Buchla Thunder Overlay - Legendary Expression Comes To The Morph

Buchla Thunder Overlay - Legendary Expression Comes To The Morph

Order the Morph + Buchla Thunder Overlay

Order the Buchla Thunder Overlay

When it comes to expressive and unique instrument design, Buchla is a towering legend. 30 years ago, with the release of the Thunder, Don Buchla introduced a musical playing interface inspired by Native American art and the natural playing positions of the human hands and fingers.

Now, we’re thrilled to partner with Buchla U.S.A. to bring the Thunder to the Morph, for a modern update that combines the genius of Don Buchla’s ergonomic designs with the unparalleled force sensitivity of the Morph. 


The Buchla Thunder Overlay is uniquely well-suited to a variety of instruments - from synthesizers with rich and evolving timbres, to acoustic samples that benefit from a more “human” touch, to hardware synthesizers like the legendary Buchla Easel. You can witness the richness of expression in this video of Peter Nyboer playing with the Buchla Thunder Overlay in the video above.


Buchla Thunder Overlay with Morph Musical Overlays


Along with our friends at Buchla U.S.A., we dedicated extra care and engineering to making the Buchla Thunder Overlay a smooth and expressive experience worthy of the Buchla legacy. We worked closely with the team at Buchla on the feel, design, color, and sizing to respect history and take full advantage of the Morph platform. Each of the 27 areas of the Buchla Thunder Overlay transmits a dedicated note and can be used with any instrument that accepts MIDI or MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) input. The Buchla Thunder Overlay can further be customized to transmit any of the protocols supported by the Sensel App, including HID for gaming, computer keyboard commands, and more.

Also, the Buchla Thunder Overlay exclusively features a new preset system to the Morph. Using the preset button and the numerical keys, you can easily and instantly switch between nine mappings without needing to open the SenselApp. Need to go from an instrument controller to a virtual mixer? Want to swap between scales? Presets add a seamless extension of expressive control possibility to the Buchla Thunder Overlay.


The Morph with the Buchla Thunder Overlay and more will be on display this Spring and Summer at Sensel's booths at MoogfestExpo '74, Mutek SFSuperbooth, and Brooklyn Synth Expo, so come by and check us out.

Buchla Thunder Overlay and Morph

We’re excited to continue to share more photos and videos of the Buchla Thunder Overlay in action – be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more updates.

Order the Sensel Morph + Buchla Thunder Overlay for $269 

Order the Buchla Thunder Overlay for $59


Using the Buchla Thunder Overlay with CV

To output control voltage (CV) from the Sensel Morph, you'll need an interface that can translate USB to CV. Two that we recommend are the MantaMate from Snyderphonics and the FH-2 from Expert Sleepers.

MantaMate from Snyderphonics and FH-2 from Expert Sleepers



May 01, 2019 • Posted by David from Sensel

Hi Ed – agreed on Aalto! First off, the Buchla Thunder Overlay can transmit MIDI and MPE. In MIDI mode, it will work with Aalto in both Ableton Live and Pro Tools. You can switch the input protocol for Aalto – by default it accepts MIDI.

If you want to explore MPE with The Buchla Thunder Overlay and Aalto, then you’ll need a DAW which supporters MPE. While Live and Pro Tools do not, a number of others do – you can see a full list of hosting applications which support MPE here: http://bit.ly/2ITJUH9

Apr 26, 2019 • Posted by Mark from Sensel

That’s great Mark! Thanks for letting us know.

Can’t wait to hear/see what you make with it. Please share and tag us.

Apr 24, 2019 • Posted by Mark Liebman

I got a notice today that the Buchla Thunder Overlay I ordered has been shipped! Thanks Sensel!

Apr 19, 2019 • Posted by Clarke

Okay…it’s April! Will the Buchla Thunder Overlays be shipping soon?

Mar 26, 2019 • Posted by Ed Pettersen


I pre-ordered mine back in January right after NAMM. Question: Will it work with Madrona Labs Aalto Buchla plug in synth (which is fab BTW) in my DAW (Pro Tools or Ableton)?


Mar 12, 2019 • Posted by David from Sensel

Hi Bob – yes, you definitely can use the Morph with the Arturia Easel V! You’ll want to make sure that you’ve got it set to output MIDI (currently the Easel V accepts MIDI but not MPE).

Pressure: By default, the Buchla Thunder Overlay outputs channel pressure for each MIDI note, so you’ll have no problem getting a signal that you can use for the purple pressure patch points in the Easel V.

Y value: to get the vertical (Y) value of the notes on the Easel V, there are several options. One is to make the Y value of each note output to CC #1 (mod wheel), then use the mod wheel patch point – this is very easy to do using the SenselApp. Another option is simply to use MIDI learn (either through your DAW or directly within Easel V) and assign controls.

While the method I’ve outlined is the easiest path, and doesn’t require any editing in the SenselApp on your part, you can also set the X, Y, and pressure values of each key in the Buchla Thunder Overlay to any designated CC # – so it’s extremely customizable!

Mar 06, 2019 • Posted by Bob Appleton

Can I use Arturia’s Buchla Easel software for sound with the Thunder overlay? And how would I do that?

Mar 05, 2019 • Posted by Scott Sharon

I highly recommend the Endorphin.es Shuttle Control for connecting Morph to modular.

Feb 07, 2019 • Posted by Mark from Sensel

Hi Robert,

Sorry for the delay. Yes, you can definitely assign different MIDI channels per control, using the Sensel App. Additionally, each control area can send out different messages – including MIDI notes, MIDI CC, MPE, and more. You can find more details in our guide at http://guide.sensel.com/app/

As to “effects” and “riffs”, that will depend on the software you’re working with. You can, for example, easily map MIDI note/MPE triggers to loops or other sounds within a DAW or other performance/hosting application. If you want to go really deep with customization, there are also Sensel Morph objects available for Max. More info here: http://guide.sensel.com/morph/#innovator

Thanks for your interest.

Kind regards,

Jan 23, 2019 • Posted by Robert Kilman

Can I program each key/touch strip to respond to different midi channels? Will there be any replication of the original Thunder’s capabilities in the programming software, such as “effects” and “riffs”?

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