couple of weeks later. I had never even touched a soldering
iron until I read this book!
All of the basics of bending and soldering are covered in great detail and
diagrams are provided for the 15 projects included in the book. With the
fundamentals you will learn in this book, you can go on to bend whatever
you want to. Why not learn to bend from Reed Ghazala, the father of
A great way to learn a great hobby
By Scott Muir
Being a collector of synthesizers, and any strange homemade instrument
that I could get a hold of to add to the strange sounds I enjoy crafting,
circuit bending was the next frontier that I wanted to conquer. This book
really showed me how to get into this fun and exciting hobby.
It starts off with a brief history and theory of strange and experimental
sound as music that I found interesting and informative. After that, you
learn about the tools and components of the hobby, followed by a nice,
easy to follow tutorial on soldering. Then we get into the nitty gritty of
the hobby, Taking an old electronic battery powered device and turning it
into an alien sound machine.
This book was VERY easy to read and there are a lot of nice pictures to
demonstrate various items and techniques. It made even me, a total newbie
to this hobby feel confident to tear open a circuit board and solder it
into unrecognisability and as a matter of fact, I probably would never
have know anything of what to do without reading this book.
Add to the fine pictorial examples and tutorials the eighteen projects
that include plans for bending Speak & Spells, and the famed Casio SK1
keyboard, and you have a real value here.
This book was fun and easy to read and I still use it as a reference when
I'm tearing apart an electronic gadget for the purpose of creating weird
I've read other books that deal with similar material, but for someone
starting out in the hobby, this book is all you need and it's definitely
where I would recommend starting out if you're interested in getting into
this fun hobby.
In the grip of bending
By S. C. Pollock "A Kog in the Machine"
I hadn't heard of circuit bending until only recently, when an excited
friend and fellow musician told me about the amazingly modified "speak and
spells" capable of generating out of this world sounds. I was hooked on
the idea of using these strange sounds in my musical compositions and
began my quest to find out more about circuit bending. I found exactly
what I was seeking in Reed Ghazala's book.
It didn't matter that I had no previous experience working with
electronics. Mr. Ghazala makes electronics so easy to understand, anyone
can create these insane sounding instruments.
Typically, instructional manuals are really boring, but I found this book
to be a real page turner... so much in fact that I forgot about the
So if you want to expand your musical horizons and break into the world of
electronic instrument design, BUY THIS BOOK!!!
For the Best Bending
By El Colin "Extraordinaire"
This is The One; the comprehensive guide to circuit bending I have been
searching for since I was introduced to the art in 2003, (by a friend
named Reid, oddly enough.)
At the time there was nothing but a few scattered resources online. We
bought an eighty-dollar electrical engineering book because we were
anxious to learn and advance what we were doing. If Circuit Bending: Build
Your Own Alien Instruments were available then, we could have saved
ourselves a lot of confusion, a lot of fried circuits (R.I.P. Lovechild
1,) and Eighty Dollars!
Whether you are just starting out, or have been bending for years, there
are countless tips, techniques, and in depth explanations that make Reed Ghazala's book a priceless addition to your workshop (or bedroom.)
Even with processes I have known for years, Ghazala boils them down,
simplifies and perfects them. And the text never gets boring; there is a
perfect combo of technical-layman-mumbo-jumbo-anecdotes-and-asides that
keep you turning pages and wanting to know more about the instruments, the
art, and the author.
You can also see, hear, and read more at Ghazala's website or the book's
companion website, (even if you don't have the book yet.)
There is no be all and end all in Circuit Bending (one of the beautiful
things about it) but Ghazala's book is the way to begin one's mastery of
the art, all from the master himself.
By Dr. Octafer (Right Here, Alabama)
As a musician who has utilized several bent instruments on recording, and
having natural curiosity about the bending process, I figured this book
would be interesting, but it turned out to be a more enjoyable reading
experience than I might have thought.
The author conveys information in a manner that is easy for a beginner to
assimilate, but also assumes that the reader has a reasonable degree of
intelligence, which is nice. A good teacher should be a stepping-stone
between what his or her pupils need to know and what they will find out on
their own down the road.
It goes without saying that an instructor should instill in his
instructees at least a spark of interest, which is hard to do if he isn't
really that interested himself. He should teach people how to learn for
themselves. A sense of humor never hurts either.
Mr. Ghazala presents his material in a way that reveals his ongoing love
for the process, his reasonably intelligent and semi-dry wit and his
eagerness to continue the journey of exploration. And I really like his
ideas on what actually makes up music itself, and the notion that music is
all around us all the time in the ordinary (and also the extraordinary and
even non-ordinary) sounds we hear.
It's also cool to find out when and where it all began.
Aside from that, the book contains lots of very useful information in a
nicely laid out format. For example, soldering is the thing that keeps
many people from bending, so it's good to have a very good chapter about
that. The factoids are helpful too.
While I don't have much time right now to do any bending myself, I would
like to take on one of the simpler projects described in the book, and
it's nice to know that the particular item I'll be working with has a
fragile casing before I go jabbing a big drill into it. Not everyone would
even think to mention things like that.
Even if I never find time to put this book to use, and I do hope that I
will, I have enjoyed reading it very much. The writing style appeals to me
personally, and I think that if Mr. Ghazala wrote a fiction novel (and for
all I know he may have written several) I would probably read that too.
I'd recommend this book to musicians, mad scientists, architects, artists,
electronics types, tech nuts and anyone interested in just reading a good
You CAN do this!!!
By Ed M.
I LOOOOVE this book. It's easy to follow, informative and doesn't insult
your intelligence. You'll wonder why you weren't making weird and strange
instruments all your life.
I thought the book was going to be a bore and hard to get through but boy
was I wrong. Mr. Ghazala has a wily but colorful style that really draws
you in after a while and you really start to believe you can do this. And
I've never soldered but after reading this book and a little practice it
will be a breeze. Very cool resource and probably a great place for
curious kids to start. A+++++++++
A Good Way to Start
By Music Girl
Ten thumbs way up. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in
getting started with circuit bending.
It's clear and concise, and it will enable you to get started immediately
in making things, even if you know nothing about electronics.
The beginning of the book gives some background information, and then
there's a very useful description of each of the tools you'll need to get
started. There are step-by-step instructions on how to complete a whole
group of projects, so I'd suggest acquiring this book, beginning one of
the projects, and simultaneously venturing out on your own and creating
By Gary Pickett
I can't review this book with out talking about Reed Ghazala, having
viewed hundreds of bending related web sights I was most taken with
Many had lots of noise but not much substance, but Reed seems not only to
have mastered bending but also how to use what he has produced.
Now the book easy to read easy to follow, I had no trouble putting
together many of the projects. The general bending information has been
very helpful - if you want to learn more about circuit bending this book
is for you.
Reed is the kind of circuit bender I want to emulate - thanks for writing
a great book.
This is a great book!
I'm not an electrical engineer, just interested in tinkering. I've been
looking for a book that would give me some basic electrical info and some
intro to bending. I thought I'd need two different books but this worked
for me and did the job in an easy to understand way.
Great book for a beginning bender!
I purchased this book because I was interested in getting into circuit
bending to create my own new instruments to use in tandem with our
laptop-driven experimental music project.
This book is great, even if you're not already an electronics geek. Very
simple and direct.
Also, Reed Ghazala has a totally appreciable geeky sense of humor. I was
laughing out loud as I was learning. I recommend this book strongly to
anyone interested in getting into circuit bending.
I was so intrigued of circuit bending...
...but I was intimidated.
I knew nothing about electronics and I couldn't afford the pre built
projects on eBay.
I bought this book, bought some of the materials listed in the book and
some old toys on eBay and I got on my way!
This book really makes it easy to get into this new art form. The author
also writes things in such a way that it's inspiring and FUN to read (not
to mention he is encouraging and forward-thinking).
Awesome! Purchase of the year.
Just what I needed
By Kelsey Cain
I just started looking into circuit-bending about a month ago. I googled
the term and thankfully found Reed's site. It was both inspiring and
This book reads the same way. Without speaking over the head of the
reader, this book holds much information on the subject.
It is full of tips, pictures and diagrams that will have you on your way
to creating your own interesting instruments. Though circuit-bending deals
with electronics in so many ways, he still covers the aspects of
instrument design. This book has it all, so check it out.
Highly, HIGHLY recommended reading!!
This book is very relevant to those who'd like to explore electronics and
music at the same time in a very original and freeing way.
This is a very well documented and logical manual for getting started in
It is ALSO full of fascinating philosophical ideas, and the whole work
radiates with Ghazala's eccentric glad madness.
I believe Reed Ghazala to be an inspired lunatic with a love for teaching
and a talent for seeing the unseen possibilities in the mundane discarded
objects all around us. If you are interested in this art, I'd urge you to
pick up this book- you'll thank me later!
Q. R. Ghazala -- THRENODY FOR THE NEW VICTIMS OF HIROSHIMA
Ghazala is a bit on the obscure side (meaning, i'd never heard of him
until recently), but he is known primarily for two conceptual pieces: one
is REQUIEM FOR A RADIO, in which a lot of people take turns (under his
direction) disassembling and destroying a radio while on tape, after which
the sounds are used to create "music"; the other is this CD, in which he
employs the "Vox Insecta," an insect voice synthesizer. Essentially he fed
many, many insect sounds into a synth and used those sounds for the
construction of this epic rumination on the impact of the explosion of the
atomic bomb at Hiroshima. (For how he manages to bridge the gap from
atomic explosions to insects, you'd have to read the liner notes; i think
the gist of it is that insects are natural survivors or something to that
effect.) The results are, to be frank, pretty spectacular -- droning
air-raid siren wails mix with guttural bass washes (synthesized from frog
calls, perhaps?) and are sculpted with tremendous finesse, as if Ghazala
somehow managed to step outside on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp one
night and convinced all the insects in the air and on the ground to wax
symphonic. A few of the reviews i've seen of the disc mention its
dissonance, and there is certainly plenty of that, although it's more of
an ambient sort than you might expect; a few years back this probably
would have fallen under the heading of "isolationism," although i think
it's more properly cataloged with the likes of Stockhausen and Cage and
(perhaps most importantly) the Dream Syndicate and the Theatre of Eternal
Music. In fact, if you are already hep to the latter two luminaries
mentioned, then you either already have this and know of which i speak, or
you need to knock down granny ladies on the street in your unseemly haste
to acquire this disc. Imagine if Tony Conrad's minimalist violin drones
were harnessed in the quest for a more classical performance structure and
you're drifting into the right expanse o' drone. (I should also note, just
for the sake of boosting another criminally unheard-of album, that
portions of this requiem in five parts bear striking similarities to the
sound captured by Dead Fish Fuck on their one album that i know of,
SILENCE AT THE EYE OF THE SCREAM.) This CD should be in your collection.