A Tube Theremin, Just Like Grandpa Leon Used To Make

Next year we’re arguably coming up on the centennial of electronic music, depending on whether you count the invention or the patent for the theremin its creation. Either way, this observation is early, so start arguing about it now. If you want to celebrate the century of the theremin, how about you do it just like grandpa Leon and build one out of tubes? That’s what this crowdfunding campaign is all about. It’s a theremin, and it’s made out of tubes.

Theremins are a dime a dozen around these parts, and yes, if you walk into a Guitar Center you can walk out the door with one. They’re pretty common. But being almost a hundred years old, the first theremin wasn’t made made with only silicon, this one had some dioxide thrown in. The first theremin was a tube device, which we all know has a warmer sound when connected to oxygen free cables in an oxygen free room. In any event, messing around with tubes is fun, so here’s a tube theremin.

The circuit for this theremin is constructed around two EF95 tubes and two ECF80 tubes with a heater voltage of 12 V, with 40 V used as the the rest of the circuitry. Unlike virtually every other crowdfunding campaign we’ve ever seen, there are pages of documentation, written down in text, with actual words, and no ominous clapping ukulele glockenspiel hipster music. It’s in German (Google Translatrix with the save) but we’ll take what we can get. It’s really great to see the development of this theremin, and now we’re wondering where we too can get a breadboard that’s just a piece of copper being used as a ground plane.

12 thoughts on “A Tube Theremin, Just Like Grandpa Leon Used To Make

    1. A near hundredth of the volume level to hear, minus 18dB. Watching is one thing, but hearing is wasted on near silence. I wish YouTube would normalize all deficient audio postings. They can do image stabilization why not get rid of whispering audio.

      A space frame type of gesture instrument and a Celtic harp with tuners, cool. But not heard with any effort, as digital quality goes south with lower volume. Use all of the bits.

    1. I know there are probably a multitude of ways to do this wrong in a really bad way, but I often think about making oxygen-free chambers (for the most part) by doing electrolysis on water with the H2 going into the anarobic chamber and venting the O2 into the regular room. It could have a continuous or repeating electric arc happening near the H2 entry port within the container. The chamber would then burn off the internal H2 with the remaining O2, producing H2O which would eventually gather on the floor of the container, ready for being drawn out as desired. I’m not exactly fond of the idea of pushing H2 into a sealed container with sparks inside but it seems like it would work in principle. :-)

        1. Polititians…hmmm If I chained one to a chair and went out and captured a beurocrat and did the same thing, I could run a heat engine using the hot air from the politition as a heat source and the cold heart of the beurocrat as a heat sink and run the device in the chamber off the power the heat engine would generate. You really would need to keep them chained up nicely. Otherwise either of them would do selfish things like leaving nothing but the peanuts in mixed nuts bowls, making me fill out a form to get approval to use the bathroom, or trying to convince me that I don’t have enough bathrooms because of society has treated me unfairly. :-)

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