His stepson, Douglas Darnell of Youngstown, Ohio, says Tanner died of pneumonia Tuesday morning at an assisted living center in Carlsbad.
Tanner performed with Miller from 1938 to 1942. During his long career he also worked as a movie studio and ABC musician in California, and performed with stars ranging from Tex Beneke to Henry Mancini and Arturo Toscanini.
He also helped develop the electro-theramin, a keyboard-style electronic instrument inspired by the theramin. He provided its eerie sound on several Beach Boys recordings, including "Good Vibrations."
Tanner also was a music professor at UCLA for 23 years and helped write several books.