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Paul Tanner Has Passed Away

Paul Tanner

With great sadness, we must report the loss of yet another key figure in the history of the theremin.

Paul Tanner, known for inventing the theremin-like instrument used on the Beach Boys' song Good Vibrations, has passed away. 

As the story goes, the Beach Boys wanted a theremin on the song, but they figured it was too hard to play.  So they enlisted the help of Paul Tanner, former trombonist for the Glen Miller Orchestra to help.  Mr. Tanner had built the instrument that bares his name, the "Tannerin" (a.k.a. the "Electro-Theremin") and performed on the recording.

Mr. Tanner was 95.



1 Comment

RS Theremin
RS Theremin 2/10/2013 1:25 AM
"Samuel Hoffmann, then the leading theremin player, performed on a soundtrack. ... Tanner saw the difficulties Hoffmann had with the instrument, which had no set positions from which Hoffman could take his cue. He kept relying on Tanner to provide a note to tune from, and this lead Tanner to consider if there was another way to produce the sounds of the theremin without having to master the subtleties of positioning hands around its two antennas."

Paul Tanner is a man who helped launch worldwide theremin awareness, a musical instrument he never played and yet by clever fate he promoted it.

The next time you hear the "original" recording of "Good Vibrations", instead of just saying “that's not a Theremin” also mention it's not an electro-theremin or a Tannerin an instrument that came later to be used as a substitute on Beach Boy recordings. What you do hear in the original "Good Vibrations" is simply called "The Box". The internet is full of myth and misinformation, why not give credit to the fine work of one musician, a trombonist, Dr. Paul Tanner who captured the voice of the theremin and put it in a Box. Dr. Paul Tanner is a true theremin success story by fate and he will be missed...

I noticed the news services cropping and using my photos as he was a private person, here is my last photo from 2006.

Paul and his wife Jeanette .jpg 110k 2006

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