My concept took the Idea from all of them at once.
The idea is to make an instrument out of common material, based on pure ‘knowledge” and basically make something for fun, something I made up and never seen before.
So I bought a bronze tube, which I wanted to be bit of bigger diameter first, but turns out that such a diameter is problematic to be found. Then eager to make at least something I went to local metal store and bought 80cm long, 76mm diameter, 2mm thick bronze tube.
The first impression.. Wauuu that is thick!
Second impression after I hit the tube which makes something like “phm” and that was it… I was like, well another waist of money ;)
Third, the decision… will see.
Before I have started to make the tongues I made couple concepts taking in to the account the length of the all the tongues, the sound, of the tube, the resonance of the tube and the shape of the tongues indeed.
I left piece of the tube uncut, in order to have a resonator, I put the low end tongues close to the resonator, and decided to make tongues touching one another. Letting the tongues touch one another saved me lot of work and makes the instrument nice for the eye.
I borrowed the hand cutter bought some extra tools and cut the first hole in to the body. First hit of the tongue produced 435Hz tone which is almost the 440Hz the A. Hmm, that stretches the smile on my face and I went further.. The process of braking one of the cutting extension after the other has no make sense to describe here. It was simply tedious. I actually did find a way how to cut it nicely with less effort lately, but that doesn’t matter that much. What matters is that the concept of having lows close to the resonator while having the tongues touching one another which actually make the whole shape one huge mouth .. it was not good idea. It turns out that the lows has nice peaks in heights automatically and the height are keeping low not having any shines.
My concept “failed”. If I let all the tongues sepparate it would work (will see in next version) but not in this case.
Regardless of this misconception I kept working. After while it started to obey my aim and all the tongues started to take the increasing tonnes, with lows close to the resonator (body) and highs close to the end… It is important to be told, that if I cut them the other way around, the sound will be just much more natural, and could advantage from the tube nature. What I have done is more or less raping the native sound shaping of the instrument.. anyway.. this is just a first test.
To make the story shorter I did not tuned it in any way than to make gradually different tone generators. All the 14 tongues produces more then less a tone which is higher then the other (depends which way you go ;) )
I also cut by a mistake a small tongue on the “other side” of tongues, which actually happend to produce way clearer sound then the rest. All the 14 tongues has the disadvantage to be connected with one another and so they vibrate with one another, so you never have a clear tone generator. Unlike this extra tongue which is exceptionally clear. I made 2 more the same way as this one, and succeded to have them as clear as the first one… Finally here is the way how to… The tongues should not be long, so they vibrate just a bit using the tube as resonator, not trying to overcome the body resonance by the self vibration..
The final instrument sound not like Hang in any way, it cannot be played by hand only, the material is too thick for such a play. If played by stick with rubber on the end it is super duper loud and fun to be played.
I know you would like to hear the result but for that you have to wait a bit… since then, check these pictures out.
The VOX 40+ is grate plus, the only problem is that the knobs where on the bad place. If you want to hear the music, especially high tones and be able to tune up the sound at the same time, that was not easy. You either hear the sound and cannot reach the knobs, or you reach the knobs but can’t hear the sound as you might like ;(
The only way is to separate the amplifier from the box, which I did ;)
I kinda made a shelf for the amplifier. So I can have it within the box as usual, and also can take it out if I need so :)
Warning! The output cables should not touch the metal sheet of the electronics! You have to use the plastic “Jack” output and not the cheaper version with the exposed ground.
If the output touches the frame (ground) you’ll burn up the Amplifier! Which I did btw ;} It took more then month till they fix it for me.
If you ever wanted to buy the legendary Theremin Etherwave PRO but don’t have extra $4000 don’t worry, there is even better solution to this problem. You can buy the Slim Phatty which is way cheaper about $850 and it gives you way more possibilities how to tune up your Theremin.
The Slim Phatty is a analog synthesiser so you won’t sacrifice any of the original warmness but add more to it.
Lets see some moving images with the actual sound…
The tuning never ends ;)
If you remember one of my last posts about the Patch box the gate switch won’t surprise you.
The Etherwaves gate sends a signal which triggers the Little Phatty MIDI note ON. This is really important if you wanna play a bass like sounds with a punch on the beginning. The gate is similar to the sustain on Piano. While the strings has hammers on, it plays punchy tones, while off the strings can keep vibrating.
But what if you want to play tones with smooth start as on Classical Theremin..?
Well, normally you have to “rip off” the cable from Theremin while letting the cable still present in the Little Phatty (LP). The cable has to stay in the LP as a note opener. ..note: if you put the cable in the gate it will open a note for you, Without a note you wont be able to play a single note!
Ripping OFF and ON the cable while playing is not really god thing to do. First, you cannot do it any time you want to, because you need them in the air obviously. Second, third and may other reasons are obvious :)
So you need a On & OFF switch on the cable.. Ideally laying somewhere on the ground that you can just step on and switch between states.
If you want to know how to tune up your Theremin or you know much better trick that you want to share with other Theremin lovers .. join our Theremin workshop on the end of this August. The workshop will be more “serious” than making a new Theremin enhancements. The workshop is held by Pamelia Kurstin, from my point of view the best Thereminis ever. You can find more info about the workshop here :: http://theremin.komuso.cz
And finally..some pictures
Here is a new update.
My say style of playing is bit different than of others. I play more like I believe Pamelia Kurstin plays the bass parts, and also I play the pitch with left hand, though I’m right handed. I did not care about the knows that much as might seams like. I was able to tune the right knobs not seeing them although there where on the opposite side, as the Theremin is flipped the other way around.
I like to have the Theremin low.. sound :) and its position too. So I thought what if I just turn it on a side. how that will be?
And it is perfect :)
Small retuning solves the pitch shift that understandably pops up, because the cables are now closer to the pitch Athena and all the electronics too. Apart of that everything works just grate, The way of playing is much more comfy for me, though I might move it even more down than I have it now. The tuning is superb, as far as I can say,,. but most importantly the volume has the right sensitivity for the quick bass punches.
Here are my last tunings.
The first hack is the always wanted volume switch on Moogs Theremin. Though I wanted to have also the Gate switch on the same place it turned out to be too dangerous to apply it. The volume switch is super easy. The switch connects or disconnects the volume antenna.