Free Download: Experimental Musical Instruments Magazine - an essential builder's resource

All 70 issues of Experimental Musical Instruments Magazine are free to download!

When I came home from the hospital several weeks ago, I couldn't do anything except sit and read.  The first thing I reached for was my 70 issue set of Experimental Musical Instruments Magazine back issues.  Most of them are photocopied, dog-eared, marked up with notes and show the wear of many years of use.  

Before the internet, Experimental Musical Instrument magazine (EMI) was the gathering place for music rebels, iconoclasts and inventors.  (Tom Waits was a subscriber!)  Folks would publish their plans, instrument ideas, theories and questions... and it would get pretty deep in theory!  Each issue was filled with new ideas for instruments and sound sources.

I was lucky enough to have one of my instruments make the cover of one of their last issues, March 1999 (shown here).

The magazine was published by Bart Hopkin, a Harvard trained musicologist and instrument inventor.  As I was recuperating at home and digging into these back-issues, I went online to see he was up to and I discovered that he had put the entire EMI back-issue set on Archive.org for free!

This 70 set of magazines is essential for any instrument builder that wants to invent new and wild things!!!

How to download your own copies of all 70 issues:

1.  Go to https://archive.org/details/emi_archive/1-START%20HERE/ 

2.  Scroll down and look for this box.  It has many different types of files that you can access the EMI issues.  Most people will select PDF.  If you have a Kindle, you can get those files, too.

3.  Each issue will have to be downloaded separately.  

4.  If you don't want to download and print out the issues, you can also simply read them online.  

5.  I full-heartedly recommend spending the money on toner and paper to print out each issue.  It took me a week of printing to get my issue collection, but I've gone back to it over and over again!

Oh...and it's probably not gonna be fun if you try to start from Issue 1 and reading everything in order.  File #3 is a table of contents.  Go through it and look for articles that you might find interesting.

Maybe I'll curate a list of my favorite articles for a future newsletter.  

I can't wait for you to get these issues!!!

Shane Speal

Follow Shane Speal at

ps.  In case you missed it, see our feature on EMI publisher, Bart Hopkin's "Six Guitars That Break All the Rules."

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This is kool, thanx!! I was fortunate to collect a few issues from that last year, but here’s everything I missed!! Gonna put my new glasses through the paces :)

you can get it all in one go for PDF i havent checked if the option is there for other formats. be warned it is 1 GB zip file.

to the right of where it says back there is a download arrow and "78 files" click on that.  it is slow to Australia though....

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