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Thread: Silicon Chip Deluxe Theremin Revisit.

  1. #1
    Overlord of Music DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    Silicon Chip Deluxe Theremin Revisit.

    Hi Everyone,

    I know that it isn't exactly a pedal, nor is it guitar-related, but, it is a musical instrument and is still true to the whole idea of DIY, anyway, I thought that I would start a thread about it since I'm going to be dragging it out of retirement so that I can play it at an up and coming gig, and I'm going to be doing a bit of servicing work on it to get it working at it's best, it needs some adjustments done to it, and thought you guys would be interested in reading about it.

    Now in order to do the adjustments, I need to buy a set of plastic Radio alignment tools from Jaycar Electronics, which I'll do tomorrow, I'll also post some pics of it and maybe an audio demo.....stay tuned (pun not necessarily intended).


    Here's some pics of my Deluxe Theremin:

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    Okay, so what is it anyway?, it's an electronic musical instrument that you play without even touching it, it has two antennae attached to it, one antenna is positioned vertically and is called the "Pitch Antenna", the other antenna is positioned horizontally and is called the "Volume Antenna", you can control the pitch of the sound that the Theremin makes by positioning your right-hand closer to, or further away from the Pitch Antenna, the closer you position your hand to the pitch antenna, the higher the pitch of the sound that the Theremin makes, and vice versa, you can also control the loudness of the sound that the Theremin makes by positioning your left-hand closer to or further away from the Volume antenna, the closer your hand is, the softer the sound produced by the Theremin is, and vice versa, so, even though the Theremin is not even touched by the person playing it, the person still has full control over both the pitch and loudness of the sound produced by the Theremin, have a listen to the song "Good Vibrations" by the Beach boys to get an idea of what the Theremin actually sounds like, pay particular attention to the pure wailing sound in the choruses, that's what a Theremin sounds like.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eab_beh07HU


    Here's another example, this time it is an old 1929 RCA Theremin that uses Valves instead of Transistors to produce musical sounds, notice how the guy playing it is controlling both the pitch, and the volume of the musical notes by positioning his hands relative to the two antennae, he doesn't even touch the instrument while playing it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpfsVZHJmHw


    And yet another example:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6KbEnGnymk


    Here's one more example, an RCA Theremin played by Clara Rockmore, showcasing how the Theremin can sound almost like a soprano singer:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g7CDxy2Ipc
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 15-08-2017 at 07:53 AM.

  2. Liked by: JohnH

  3. #2
    Overlord of Music Dedman's Avatar
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    I'm always interested in theremins Doc
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  4. #3
    Overlord of Music DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dedman View Post
    I'm always interested in theremins Doc
    They're quite fascinating and I've always wanted to build one myself, I bought this particular one as a kit of parts from Jaycar Electronics a few years ago.

    Apparently, they are one of the oldest electronic musical instruments ever invented, the first original Theremin was invented back in the early 1920's by a Russian Physicist, Lev Termen, which is where it gets it's name from.
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 11-08-2017 at 09:37 PM.

  5. #4
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    For sale: One theremin. Never been touched.
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  6. #5
    Overlord of Music DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    Hahahaha....good one Simon.

  7. #6
    Member Hobastard's Avatar
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    What is the definition of a True Gentleman???



    A Man who can Play the Theremin, but chooses Not To.....
    I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.....

  8. Liked by: Dedman

  9. #7
    Overlord of Music Andy40's Avatar
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    Wow crazy. I would strive for a better hand movement than that dude in the second vid and dont do it with your mouth open
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  10. #8
    Overlord of Music Fretworn's Avatar
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    If you haven't seen the Theremin documentary, it's definitely worth it. Very interesting man with an interesting history. Seeing the Theremin being used to play classical music that sounds nothing like the usual warbly, horror/sci-fi theme music is eye-opening too.
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  11. #9
    Overlord of Music DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fretworn View Post
    If you haven't seen the Theremin documentary, it's definitely worth it. Very interesting man with an interesting history. Seeing the Theremin being used to play classical music that sounds nothing like the usual warbly, horror/sci-fi theme music is eye-opening too.

    I think I may have watched that documentary at some stage, I agree, most people who get introduced to the Theremin do seem to be stuck in this mindset that the Theremin is only really good for 50's B-Grade Sci-Fi movie sounds and soundtracks, when nothing could be further from the truth, as some of the videos I've posted prove that you can actually make some beautiful music with a Theremin, if you approach it the right way, it deserves to be recognized as a legitimate musical instrument in my honest opinion.
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 15-08-2017 at 07:58 AM.

  12. #10
    Overlord of Music DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    Update:

    Managed to get some suitable tools for doing the re-alignment work on my Theremin from Jaycar Electronics, so I'm going to be starting on it later on this afternoon, hopefully I'll be able to get it working to the extent where I can do an audio demo of it for you.


    Update 2:

    Okay, as far as I can tell, my Theremin seems to be working properly after having the alignment work done on it, it was basically a case of re-adjusting some adjustable radio-frequency transformers on the circuit board so that the circuits were operating correctly, not an easy task to do without the proper setup procedures written down on some paper, so I had to make do with my trusty old 25Mhz Dual-Trace Oscilloscope and Digital Multimeter, I did however have a circuit diagram though.

    Anyway, just for a bit of a laugh I thought that I would try sending the output signal of my Theremin through my Boss RE20 Space Echo pedal, needless to say I got some pretty spaced-out sci-fi sounds that would easily have been at home in a Dr Who episode from the early 60's....cool, of course, I did try to actually play something musical on it too.
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 15-08-2017 at 05:43 PM.

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