Pamelia Kurstin's bass sound

Posted: 8/12/2005 7:25:33 AM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

I have a question on Pamelia's bass technique, not so much on how to do it, but how to get thegood bass sound she gets. I've been working on it since I got my pro, but can't find a good bass sound. Does she use anything else?
Posted: 8/12/2005 10:20:45 AM

From: Winston-Salem, NC

Joined: 6/30/2005

When she demo'd for us at Ethermusic, it looked like all she was using was the standard wasn't even her theremin.

I have tried the technique on my Etherwave but I just can't get a good bass out of it. One of the reasons I ordered a Pro was so I could use the expanded range that the Pro offered. I wonder how much the amp has to do with it.
Posted: 8/12/2005 1:17:21 PM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

I can an ok bass sound, but I play accostic bass so I might be too picky. I saw Pamelia a few years ago, and remember her bass sound wasn't quite there yet. The only time I really was able to study the sound was on her Kurstens cd, and it was probably EQ'ed to be more up-right bass sounding.
Posted: 8/12/2005 6:03:54 PM

From: Winston-Salem, NC

Joined: 6/30/2005


One of the reasons that I'm interested in the technique is that I've always wanted to play bass but never had an instrument.

It does seem like the qualities of an acoustic bass will be harder to reproduce - perhaps a little delay or reverb? And little more harmonics. Might be Moogerfooger time for you, but seeing that you already have a bass, maybe not!
Posted: 8/12/2005 10:23:39 PM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

yeah, I'd rather just play regular bass, it's easier. The trouble with trying to play theremin bass besides it being on a theremin, is knowing how to structure bass lines. If you can hear it, and know what makes up a bass line that's half the battle
Posted: 9/29/2005 4:44:45 PM

From: Louisville, KY

Joined: 8/28/2005

Okay, I'm bidding on an E-Pro but only have ye olde Etherwave right now. There's a rumor the price might come down in Oct, so I should have an E-Pro by the end of the year. I'm greatly looking forward to studying Pamelia's technique. On the advice of a jazz bassist friend, I got a Mel Bay book on walking bass lines. In terms of both rhythmic and melodic structure (ie: learning my way around cords) it's been very educational.

But a lot of bass lines are built around scales with ascending then descending notes that the theremin just doesn't voice well, so I end up just playing slightly different arrangements of the same notes in the same time signature.

For some reason, I actually like wider note spacing down there in the bass range. I shake my whole fist to get the tremolo effect, with just a little bit of slapback echo. This gives me a good tone, but nailing the notes becomes more difficult.

Chances are, what Pamelia Kurstin is doing shouldn't work, but she's good enough to make it work. Kind of like I often suspect that about half of Clara Rockmore's technique was designed to discourage neophites like me!
Posted: 9/29/2005 6:10:41 PM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005


I've always thought the whole idea of the theremin was to discourage neophytes from trying to play it.

Not that that ever stopped me...
Posted: 9/30/2005 12:04:15 PM

From: Madrid, Spain

Joined: 2/19/2005

Believe me:

I have a EPro since yesterday, and also I was lucky enough to meet Pamelia herself some months ago here at Madrid.

For me , walking basslines at the theremin need 4 parts :
-a person who plays (or can sing )jazz basslines,
-Pamelia's simple but brilliant technique (you know, touching fingers and so on),
-a lot of practice,
-and a proffessional level theremin.

Forget to make a walking bassline with an Standard Etherwave. It will never work. You NEED the EPro or similar, or at least, an octaver pedal able to completely suppress the original signal - I didn't found one, and I asked for it in several european countries' stores this summer.
Posted: 9/30/2005 12:18:51 PM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

I wrote earlier the hardest part is knowing how to play bass. It's all about feeling what a bass should do. No matter how proficient a theremin player you still need to know how to construct a bass line. Pamelia has the advantage ( besides being an amazing theremin player) of comming from a bass background.
A quick way to start learning would be to practise playing arpeggios (the root, 3rd, 5th and 6th or 7th of a chord), since that makes up the basics of a walking bass,

Posted: 9/30/2005 2:42:05 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

The 'Pro's bass capabilities & portability are the 2 reasons I'm seriously considering adding a 'Pro to my collection some day. I find the Ethervox MIDI theremin quite versatile in other respects, but playing it side-by-side w/ a 'Pro at Ethermusic 2005, I was very impressed with the latter's sound. I'm also always paranoid that I'm going to nick the cabinet or something when I cart the 'Vox around. I don't have a case for it. Usually, I just throw a towel over it and seat-belt it into my backseat.

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