Guitar effects on theremin

Posted: 11/23/2011 12:24:08 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Hi Nancy,

Welcome to Theremin World.

May I suggest not being in a rush to equip your theremin with a whole load of effects (the Ke$ha approach) - whatever sort of music you want to make, the magic comes from your hands, this is subtle and can be lost in a morass of processing.

Rather, stick with your delay pedal for a while, and find out just how much variety you can extract from it with your hands and build up from there...

(Or don't - everyone is different, this is just what works for me.)

Some advice from the world of the classical thereminist which I feel is just as relevant to the sonic explorer -

(1) "less is more" (not my favourite phrase - I prefer "less, but better" , but Her Claraness said "less is more" so there you go)

(2) "know where you want to end up" - i.e. if you want a Throbbing Gristle vibe, a space echo and a gristleizer (*) would be a good start. (Which, incidentally, is why I'm having a custom tremolo built at the moment - with the rate controllable via an expression pedal. Looking forward to spending a few months exploring it! :-)

(*) Apart from the knobs. Knob twiddling is a pain when both your hands are busy with pitch and volume. Which is a nuisance. If you want dynamic effects, an expression pedal is the way to go - until someone comes up with a better solution. Hence the custom build.
Posted: 11/23/2011 8:28:10 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

You might think this bizarre, but...

Since a thereminists hands are already pretty busy, and working a treadle (pedal) is difficult standing up, I've imagined a scenario where a series of membrane type switches are applied to the inside surface of one's upper front teeth and manipulated with the tongue. But then, unless it is an FM transmitter, you'll have that wire trailing out of the corner of your mouth. :-)

[edit] It would have to be very low voltage, of course. After all, I did say it was bizarre.[/edit]
Posted: 11/24/2011 5:49:10 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Hmm. Not sure I want to put electrical devices in my mouth. That sounds messy and potentially shocking. I think maybe driving a vocoder with my mouth would be a better option.

I've been using a treadle constantly for several months and it works fairly well. It's not too hard to find an appropriate stance that isn't too tiring, allows control of the treadle and doesn't move the player's body above the knee (at least to the standards I require, YMMV). The hard bit has been getting both hands and one foot to all work together at the same time (when I started with the theremin, getting both my hands to operate as a single unit was equally tricky) and I think this would apply to any means of control; foot, tongue or whatever.

(Word to the wise, don't try operating two treadles whilst standing up. At least not if there's anybody watching.)

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