Hi, I'm Dave. Welcome to Notes and Volts!

This site is a combination of my two lifelong passions, electronics and music. I have been fascinated by these two topics since I was old enough to plug a MIDI cartridge into a C64.

I started this blog on a whim in 2011 as a repository for my fevered experiments with musical electronics. The name Notes and Volts was the least objectionable choice from a list of clunkers like "Amp and Amps" and "PICS and Picks" (I was into PIC microcontrollers at the time). I thought "who cares, nobody is going to read this anyway". I never imagined the support I would receive from so many great people around the world.

Right Brain

My love of music began at the age of six. Like thousands of kids at the time, my imagination was ignited by the guitar gods gracing the album covers of my favorite bands. The guitar seemed magical, mythical, unfathomable. I was determined to learn it. Unfortunately,  playing "Three Blind Mice" from the Mel Bay book I found in the guitar case of our broken down acoustic, didn't quite cut it for me. After a few years of bloody fingertips, I finally discovered the secret of the Power Chord. It was Game On from there.

Cut to age 20. I had become somewhat proficient at the instrument and spent the next ten years as a hired gun guitarist recording and touring with various bands. In the words on Bon Jovi, I've seen a million faces, and I've mildly entertained some of them (I'm paraphrasing).

During this time, I used my growing electronics knowledge to build my own pedal boards, effects, and even tried to invent some gadgets for my fellow musicians (see The Beatscope).

Left Brain

My fascination with electronics began the day I first laid eyes on a newly installed Space Invaders arcade cabinet at our local pizza joint. I remember standing in awe of this futuristic marvel of technology. I think it took a couple of days before I worked up enough courage to actually put a quarter in the thing. But the moment that first game ended, my young mind knew exactly the path my life would take... I would own a Space Invaders machine!

I soon discovered that my dollar a week allowance would barely allow me to play the game, let alone own it. It was time for a plan B. One day at the mall, I noticed a store called "Radio Shack" that sold electronics. They had racks filled with brightly colored resistors and capacitors that could be purchased for as little as 50 cents. In my young naivete I figured I could simply purchase an electronic part a week and build my own Space Invaders game over time. I mean, how hard could it be?

After purchasing my first pack of resistors, I realized I may need some guidance on this journey. My parents were nice enough to buy me a copy of Getting Started In Electronics by Forrest M. Mims III (I still own that book and to this day, I can't stop picturing electrons with smiley faces). I read through the book and came to the realization that this electronics thing may be a bit more complicated than I imagined.

Thirty years, a thousand resistors, and a Electronics Technician course later, I feel I may just be getting the hang of it. Now to get back to work on that Space Invaders machine...