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This Theremin-Cello Could Be Yours!

sidecars theremin cello

TW member sidecars is, if you can believe it, selling his Theremin-Cello.
It was built by Floyd Engels, and sidecars has posted it here in our forum, but the news has leaked and now that it is on the matrixsynth blog it may not be long before it's snapped up. The price has already gone up a bit.

Good luck with the sale and congratulations to the lucky buyer.


sidecars 2/20/2009 9:39 PM
I've had a few bites on this, but need a serious buyer. For those on this group I offer it for $4700. It includes a spare set of tubes and guitar case designed to hold the cello itself. This is the only theremin cello available in the world right now, and it is a work of art. Floyd Engels is amazing! I am only selling due to having fallen in love with another instrument! Call me fickle!

vonbuck 2/21/2009 8:28 PM
I'd love to buy it, but the 4 grand I just saved is for a new electric bass and amp and since I actually need those for work...

Jeff S
Jeff S 2/22/2009 12:34 AM
Sorry, wish I could help you, but I recently made a(nother) large "donation" to help keep Moog Music open for business.

I had the oppprtunity to play a theremin cello at Ether Music 2005 for about five seconds. I was the last one in line and it was snatched away from me so Pamelia could start her demonstration.

So Sidecars, are you going to tell us what your new love is?
sidecars 2/22/2009 1:03 AM
Well... for years I have really lusted after two instruments above all others...

Ondes Martenot... virtually impossible to buy.

Cristal Baschet... very expensive to buy. I've decided to sell my collection and concentrate on those things that I have wanted most. I ordered a cristal baschet. Take a youtube at that.

I now have on ebay an Axis 64 harmonic table keyboard. I will be adding a Continuum fingerboard, a midi controlled accordion that's pretty funky, and I am debating if I really want to sell my Etherwave pro. I don't think so, unless none of the others sell.

These,and a few more I'm selling, are all from years of collecting, built by an inheritance that should have gone to bills. Still have the bills. Some people drive or would buy a BMW. I drive an dumpy Chev and own instruments!

Let me know if you are interested in any of my instruments.


coalport 2/22/2009 9:51 AM

Congratulations on having fallen in love with the cristal Baschet. It is a wonderful invention and I think you will find it more satisfying than the theremincello.

My old lute teacher back in NYC in the 1960's was Leonid Bolotine, the ORIGINAL theremin cellist, and even he had no interest in the thing!

"We were all CRAZY back then!" L.B.

sidecars 2/23/2009 10:24 AM
I think I just sold it to a person in France!

link (


[i]fixed url - TW-Staff[/i]
carport888 2/23/2009 11:54 AM
If you decide to sell your E-Pro, let me know. I'm in Kirkland.

Lothi 9/9/2010 5:39 AM
Hi Bryan

If You don't mind I will ask You about:

- which Cristal Bachet have You bought (1-5 octaves)?
- What about the price (roundabout) ?
- Are You content now with this instument?
coalport 9/9/2010 8:12 AM
Good question Lothi. I would love to have a cristal baschet but would prefer to build one rather than purchase one. It is a fairly simple principle and if you have a reasonably equipped workshop with all the necessary tools, you could make one that would be comparable in every way to a "professionally" manufactured instrument, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

You might need access to a decent machine shop for the precision milling and drilling of certain steel parts but you could do all the mounting, fitting and tuning yourself quite easily.

My guess is that a cristal baschet from France, for the smallest available model, would cost you 5 or 6 thousand euros minimum (plus transportation costs). If you were to build one yourself, you would have the fun of making it, you would learn a great deal about the principles on which it functions (it is what is called a "friction idiophone"), you would always be able to do your own repairs and adjustments quickly and easily, you could make a full sized concert model (approx. 5 octaves), AND it would cost you no more than about a thousand bucks.

Of all the "new" instruments, the cristal baschet is by far the most spectacular one to look at. Those magnificent speaker cones (whether you made them of sheet metal or fiberglass or a combination) are positively MAGNIFICENT on stage.

Originally, the instrument was entirely acoustic, but modern piezoelectric pickups offer electronic possibilities that didn't exist in the 1950's when les freres Baschet were creating their first instruments.

The great thing about making any of the "new" instruments yourself is that you are not locked into measurements and proportions the way you are with traditional instruments. If you are going to make a violin, it is going to have to conform to the conventional fiddle. If you make a cristal baschet, you are free to innovate and possibly improve.

For anyone seriously wanting to build a cristal baschet, my advice would be to build a three octave instrument (36 rods) and think of it as your apprentice piece. Once you have successfully done that, you will know everything you need to know to proceed to a larger model.

REMEMBER, real satisfaction does not come from the arrival at your destination, but from the trip getting there.
coalport 9/9/2010 8:41 AM
Just in case anyone is genuinely interested in the construction of a cristal baschet, here is the website of the BOUSQUET STUDIO which operates under license from the Baschet brothers. The patents and designs are available on this website and are fascinating to study. Unfortunately, not all of the pages have been translated into English, so brush up your French folks!

Cristal Baschet (http://www.structure...)
djpb_designs 9/9/2010 12:06 PM
I had never heard of this thing (cristal baschet). Wild! Does look like fun.
Lothi 9/9/2010 12:34 PM
Hi coalport.

I have only read the english part of structures-sonores. But You are right, in the french part there are patents&designs :-)

Will take some time to read this, my french is not up-to-date.

The pysics behind are simple. But what will take time and need quite a lot of knowledge are the materials !
which kind of metal ? which kind of glass ? accoustics of the "loudspeakers" and so on

for example the harder the metal the more unwanted self-resonance it will add , the more mellow the less it will influence the tone from the oscillators, but the more it will damp it - and so on.

Also: longitudinal waves or circular etc, this dforces teh allingement of the "oscillator-hammers" -forunately there are enough pictures :-)

Fascinating thing !

Physics behind that would not be a riddle for me. But I see clearly the need of reseach and that series of kickbacks will happen before finding out the right material !
speedo 11/5/2012 10:36 PM

I found this thread while searching for a Cristal Bachet. Just wondering where you all found the patents and design page as it seems like maybe their website changed? Any links or help would be great.


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