Throbbing Gristle's Gristleizer stompbox

 Images  Gristleizer Gristleizerfront
Recently, Smashing Guitar issued a limited commercial version of The Gristleizer, the custom audio effects unit that Throbbing Gristle used in the late 1970s to create uneasy listening music and define the industrial music genre. TG co-founder Chris Carter had made the first unit based on a design printed in Practical Electronics magazine. Now, Smashing Guitar has built a run of thirty Gristleizers in a stompbox form-factor. From the product description:
 Files The-Gristleizer-StompboxThe pedal version, housed in a high-quality, heavy-duty Hammond 1590DD box, retains all the functionality of the tabletop design with the added convenience of footswitch operation. In essense, The Gristleizer is a synth module that works with any audio signal. The audio path is modulated by an LFO using four selectable waveforms (upslope, downslope, triangle, & square), functioning in one of two paths: VCA (voltage controlled amplifier) or VCF (voltage controlled filter). Ranging from light and sweet tremolo to extreme, raunchy ring mod, The Gristleizer is a 100% analog, hand-assembled unit built to last.
Gristelizer Stompbox (via @chris_carter)


  1. I know why this is making an appearance here (TG’s fringeoid nature and status as alterna-icons, etc) but if you were to do your usual boingboing thing AND post about stompboxes regularly, I would gladly move up from just hugging and kissing you to even spooning you at night.

  2. Most (if not all) of these effects can be found as free audio add-ons and manipulated through a laptop (Logic, ProTools, even GarageBand…)

    Such a set-up (for instance, run thru a MacBook) provides literally an infinite number of possibilities – whereas a standalone device such as the Gristleizer (eek, what a crazy name!) is intrinsically limited to a few hundred combos.

    Also, it would have been nice if Smashing Guitar had reproduced this unit “as is” with it’s original worn-out look. Somehow the name Gristleizer doesn’t conjure up images of cute shiny red guitar stompers.

  3. @5 that’s not the point : “The Gristleizer is a 100% analog”

    some of us don’t do digital music, prefer the sound of analog, there are some things you just can’t emulate

  4. @#5:
    As someone who mixes primarily “in the box” (aka on a laptop), while I agree that it would certainly be possible to do everything the gristleizer can do with plugins, there’s a certain showmanship that comes with doing things the analog way. Tweaking knobs in software with a trackpad doesn’t quite give the same satisfaction that working real knobs does. And it look a Helluva lot more boring to your audience (assuming you’re using the box while playing live). Also, if you’re not using the laptop for simple effects, you’ve got more processing power for other, cooler stuff.

    I think the design job that Smashing Guitar did is pretty good. The typefaces used and the overall simplicity do a good job of hearkening back to the original while still looking decent. If they gave the new units an artificially distressed look, it would just make me think they were trying too hard.
    Besides, if you wanted to be truly industrial, you’d just do what ERNIE suggested and make it yer damn self. I know it’s MY next soldering project.

  5. Don’t want to this to devolve into the old ANALOG VS DIGITAL argument (and it won’t…) but whatever the technology and whether analog or digital, the key to making good recordings dwells within the individual (NOT outside within the recording gear)

    If you’ve got good ideas and a sensitivity to music, you’ll do alright

  6. One of the reasons I love you guys is for mentioning this amazing band from time to time :).

  7. $375 seems kind of excessive for this, even given that all audio gear is overpriced. This is not a very complicated circuit — compare with Adafruit’s Xoxbox (an obsessively accurate TB-303 clone).

    Also, the case is wimpy. There’s nothing TG about that red color. And a dated ’90s grunge font is no substitute for the 3-dimensional feel of genuine DYMOâ„¢ LabelMaker tape, no doubt personally applied by the fingers of Chris Carter himself. Some things, as #6 said, just can’t be emulated.

  8. just a minor correction, it’s smashing guitars with an s at the end
    real great shop they keep on broadway in asheville

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