Theremin on a mic stand not ideal...

Posted: 1/10/2011 11:28:38 AM

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

It is becoming a little annoying to find the perfect set-up for me to practice. If the Theremin is help up by my mic stand, at the lowest setting, it is still a little too high for my height. And if the Theremin is resting on a table, then most chairs are too low to play comfortably...

Initially learning to play the Theremin in a sitting position would be the best option at first, instead of standing up and getting tired pretty fast so you end up cutting your practice down in 1/2. Later on, after the technique becomes easier on my hands ( and brain ), perharps then the practice could be done part standing up and sitting down to increase my resistance at standing up for long periods of time.

It is true that, maybe for most of you, standing up is an easy task, but my right knee is in such terrible shape due to an accident that happenend in my youth and 40 years later, it giving me some challenges... But when there is a will, there is a way! The perfect solution is around the corner hiding somewhere... Time for some digging, right?

Posted: 1/10/2011 11:49:07 AM

From: Northeast USA

Joined: 7/30/2010

I play the theremin leaning against a stool, so I am "standing" but supported by the stool. I find that to be more stable, and also better for playing stamina, so to speak. To get the right height, you may have to shop around for the right height stand. I know drum mic stands come in some different heights. Or maybe find someone handy with a pipe cutter to shorten a regular stand down to your height. Comfort is paramount in this instance!
Posted: 1/10/2011 11:52:05 AM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

Well, we can’t help you decide how to play (standing, sitting) your theremin. Only you can make that decision.

However, there may be ways to modify your mic stand to accommodate your height and disabilities. Knowing someone with access to a welder and/or machine shop would be very helpful.

If you have a weighted, cast iron base, you could cut the end of the post back and re-thread it. Or, if you have a tripod style, you may be able to cut out a piece at the bottom of the post and rejoining it by bolting, or welding, in an internal sleeve. You could also cut the base off, cut the post back and mount it in your own hand-made wooden base. You are only limited by your imagination.
Posted: 1/10/2011 4:31:35 PM

From: A Coruña, Spain

Joined: 9/26/2010

I found the same problem, because I was used to playing sitting in front of my table with my B3, but my new Etherwave Plus refuses to make any sound on that table (probably due to metal items and electronics in the proximity, I guess).

So I bought an adjustable length stand thinking that it would be good both for playing sitting and standing, but no, it doesn't go low enough for sitting. Fortunately, in my case I don't have any leg injury so I have just switched to standing.

For your case, I don't know if this could make sense, but just in case... I know that there are a kind of ergonomic chairs where you don't really sit, but stand in a semi-upright position in such a way that the chair supports your weight. I have never tried one but I was told that some people use them all the time at work because they think it's unhealthy to be sitting all day. Maybe if you could give one of those chairs a try, it could work for you, although this is just a wild guess since I have never tried one.
Posted: 1/10/2011 5:41:04 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

I have found that mic stands tend to be a bit wobbly for my (larger than average) theremins, and height adjustment can also be a problem.. I needed to seriously address this issue (for when I put my theremins on the market) so looked into alternative stands.

The best + cheapest I have been able to construct used the stand from an Ikea lamp - these can be bought for about £6 ikea 'NOT' floorlighter lamp Part: 501.398.77 (

Some work needs to be done, and height is not adjustable (select how many pipes you need to connect together, and cut to trim the length - and you need to construct your own adaptor to fit the mounting on the theremin.. if you carefully modify the section which connects to the lamp, this gives extra support for the bottom of the theremin)) the base is solid and heavy, and does not get in the way.

The above principle forms the basis of the stands for my theremins (I use 2 per theremin, and have made the height adjustable - but this involves tapping a thread into the tube.. ) There are other lighting units from B+Q and other DIY outlets, but they are much more expensive.

If you are lucky, you will get a suitable height simply by connecting the pipes together for suitable length.. Otherwise you will need to cut a section out of the middle of one pipe, and insert a pipe to join the two ends (and weld or epoxy this coipling pipe in place) The other pieces will then just bolt together.. the top section containing the lamp holder.. This lamp holder must be replaced by a threaded connector suitable for bolting into the Theremin... The easiest way is to remove the electrical fitting and replace it with threaded stud which extends to the supporting pipe - and to epoxy this stud into place.

Posted: 1/11/2011 7:01:27 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Ok, I'm not a professional musician. And I'm better with the soldering iron, frequency counter and oscilloscope on the theremin. But I personally find that playing in a sitting position is not elegant. And there must be still other reasons why renowned thereminists like Clara Rockmore, Lucie B. Rosen, Lydia Kavina, Peter Pringle, Masami Takeuchi, Barbara Buchholz, Wilco Botermans, Thorwald Jorgensen etc. play or played standing. I think (from my modest experience) that a standing position allows to feel and to control the pitch field in a more organic way when your body is fully emerged and thus a fully flexible part of sound generation.
Posted: 1/11/2011 8:04:38 AM

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

Since performing is not something that concerns me yet, siting for a little bit while learning the instrument is what works for me at the moment. With my knee being in bad shape, there is little that can be done to change what is there.

When playing the Theremin will become a performing issue, I think a nice woman in a very nice flowing dress even if she is sitting is classy looking. elegance and class are what you make of it. Innovation in the cosmetic department is something fun to devote to. :) That is if your playing is gorgeous, and the woman looks nice - My opinion is that people will not really care if she is standing up or sitting down.
Posted: 1/11/2011 8:49:41 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

First of all, a mike stand is not a good idea for a theremin. Your instrument is sitting on top of a pole and the slightest movement of the floor causes a sway at the top. This is not an issue if your floor is very stable but many thereminists play in venues where there is only a rickety platform and every time the bass player shifts position, the theremins rocks back & forth.

You can minimize this by having your instrument on four feet instead of either a tripod or disc type mike stand. You need to consider where you might eventually be playing and foresee any problems NOW instead of panicking later on.

Lots of people play the theremin either sitting or with their bum perched on the edge of a stool to take the weight off their legs. This should not compromise your playing in any way. I play standing because I use several different instruments and the larger theremins (particularly Hoffman's RCA) are too big for a stool. I also like the feeling of mobility and I move a lot with the playing arc. Back in the days when the RCA was the only theremin available, a stool was not an option. With today's more compact transistorized instruments there are alternatives.

Proper instrument height for the technique you are using is paramount. Many thereminists have had problems with technique that disappear with a small adjustment of instrument height. If your instrument is too high, your pitch arm will tire quickly and you risk problems with your shoulder and/or elbow.

Remember, the secret of good theremin playing is RELAXATION. Never use any more tension than the minimum needed for the task. If your instrument is too high, you will have to raise your arm and that can be very fatiguing very fast.

Similarly, if you place your body too far back from the instrument and are forced to play with your arm outstretched, that can also put a lot of unnecessary stress on the muscles and tendons.
Posted: 1/11/2011 9:53:57 AM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

"You can minimize this (unsteadiness) by having your instrument on four feet instead of either a tripod or disc type mike stand." - coalport

That is not necessarily true. A four point stand is more stable ONLY when it is on a very flat surface. Otherwise, you would need to carry a set of shims to stablize it on an uneven floor.

A three point stand is generally more stable under more conditions, especially on an uneven floor or ground. That's why mike and speaker stands are three point.

However, these stands are not as stable enough because the three legs do not extend all the way up to the attachment point. Where stability is critical, such as with a telescope, photography, surveying equipment, etc., you would use a full length tripod.

The problem is that a full-length tripod is not the most attractive alternative for a theremin.
Posted: 1/11/2011 7:18:16 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

If the surface you are putting your theremin on is not level, it won't matter what kind of stand you are using; disc, tripod, or four feet. If you're playing on a rigged platform, you'd better make sure your theremin is entirely on only ONE of the platform panels. If you're straddling, you're lost!

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