A 50-year old synthesizer made a sound engineer trip balls just by touching it

Grateful Dead were a band notorious for their psychedelic drugs, a reputation they could still living up to 50 years later.

Can you get high off of LSD acidentally? Sound Engineer Eliot Curtis found out it definitely is, even if it’s been lying around since the 1960s.

Curtis had been tasked with restoring a vintage Buchla Model 100 modular synthesizer. When cleaning inside a panel module on the synth he found “a crust or a crystalline residue on it”. Attempting to scratch the residue with his finger to peel it off he moved on with his job.

That was until nearly an hour later when the sound engineer noticed a tingling feeling that happened to be the start of an acid trip. Although unlikely that LSD could have remained potent for 50 years the synth had been stored in a cold, dark place which could have kept the substance psychoactive.

But that begs the question, what was LSD doing on this old synth and getting a sound engineer high by simply touching it. The synth was created by Don Buchla, a large part of the counterculture in the 60s and this particular synth apparently found it’s way onto an old school bus of LSD supporter Ken Kesey and his followers.

Buchla also happened to be good friends with Owsley Stanley who was the Grateful Dead’s sound engineer and infamously created one of the most potent, pure strains of LSD. It’s likely that the synth came into contact with the hallucinogenic substance when it was in contact with so many notorious acidheads.

Wherever it came from it was quite the shock for engineer Eliot Curtis and telling of the synth’s storied history. Curtis continued to clean the old Buchla Model 100 afterwards, but made sure to wear gloves for the rest of the process.

Writing about music, listening to music, and occasionally playing music.

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