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05 Apr 2016

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Understanding how to learn electric violin shares many similarities with studying acoustic violin, with just a few important differences. The first is that nearly every acoustic violin is formed and tuned the same way. Electric violins, however, can come in many shapes and varieties, including 4-string, 5-string, 7-string, fretted, and some using the upper bout removed entirely to permit easier playing inside the higher positions. And, in reality, your acoustic violin may be "converted" into a power by attaching whether microphone or a piezo pickup for the body. Most other electric violins make use of a solid body, just like most various guitars (including the ubiquitous fender stratocaster). What follows is often a review of electric violins along with a discussion of many of the additional equipment you will likely require.


While there are lots of electric violins available on the market by large volume manufacturers, a large number of just don't sound great. A few of the better (and mostly handmade) electric violins are reviewed below. I made my selection from instruments i have either played or owned.


In general, I'm not really a fan of mass produced instruments. But Yamaha makes the best. Section of the Yamaha silent series, the model SV-200 features a dual piezo pickup. This is supposed to improve the sensitivity from the instrument on the subtleties of your playing, especially dynamic (volume) range. Weighing around $1000, this instrument will be less as opposed to others I will review below. On playing the instrument, I believed it was indeed responsive, certainly more so than previous Yamaha instruments. The on-board pre-amp enables some sound manipulation around the instrument itself rather than in an outside, detached unit. The down-side of this is that it raises the weight from the violin.


One other model is manufactured by NS Designs. This provider runs on the proprietary piezo pickup that is certainly designed to be very clean and sound similar to an acoustic violin rolling around in its unprocessed state. I sampled a a 5-string model, i believed that the neck was overly thick along with the instrument rather heavy. Still, should you be looking for a clean sound, this might be a great choice.


Zeta has earned itself a lot of hype simply because Boyd Tinseley, of Dave Matthews Band, utilizes a Zeta instrument called (what else) the "Boyd Tinsley." Zeta also uses a proprietary piezo pick-up which has a very characteristic sound. Have you ever heard Santana play guitar, the chances are you recognize his distinctive sound which comes from your mixture of his Paul Reed Smith guitar coupled with a Mesa Boogie amp. The majority of the sound coming from that amp, it doesn't matter how the sound is EQ'd sounds "Boogified" in my opinion. Similarly, I felt utilizing this instrument that my sound would get "Zeta'd" from the pick-up. And also you either like this sound or else you don't. A big disadvantage to this zeta model is it is fairly heavy.


Mark Wood, Another "boutique" maker of electric violins, recognized that looking to hold a 7-string fretted violin within the neck is pretty difficult, as a result of weight. Thus, he designed and patented a "flying v-shape" using a strap that suits around your torso and supports the violin up in a playing position. Even though it will take serious amounts of enjoy, this design does indeed support the weight from the fiddle well. Make no mistake -- adding frets to the violin is a large adjustment for the classical player. Actually, if you have ever played a mandolin, it is likely you realize simply how much the frets can adjust things. Sliding and vibrato techniques are very very challenging to a fretted instrument. In my opinion, the frets are best for allowing musicians while others knowledgeable about fretted instruments to bypass the typical element pinpoint accuracy with finger placement which is essential for playing in sync around the an acoustic violin. The 7-string fretted model, which is flagship instrument in their distinct electric violins, costs $3500. Mark Wood does not use proprietary piezo pickups. Rather, he uses either Barbera or Schatten pickups, that are produced in higher quantities piezo pickeps that are utilized in a variety of electric violins.


An ancient Zeta employee, John Jordan makes custom electric violins in almost every mixture of material, strings and frets that you could imagine. Jordan started his very own design studio while he became disillusioned by Zeta's increasingly commercial attitude. Jordan handcrafts each instrument using his patented shape, which eliminates the peg-box and puts machined tuners near the bridge. This really is designed to make instrument lighter. Jordan is very much the actual luthier of electric instruments. A lot of his models, specially the ones created from wood, have become attractive. Jordan uses a variety of pickups, including Zeta's proprietary model. In addition, he likes the Barbera piezo pickup to get a more "Stradivarius-like" sound, and recommends this pick-up for classical musicians. For rock, jazz and pop, he suggests with all the darker, more "Guarneri-like" Ashworth piezo pick-up. Similar to most other electric violin makers, his 5-string unfretted is his most popular model. It seems to get a thinner neck than other electrics, that allows the classical 4-string acoustic player to produce a simpler transition to electric.


Every one of the violins described above are solid-body models. Which means the instrument doesn't have hollow, resonating chamber and so produces practically no sound unless it is "plugged in." However, an additional way to create an "electric violin" would be to replace the bridge with an acoustic violin with a piezo pickup bridge-mount that could be plugged in being a solid body. The negative effects for this is the fact that these pickups can generate feedback. However, this method can sound quite nice and retains the customary shape and weight from the acoustic violin. Common piezo models would be the Fishman series and the L.R. Baggs. In addition there are several smaller "custom" companies that make these pickups, therefore it may be useful to use these if you don't like the sound from the Fishman/Baggs. This setup shares all of the same disadvantages every other violin fitted which has a piezo pickup, as described below.


What all electric violins share may be the requirement for an electric pickup to send out your playing with a unit able to sound manipulation, for instance a pre-amp or rack unit, and eventually to a new unit competent at sound production. The two major types of pick-ups used in today's plugged-in instruments are piezo and electromagnetic. Piezo pickups are used almost mainly for electric violins. They have got certain characteristics that some players find less than ideal. While a bow change with an acoustic violin may be completely silent on the listener, the piezo pickup will always transmit bow changes and bow noise. The reason behind this can be which they use sensitivity to pressure as their primary means of reproducing sound, and bow pressure is always variable. Also, piezo pick-ups have a tendency to sound fuzzy. Many different piezo pick-ups exist out there, and some electric violin companies use their very own proprietary models. The other type of pickup in use for electric violins could be the electro-magnetic pickup. Here is the pickup within most guitars, which is considered the ideal form of sound transmission. While it's easy to build such a pickup into an electric powered violin, it requires rather extensive modifications to the electric violin's internal design and it is rarely used. Perhaps down the road this kind of pickup will end up more available.


That could reaching our ears, the electrical violin's signal usually is passed through a unit (or more often several units) capable of sound manipulation. Most of the same devices used by classical guitar players could also be used for that violin. For instance, reverb and delay units by Lexicon can provide warmth and depth of sound, while distortion boxes allows the violin sound to approximate that relating to a guitar (a la Jimmy Hendrix playing America at Woodstock). There are barrels of different devices, including foot pedals, that can manipulate the sound. Below is certainly one of Lexicon's top grade reverb rack units. Computers can also be increasingly employed for sound manipulation and may eventually replace bulky sound manipulation boxes.


For electric violins using a pickup, a pre-amp is important to intensify the signal from your violin, also to enable you to EQ the sound. A very common instance of a pre-amp may be the L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic DI. Some electric violins also provide on-board pre-amps.


Further sound manipulation and signal intensification occurs when the signal is undergone an amplifier. Since the majority of amps work most effectively with mid and low frequency tones, it's not easy to discover a good amp to the electric violin, as well as then it is usually important to spend time and effort having fun with the EQ. A popular amplifier for electric violin may be the Fishman Loudbox 100. A crucial consideration when selecting an amplifier is the fact that each leaves its very own imprint on your sound. Thus, trying prior to buying is particularly important with amps.


For any more true reproduction of the sound, a PA system with speakers may also be used. The sound can still be EQ'd which has a personal PA system and it's also simple to preserve the acoustic sound.


Finally, the signal, after passing from the different sound manipulation devices, is broadcast to ears by speakers. Often, they're included in the amp. You can also add additional speakers to create a stereo effect.


Should you be looking to approximately duplicate your acoustic sound, playing electric violin is probably not very satisfying for your requirements. But for doing a band, it helps you to modify their volume to fit the opposite instruments, and also to customize the sound to fit in better having a rock or pop design of music.


However, electric violin usually uses a potentially rather expensive foray into electronics, that may be an enjoyable experience but also difficult since the sound you are looking for will take a lot of time to get, and may even require testing many different gear. Finding "your" sound could be a long journey. Some of the more interesting actions is to experience a 5-string, which adds a "c string," within your "g-string," or employ an octave pedal, which can drop your pitch a complete octave. You can also play with distortion or a wah-wah pedal. And, while excellent technique is vital for classical music, electric violin could be more forgiving.


In the long run, going electric enables the violinist to participate in groups where ordinary acoustic violin just can't match the total number of another instruments. In addition, the virtually endless capacity to manipulate the sound permits the electric violinist to go where no acoustic player has gone before.

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