A musical Instrument for the kid in all of us who likes electronic adventure

RS Theremin

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Dr. Paul Tanner
October 15, 1917 –  February 5, 2013

Trombonist with Glenn Miller from 1938-1942

NY Times Article

Click on any photo to see a larger version.

  August 5, 2004

Dr. Paul Tanner was a special guest on a beautiful evening at the “Museum of Making Music” in the City of Carlsbad, California. This was one of the rare moments when he shared his early days of using what was referred to as “Paul’s Box “. Today most of you know it as the Electro-Theremin or Tannerin. Dr. Tanner is most recognized for his many years of trombone playing in the Glenn Miller Band and his teaching of music. He has taught over 75,000 students music and jazz in his 23 year career at UCLA. Dr. Paul Tanner built only one copy of his original theremin box. With just a few days of construction and a very minimal amount of electronic knowledge, he completed it hours before it was called into use. 

Dr. Tanner’s recollection of his relationship with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys in the early ‘60s highlighted the evening, both of their geniuses and humor were revealed. The Beach Boys hired Paul Tanner and “Paul’s Box” for the fascinating theremin like sound in “Good Vibrations”. The normal recording session usually began after midnight at Brian's home. 

“Paul’s Box” was also used on several Hollywood productions including the 1960's TV show "My Favorite Martian", the sound of Martins antennas raising. With the synthesizer beginning to emerge, an engineer well know in the theremin community visited Paul in search of new ideas. Both agreed that "Paul's Box" was just a Tinker Toy. The time had come for “Paul’s Box” to be retired. He gave it to a hospital in Santa Monica, California where they were interested in using it for hearing tests. The box had a range of tones that would extend outside of the upper and lower limits of human hearing. Year’s later Dr. Tanner checked back with the hospital to find out what happened to “Paul’s Box”, only to find it had been destroyed in one of those California earthquakes! (Sylmar Earthquake 1971)

Dr. Tanner enjoyed lecturing on the topic of jazz and big bands.

Rising Spirit of Theremin


Brian Wilson just might use a modern Thereminist we all know so he can set the myth free.

Published on Oct 11, 2014

Here's a bit of theremin trivia. Back in the 1950's the Wilson family (aka The Beach Boys) were friends of the Hoffman family, and occasionally when the Wilsons visited the Hoffmans, the boys would get a chance to play the 1929 RCA theremin that belonged to Hollywood thereminist, Samuel Hoffman. That is the same theremin that you hear in the link and that is how The Beach Boys became acquainted with the instrument.


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