This is the back of the Julius Goldberg RCA theremin before restoration, legless, and sitting on a low table. People sometimes ask why so many vintage theremins had their legs cut off. If you want to know the answer to this question, just try and get one into the back seat of your car. At some point in the Goldberg theremin's history, probably in the "Hippy Era" of the late 1960's, it had been painted a sickly green colour in order to contemporize it. When I acquired the theremin, its previous owner, John Snyder, had stripped off the green paint but had never refinished the cabinet.

Julius Goldberg "kid proofed" his theremin, perhaps following the birth of his children. He added a lock and key to the cabinet doors in order to keep little hands from getting big electric shocks while poking around inside the cabinet. I eventually replaced these bits of hardware with more appropriate RCA knobs.

 

Although the RCA theremin was originally a mass produced, factory made instrument, they do not all sound the same. Over time, the slow degrading of parts, the addition of different elements, replacements, etc., have contributed to the distinctive voices of these electronic treasures. In a way, this process could be compared to the changes that take place in acoustic instruments as wood, glue and varnish begin to undergo certain natural transformations and repairs and restorations are made sometimes over several centuries.

 

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