Every once in a while, I like to find awesome DIY work from people creating their own unique tiny instruments and show you where you can purchase such creations. I’ve done this a couple of times already in two posts about diy’ers making various synthesizers and theremins with wooden boxes and video game controllers and, well basically anything at all (previous posts here and here). The time has come again, only now I’ve found an Etsy seller who provides the electronic components and instructions necessary for you to turn just about anything into a theremin. Yes, even a small gnome figurine.
They call themselves Theremaniacs and they’ve been selling theremins and theremin kits for almost a two decades. A youtube search of “Theremaniacs” brings up plenty of fewer-than-300-views videos from the last 5+ years of people doing a terrible job of playing the theremin they just stuffed into their old lunchbox, courtesy of Theremaniacs design, parts, and instructions. They even have a website that looks like it was created in 1993 using two theremin (also, what is the plural form of theremin?). Though the description at their etsy store probably offers all you need to know about the company:
Thanks for stopping in to my Etsy Store!
Theremaniacs Theremins ~ Available World-Wide since 1993!
My product was featured at the 1997 International Theremin Festival and in
‘Electronic Musician’ Magazine
(December 1999 – as one of 29 great gift ideas!)
Used by people across the globe
including the band
‘Smashmouth’ on ‘The Tonight Show’! (6-13-00)
Thousands of Happy Customers World Wide! Your Satisfaction Is Assured! Please email if you have any questions chuckcollins(at)prodigy.net
Any questions will be answered. We also sell on eBay, ArtFire and Amazon. We think you must be pleased or we are not!
For more information go to: WWW.THEREMANIACS.COM
So while they may not have the most impressive web-store, Theremaniacs has been working with the proximity-sensor instrument for over 20 years now, and the industry respects them for it. Smash Mouth even used one of their instruments on the Tonight Show in 2000, so you know they must be a pretty big deal. Here’s a video from a guy who built a theremin using one of the Theremaniacs kits and a cigar box. It’s not long before he’s producing his own 80’s arcade sounds.
Apparently the Theremaniacs kits are super easy to use and don’t even require any soldering. I think the idea is that anyone can become a theremin wizard with only a few parts, some sort of container, and a few instructions (competence and confidence not included). If you’d like to start making your own DIY tiny instruments this is probably a great way to start. The kit is only $100, which is less than you’d pay for most pre-built theremins anyway plus it comes with the fun and satisfaction of knowing you did it all by yourself. Not to mention these guys are probably great at helping you should you mess anything up or do something wrong. They’ve been selling these kits for a long time now, and I’m sure they’ve dealt with lots of dumb first-timers. Check out their Etsy listing for more information and purchase details.