Beginning Electric Violin – Overview of Equipment

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Learning to play electric violin shares many similarities with studying acoustic violin, with a few important differences. The first is that just about every acoustic violin is shaped and tuned the same way. Electric violins, however, can really be many shapes and varieties, including 4-string, 5-string, 7-string, fretted, and some with all the upper bout removed entirely allowing easier playing within the higher positions. And, in reality, your acoustic violin can be “converted” into an electrical by attaching either a microphone or even a piezo pickup to the body. The majority of electric violins work with a solid body, much like most instruments (for example the ubiquitous fender stratocaster). Below is a writeup on electric violins along with a discussion of many of the additional equipment you’ll likely require.

While there are many electric violins on the market by large volume manufacturers, these types of just don’t sound excellent. A number of the better (and mostly handmade) electric violins are reviewed below. I made my selection from instruments that I have either played or owned.

Generally, That’s not me hot for mass produced instruments. But Yamaha makes among the better. Area of the Yamaha silent series, the model SV-200 features a dual piezo pickup. This really is likely to help the sensitivity in the instrument towards the subtleties of the playing, especially dynamic (volume) range. Weighing around $1000, this instrument costs less than the others I’ll review below. On playing the instrument, I guess it’s time indeed responsive, certainly in addition than previous Yamaha instruments. The on-board pre-amp enables some sound manipulation about the instrument itself rather than in an outside, detached unit. The down-side of this could it be increases the weight from the violin.

Another popular model is made by NS Designs. The corporation uses a proprietary piezo pickup that is certainly meant to be very clean and sound much more an acoustic violin in its unprocessed state. I sampled a a 5-string model, and i also belief that the neck was overly thick and the instrument rather heavy. Still, if you are searching for any clean sound, this might be your best option.

Zeta has earned itself lots of hype partly because Boyd Tinseley, of Dave Matthews Band, utilizes a Zeta instrument called (what else) the “Boyd Tinsley.” Zeta also works on the proprietary piezo pick-up with a very characteristic sound. If you’ve heard Santana play guitar, then you most definitely recognize his distinctive sound which will come through the mixture of his Paul Reed Smith guitar along with a Mesa Boogie amp. A lot of the sound coming from that amp, it doesn’t matter how the sound is EQ’d sounds “Boogified” if you ask me. Similarly, I felt using this instrument that my sound would get “Zeta’d” with the pick-up. So you either this way sound or else you don’t. A huge issue with this zeta model could it be is very heavy.

Mark Wood, Another “boutique” maker of electric violins, recognized that trying to hold a 7-string fretted violin beneath the neck is very difficult, because of the weight. Thus, he designed and patented a “flying v-shape” which has a strap that suits around your torso and holds the violin up in a playing position. Even though it may take efforts and get accustomed to, this design really does offer the weight from the fiddle well. Make no mistake — adding frets to the violin is a huge adjustment for that classical player. Actually, have you ever played a mandolin, you almost certainly realize the amount the frets can change things. Sliding and vibrato techniques have become very challenging to a fretted instrument. In my opinion, the frets are ideal for allowing guitarists while others familiar with fretted instruments to avoid the typical requirement of pinpoint accuracy with finger placement that’s needed for playing in tune about the an acoustic violin. The 7-string fretted model, the flagship instrument in their distinct electric violins, is priced at $3500. Mark Wood does not use proprietary piezo pickups. Rather, he uses either Barbera or Schatten pickups, which can be made in huge amounts piezo pickeps that are employed in a variety of electric violins.

An early Zeta employee, John Jordan makes custom electric violins in almost every combination of material, strings and frets you could imagine. Jordan started their own design studio whilst 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 close to the bridge. This is built to result in the instrument lighter. Jordan is the actual luthier of electric instruments. Lots of his models, specially the ones made from wood, have become attractive. Jordan runs on the number 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 using 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 appears to possess a thinner neck than other electrics, that allows the classical 4-string acoustic player to create a less strenuous transition to electric.

Every one of the violins described above are solid-body models. This means that the instrument doesn’t have hollow, resonating chamber and for that reason produces little to no sound unless it can be “plugged in.” However, an additional way to create an “electric violin” is to switch the bridge on an acoustic violin with a piezo pickup bridge-mount that may be connected being a solid body. The downside for this is the fact that these pickups can generate feedback. However, this approach can sound quite very retains the customary shape and weight in the acoustic violin. Common piezo models will be the Fishman series and also the L.R. Baggs. Additionally, there are several smaller “custom” businesses that make these pickups, this means you will come in handy to use these if you don’t such as the sound in the Fishman/Baggs. This setup shares all the same disadvantages because other violin fitted using a piezo pickup, as described below.

What all electric violins share could be the requirement for an electric pickup to transmit your playing into a unit effective at sound manipulation, say for example a pre-amp or rack unit, and eventually to an alternative unit able to sound production. The two major varieties of pick-ups available in the present plugged-in instruments are piezo and electromagnetic. Piezo pickups are employed almost mainly for electric violins. They have got certain characteristics that some players find lower than ideal. While a bow change by using an acoustic violin may be completely silent for the listener, the piezo pickup will forever transmit bow changes and bow noise. The real reason for this can be that they can use sensitivity to pressure as their primary method of reproducing sound, and bow pressure is always variable. Also, piezo pick-ups have a tendency to sound fuzzy. Numerous piezo pick-ups exist on the market, and several electric violin companies use their very own proprietary models. The other form of pickup available for electric violins could be the electro-magnetic pickup. This is actually the pickup found in most guitars, and is considered the optimal kind of sound transmission. While it’s very easy to build this sort of pickup into a power violin, it requires rather extensive modifications on the electric violin’s internal design and is rarely used. Perhaps later on this kind of pickup will end up more available.

To reaching our ears, the electric violin’s signal usually is passed through a unit (or more often several units) capable of sound manipulation. Lots of the same devices used by classical guitar players could also be used for that violin. For example, reverb and delay units by Lexicon can offer warmth and depth of sound, while distortion boxes makes it possible for the violin sound to approximate that regarding a guitar (a la Jimmy Hendrix playing America at Woodstock). You can find barrels of different devices, including foot pedals, that will manipulate the sound. Here is among Lexicon’s top grade reverb rack units. Computers are also increasingly used for sound manipulation and may eventually replace bulky sound manipulation boxes.

For electric violins getting a pickup, a pre-amp is necessary to intensify the signal from a violin, and enable you to EQ the sound. One popular instance of a pre-amp is the L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic DI. Some electric violins also have on-board pre-amps.

Further sound manipulation and signal intensification occurs when the signal is undergone an amplifier. Since the majority of amps work best with mid and low frequency tones, it’s a challenge to locate a good amp for the electric violin, as well as then it’s usually essential to spend considerable time playing with the EQ. A trendy amplifier for electric violin may be the Fishman Loudbox 100. A crucial consideration when scouting for a guitar amp is that each leaves its imprint on the sound. Thus, trying before buying is particularly important with amps.

For a more true reproduction of your respective sound, a PA system with speakers could also be used. The sound can nonetheless be EQ’d which has a personal PA system and it’s also easy to preserve the acoustic sound.

Finally, the signal, after passing from the different sound manipulation devices, is broadcast to our ears by speakers. Often, these are that are part of the amp. You may also add additional speakers to create a stereo effect.

Should you be looking to more or less duplicate your acoustic sound, playing electric violin is probably not very satisfying for you. Nevertheless for doing a band, it helps the ball player to alter their volume to check the opposite instruments, also to alter the sound to fit in better which has a rock or pop design of music.

With that being said, electric violin usually requires a potentially rather expensive foray into electronic equipment, which may be a thrilling time but also difficult considering that the sound you are interested in might take lots of time to get, and may even require testing a lot of different gear. Finding “your” sound can be a long journey. A few of the more interesting actions you can take is to experience a 5-string, which adds a “c string,” through your “g-string,” or employ an octave pedal, which may drop your pitch a whole octave. Or you can use distortion or perhaps a wah-wah pedal. And, while excellent strategy is vital for classical music, electric violin could be more forgiving.

In the end, going electric enables the violinist to sign up in groups where ordinary acoustic violin simply cannot match the level of the other instruments. Moreover, the almost endless capacity to manipulate the sound permits the electric violinist to travel where no acoustic player adjusted before.

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