Newbie of the week - Hi to Everyone!

Posted: 9/28/2008 3:39:08 AM

From: Sydney, Australia

Joined: 9/28/2008

Hello Everyone,

It's been really great finding this website and I'm slowly reading it over and digesting everything.

I've just built a standard Jaycar Theremin and I'm looking forward to modifying the circuit and making a better enclosure in the weeks ahead.

I also got a little bit enthusiastic after building the kit and have forked out for a Moog Etherwave Standard which should provide a nice benchmark and some playing pleasure while I'm refining the kit. It should arrive in the next couple of days - so I'm a bit excited about that.

Re: the Jaycar kit, I note that at the moment the scale is quite compressed towards the aerial and the kit actually advises that it should be tuned with the lowest frequencies closest to the antenna ie. I believe this is the reverse of a 'normal' Theremin. This hasn't really mattered because the unit is so short that I simply play off the end of the unit to the right of the aerial instead of over the body of the unit. I'm looking at using a fixed aerial as a replacement for the telescopic unit that came with the kit and I'll also try my hand at bending up a volume aerial.

I should add that electronic's isn't really my strong point and I'm going to try and stand on the shoulder's of others (who actually know what they are doing!) ie. posted by Max and others. etc.

Anyway thought I'd say Hi to everyone and I'm looking forward to being part of this group



Posted: 9/28/2008 1:11:14 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Welcome to Theremin World, AndrewH.

[i]Re: the Jaycar kit, I note that at the moment the scale is quite compressed towards the aerial and the kit actually advises that it should be tuned with the lowest frequencies closest to the antenna ie. I believe this is the reverse of a 'normal' Theremin.[/i]

It is indeed. I just tried it on my etherwave, by pushing the zero beat zone as close to the pitch rod as possible. It feels weird.

Bass notes are extremely compressed, the rest of the field between the rod and me seems to have a fairly evenly spread octave and a half (or so) which continues to rise in pitch until my head collides with my amp. I suspect that the intervals continue to get wider exponentially, and you'd quickly reach a point where you could run from one semitone to the next.

From a playing point of view I don't think it's a terribly good idea - there's a balance to be found in how far apart the notes are - too close and it's hard to be exact, too far apart and it's hard to move quickly from one to the next. The back end of the field is massive, so with a very limited range for practical purposes, plus you'll be learning a whole load of wrong moves.
Posted: 9/29/2008 7:27:41 AM

From: Sydney, Australia

Joined: 9/28/2008

The Moog Etherwave Standard arrived today. It sounds great and the notes are very much easier to select accurately.

I'm really happy with the purchase and I'm playing along to some of the classical and traditional tunes I've picked up around the traps. What I'm most excited about is that I can play it in tune easily - so it's definately not been a mistake buying one. I guess that comes from years of playing instruments by ear and tuning and bending notes on guitars on the fly.

What's missing of course is the proper Theremin technique - I've been playing it with my hand like a knife edge (ala slide on a guitar) so I'm going to work on that and hopefully get the aerial fingering and dynamics happening better. Plus I need to work on my arpegios etc.

My Dad and Mum who are getting on in years now popped over and they had never seen one. My father plays a variety of instruments including the trombone, clarinet, sax and vibes. I don't think I've ever seen him so surprised by an instrument - both in the sounds and the beautiful vibrato and in the actual way the musician interfaces with the instrument.

Anyway I'm very happy with it all.


Posted: 9/29/2008 11:20:26 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

That sounds like a wonderful first day at home for your new theremin. Am happy to hear the Moog panned out the way you expected, sometimes at the beginning it's actually easier to use a slightly more expensive instrument than saving a lot of money but then end up making the initial playing period harder and preventing those early rewards, like being able to play along to your favorites, that help keep us interested during the hard work parts of learning.

That's great that your father was so surprised, who knows maybe he'll get one now.
Welcome to TW AndrewH, let us know how things progress and by all means

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