Buying Guides

Holiday Gift Ideas For Any Budget

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Holiday shopping can be difficult–especially if you are a non-musician shopping for musical equipment! Electric Violin Shop makes shopping for the string player in your life easy by offering a variety of gift options to fit nearly any budget! If you’re looking for something small or relatively inexpensive, check out our Stocking Stuffers category. If you want ideas for something bigger, including instruments and musical gear, take a look at out Holiday Gifts category, where you can sort items by price. For further advice on what to get your musical loved one this holiday season, read on or contact us for personalized advice…

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Do I Need A Preamp?

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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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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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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 »

Using the Roland GR-55 for MIDI Violin Performance & Recording

**UPDATE** ZETA violins are now compatible with the Roland GR-55 using the ZETA 8-pin to 13-pin MIDI cable (sold separately).

We get lots of calls and emails about MIDI violins. MIDI options for violins have been around for decades, but were only compatible with synthesizers that are now obsolete and only available on the used market. Also, latency and slower triggering made these MIDI violin systems less than ideal for most performers.

We are pleased to announce that we now carry two violins that are compatible with a high quality, available and currently produced MIDI synthesizer. The Fourness Fuse, with its newly calibrated 13 pin MIDI jack, and Cantini violins, with their proprietary 8-pin to 13-pin adaptor cable, have passed our in-house testing and are for sale on our site for use with the Roland GR-55 synthesizer.
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The Top 4 Things To Consider When Beginning An Electric String Instrument

Avoid beginner frustrations by keeping these things in mind as you dive in

Nationally renowned strings educator and friend of the shop Scott Laird is at the forefront of helping teachers introduce electric bowed string instruments into their classrooms and studios.  He gave the presentation below, entitled “Ten Practical Strategies for Inspiring Your Students with Electric Stringed Instruments”, at the 2013 American String Teachers Association National Conference.  Before getting into his ten strategies, Scott outlined four great “precepts” for teachers looking to incorporate electric strings into their school programs.  We think these principles are right on the money and apply equally well to anyone taking up an electric stringed instrument for the first time.  The four precepts are covered from 05:30 to 10:25 in the video and we’ve outlined them below…

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A Guide to CodaBow Violin, Viola & Cello Bow Models

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The bow makers and engineers at CodaBow use advanced materials to bring consistency and affordability to their great bow designs. CodaBow’s graphite and kevlar bow sticks have the same performance agility and tone-drawing capability as fine wood bows that are several times more expensive. Whether for use as a primary performance bow or as a travel / backup bow, there can be little doubt that CodaBow bows represent some of the best value in the strings industry. If you’re looking to invest in a bow, the question then becomes not whether to choose a CodaBow but which CodaBow to choose. The following guide breaks down the choices for you to aid in your decision-making process.

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Choosing a Multi-Effects Processor: Good, Better and Best Recommendations

Multi-effects processors offer great value and variety for beginners and are compact and portable for the touring pro. Electric Violin Shop carries a handful of multi-effects processors from Boss and Digitech, which range in price from about $100 to about $300, including:

Good: DigiTech Element XP
Better: DigiTech RP360XP
Best: Boss ME-80

Compare our Good, Better and Best multi-effects options in the chart below or click here to view them in our catalog.

All of the multi-effects processors we carry come with dozens of different preset effects, as well as the ability to alter and store changes to any of them. All include a mute/floor tuner as well. Things to consider when differentiating between Good, Better and Best multi-effects processor options include whether you will need any or all of the following features…

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Electro-Harmonix: Guitarist Tools That Work Great For Strings

EHTBMThe Electric Violin Shop staff is always on the lookout for tools, devices and technology that suit the strings player, enhance their performance and expand their expressive palette.  Let’s face it though–there aren’t many purpose-made effects for bowed strings.  Therefore, we spend a lot of time testing guitar technology with electric violins in order to be able to find those that work best and offer them in our catalog, hopefully saving electric violinists lots of time and money having to do the same for themselves!

We recently dipped our toes into legendary guitar effects maker Electro-Harmonix’s catalog of guitar electronics.  Electro-Harmonix is a New York-based company that makes high-end electronic audio processors.  It is best known for a series of popular guitar effects pedals introduced in the 1970s. The company continues to innovate and makes some really solid, great sounding effects.  We found that the following units, all of which we now offer in our catalog, work great with electric bowed strings and fulfill common needs of many strings players:

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The Electric Violin Buying Guide

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Whether you’re a seasoned classical violinist, an experienced fiddler, an aspiring rock or jazz player, or a novice musician buying your first musical instrument of any kind, choosing an electric violin from the many available models can seem like a daunting decision-making process. There is a huge range of prices, shapes, colors and features that can be enough to make anyone’s head spin! Not to worry…Electric Violin Shop is here to radically simplify your choice by showing you how to narrow down your selection based these key considerations:

By addressing this handful of considerations one by one, you can quickly narrow the selection of electric violins to a small number of instruments that fit all of your requirements. We are always available to assist you along the way and can be contacted at 866-900-8400 or by email at info@electricviolinshop.com. We also respond with careful personalized recommendations to those who submit our Shopping Assistant form. Read the rest of this entry »

Electric Performance Rig Expert Fantasy Mock Draft

Football season is about to kick off and with it the fantasy football season. We at Electric Violin Shop asked ourselves, “Why should sports fans have all the fun?!” We got together and decided to build our fantasy performance gear rigs by selecting pieces of equipment in pre-determined order, à la fantasy football drafts.

Each staff member’s rig had to include an instrument, amplifier, effects pedal and bow (an exception was made for the upright bass rig), and a final slot in each rig was designated a “flex” item…in other words, player’s choice. We cut cards to determine picking order and proceeded to draft in serpentine fashion (first to pick in Round 1 is the last to pick in Round 2, etc.).

So, without further ado, here are the results of our expert mock draft (continue reading below for our experts’ post-draft breakdowns)…
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Transitioning From a 4-string to a 5-string Violin (and Back)

by Susie Sneeringer

A 5th string extends the Violins range downward to the Viola’s low C.

One of the most common questions we get at Electric Violin Shop is “what do you think about 5-string violins? If I’ve played a 4-string all my life, would you recommend it?” This is a tough one, since every player will come to an instrument with a different set of skills and preferences. Though 5-string violins have been around for a long time, we’ve seen interest and popularity increase over the last few years. For reference, I’m a classically trained violinist and fiddle player, and I play both a 4-string and a 5-string violin in two local bands. I’ve put together a list of common 5-string topics to consider if you’re thinking about making the leap.

Who may want/need a C string on a violin?

  • Violinists or fiddlers who also love the low, rich tone of the viola C string.
  • Violists who are also comfortable with the violin scale length, and want to keep that C string and add the brighter flavor of a violin E string to their playing.
  • Teachers / instructors may want a violin and viola on hand to play certain passages for their students.  A 5-string enables one to play violin, viola, and even cello parts (an octave higher than written).
  • If you like to improvise in any musical style, whether it’s bluegrass, jazz, hip-hop or rock, and wish you had a little bit more range to do so. You can also surprise the guitar or piano players that you might be trading licks with!

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Staff picks: Susie’s “working musician” rig

Hi – my name is Susie Sneeringer, and I’ve been with Electric Violin Shop for over a year now. I’ve played in a number of bands with various types of amplification for my violins. Needless to say, some have worked better than others! Over the last ten years or so, I’ve gone from playing my acoustic violin outdoors at the San Francisco Ferry building in a bluegrass and old-time band (salt air, I found out, is not great for your acoustic violin) to using a stick-on guitar pickup in a blues band, to using a replacement bridge on my acoustic violin in a local country band. After all of this, it’s such a relief to have instruments – and sound — that do what I want them to do when I show up for a gig. I play in a fiddle band and a full-blown rock band, and while I’d like to have one of everything in the building here at EVS, this is a reliable setup that works well in most of the medium-sized venues I play with my two bands. It’s like a car that is fun to drive AND gets great mileage. Read the rest of this entry »

Staff Picks: Duncan’s dream rig

Hi–Duncan here, from Electric Violin Shop. I’ve been with EVS since 2008 and have probably considered every violin we carry my favorite at one time or another. There is so much variety in our line that choosing just one is nearly impossible. However, if forced to decide I would probably own…

Violin: 6-string Vector Prodigy Pro with Barbera Twin Hybrid pickup.  Nick Tipney’s violins are minimal, almost rustic in their design, yet the lines and shapes have a real elegance about them.  The Vector Prodigy is among the very lightest weight violins on the market and the Barbera Twin Hybrid pickup bridge is agreed by most professionals to be one of the finest sounding transducers available.  Nick has made a few of the 6-strings for us and our customers over the years and I’ve always enjoyed playing on them, finding the neck width and fingerboard curvature highly navigable considering the extra strings.  And for as great as the Barbera bridge sounds anyway, something about the resonance of the Vector’s (Nova Scotia-grown) maple top adds a gorgeous character to the tone. Read the rest of this entry »

Why we recommend against cheap electric string instruments

& + direct sunlight =

Ampersand left in the sun?

You may have seen, heard or played one. Perhaps as an affordable means of going electric for the first time you’ve been tempted to buy one. It costs under $200 online and looks kind of flashy, even if reminiscent of an ampersand that’s been left out in the sun too long (see picture). It’s clear that one of the coolest thing you can do as a strings player is to go electric (or so we at EVS believe) and the enticement to entering into electrification cheaply is certainly understandable. However, by purchasing a cheap solid body electric instrument you will likely end up disappointed, frustrated and all around discouraged from continuing your electric experiments for at least one or more of the reasons given below.

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Yamaha Silent Electric Strings

Yamaha has one of the most complete lines of electric bowed strings of any manufacturer on the market, ranging from the entry-level to the professional. While their program started with the now-famous SV-100 “Silent” Violin with headphone jack for personal practice, they quickly embraced the growing market for electric strings, offering wide range of color and feature options at a variety of price points.

Unless we’ve sold out in the last couple of days, we always have every Yamaha silent and electric violin, viola, and cello model in-stock, in every color, at any given time. We also offer the Yamaha SV-100 and -200 silent basses but due to their size (and the limited space in our small shop!) we don’t usually have one on hand, although we are happy to special order one.  Read more below about Yamaha’s silent and electric violins, violas, and cellos and upright basses. Read the rest of this entry »

“Do You Sell ‘Wireless Pickups?'”

We frequently receive inquiries for “cordless” or “wireless pickups”.  While amplifying your instrument wirelessly is not a difficult task, it is important for those seeking to do so to understand that the process involves two pieces of equipment, made and sold separately.  A pickup’s sole function is to convert your instrument’s string vibrations into an electrical signal that can be output to amplification equipment.  From there it is up to the user whether they transmit that signal through a cable (wired) or over the air-waves (wireless). Read the rest of this entry »

Why go electric?

As with electric guitars, good electric bowed strings instruments can convincingly do most anything an acoustic can and so much more.  With a solid body electric stringed instrument you will be able to…

Plug in and be heard

When played acoustically into a microphone, violin family instruments can get lost in the mix.  Drums, vocals and guitars are easier to mic and violinists tend to move more as they play, so the sound can fade in and out of the mix as well.

Have no feedback worries

Nothing is as irritating or unpleasant as the high-pitched squeal caused by a feedback loop.  Feedback is one of the biggest problems acoustic violin players encounter when trying to amplify and can be eliminated by using a solid body electric instrument for amplified performances.

Total tone control

Your acoustic instrument’s tone is pretty static.  Imagine being able to equalize your violin tone like you would your home stereo.  Make a violin sound bright like a fiddle, or dark and rich like a viola or cello, all with the turn of a few knobs on an amp or mixer. Read the rest of this entry »

Silent Violin Loudness Comparison

In 1993 Yamaha first used the Silent name to describe a digital keyboard for home use. Two years later they applied a headphone amp to a brass muting system, creating their Silent Brass line. In 1997, the SV-100 became the first Silent Violin. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Given the laws of physics that govern a vibrating string, the only truly silent violin is one not being played! Even the most skeletal electric violin body has enough mass to amplify a string so it can be heard to the player. Yamaha’s innovation was to add a standard headphone jack so the player can listen at normal volume while their neighbor, or their family in the next room, is undisturbed.

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