The “Machine” patent, from the USPTO patent archives.  This predates my idea of acoustic synthesis.

1969 – 1974:

The guitar pictured above – believe it or not – is a 1968 Stratocaster so completely modified as to be unrecognizable.  Hex pickups, a veneer pick guard, finish sanded off, horn rounded down, all rewired and tied to the Machine by a special cable.  This guitar also had scalloped frets – the first instance of that ever, I believe.

The Machine is shown as it would be used on stage. With its cover on, the Machine became a large black mysterious rectangular case. I know it was mysterious because airport security kept telling me so.

I began in 1970. It took a year to construct the Machine. Then I joined a band and went touring around as a working guitarist, town to town and bar to bar.

I should clarify: This is way back. I was still Ierymenko of course. Vo was unimagined. This is not the vibration control technology I invented 8 years later, this is my first mad work done with the pure energy of youth and the wits of inexperience. But it did work, and it did make some great huge hex fuzz sounds. I lugged around a Leslie rotating speaker cabinet to play through at these gigs. At 2AM on a Tuesday night in 1973, the folks in the small-town bar still glued to their bar stools, bleary-eyed and over the limit – they thought our band had a big B3 organ up on stage somewhere.

The deeper story...

An attorney, the uncle of a band member, took an interest in the Machine and arranged demonstrations for a variety of influential people.  A New York music production company stepped up to take an option to buy the technology. This enabled me to retain a patent lawyer and file a patent.  (A tale unfolds here involving New York’s Felix Pappalardi; I may blog about this later.) The option eventually expired but the patent was filed by a top New York law firm in October of 1972. It issued and was published by the US patent office in May of 1974. It contained one little error – My name was misspelled ‘Terymenko’ rather than ‘Ierymenko’. I discovered this about 20 years later when I first looked up my US Patent via the internet.

That’s how I came to be writing a patent while on the road, corresponding with patent attorneys from various hotel rooms in the winter of 1972.