6 Interesting Books For Synth Enthusiasts
There is a wealth of information available online for anyone interested in vintage synthesizers, which might make it seem that books about the topic is redundant. However, if you are one of those people who prefer a nice book in your bookshelf instead of just another bookmark in your browser, there are plenty of options available. Not all of them are simple guides either as there are also a couple of riveting reads about the origins and impact of certain synths. So, if you have an empty spot on your bookshelf and want to take a break from fiddling with your synth to read more about synths then any of these books will keep you entertained.
The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument by Mark Vail
The title is quite a mouthful, but this book contain plenty of useful information for synth enthusiasts. While newcomers to the synthesizer hobby has the most to gain from this book, it also informative enough that veterans can learn a thing or two. This book doesn’t just cover vintage synths either, but covers everything from the Trautonium right up to the software instruments that are popular these days. The author is quite knowledgeable about synths and has been part of the editorial staff at Keyboard magazine from 1988 to 2001, so you know that you are in good hands. The only downside is that the book doesn’t contain much in the way of actual guidance when it comes to programming your own synth, but anyone interested in learning more about these fascinating instruments should definitely check it out.
Analog Synthesis does exactly what it promises in its title by providing newcomers with all the information that they need to understand synthesizers. While there isn’t much here for veterans, newcomers will appreciate the simple to understand explanations when it comes to the basics of synthesizers. The book also comes with a nice CD, so you can listen to examples of all the synth aspects that are explained in the book. Since this book is aimed squarely at “newbies” it doesn’t go into a whole lot of depth, but there is enough here to inspire anyone with an interest in learning how to use synthesizers.
Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook: Synthesizer Programming, Sound Analysis, and Universal Patch Book by Fred Welsh
Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook is another great resource for beginners. It starts off by explaining all the different components of synths before moving on explaining how you can program a few patches. It also contains a large section devoted to patches that can help get you started with your own synth. This is something that is not commonly found in books about synths and definitely something that will keep newcomers busy for a while. The author also followed this book up with Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook, Vol 2: Harmonic Catalog, which is another interesting resource for synth enthusiasts.
Analog Days won’t make you a better musician, but it is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of synthesizers, in particular the Moog. It covers a lot of ground and contains some fascinating insights about the early days of the synthesizer. The book is also easy to read as it is less of a technical history of synthesizers and focuses more on the impact that synthesizers had on popular culture of the time. In addition to discussing some of the Moog pioneers of the day, Analog Days also mention other notable synthesizer players, such as Suzanne Ciani. Even if you consider yourself an expert on the subject of synthesizer history, Analog Days might still contain some tidbits that are new to you.
If you want to take your love for synthesizers to the next level and build some of your own then you’ll want a copy of this book. The author of this book actually ran the very popular Music From Outer Space website, which is a haven for DIY synth enthusiasts. The focus of this book is on one of the author’s own inventions, the Noise Toaster, but contains enough information to ensure that even novices can grasp the ins and outs of synthesis. The best part is that you don’t have to be an engineering genius to follow the guides in this book.
Adult coloring books are all the rage these days, so if you have someone in your life who enjoys coloring, but doesn’t understand your love of synthesizers then this could be the ideal gift. It features more than 30 images that are all based on vintage analog synthesizers and other cool gear, so you might even be tempted to try it out yourself. One thing is for sure, it is definitely unique!