View Full Version : electric violins?
Not really mando related, but I'm considering attempting to learn violin. I've gotten used to being able to practice (emando) through headphone amps, and was wondering if that experience would work with violin..
There are several models of solidbody eviolins out there - Fender, Yamaha (actually considering the Yamaha silient guitar too - anyone try those?), Zeta.. Would any of these be suitable for a first experience with a bowed instrument?
If any of you MCers "switch hit" on eviolin I'd appreciate any recommendations.
I've played violin for over 40 years, but I've never played an electric one -- no idea what that would be like. If you're concerned about bothering the neighbors, why not just get an acoustic violin and a practice mute? The mute makes the instrument quiet enough that you'll not disturb anyone, but it allows you the full feel of the instrument. A regular mute may do the job for you, but a practice mute definitely will.
Although both violin and mando are GDAE instruments, you will likely notice a significant difference in left-hand technique. Don't let it discourage you if you don't progress as fast as you thought you might. With practice, it will come.
try here (http://www.tbviolins.com)
Tucker is a very skilled luthier as well as a great person to do business with. His electric violins are top notch.
delsbrother, #I have been playing fiddle/violin for over 40 years and mando for just about four. #Most of the time I've played the fiddle in bands, it has been amplified, but a straight electric violin might not be the best way for you to start.
I think that you could probably learn the basics on a less expensive instrument if you go the acoustic route. #The variety of what is available will be greater, and you will probably find it easier to sell if you find it is not for you. #In lower end student instruments, I think that you will find them less expensive than some of the straight electric options. There are various ways to amplify a "regular" violin/fiddle and there are some examples at this page: #
(No financial interest in this site, although I have bought from them in the past.)
There is a lot to learn and new techniques you are going to need to get used to with bowing and not having any frets as with the mandolin. #Both hands are going to be in for some surprises, and I would recommend taking lessons to make sure that you get off to a good start and not pick up any bad habits that will limit what you can do later on. #You might even consider renting one as you learn, instead of buying one to begin with. #That way, you will probably have a better idea what will really best serve your needs once you have some of the basics down. #
You will have a lot of work ahead of you, but it will be worth it if you stick with it. #Like me, you may find that each instrument can help you play better on the other in many interesting ways.
I'm primarily a fiddler too, and I agree that you shouldn't learn on an electric. Electric violins take a different bowing technique than acoustic. Also, you can get a much better acoustic instrument for the money you would spend on a Yamaha or Fender.
Just get a heavy mute for when you need to be quiet. There is a heavy rubber mute that, IMHO, doesn't kill the tone as much as some. Looks like this: http://www.elderly.com/accessories/items/VM205.htm
I like the Tucker Barrett instruments too. I have an Aceto Violect 5-string but haven't really played it enough to get a handle on it. It's true that it takes a different bowing touch.
Thanks for all the tips guys. I was primarily looking to electric because I was hoping for something I could listen to loudly (through 'phones) but wouldn't bother anyone else. No Jean-Luc Ponty aspirations here! I forgot about mutes. As you can tell, I know nothing about violins!
Would you suggest buying a "trainer" violin through a teacher or a store? Should I look specifically for a violin shop, or would something like McCabes or World of Strings (i.e. Guitar shops that carry fiddles) be OK? What should I expect to pay? Somehow I thought the eviolins would be cheaper than the acoustic ones..
Sounds like you're in L.A., Darrell? I'd go to Studio City Music (in, naturally, Studio City) or Thomas Metzler in Glendale. Eric Benning at Studio City is a fiddler-friendly type of violin guy (not all violin guys are). Metzler has a bigger shop (he is or has been a Zeta dealer). What to pay is hard to say, depends on what they might have in the shop. But they can give you tips on what to look for even if you don't end up buying from them. Can't say I ever tried fiddles at McCabe's.
Actually I'm in "the" O.C., but get up to LA frequently. I used to hang out at Shade Tree Music in MV but the last time I went there the store had gone.. Any idea where those guys went? I pass the Metzler store every time I go eat Cuban food in Glendale; I'll go check them out. Thanks.
My daughter has been playing for a year or so and we ordered this beginner outfit (http://sharmusic.com/moreinfogroup.asp?t1=hv120t44) from Shar. A very nice no frills instrument that could get you started with a decent bow and case for the money.
I am sure that there are other possibilities out there also but we have had good experience with this. It was set up pretty well and I believe they have a trade up policy.
Yamaha's 'silent violin' may be just what you want, I think they even provide an internal headphone amplifier.
Once I saw one made by Tyler Mountain, it looks like a regular violin from the top, but it didn't have sides. Then I saw another one that looks the same but had a Straus label. Has anyone tried these out? I see Coda has a bow designed for electric violins so the regular bows must be noisey?
Tyler Mountain and Straus are different brand names for the same Korean-made piece of junk.
I have one of those Coda electric bows ... the difference, if any, is mostly marketing. It's a good cheap carbon-fiber bow if that's what you're looking for.
I suggest you don't learn to play violin using an electric violin/headphones.
There are dynamics in using the bow which are "killed" by playing electric.
Also there is tone production you need to learn on an acoustic instrument.
These issues also apply to guitars and mandolins, but in a lesser degree IMO. --Joel
These issues also apply to guitars and mandolins
Well, that would explain a lot about my mando playing! LOL!
Seriously, point taken. I'm going the rental/mute route folks. Thanks for all the replies.
Thanks MrMando... have you tried the Incredibow??Incredibow (http://www.musicblade.com/Incredibow.htm)
For that price I may try their 1 ounce bow. Got a saw handy?
I was primarily looking to electric because I was hoping for something I could listen to loudly (through 'phones)
I can promise that if you are a beginning violinist, you are not going to want to listen loudly http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
Thanks MrMando... have you tried the Incredibow??
Seen it ... never tried it.
For that price I may try their 1 ounce bow. Got a saw handy?
1 ounce??? Eh?
I took a saw lesson once...
Hey now, mandofiddlers! I've got a number of fiddles that I've used to play in bands. I use the acoustic fiddle to play Texas troubador kinds of tunes, Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard, and the like, and wouldn't consider playing that material on my electrics. However, when playing rock, jazz, worldbeat, such as String Cheese Incident, Grateful Dead, Jean Luc Ponty and whatnot, I do prefer my electrics. While the Zeta 5-string has that wonderful leviathan sound with the C string, I like to use my cheap old Fender electric 4-string for most occasions. It's a trooper, especially through a signal processor.
For silent (or nearly so) practice, I would use the Fender electric. While I agree a practice mute will dampen an acoustic fiddle pretty well, you lose all of the wondrous subtleties of the wooden sound that you would have without the mute anyway. The bow technique I find to be pretty much identical in a silent practice mode. There is no more silent fiddle than an unamplified solid body electric fiddle. You can saw away as vigorously as you please without disturbing the spouse, the babies, or the screech-sensitive neighbors next door.