In episode 18 of the Creative Strings Podcast, Christian Howes talks with Kev Marcus and Will Baptiste of Black Violin about how they got started, their influences and goals, how they created such a powerful movement around their work, and what this means for the string world and culture in general.
Scroll down to listen in and learn about:
How Kev and Wil discovered their musical sound
Their atypical education as string players
The core of their powerful message
Stereotypes they have busted through and their attitude about these stereotypes
From Classical To Radical is an Electric Violin Shop video series geared towards teaching classical strings players how to go electric in popular styles. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for future FCTR video notifications. Click here to see all posts in the FCTR series.
Electric violins produce almost no sound of their own. Combined on stage with other amplified instruments, you will need some way to hear your own playing above the noise. The above video outlines three ways to monitor your sound, which, depending on your live sound setup and the venue, you may use just one of or more than one in combination.
Signal chain is the path that the signal takes from your instrument to speaker (where it’s heard by an audience) or sound board (where it’s mixed with the signals from other instruments before being amplified to an audience). Your signal chain can become long and complex as you add in multiple effects and preamps but the the basis of any signal chain for a musician using a PA is:
1/4″ In from instrument > DI box > XLR Out to soundboard
May 16th, 2016 looked like any normal busy Monday at Electric Violin Shop. Our small staff worked in concert to address email inquiries and ship e-commerce orders taken over the weekend in between answering the usual barrage of customer phone calls. This group of employees has the day-to-day of running our small company, which does a global business, down to a science. So efficient was the operation that one would never guess this was our first full day under new ownership.
That’s because three days earlier on Friday, May 13th, Electric Violin Shop founder Blaise Kielar sold his ownership interest in the business to three of our long-time employees–Chris Guin, Duncan Monserud and Susie Sneeringer–who restructured EVS into a worker-owned cooperative.
Blaise Kielar (far left) and the new Electric Violin Shop ownership team
It’s one of the most common questions we hear: “Do I need a preamp?” As with most tech topics the answer is nuanced, but as a general rule of thumb, yes, electric bowed strings need a preamp, particularly if plugging into a sound board. Watch our video and read below to learn more…
Mark Simos, associate professor in songwriting at Berklee College of Music and author of Songwriting Strategies: A 360º Approach joins Christian Howes to discuss the process of capturing song ideas and developing them into full songs or compositions.
In part 1 of this two-part episode you will learn about learn about:
The 360 degree approach
“Song Seeds” – how to capture a short idea and grow it into a full composition
Translating song seeds across variations in lyric, melody, rhythm and harmony
Using different forms of restraint to enhance your creativity
Part 2 covers:
Improvisation as a historic part of the classical composition process
Songwriting and improvisation as part of a balanced music education
In order to present a fair comparison of a variety of pickups, the same violinist, Matt Bell, recorded each sound sample on his own acoustic violin. For control/comparison purposes he recorded an unamplified acoustic sample of the violin as well. A Tascam recorder captured the sound coming from a Fishman Loudbox Mini while Matt played wirelessly from an adjacent room with the door closed to eliminate acoustic tone bleeding into amplified tone.
Students and teachers — consider taking advantage of some time off in the summer to both hone your technique and explore different musical styles by attending one of these fine string camps! Our list focuses on camps that teach and promote alternative (non-classical) styles such as jazz, rock, blues, latin, bluegrass, celtic, etc. Below these listings are links to other online resources that list great string camps, classical or otherwise, throughout the country… Read the rest of this entry »
No matter how nice your acoustic violin is you might be surprised at how much simpler it is to achieve great amplified tone using a purpose-built acoustic-electric instrument as opposed to a pickup. There are several advantages of acoustic-electric violins as compared to using a pickup or in certain amplified settings, as well as some circumstances where an acoustic-electric may not be the optimal tool. In this video Matt outlines some of the pros and cons of acoustic-electric instruments compared to using pickups or solid-body electrics.
It’s that time of year again, when thousands of string teachers, students, artists and product exhibitors descend on a city to commence the annual American String Teachers Association Nation Conference. This year the location is Tampa, Florida. If you are an electric player in attendance or a teacher interested in incorporating electric instruments and eclectic styles into your program, here are the sessions and exhibitors we recommend at the conference… Read the rest of this entry »
The selection of quality solid body electric cellos is a bit more limited than that of electric violins but cellists nevertheless have several great options to choose from. There are several important factors to consider when shopping for a solid body electric cello, including:
We will outline these important factors and help you figure out which features are most important for your needs and ultimately narrow your selection to the best cello for your needs and budget. Read the rest of this entry »
At the Heart of the violin world, Violinist.com founder Laurie Niles sits down with Christian Howes to discuss the start-up and success of one of the largest communities of violinists across all styles and experience levels. Scroll down to listen in on:
The exciting early days of the internet and the evolution of violinist.com as a medium
Characteristics of violinists and the violin community
Bridging the gap and finding common ground between beginners, teachers, elite players…
Things that are working in the business of classical music
What the classical vs creative violin communities share alike
Violinist and electric violin historian Ben Heaney (deltaviolin.com) posted a short but very high quality studio recording to YouTube of the original production prototype Fender electric violin from 1958. The recording is an extraction of the violin track from a professional album recording session Heaney played on. Heaney, tells us “in the video you get to hear the instrument through a Fender twin mic’d front, back and overhead ambient. No further processing or EQ but with some verb.” Read the rest of this entry »
Christian sits down with four of the hottest young Creative Strings players to discuss practice techniques, exercises, moving between various fiddle styles, and more. Listen in with or without your instrument to develop specific practice strategies and gain tons of insights into your own creative musicianship including:
Conceptual approaches for practicing and structuring improvisation
A new tool for bowed strings players! The Electro-Harmonix C9 Organ Machine transforms your instrument into a convincing full body, electric organ. If you play in a band without a keyboard player and have been searching a way to cover organ parts with your analog effects, look no further than the C9.
The C9 has these nine different classic electric organ tone settings, which consist of various Hammond, Farfisa, Vox, Clavioline and even Mellotron-style tones:
Tone Wheel [classic rock organ w/ chorus]
Prog [prog. rock tone i.e. Emerson Lake and Palmer or Yes]
Compact [The Doors “Light My Fire” tone]
Lord Purple [Deep Purple]
Mello Flutes [Mellotron, e.g. The Beatles “Strawberry Fields”]
Blimp [Led Zeppelin]
Press Stone [The Beatles “Let It Be”]
A Dry knob sets the dry volume, while the Organ knob sets the volume of the active organ tone. The Mod knob adjusts the speed of the modulation and on certain tones creates a nice Leslie speaker-style rotary organ sound. The Click knob sets the amount of percussive key click as well as modulation depth and upper drawbar volume.
Listen to a few samples of the C9 Organ Machines tones and then click here to buy your very own!