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A custom Tannerin built by Tom Polk

The Tannerin Tom built for Brian Wilson

The Tannerin, built by Tom Polk, is an electronic instrument named after Paul Tanner, who originated its use in the 1950s. Dr. Tanner's instrument was formerly called an electro-theremin. The Tannerin produces a pure sine wave, variable over three or four octaves. It is played by sliding a knob along the length of the instrument, starting and stopping the tone with a contact switch located on the pitch knob and operated by one's forefinger.

The Tannerin has fixed reference points on a dummy keyboard so the musician knows exactly where notes can be found.

An electro-theremin created the spacy sound on the Beach Boys classic Good Vibrations. Tom Polk built a special Tannerin for Brian Wilson to use on his 1999-2000 tour.

For more information on the Tannerin, visit Tom Polk's Tannerin site

Click here to listen to a sample of the Tannerin playing the Good Vibrations lick.


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