It’s no secret to anyone that I suck at music. More accurately, I’ve never really put a bunch of effort into learning an instrument. I’ve tried a few, and don’t appear to have any real talent. My fingers don’t like to cooperate with my brain (which may also be why I suck at yarn crafts and videogames that aren’t puzzles), and I’m not very mathy. Plus, practicing an instrument is SOOOO repetitive that my mind starts to melt after about 20 minutes.

Still, I used to have a cool theremin that I built into a Mr Potato Head years ago. H bought me the kit back when we used to buy each other expensive gifts. I think it was around $80. Anyway, it was pretty badass. I do like to keep an array of odd instruments around the house. I have some sweet bongo drums I got in a pawn shop as a college student. I have a 90s Casio keyboard that I got from a dude who borrowed my Charles Manson autobiography and never gave it back. I have a student model lap dulcimer that’s pretty sweet, and a recorder, because everybody has a recorder kicking around somewhere.

But I don’t actually play these things. I make sounds with them, basically in the same way a toddler does with the pots and pans under the sink. Just flailing around banging stuff every which way until it makes the sound I’m going for. There’s an ignorant, fumbling quality to it, which is why I prefer to play around with interesting or unusual instruments that fall comfortably into my fun budget.

Truth be told, the instrument I should actually have is something more like this:

Anyway, I loaned my theremin out to someone who instantly turned out to be the most irritating, selfish, thankless, rude fucker I have ever invited into my home. I’d rather just let them keep the fucking thing than deal with him long enough to get it back. That leaves me down one theremin.
I could possibly build a similar one again. But I’m looking at optical models instead. Those have a shorter pitch range, but here’s the thing. I’m wondering if you couldn’t build two optical Theremin circuit boards and house them in the same unit (maybe a lunchbox?) and install a switch so you can choose which one you want to use. It’s still a monophonic instrument, but you’d have a wider range of notes available in a housing that wouldn’t even need the obnoxious antennae. So I’m talking to a dude I know online to see if we can’t figure out a way to make this happen. Personally, I can’t imagine I could ever build a circuit board. But that’s why hiring people is an option.

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