Buchla Bongos????

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camelneck
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Buchla Bongos????

Post by camelneck » Wed May 15, 2013 12:28 am

Let me begin by saying that I'm fairly new to the Buchla world and still learning some of the lingo. Anyway,

I keep hearing a lot of talk about "Buchla Bongos". In fact, the first time I heard the term was in a Youtube video by MakeMusic that was titled "The Buchla Bongo" (It can be viewed at

In the info section of this video, MakeNoise defines the Buchla Bongo "as one of the defining sounds of 60's electronic music which was created with Buchla instruments". The video shows one how to build "The Buchla Bongo" patch using 2 Serge VCS's, a Model 15 VCO, and a MakeNoise Quad Multi-Mode Gate. The resultant sound has sustained ring that is similar to that of a bongo.

More often, I will hear people use the term, "Buchla bongos" or just "bongos" in a more general way. They use it to describe a range of percussive sounds produced on the Buchla.

Since the 292 Quad Lopass Gate uses vactrols, and the minimum release time associated with the vactrol is a lot longer than that of the typical (non-Vactrol) VCA, I'm aware that it is impossible to produce snappy drum sounds using a 292 (at least in the conventional manner). Instead the drum aounds that are produced tend to ring for about 30 ms after it was triggered even if the 281 FG that is controlling the LPG is set for a minimum value of 1ms.

So when you Buchla afficionados talk about "Buchla Bongos" are you talking about percussive sounds in general (which ring due to the characteristics of the 292 LPG), or are you talking about a specific patch and sound that is similar to the one shown in the MakeNoise video?
Last edited by camelneck on Wed May 15, 2013 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Matos
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Post by Matos » Wed May 15, 2013 12:36 am

I believe it is both the characteristic decay of the vactrols combined with with complex timbres of fm'ed complex oscillators that are the stereotypical buchla percussive sound made infamous by Morton and his delightful apples. Makenoise is heavily buchla influenced in their design and sonic philosophy.

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Post by digital_steve » Wed May 15, 2013 5:08 am

More cowbell
richard wrote:
MrBiggs wrote:serious instrument. What does that even mean?
I think it means you have to frown when you play it.
causticlogic wrote:Yeah, digital_steve spells "fun" with a capital FU...

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camelneck
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Post by camelneck » Wed May 15, 2013 5:28 pm

digital_steve wrote:More cowbell
'

How about

WE NEED MORE BONGO! :bananaguitar: :bacon: :banana:
Last edited by camelneck on Fri May 17, 2013 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Entrainer
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Post by Entrainer » Wed May 15, 2013 5:39 pm

If you go to the ADVANCED SEARCH parameters and type in
Buchla AND Bongo with the Buchla subforum highlighted, I'm sure
you'll find multiple threads discussing the sounds/techniques in great
detail with audio examples.

couple to get you started...

viewtopic.php?t=37419&highlight=buchla+bongo

viewtopic.php?t=76875&highlight=buchla+bongo

Which is different than general BUCHLA percussion, like snare/hats/kick.
Although I'd include woodblock, pvc pipe, timbale, and djembe textures...
at least I've heard Buchla generated percussion closer to those in timbre
fall under the "Buchla Bongo" in discussion.
Last edited by Entrainer on Wed May 15, 2013 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by parasitk » Wed May 15, 2013 5:43 pm

camelneck wrote:I'm aware that it is impossible to produce snappy drum sounds using a 292
Not really true, in my experience (not with a 292e, but with various other lopass gates, including a 292 clone).
camelneck wrote:So when you Buchla afficionados talk about "Buchla Bongos" are you talking about percussive sounds in general (which ring due to the characteristics of the 292 LPG), or are you talking about a specific patch and sound that is similar to the one shown in the MakeNoise video?
Yes.

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Post by camelneck » Thu May 16, 2013 12:45 am

Entrainer wrote:If you go to the ADVANCED SEARCH parameters and type in
Buchla AND Bongo with the Buchla subforum highlighted, I'm sure
you'll find multiple threads discussing the sounds/techniques in great
detail with audio examples.

couple to get you started...

viewtopic.php?t=37419&highlight=buchla+bongo

viewtopic.php?t=76875&highlight=buchla+bongo

Which is different than general BUCHLA percussion, like snare/hats/kick.
Although I'd include woodblock, pvc pipe, timbale, and djembe textures...
at least I've heard Buchla generated percussion closer to those in timbre
fall under the "Buchla Bongo" in discussion.
Thanks a lot.

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camelneck
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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by camelneck » Thu May 16, 2013 12:51 am

parasitk wrote:
camelneck wrote:I'm aware that it is impossible to produce snappy drum sounds using a 292
Not really true, in my experience (not with a 292e, but with various other lopass gates, including a 292 clone).
camelneck wrote:So when you Buchla afficionados talk about "Buchla Bongos"

are you talking about percussive sounds in general (which ring due to the characteristics of the 292 LPG),

or

are you talking about a specific patch and sound that is similar to the one shown in the MakeNoise video?
Yes.
Excuse me, but that wasn't a "Yes or No" question.

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camelneck
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Post by camelneck » Thu May 16, 2013 5:46 am

Matos wrote:I believe it is both the characteristic decay of the vactrols combined with with complex timbres of fm'ed complex oscillators that are the stereotypical buchla percussive sound made infamous by Morton and his delightful apples.
Are you absolutely sure about this???

If the 292 Lo Pass Gate (and its ringing vactrols) is an integral part of a "Buchla Bongo" patch, how could Morton create this sound using only a Buchla 100 system?? In other words, he only had a Buchla 100 when he recorded "Silver Apples" in 1967.

Let me explain further. The schematic for the Buchla 110 Dual VC Gate VCA shows that it is actually a transitor-based VCA that is eerily similar to the Moog VCA. Unlike the Buchla 292 Dual Lopass Gate that Don would later build, the Buchla 110 Dual VC Gates contains no vactrols.

Aware that the 192 Dual Lopass Filter uses 4 homemade vactrols, I wondered if a 192 could be used to emulate a 292 that was in "Lopass mode". Unfortunately, I don't have a 192 or a 110 that I can experiment with. However, all 3 of the "Buchla Bongo" patches that I've seen use a 292 that is operating in either "combo" or "gate" mode. Thus, the lopass filter portion of the 292 lopass gate, is not used in the patches that I've seen.

I did go back and listen to a partial clip of "Silver Apples" on Youtube. I wanted to see if I could pick out any sounds that reminded me of bongos. Although I heard hundreds of clangorous, percussion-type sounds that appeared to make use of the FM capabilities of the 158 and 144 VCO's and the 111 Ring Mod, other than maybe an occassional tone, I didn't hear anything that sounds like the bongo sounds in the MakeNoise video that I had previously mentioned.

Is there a particular place in that song where you think bongo-like sounds are especially prevalent?? I'll be glad to give it another listen. Its always possible that Morton might have been able to emulate the "vactrol ring" using an alternative patch and patch settings (such as lengthening the release time of the EG that controls the 110 and then applying VC reverb to the output of the 110.)

Thanks.
Last edited by camelneck on Thu May 16, 2013 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Matos » Thu May 16, 2013 6:03 am

No, your right brother. I was thinking back when I saw him lecture years ago, but my timelines were off. The fact that he's still actively comparing with his buchla makes his work sometimes blur together for me. :hail:

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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by parasitk » Thu May 16, 2013 4:01 pm

camelneck wrote:
parasitk wrote:
camelneck wrote:I'm aware that it is impossible to produce snappy drum sounds using a 292
Not really true, in my experience (not with a 292e, but with various other lopass gates, including a 292 clone).
camelneck wrote:So when you Buchla afficionados talk about "Buchla Bongos"

are you talking about percussive sounds in general (which ring due to the characteristics of the 292 LPG),

or

are you talking about a specific patch and sound that is similar to the one shown in the MakeNoise video?
Yes.
Excuse me, but that wasn't a "Yes or No" question.

You might want to work on your sense of humor.

"Both", then.

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Post by southphillysynths » Thu May 16, 2013 7:36 pm

I was able to make the bongo with a pittsburgh modular foundation, not using any vactrols or lpgs. I followed this video, and I got it sounding pretty close, really love these types of patches, the sound is just so sifi with some reverb :dalek:

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camelneck
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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by camelneck » Fri May 17, 2013 3:21 am

parasitk wrote:
camelneck wrote:
parasitk wrote:
camelneck wrote:I'm aware that it is impossible to produce snappy drum sounds using a 292
Not really true, in my experience (not with a 292e, but with various other lopass gates, including a 292 clone).
camelneck wrote:So when you Buchla afficionados talk about "Buchla Bongos"

are you talking about percussive sounds in general (which ring due to the characteristics of the 292 LPG),

or

are you talking about a specific patch and sound that is similar to the one shown in the MakeNoise video?
Yes.
Excuse me, but that wasn't a "Yes or No" question.
You might want to work on your sense of humor.

"Both", then.
Hardy! Har! Har! Har! :lol: :hihi: :goo:

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camelneck
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Post by camelneck » Sat May 18, 2013 10:52 am

Matos wrote:No, your right brother. I was thinking back when I saw him lecture years ago, but my timelines were off. The fact that he's still actively comparing with his buchla makes his work sometimes blur together for me. :hail:
No biggie! When you consider the fact that he is still doing regular performances of "Silver Apples", its hard to believe that he was the first notable artist to use a Buchla 100, or any Buchla synth for that matter! :)

You lucky dog, I would love to attend one of Morton's lectures!
His enthusiasm is so contagious!
Did Morton have a Buchla with him when you saw him lecture?

Hell, Morton may have never designed a circuits, but much "of what makes a Buchla a Buchla" is due to Morton's visions for electronic music. For example, he coined the term "Music Easel" and he was the one who insisted on an interface that could be played by anyone as opposed to a piano-type keyboard.

(Sorry for the late reply. It has not been a very good month for me!)

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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by Default1 » Fri May 22, 2020 7:41 pm

After more than two years of owning Buchla, I finally achieved a bongo sound I enjoyed. I trawled through the internet looking for a video on how to achieve it, but only came up with the video above, showing how to do it in Eurorack!

It may seem strange given that its such a typical buchla sound, but given the wide range of envelopes, oscillator and the three different flavours on the lo-pass gate, it actually took a lot of time to work it out. So, I decided to resurrect this thread and post a video on producing a nice bongo sound. The only processing on this is a little bit of distortion to round out the peaks and produce some slight compression.

Here is the demo


Here is a piece which uses it

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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by ws9848 » Fri May 22, 2020 10:30 pm

I have seen that metal legs video before. It’s really good!

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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by Default1 » Sat May 23, 2020 6:29 pm

Thank you! I just released it!

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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by ws9848 » Sat May 23, 2020 9:07 pm

Default1 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:29 pm
Thank you! I just released it!
I must have been thinking of the feed back percussion video. I listened to it over and over on my way to work one day. they’re all good!


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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by dadek » Mon May 25, 2020 4:41 pm

And fantastic sounding bongos they are! Enjoyed the other sounds/music as well, congrats capturing something you’ve been after for so long.
Been on many of those hunts myself and continue on the pursuit of many others. Curious if there is another Buchla sound you’re after next?

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Re: Buchla Bongos????

Post by Default1 » Tue May 26, 2020 3:24 am

Thanks Dadek! Actually, am working on making some ambient drones right now...

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