All You Need To Know Before Purchasing a Theremin

The theremin is a unique electrical instrument played without touch with an eerie sound that has been used by famed bands throughout history. Famous theremin songs include Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and "BU2B" by Rush. It has also been featured in movies such as "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and television shows such as "Midsommer Murders." 

How does the theremin work? 

You produce the theremin sound without touching the instrument but rather by controlling both the sound and the volume by varying the distance between your hands and the antenna. To create the mystical vibrato, wave and shake your hands at varying intervals. The circuits inside the box sense the movements and position of the hands through the antenna. The electric current reflects your hands' movements and amplifies and transfers the sound to a loudspeaker. Anyone can play this instrument, but the most successful players often have experience with string instruments. The instrument is named after the inventor, Theremin, who was a cello player. 

What to look for in a theremin 

Different types of this instrument are available on eBay, including the following:  

  • Analog
  • Optical
  • Solar
  • Theremin controllers and video variations

Factors to consider before buying a theremin

The following are some of the factors you'll need to consider before purchasing a new or used theremin on eBay:  

  • Budget: There are different types of theremins with professional options on the higher price range and fun novelty types on the lower range.
  • Use: If you are buying one for playing classical tunes, you may want to get one with two antenna for volume and sound control. You can select one with a single antenna for playing practice.
  • Assembled or pre-built: A decent DIY assembly might be pocket-friendly if you have previous experience with electronics and can follow directions closely. However, a pre-built option comes with the benefit of pre-tuning.
  • Portability: If you plan to travel with your instrument, consider one that is easily portable. Most modern units feature removable antenna for easy packing and transportation.
  • Accessories: While most options come with an in-built speaker, consider accessories such as speakers and headphones, which make it easier to learn and perform in public. A pitch device or a tuner is also useful for finding the right notes. A padded gig bag will also make it easy to carry your instrument when traveling.

Theremin brands 

There are different theremin brands to choose from, some of which include the following:  

  • Moog Etherwave Theremin - This brand has different pitch octaves and is designed with pitch, volume, and waveform controls.
  • Cosmic Sound Effects - This brand designs theremins for cosmic sound production. You can add delay, distortion, and reverb while using it in combination with guitars and keyboards.