Surgical Tape





Introduction: Surgical Tape

I copied all of these instructions from my friends flickr page who was so gracious to share. I'm not really sure I understand whats going on here but wanted to copy it for this community, and also to practive this whole 'instructable' thing. There are several techniques that people used to manipulate cassette tapes, and I hope to document many of them.

Hexalyn begins...

"I'm not sure if anyone has ever documented this before, but this set is devoted to what I'm calling "tape surgery", for lack of a better term. All you need is an old cassette that you don't care about and somewhere to play it. (I don't have a working tape player any more so I can't verify if this actually works the way I remember it.) What you end up with is a make-shift mashup tool -- no fancy software or high-end recording equipment required. Interested? Read on... "

original link

Step 1: Tape Surgery

hexalyn continues

"First, pull out a section of tape from your cassette. If I remember correctly, this works best if your tape has been fast forwarded part way. If you try this technique and it doesn't work, try fast-forwarding it to the other side. "

Original link

Step 2: Tape Surgery

hexalyn explains

"With a pair of scissors, cut the tape diagonally. Cutting it on an angle isn't essential, but it will help you keep track of which way it needs to be twisted. "

Original link

Step 3: Tape Surgery

Hex gets ready for the big finish

"The tape is now cut. Here comes the magic... "

Original link

Step 4: Tape Surgery

Hex explains

"Take one end of the tape and twist it so the two diagonally cut ends no longer match up."

Original link

Step 5: Tape Surgery

Hexalyn continues

"With a piece of scotch tape, tape the pieces of the tape back together. "

Original link

Step 6: Tape Surgery

Hex concludes

"With the surgery complete, use your finger to wind the tape back up. "

Original link

Step 7: Tape Surgery

Hex wraps it up...

"You can't tell from the picture, but the magnetic tape itself is now upside down. If you rewind it (or maybe fast forward it... I can't remember) you can start to mess around with recording and playback. Whatever was originally recorded on the tape will sound through, albeit faintly, in the background with your new recording overdubbed. The recording may take on other bizarre properties -- mangled, backwards, slowed down, etc. I don't really know what is actually happening or why, but I remember doing this a lot when I was a kid. Perhaps this is where my obsession with experimental audio began, or maybe I just liked to break things. Anyways, let me know if you have any success with this technique. "

Original link

Step 8: Tape Surgery Credits

Thanks to Hexalyn for sharing that interesting tape hacking technique. She also has a myspace thing going on.

This research is also being blogged, many more interesting cassette stories over at My Cassettes.




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    good idea, maybe you could record your own music or noise and play it like this as an effect

    i have tried something very much like this but i didn't use clear tape... we just would tie the cut ends into little knots, crumpled up the tape in some parts, just did tons of fun experements... it adds an awesome effects to the tape... but sometimes the knots do get caught so you have to fast forward or rewind to get them unstuck.

    Alternatively, tamper with a twin-head tape deck (these are the type which autoreverse). All you have to do is swap the connections between the two heads & the PCB. This is like tampering with your phonograph so that the motor runs in reverse. For overdubbing, you need to disconnect the erase head, which is usually white, cheaper-looking and off-centre.

    you know i only meant to show you off hex, ;) tell you what, since you are all into instructables now, post it on here yourself, and ill be happy to link to you. just as long as the world knows of the genius that is surgical tape! peace. 8j

    Thanks for stealing my thunder, draggin. :) I hope someone actually takes the time to try this out and posts about whether or not it works.

    Very interesting, special effects for the those of low income :-D

    great job i will have to try this

    interesting... so is this like turning the needle upside down on your phonograph, putting down a roll of duct tape and playing a record backwards from underneath? stairway FTW!