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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(VIDEO) Acoustic-Electric Violin Pros and Cons

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.

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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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Mythbusting’s Article On The ‘3Dvarious’

3Dvarius electric violin

3Dvarius 3D-printed electric violin

An article titled “The 3-D Printed Violin That Could Lead to a New Stradivarius” recently appeared on proclaiming an electric violin called the 3Dvarius to be a game changing advancement in violin making technology. Unfortunately, the article is filled with misconceptions about electric violin technology and has elevated a fairly common electric violin design to cutting edge status. Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Strings Podcast, Ep 10: ‘Young Guns’ Discuss Practicing

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
  • Tricks for better internalizing harmony
  • Connections between fiddle styles and jazz
  • Tone production across different styles
  • Dexterity exercises
  • Playing faster
  • Rhythmic exercises away from your instrument

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Review: Electro-Harmonix C9 Organ Machine

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:

  1. Tone Wheel [classic rock organ w/ chorus]
  2. Prog [prog. rock tone i.e. Emerson Lake and Palmer or Yes]
  3. Compact [The Doors “Light My Fire” tone]
  4. Shimmer [U2]
  5. Lord Purple [Deep Purple]
  6. Mello Flutes [Mellotron, e.g. The Beatles “Strawberry Fields”]
  7. Blimp [Led Zeppelin]
  8. Press Stone [The Beatles “Let It Be”]
  9. Telstar [clavioline]

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!

Testimonial: Reina Pascua

I just bought my daughter's very first violin of her very own from you guys, including a case and bow. I had been a…

Posted by Reina Pascua on Thursday, July 2, 2015

Creative Strings Podcast Episode 9: Electric Violin Shop – Getting The Best Amplified String Sound

In episode 9, our own Duncan Monserud joins Christian to discuss a comprehensive range of topics concerning strings amplification. Among the many topics discussed are:

  • Common misconceptions about electric bowed string instruments (04:00)
  • Different means of amplification and the advantages/disadvantages of each (08:53)
  • Microphones vs. pickups and the different types of both (10:05 – 31:33)
  • Solid-body electric instruments (31:34 – 38:48)
  • Amps, preamps and PA systems (39:48 – 51:35)
  • Effects pedals and multi-effects (51:35 – 55:29)
  • The many uses of phrase looping (55:57 – 1:00:16)

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MIDI Violin Recording & Notation

Beyond being able to call up any sound or instrument imaginable during live performance, MIDI violin is a highly useful tool for recording and notating music in the studio.

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(Re)introducing the WAV Violin

NS Design WAV 4 violins

We are thrilled to reintroduce the NS Design​ WAV violins. WAVs have been off the market for quite some time while NS relocated and retooled production, but now they’re back and they’re better than ever! With better quality components all around–improved tone and volume pots, more durable chinrest hardware, finer wood, nicer finishes, a higher quality custom case, and now with NS electric strings included–the new WAV violin is the real deal, sporting a professional look and beautiful new tone.

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