I’m a big fan of cheap alternatives and creative solutions in the studio, mostly because recording gear is so damned expensive. The Wilkinson Audio 421 clip, or just about anything from Naiant Studio and Stam Audio are good examples of exactly this.

A few years back I had the idea that it would be really cool to be able to get an authentic rotating speaker sound out of any amp/speaker combination. That way you wouldn’t be tied to the tone of a Leslie or Fender Vibratone – each model of which having a pretty strong sonic signature that may not suit every situation. I had seen someone use a ceiling fan motor to make a rotating baffle once, which was cool (all fan motors have 3 speeds + off) but heavy and bulky. The solution I came up with was a cheap little 9v motor off eBay, a 9v DC power supply, an Ikea light dimmer, and a big blue* plastic salad bowl.

The fine folks from the now-defunct Converse Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn produced a step-by-step instructional video on how to build this contraption, source the parts, and included some hi-resolution stereo recordings of it in action.

So, please enjoy, the Salad Bowl Leslie. Even if you just skip to the end where you can hear it (wear headphones!), I think you’ll be surprised.

* the blue ones sound best