Brand new... just ordered a B3. Looking for some tips, I guess...

Posted: 4/21/2009 10:33:24 AM

From: appleton, wisconsin

Joined: 4/21/2009

My b3 deluxe will come in a few days. I talked to that guy the advertise with, thomas grillo a few times, picked up an amp and a stand.

I know little of music or music theory, but used to be very familiar with basic music theory from elementary and middle school... unfortunately, it's all long gone. I'm learning the piano currently and hoping that as I learn that I'll gradually be able to reapply to the theremin...

What I'm looking for are simple instructional learning things, and basic tips and such on stuff.

I don't understand what fingering, or other "styles" are, or how I should approach this, besides poking it and giggling like an idiot, which will be my first few days with the thing. :)

I've wanted a theremin for over a year. Ever since I first heard about it, for the first time in my life I felt an actual draw, an attraction to an instrument. I really, really hope I can master this and do amazing things with it. So... yup. Thats that stuff.
Posted: 4/21/2009 2:13:25 PM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Concerning fingering:

Look at videos on Youtube.
There are two schools, the Rockmore style which has been further developed by Peter Pringle and the Russian style by Lydia Kavina and (in a modified way) by Carolina Eyck.

The goal is always the same. Finger movements are mostly more precise than whole arm movements. So one tries to cover parts of a scale only with different hand/finger positions without moving the (fore-)arm.

Since each player varies one of these techniques depending on anatomic and musical factors, you should look (and try out) whose basic style matches best for you. While practicing on a regular and serious basis and listening critically to yourself, you will automatically find out what's the best for you.

You will encounter with a B3 the "problem" that the higher the tones you play are, the lesser they are spaced. So you should look at Thomas Grillos teaching videos and contact him for further questions since he is an expert for this type of theremins.
Posted: 4/21/2009 6:02:02 PM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

Studying the piano at the same time should be a big help. I couldn't imagine picking up the theremin without having first played another instrument.

Having a pitch pipe or a piano within easy reach while your playing is a good idea too. I find it picking out intervals between notes to be the easy part but you have to start out in the proper place (A, B, C, etc...)

To start out, let your theremin warm up a few minutes, tune it (adjust the width of the pitch field with the "pitch" or "tune" knob on the front) so the range from no sound (zero beat) up to the antenna is about 1.5 feet or so, stand a little towards the volume loop side of things, get a good, stable stance (don't be afraid to move your feet around, one in front of another or something, whatever feels right), form your pitch hand into a combination of the "OK" sign and a fist (pointer finger touching your thumb, the other three fingers touching your palm) for the first note, as you ascend notes step by step move the knuckles of the three fingers touching your palm outward (without moving your arm), while keeping your pointer finger touching your thumb, until you have a claw-like shaped hand, move forarm as needed to jump higher or lower.

Don't forget a little vibrato. Try starting out with none and adding a little as you sustain the note. (A little dab will do ya).

I believe this falls under the "Rockmore" method. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Don't be afraid to change things up as you see fit.
Posted: 4/21/2009 6:25:25 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Welcome to Theremin World, Punkonjunk.

Here ( are a few suggestions...
Posted: 4/23/2009 2:04:09 PM

From: appleton, wisconsin

Joined: 4/21/2009

very helpful so far! Some of the stuff I've watched is telling me a lot, but the more I watch the more antsy I get, so I'm gonna hold off and just read stuff till it gets here today.

I can hardly type.

I'm hoping you guys can provide me with something I can't find anywhere -
The only instance I know of a theremin being played as not what appears to be a vocal substitute is in some aphex twin song.
Can anyone send me any videos of it being used in a less than classical sense (now, I love classical music, and it was all I listened to until I was like 14, and thomas grillos ave maria was AMAZING. I can't stop just listening to that. But I'd like to see some indie or noise rock applications, pretty much anything where it's clearly there alongside vocals or something.

Could anyone help me out? I don't even know what to search for. Thanks!
Posted: 4/23/2009 3:22:42 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

My stuff isn't exactly classical.

It's not indie rock either.

I'm not sure what it is.

I'm not very good at genres.

It's here (

Also, the Spellbound ( podcast/radio show plays a wide variety of styles.
Posted: 4/23/2009 4:26:54 PM

From: appleton, wisconsin

Joined: 4/21/2009

I was looking for anything outside of classical, and this is really neat, really great, gave me an idea of theremin being used in an ambient setting!
And those are some really neat effects. Super impressive!

I'm gonna watch a bunch more when I get back.

I'm about to explode. My theremin arived, BROKEN.

UPS's fault, not burns. It was packaged much as I would have packaged anything, with adequite paper used as packaging, not too much, but not too little, either. It was packed well.

UPS apparently played drop kick this guys shit.

Those are some pics. God damnit am I angry... I'm gonna see if I can just go get a telescopic antennae from like, radioshack for a few bucks or something. Uhhhhhg. I want to play with iiiiiiiiiiiit.
Posted: 4/23/2009 4:37:13 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005




You should still be able to check the rest of it is OK. As long as you can stick the antenna in the hole and make an electrical connection it should function as expected. (I'm not sure what the two yellow bits are - part of the antenna or part of the theremin?)
Posted: 4/23/2009 4:46:38 PM

From: appleton, wisconsin

Joined: 4/21/2009

The rest of it seems fine. I stuck it in there and it screached, but likely because of the bent shape and the fact that I just stuck it into a guitar amp, because I can't figure out how to get that bass amp turned on. :P

And the little bits are what held the antennae into the hole securely, I should be able to use them with another antennae, or god forbid, one I rip out of a radio in the house if radioshack doesn't have stuff.
Posted: 4/23/2009 5:11:32 PM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

Ahhh...UPS... I used to run a shipping dept. and spent many an hour on the phone yelling at them.

There's nothing worse then waiting for something your really excited about and having it arrive busted :(

Keep in mind the theremin has a hotter (line level) output than a guitar or bass, so a guitar or bass amp is not the ideal amplifier.

I notice your from Appleton Wis. Do you happen to know of Mike or DoublePlusGood Records? I was in a band on DoublePlusGood.

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.