Play the Theremin: Buying Guide

Buying Guide

What to look for when you purchase your first theremin

There's a mind-boggling selection of theremins out there to purchase for the potential newbie, and its easy to become confused when searching for the most suitable model.

Broadly speaking, the theremin community can be divided into those who want a pre-built instrument, and techies or those willing to pull out the soldering iron and have a go at assembling their own theremin.

There's also those who want an instrument to play 'serious' music on, and those that are just looking for a 'cool' way to generate some interesting novelty sound effects. Fortunately, the market caters for all these groups in abundance!

There are plenty of places where you can find out more about the theremins on offer - this site, manufacturer's websites, our forums, the thereminworld forums, and LevNet are all sound sources of advice and tips.

'I want to make beautiful music'

Then you'll need the traditional pitch and volume models of theremin. Beware, they're not all the same. Ideally, you need an instrument with a good 'linearity' across the pitch range, and a good volume response from the volume antenna.

The most popular instruments for beginners tend to be the Moog Etherwave Theremin, designed by the legendary Bob Moog and available ready assembled or in kit form, or the Burns B3 Theremin, another competitively priced and versatile model.

'I want to make sound effects'

Basically, the only limitation is your budget - you can get simple pitch-only theremin models for as little as $50. You can run these through any sound processing unit, and generate a whole host of unique sounds as varied as your imagination.

'I want to build my own theremin'

There's plenty of kits out there for beginners, or if you're seriously hardcore, check out our schematic diagrams in the Archives, and build your own from scratch. You'll probably find the sources of information at the top of the article particularly useful for checking out advice from those that have trodden the path before you.

You'll find suggested theremins reviewed by the / community in the Theremins and Accessories section of our Product Guide.

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