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Re: What it means to build vs. play...

At 05:03 PM 8/25/2003, msottilaro wrote:
>I think another point that Andre's analogy misses is that we're not 
>building instruments from scratch like one would a violin when we create 
>looper (or other processing chain) in Reaktor.  Now, I don't know the 
>program at all, but I've fooled around with Max, so I get the basic 
>idea.  It's much more akin to someone going out and buying a carbon 
>graphite neck, basswood body, Kahler bridge and Spertzel tuners.

If you're a beginner with it and just stringing together big modules 
created by somebody else, then yes. But if you get into in you'll be 
working a much deeper level.

>When I was shopping for a Stratocaster, I did not like the standard $400 
>model that Fender was selling at the time, so I got a G&L Skyhawk 
>instead.  The tuners weren't as stable as I thought they could be so I 
>locking Spertzels on it.  The pickup selector switch was in the wrong 
>place for me, so I put a Starr switch in so I could get more combinations 
>and not have a toggle switch in my hands way.  Did I build an 
>instrument?  Not even close.  Wouldn't try to.
>However, I did create a custom instrument for my specific needs, just as 
>one could create a custom processor in Reakor.

hmm, I've played guitar since I was 7 and never had the slightest desire 
do anything like this. I'm even an engineer with a garage filled with 
and reasonable mechanical aptitude. I worked at Gibson. Yet when it comes 
to guitar I would much rather spend my limited time with it playing 
When I wanted something special I just went to somebody else who knew what 
they were doing and had them make it. They did a much better job building 
it than I would have. They had all sorts of better ideas than I did, and I 
let them run with it. I just play it.

>I think it's better to think of Reaktor like one would think of a modular 
>synth, not like buildling a Stratocaster from scratch.

I compare it to cars.

There are some people who build their cars entirely from scratch. They 
become very into it and spend a lot of money and time in their garage. 
don't spend a lot of time driving their car, mostly because it is very 
that it is actually working. Once in a while they drive it off the trailer 
to their spot at the hot rod show and hope it doesn't break down before it 
gets there. They rev the engine very impressively.

Then there are the people who customize and restore cars. They also spend 
lot of time in their garage tinkering around. They obsess over details in 
engine performance, or exactly which sort of dome light goes with which 
year of car or whatever. Since they actually started with something 
working, their cars are somewhat more likely to be running but they still 
don't drive them much. A few day trips here and there. When they are not 
the garage fiddling with it, they are reading about fiddling with it, or 
talking to somebody else about fiddling with it. For most of them the 
fiddling is more important than the driving.

And then there is all the rest of us who buy a car for driving, and that's 
what we want to do with it. The less time spent dealing with the car other 
than driving somewhere, the better. We are happy that somebody else 
out how to build it, and we choose one that fits our needs. Maybe we had a 
different stereo installed. This group probably represents 99.9% of car 

Nobody ever thinks that hot rod building is the future of car ownership. 
It's a fun hobby for some people, and you may find it enjoyable for 
yourself. But the idea that everybody is going to want to do that is 
Most people just want to drive.

Same for musical instruments. The vast majority of people who get musical 
instruments just wish to play them. The less time fiddling the better. 
There is a tiny fraction of people who like to build their own 
It's a fun hobby and they spend most of their time doing that instead of 
actually playing. That's great for them. But certainly isn't the wave of 
the future now anymore than it is with cars, or it was with breadboards 
radio shack.


Kim Flint                     | Looper's Delight
kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com