I like vintage gear and I also like building
stuff, so when a 1978 PAiA Stringz ’n’
Thingz came my way, I set out to completely
overhaul it—then improve on it. The
overhaul involved a new case and replacing
the aging electrolytics. The improvements
were more substantial—replacing
the 37-key Pratt-Read keyboard with a 44-key Yamaha action and adding circuitry for
the extra notes, crystal-controlled tuning, individual level controls for the violin/cello
blend, four chorusing modes, keyboard split for the piano voice, and a flute voice.
The biggest addition was an analog effects section for morphing the flute into something
less organ-like. First in the chain is a wave folder to add harmonics. It can be set
to a constant depth or modulated by an LFO, AD envelope, or both at once. Next, the
audio passes through two VCAs. The first is modulated by an LFO to any depth from
zero to 100% (pulsing). The second VCA is controlled by its own AD envelope.
Everything is analog and adjustable using 27 knobs. The keyboard splits just below
middle C. Voices, and whether effects are applied, can be selected separately for
For more, visit stefanv.com/stringz.html.