5 Resolutions and How to Achieve Them in the New Year


It’s that time of year when everyone is setting resolutions and making promises to themselves.  There is no reason you can’t keep and achieve your goals in the New Year.  Here are 5 common string player resolutions and how you can go about achieving them this year…

Resolution #1: Practice more

Was a lack of practice time or space your excuse for letting practice slide last year? Good news! Solid body instruments allow you practice anywhere, at any time without disturbing others by plugging in headphones. The Yamaha Silent Practice line features headphone practice capability, as does the NS Design CR-series. Other instruments without headphone jacks can still be used in conjunction with an amp or effects unit that does have a headphone jack. Click here to view our full selection of silent practice instruments! If you already have an electric (or a pickup) and amp, effects can be a great way to spice up practice. Those tedious scales, arpeggios and etudes become heavy metal solos when played through a distortion effect! Click here to shop effects processors and stompbox pedals.

Listen to episode 5 of the Creative Strings Podcast to hear great practice tips from jazz violinist and Berklee School of Music instructor Jason Anick.

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Step Up to Yamaha and Get a Rebate up to $100 at EVS

Step Up To Yamaha 2016

Why ‘Step Up’?

Your skills have grown and matured and with them your need for a better instrument, one that works with you to realize your musical expression. Yamaha’s step-up Silent strings models accomplish this with their features, design, and overall playability – all of which aid advancing musicians with their musical growth.

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EVS Featured by UNC-TV

A big thanks to Dan Powers from UNC-TV, who came out to the shop and shot this segment about EVS and our transition to an employee-owned worker co-op. We think it turned out really great!

>> Learn more about the EVS staff

>> Read about our transition to worker-owned co-op

Creative Strings Podcast ep. 18 – Changing Perceptions and Culture with ‘Black Violin’

Creative Strings Podcast episode 18 with Black Violin

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

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FCTR: Stage Monitoring

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.

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FCTR: Gig Etiquette and Cable Coiling

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FCTR: Connecting to Sound Board or PA

Signal Chain

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

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Under New Ownership: EVS Converts To A Worker-Owned Cooperative

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 and the new Electric Violin Shop ownership team

Blaise Kielar (far left) and the new Electric Violin Shop ownership team

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Do I Need A Preamp?

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Creative Strings Podcast Episode 14/15 – Songwriting Strategies: A 360 Degree Approach w/ Mark Simos

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
  • Tune writing and generating new material

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[Audio] Violin Pickup Sound Samples

The Setup

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.

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2016 Summer Eclectic Styles String Camps & Festivals

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…
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Acoustic-Electric Violin Pros and Cons [Video]

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.


Shop Acoustic-Electric Violins >>

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Electric Player’s Guide To The 2016 ASTA Conference


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 »

Introducing The Yamaha YEV

Just introduced at NAMM 2016, Yamaha’s stylish new offering meets entry-level competitors head-on with regard to price point and quality.

Yamaha YEV-104NT Read the rest of this entry »

The Electric Cello Buying Guide — 7 Key Shopping Considerations

Bridge Draco electric cello

Bridge Draco cello – Copyright © Bridge Violins


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 »

Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 13 – founder Laurie Niles

At the Heart of the violin world, 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:Christian and Laurie

  • The exciting early days of the internet and the evolution of 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
  • much more

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Listen: 1958 Fender Electric Violin

Violinist and electric violin historian Ben Heaney ( 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 »

Creative Strings Podcast Ep 12: Social Media & Entrepreneurship for Musicians with Colin Thomson‘s Colin Thomson joins Christian Howes to discuss social media and business strategies for musicians. Listen below for straight talk on:

  • How to build an audience across social media platforms
  • Key tips for musicians on Instagram
  • Ways to grow revenue as a musician

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Creative Strings Podcast episode 11: Storytelling, Philosophy, & Old Time Fiddle with Joe McHugh

At the intersection of story telling, philosophy, and old time fiddle music lives Joe McHugh. Scroll down to take a journey! Listen and discover:

  • How to recognize and employ story telling in everything around us
  • Envisioning silence as a canvas. “It’s all silence”
  • The violin as literary symbol and bridge to other dimensions

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