Roll Call 2014

Posted: 11/17/2014 10:58:01 PM

From: Tucson, Arizona

Joined: 11/10/2014

Hello everyone!...My name is Bob and just wanted to introduce myself. I'm a retired business executive and a newbie to the theremin. Received my Burns B3 Deluxe a couple of weeks ago and have begun acquainting myself with it. The amp I am currently using is a Vox VT 20+. As a learning resource, I've been working with Thomas Grillo's DVD (which is great!), as well as a number of the other YouTube learning resources. I would love to get Peter Pringle's DVD as well as an additional learning resource. Is it still available? I think I have made a little headway by achieving some consistent scales as well as a couple of simple tunes. One thing I am learning and trying to get used to is that the theremin can be quite temperamental. It's location in the house, time of day, temperature, other electronics in the general area, as well as my positioning can sometimes affect it's tone clarity. It can go from crisp and clear to sometimes a bit raspy and distorted. Any advise on this front to achieve consistent tone quality would be appreciated. I'd much rather spend my time on learning technique rather than spending time adjusting my positioning, the amp and/or the theremin. Has anybody else had this bit of frustration as well? In any event, I'm looking forward to continuing my learning curve through my efforts as well as learning from all you good folks on this great site. Happy to be a part of it!...Bob      

Posted: 11/18/2014 3:31:36 AM

From: Vancouver, Washington, United States

Joined: 4/18/2014

Hello, Bob! Nice to meet you. I also have the Burns B3 Deluxe (though a few minutes ago I accidentally snapped off the pitch antenna), and absolutely love it. The theremin can be very difficult to position for optimum sound quality. If it sounds raspy and crackly despite constantly adjusting the controls on the amp, it could be the position of the theremin. I think mine sounds better and is easier to play when it is mounted on a mic stand at chest level. Any clutter in your playing space could interfere with your sound. Try giving yourself a wide open space to play. I fold up my futon bed and rearrange some furniture in my room before I play, or I get a really raspy sound regardless of the amp I use (vintage 20w Crate tube amp and solid-state Roland 20w).

Posted: 11/18/2014 5:16:08 AM

Joined: 10/23/2014

Here's my story, at least as far at the theremin goes:

Good Vibrations came out in 1966 or 1967 when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. That was an amazing song. I loved it, and still do. Within a year Popular Electronics came out with a theremin design in an article called "Music Ala Theremin". This was a simple design, and probably not very good, but I was really intrigued by it. I meant to build it, but never got around to it, as I had model planes to build and telescope mirrors to grind. So the theremin went on the back burner, but I still perked up every time “Good Vibrations” came on the radio. Then, around 2001, I was in a video store (remember them?) and saw the movie "Theremin, an electronic odyssey". I rented it, watched it, and fell in love with the instrument all over again. I did find it a bit depressing, though, because it sure sounded like it was a narrow and dying field of music.

After listening to me blither on and on about the theremin, one of my colleagues said he had one at home that he found at a yard sale. He brought in a Moog Melodia for me (and others) to play around with. After some time I was able to play Hendrix's "3rd stone from the sun" so that he could at least recognize it. He took the instrument back home and I went back to wanting to get or make one but nothing ever came from that. A year or two later he concluded that he was never going to play it again and asked me what I would offer for it. Having no clue about what it was worth, I countered by asking what he would want for it. After a couple of days he came to work and said "OK, I want a bottle of decent Scotch Whisky - Make it a good one. Get a $50 or $60 dollar bottle." So after sipping a bit of whisky with my buddy, I acquired the Melodia. (I think he wanted the whisky because he knew that trading a bottle of whisky for a theremin would make a good story.)

So there I was with a new toy. What to do with it... I got several theremin CD's - Clara, Lydia, Rob Schwimmer, and while I liked them, I really didn't want to play in that style. Then I got Peter Pringle's CD and thought the vocal quality of his playing was breathtaking. That was it - that’s the way I wanted to play. Of course, he sets a very high bar and would probably be appalled at my efforts. In time I have developed my own style of playing, but I always try to play as if it is a voice, not an instrument.

After playing the melodia for 5 years or so, I used some tax refund money to get the etherwave kit and put the melodia away for a time. But as time went on, it got so I wasn't playing it the etherwave very much. Then this spring I went to see the Moog display at the Ithaca history center. It turns out that there was a local thereminist giving a demo. After he finished his demo he invited people to try it out. I hadn't played in 6 months or more and was pretty nervous but played "Somewhere" from west side story and something else then sat down to give others a chance. After some time no one was playing so I went back and played "Over the Rainbow" and "Air on the G string" and a few others. So that experience rekindled my interest. I then found out about the ESPE01 bass module, obtained one and installed it. I really like the sound of the etherwave now that it is installed.

Recently the local scoutmaster asked me if I would be interested in playing at the haunted house the scouts put on, as I have done a number of times. Of course I was, but then he asked if one of the kids could play it, and that was fine too. I thought the Melodia might be a better choice for him because there are less knobs to adjust. (You know how kids are - if there is a knob they will turn it just to see what happens.) My adventures getting the melodia up and running are chronicled in the Melodia thread and I won't repeat them here. But I will say that I am amazed at how much better it plays than I remember. The way it is currently tuned I only get about 4 octaves, but they are quite linear and I find that it plays about like the Etherwave does.

And that brings us up to the present...

Posted: 11/18/2014 11:22:29 AM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

... You do know that the instrument you hear on Good Vibration is not a Theremin but a Tannerin?

Posted: 11/18/2014 11:51:22 AM

Joined: 10/23/2014

... You do know that the instrument you hear on Good Vibration is not a Theremin but a Tannerin?

I have known that for some time, but back in the day I understood it to be a theremin.  And the Star Trek theme, which is popularly supposed to be a theremin is actually sung by Loulie Jean Norman, who also did the high soprano in "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".  I'm gonna be devastated if I find out that Peter has been vocalizing his theremin parts.  :-)


Posted: 11/28/2014 3:26:01 AM

From: Canada/US

Joined: 11/18/2014

Hi all, 

Just wanted to introduce myself, I'm a new theremin player learning the ropes! I'm a pianist by training but became totally entranced by the theremin after watching several of Carolina Eyck's videos. I bought a used Etherwave standard and am loving it so far. I am using the Behringer K450 amp which was recommended by some posters here, thanks for the helpful threads in this forum on the topic! I've been trying out some different techniques but would like to eventually settle an established method. Anyone know of any thereminists offering lessons in Ontario/New York? (I'm back and forth) or am I stuck with DVDs- thanks! Hope to get to know everyone on here better :)

Posted: 11/28/2014 4:01:52 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Welcome to Theremin World Melody!  Check out our Theremin Lessons page for the names of a few teachers in the New York area.  Best of luck on your theremin journey!

Posted: 11/28/2014 6:20:26 PM

From: ohio

Joined: 4/24/2014

Hi George, I have really enjoyed using my theremin as my "voice" and using karoke cd's.

Have fun!!!

Total newcomer - not even a real musician.  My only real musical talent is "listening".  But I'm enthralled by the idea of the theremin, how it works, and how to play it.  Hoping to at least learn something which sounds a little like "music"...  ;-)

George P.

Posted: 11/28/2014 6:23:33 PM

From: ohio

Joined: 4/24/2014

Welcome to 2014 and to Theremin World! Post here to tell us about yourself and your journey with the Theremin.

Hmmm...I'm not great at forums yet. Learning the ropes so please forgive me if I double post.

I find that using karoke cd's with the theremin as my "voice" is my favorite was of playing so far.

Posted: 12/22/2014 5:54:57 PM

From: Cleveland, Ohio

Joined: 12/21/2014

Hello out there!  I am a classically trained musician (piano, voice, guitar, percussion) but a newcomer to the theremin.  I have been intrigued by the instrument for about a decade, ever since Rob Schwimmer came to Cleveland to play a concert and I got to interview him for a local paper I was working for back then. I really enjoyed the concert, got some CDs of various performers, and thought it would be a fun challenge to learn to play, but haven't pursued this until now.  My husband surprised me w/a birthday/anniversary present of a B3 deluxe a few days ago.  I'm still experimenting w/pitch, hand position, etc, planning to get both a keyboard amp and some instructional DVDs.  (right now I've got it running through a guitar amp, which doesn't sound that great -- possibly in part because our 70+ year old house has "dirty power," which is why I mostly play acoustic intruments!)  It has a rather "fuzzy" tone, which I'm hoping will resolve w/a proper amp.  I'm also wondering if household wi-fi interferes w/the signal?



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