Assembling the Moog Etherwave Theremin Kit

Posted: 11/2/2006 7:54:18 PM

From: Kansas City MO

Joined: 10/24/2006

I may not be able to play a theremin now.
I may not be able to play a theremin ever.

My talent is fixing / modifying / making things on cars and one of my specialties is the electrical system. (that would explain why I’ve had 3 1950’s cars in my garage with Lucas systems in the last few months, just do a search for “Lucas the price of darkness” and you’ll know why)

Anyway, my plan is to document with pictures, the step by step process of assembling the Moog Etherwave Theremin Kit. (I do this all the time for a car forum that I frequent).

My goal is to convince the next new addict that it can be done fairly easily. (or convince them to spend the extra $50 and buy it premade)

Since I am unfamiliar with this forum, I need help from some of the old timers on how things work around here.

This thread will have a lot of pictures. So far, when I’ve tried to put a pic in a thread it is resized down to a tiny thumbnail. Is there anyway else I can do it so the pic is say 640*480 to show detail or do I have to hyperlink to the full sized pic.
(Jason can probably answer this question for me)

I will simply keep editing this post as things progress rather than adding new responses.

My kit is on order but probably won’t be here until 11/7 or 11/8, so no need to bother checking this thread again until then

i just had the strongest feeling of de jah vue

11/07 just starting, give me some time...
no pics until 11/09

Objective: to educate theremin fans of what is involved to assemble the moog etherwave kit.

I’m not going to touch on which theremin is the best for a beginner, that’s a personal choice. But if you decided a etherwave is the one for you, this may help you decide if you want the “kit” or one assembled by Moog.

I can only see 3 possible reasons to get the kit over the assembled unit
1. To save money
2. You enjoy tinkering with gadgets and what to know “you” brought your etherwave to life.
3. You wanted to modify or change the appearance of it.

Options 2 and 3 are internal thoughts / feelings that will be solely within you.
I can only point out facts for number 1.

The kit is readily available for 329 with free shipping or a built unit for 379.
So $50.00 difference… who wouldn’t want to save 50 bucks.

But that’s up front costs.
There are tools and other supplies that you will need to put it together. If you don’t already have them, you’ll have to buy them. And that will drive the cost up.


I choose to get the kit because I wanted the case to be stained instead of the standard black paint.

I will try to document the assembly process with pictures and descriptions every step of the way.

Since I couldn’t find any copyright information on the building and playing the Moog Etherwave Theremin booklet that I have, I’m just going to copy it and add my photos and comments along the way.

Please note that I am sarcastic and have a dry humor. Try to keep that in mind while reading any of my side notes. And do your best to ignore typos. Thanks and I hope this helped.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had to assemble something from a kit but the first thing I do is compare all the parts I have with the packing list.
This does two things.
You make sure you have everything that is supposed to be in the kit, now while there’s still time to do something about it.
And you become familiar with the parts. This was helpful here because some of the items look almost the same but were just a little different. The instruction manual did in fact point these difference out but it would be possible to have overlooked that line during assembly.

The PDF file of the instructions can be found here
Posted: 11/2/2006 8:24:05 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I think Jason's a bit busy at the moment, so I'll put on my techy hat for a moment.

Bariliant Portal v1.0 (the software that powers this forum) does resize images to avoid them messing up the page layout, and there's no avoiding it. Also there's an unresolved bug that means they will appear distorted on the Mac OS X default browser, Safari.

I suggest you drop your photos onto flikr (, or somewhere similar, so they can be viewed as a slideshow ( (This link is to a slideshow of everything tagged with Theremin on flikr.)

Also, if you just keep editing the same post, it won't show up on the TW forums rss feed (feed:// or the recent posts list (, and people who have subscribed to this thread ( (warning: clicking on this link will subscribe you!) won't get notified by email, so they may miss out. So at least can you make an extra post when the construction is finished, please.
Posted: 11/2/2006 8:36:53 PM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

I would suggest that it would be best made as a custom web page with the photos inserted. You can learn enough HTML to do that pretty easily, or else I can do it for you - if you want help with that, contact me via my contact page:

I'm planning to do something similar for my project of assembling a Jaycar (mk.1) Theremin and a Jaycar MIDI Theremin, although mine will also involve creating custom cabinets for them and I'm not sure how much of the woodworking I intend to show.
Posted: 11/2/2006 9:51:14 PM

From: Kansas City MO

Joined: 10/24/2006

[b]GordonC[/b] [i]So at least can you make an extra post when the construction is finished, please.[/i]

will do.
(i'm trying to avoid driving my post count up.
once i get to the 100 or so post i'll be in the top 10 posters, and i am not the guy to go to with questions about the theremin)
Posted: 11/2/2006 9:55:15 PM

From: Kansas City MO

Joined: 10/24/2006

[i]I would suggest that it would be best made as a custom web page with the photos inserted. You can learn enough HTML to do that pretty easily, or else I can do it for you - if you want help with that, contact me via my contact page:[/i]

thanks for the offer (SUCKER!!!)


actually i'll probably build this thread in the car forum that i'm use to using. then you can have you way with transposing it in to this thread.

i'm a wrench turner for god's sake, not a computer guy.
Posted: 11/9/2006 2:13:13 AM

From: Kansas City MO

Joined: 10/24/2006

if i wasn't listening to some nice sad song i would probably be throwing something right now.
the pitch antenna works fine i get about 24" before i get to zero beat but the volume antenna only has about 6" of movement on it. the loudest point is when the volume knob is turned all the way counterclockwise. i'll call Moog tomorrow and see what they suggest.

on a lighter note, i did take pics of everything.

and i made noise tonight...

it took about 5 hours including smoke breaks and taking pics, and i still haven't stained it yet.
if i had to do it over again i would have just bought one of the black ones...

so if you ever see a stained etherwave out there, know that a lot of love and heart went in to it.
Posted: 11/9/2006 3:24:34 AM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

First of all, congrats on getting it done. While it's kind of a pain in the ass to assemble things up front, my experience over the years is that thinks I've made give me much more ongoing satisfaction from the knowledge that my time and care went into them.

My Etherwave also has a small apparent volume control area. I discovered, when I had it in a friend's pro recording studio, that the problem has nothing to do with my Etherwave, it's the crummy amp I'm using. It simply hits its maximum relatively early, while equipment that's more capable of dealing with the quite loud (electronically) output of the Etherwave can give me a more subtle response.

Posted: 11/9/2006 8:37:39 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Buddy, I knew you could do it.

Anyone who can work with Lucas electrical systems should have no problems with an Etherwave kit.

(I used to have a Nash Metropolitan and I kept the thing going for 3 years with duct tape, bubble gum, and paperclips.)
Posted: 11/9/2006 10:08:21 AM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

when I built my Etherwave, I had never done anything with electronics ever. And judging from my results will never again. first off, I modified to be left handed, and I statrted working on it found out those parts of the manuel were missing.
When i finished it played alright but had an awfully loud humm
T took it to a amp repair place, the gut took a look at my work and couldn't believe it even worked or didn't blow up my fuse box or electrocute myself.
He re-wired it and it sounded fine. At the time if they offered a pre-made lefty I would of grabbed it.
i'm glad MOOG offered the Pro in a left handed version.

Posted: 11/9/2006 11:03:44 AM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

Buddy, congratulations on completing your Theremin kit.

I found that to build the Theremax was a challenging project. Though I have built other kits, this was my first kit that had RF oscillators and I was unaccustomed to working with coils (they are easily damaged by overheating and/or over-torquing).

Is your Theremin playable now? I'd enjoy a chance to see/hear/play it.


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