homemade theremin

hey all!

so i was a dork when younger (yes, past tense there) and i had one of those “250 Experiments in 1” sciency type kits. one of the experiments was a ‘build-your-own-electronic-musical-instrument’, which instrument consisted of a bunch of circuits, two wires, and a strip of graphite (i.e., draw a thick line on a piece of paper) on which to place the wires’ ends.

notes were changed, trombone-style, by changing the length of graphite between the wires.

but that’s all i got! does anybody have any idea what the assorted circuits would be? my friend is doing a show next week, and needs some wacked instuments. and i can’t seem to find anything on the web.
thanks in advance,


Theremin World has a message board that might be able to help. Couldn’t hurt to try over there.

The BBC’s Downloadable Desktop Theremin (freeware and lots of fun!)

Whew. Thank God. I was afraid theremin was some sort of hallucinogen or something.

I made one once. I used the I.F coil from an old battery powered am radio but thats about all I remember about the thing.

Come on people! I need you to ask all those theremin questions I’m too embarassed to ask.

(Note-The name DocCathode is chosen out of a fondness for building strange electronic gadgets, not due to any actual knowledge or skill in that area)

Question-Am I correct in assuming that I can get all parts needed to build a theremin from junked radios and tv’s?

The one I built did not have a large field so you could only use your finger.
It worked well enough for the girl I made it for to get an A in her science project. She apparently played a tune with it.
I had the schematic .She had the junk radio. and some parts I sent her to Radio Shack to get. I did not have much time so I soldered it together.Made sure it worked and left everything else up to her.

The February and March 1996 issues of ELECTRONICS NOW had a theremin project to build yourself. http://www.ccsi.com/~bobs/construc.html

If you haven’t seen it yet, rent Theremin, An Electronic Odyssey , a 1993 movie that’ll blow you away.


There’s a theremin you can play with at the science museum in Jacksonville, Florida