While playing around with my Etherwave tonight, I noticed the chrome front of one of the knobs appeared to be scratched. Wondering how that might have happened (and which kid to ask first), I ran my finger across it and discovered the scratch was actually in a thin protective plastic film covering the chrome. I peeled it off and checked the other knobs. Each still had the protective film! This is my oldest Etherwave from 1997, so the plastic had definitely greyed over the years. With the plastic gone, the knobs shone like new and the instrument looks like it has a new life!
So now I'm curious... do all the EW knobs come with plastic film on them? Have you taken it off?
Hello Jason. The newest Etherwave I have goes back to 2008, and it does indeed have the protective film on the front of each knob. My knob films are still quite transparent, and not sctratched, so I'm leaving them in place for a while longer. An interesting discovery. Thanks for sharing that.
...Guess that gets the kids off the hook. Eh? ;)
While on the subject of Etherwave knobs, all the knobs on the Etherwave Pro, with the exception of the two large wooden PITCH and VOLUME dials, are shiny, highly reflective chrome. They look wonderful, but they are impractical and are yet another example of theremins being designed by non-performers.
The problem is that it is hard to see the hair-fine black position indicator line even in ideal lighting, and IMPOSSIBLE to see it when you are on stage. The boring old flat black knobs with the clear white line may have been unimaginative and a lot less impressive, but they were PRACTICAL.
You raise a great point coalport. I think the theremin deserves a good dose of aesthetics, being such a visually interesting instrument, but it also needs a good balance of practicality in order to be adequate for performance.
So, that said... which theremin finds the balance best?
I disagree with your assertion that the theremin is a "visually interesting instrument". In fact, I think it is possibly the LEAST interesting instrument to look at. The MOST interesting and beautiful instrument is undoubtedly the concert harp.
Compared to the theremin, just about every traditional instrument in the modern orchestra is a triumph of engineering evolution....with the possible exception of the triangle.
Really? It might not be the most exciting, but compared to someone clicking a laptop on stage or pushing keys on a flute, I still find it fascinating to watch someone playing the theremin. Even just the theremin itself is "interesting", what with the antennas sticking out and all... I guess I was thinking more about the performance aspect of "visually interesting" than just the theremin itself though.
I think the "geek factor" might have a bit to do with it.
The concert harp is indeed a striking, elegant instrument, but for us tech types, a theremin gives a rather high reading on the nerd-o-meter.
Also, for me at least, the sight of an old Gibson Super 400 is a saliva producing event, as is an original Moog patch synth.
Theremin playing is visually interesting but (IMNSHO) the theremin itself is no more interesting than a shoebox (or in the case of an RCA, a classroom lectern).
The Gibson Super 400 may be thrilling for a specific fan base with a special interest in vintage American instruments but for most folks it's just a guitar. Itzhak's Stradivarius may be a big deal for connoisseurs but for most people it looks just like any other fiddle.
How Itzhak plays it is a whole 'nuther thang.
Definitely the most boring musical instrument is the laptop. That why people who "play" these kinds of electronic devices and triggers try to liven up their concerts with lasers, projections on screens at the back of the stage, etc. - anything to create the impression that something is actually happening!
One thing I love about my Subscope is that the dials are on top of the theremin which makes it easy for the thereminist to see what they are doing. I think also the aesthetics of this theremin gets high marks too!