Insulating the volume loop & antenna

Posted: 2/20/2014 9:01:49 PM

From: France

Joined: 2/20/2014

Hi everybody,

I just began practicing the theremin and I saw that one could put insulating sleeves on both volume loop & antenna to avoid static electricity.

Could someone tell me were to find what I need to do it myself ?

Thanks !

Posted: 2/24/2014 1:22:36 PM

From: FredM - fred[at]fundes[dot] co{dot}uk

Joined: 8/16/2012


FredMs Posted:

 2/8/2014 8:17:46 AM

 really  sleeving may look nice and stop ew chirping but its not going to save thereman from static will just jnmp through sleeving as if it wasnt even there

Posted: 2/24/2014 2:01:29 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Heat-shrink tubing should do the trick. It is easy to put on, is available in a range of colours and gives a very professional finish. Buy some with a wider unshrunk diameter and a narrower shrunk diameter than the antennas.

A couple of caveats - as with any modification, test it before you make it permanent - removing it after shrinking would require a sharp knife and the possibility of scratching the antennas. If you have an etherwave, watch out for your nuts - they won't fit over the tubing. You can remove and replace the compression rings on the volume loop by twisting them with a pair of pliers.

Posted: 2/24/2014 2:52:33 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

Hello Darc,

From France hum….  Back in my hippie days I had a dear friend from St Avold, she and I traveled around California looking for adventure. Anyway all journeys end.

Something that seems to be avoided in theremin tricks, I like to feed a rubber insulated wire inside the EWS volume loop connected where the thick wire connects. This way the loop looks purty and there is no direct contact and it gets rid of the chirp if you have one. Unsolder the thick wire from the loop, easy enough to put back as normal.

The Pitch antenna I have more reverence for and leave as stock.

I have been at the theremin stuff for over ten years now and my final theremin design does not have any antennas, what? and will give the Hoffman theremin a run for its money. How this is done is on my public webpages but I make people search for it as nothing about the theremin comes easy.

It is a profound approach! No metal plates and a perfectly linear pitch field.

Watch that mean guy come along and slap me up side the head!#$%


Edit: I do have a EWS Tips & Tricks webpage with nothing to sell.

Posted: 2/24/2014 3:20:00 PM

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

I used this braided wire sleeve on my etherwave that I purchased on ebay:

I believe Thomas Grillo uses a similar product.  You could even go a size smaller since it expands a lot.  I cut the sleeve and melted the ends with a lighter flame to keep it from fraying.  Also a small drop of PVCE or similar glue wiped around the antenna near each nut keeps it from contracting and holds it in place. I only use it on my volume antenna to avoid the popping sound when accidentally touched while playing.  

If you are using it to prevent static discharge it will only offer a very limited protection from what I have read on here. I do have a fried circuit board on my old Big Brier Etherwave that I believe may be form a static discharge.  Since reading about the problem on here I have gotten into the habit of touching the front plate of the instrument before playing to discharge any energy I may have picked up before approaching the theremin.

Posted: 2/24/2014 7:18:23 PM

From: France

Joined: 2/20/2014

Hi everybody, thanks for the tips and links !

I forgot to mention but yes I recently purchased a Moog Etherwave Plus.

As I'm not ready yet for soldering, I'll stick with the sleeves (+ touching the frontplate) solution but thank you @RS Theremin :-)

@ GordonC & bisem:

Could you please tell me what size I have to pick up for heat-shrink tubing or braided wire sleeve ?

I cannot reach the ebay page mentionned by bisem, thank you country restrictions :-(


Posted: 2/24/2014 8:29:44 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Darcmorcel, the etherwave antennas are very slightly less than 10mm in diameter. (3/8" = 9.525mm) If you get 10mm internal diameter tubing it will slip on with the aid of a lubricant. If you get a larger diameter heat shrink tubing check that it shrinks to less than 10mm.


Sillyconica, I think you misunderstood me. I was referring to the nuts on the theremin - the ones you keep tight to stop the loop from drooping and the rod from sticking up at a funny angle.

Posted: 2/25/2014 6:27:47 PM

From: France

Joined: 2/20/2014

Thanks Gordon !

just found some 12mm tubing that shrinks to 7mm, it should do the job very well...

Posted: 2/25/2014 7:50:50 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Cool. Do try playing your theremin with it just slipped over the antennas before you heat-shrink it. Just in case.

Posted: 7/27/2015 10:01:27 PM

Joined: 7/13/2015

Hi! :D I have an Etherwave Plus. I was directed here when I had questions about insulating my theremin's antenna from static. It seems from the discussion that simple braided sleeves are ineffective, and I don't think I'm technically skilled enough for heat-shrink. I am willing to invest in a whole spool of the right product and could distribute the extra to TW members for a reasonable cost. I would like some input on what you all recommend :)

Regarding the material, what would be most effective against ESD? Rubber tubing? Industrial strength braided sleeve? Kevlar/nylon? I'd prefer not to use FlexiGlass/braided fiberglass because of my health but it's definitely an option if it's the best.

And do you have any opinions on the color? Once I get the material I guess members could PM me and I can send out 2 pieces of insulation, cut to the dimensions of both Etherwave antennae, for maybe $5. :)

Scientific question - It's ok to discharge static on the front plate of the theremin!? How is that possible? It won't travel into your theremin or through the line-out to your amp/computer/mixer/headphones? :3

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