Click on the questions below to read our answers.  If you don’t see your question listed here, please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Why get an electric violin?

Why get a 5-string [or more]?

Which is better–the NS Design WAV or the Yamaha SV-130?

How are the NS Design WAV, CR and NXT series instruments different?

Can you hear a “silent” violin?

Should I get a mic or a pickup?

Do you sell ‘wireless pickups’?

Do you send instruments out on approval?

What is your returns policy?

What does an electric violin sound like?

How do I add effects?

Can I use my regular bow?  Strings?  Rosin?

What strings do you recommend for fretted violins?

Do I need a preamp?

Do I need an amp?  Cables?

Does it come with a bow or case?

Do you sell outside of the US?

Is my instrument covered under warranty?  For how long?


Why get an electric violin?

For amplified string playing, there is no better solution than a solid body electric.  A fully electric instrument takes the issue of feedback out of the equation.  An acoustic violin will only project so far, whereas an electric’s range is only limited by the power of your speakers!  While we do not advocate rough treatment of electric instruments, they are more robust than acoustics.  The level of jostling that would debilitate your fragile “eggshell” acoustic instrument may not affect the playability of your electric at all.  And did we mention they come in many colors? Read this article to learn more.

Why get a 5-string [or more]?

Modern, ever-changing string technology allows string manufacturers to make good sounding short scale strings that allow string instruments to dip into lower ranges.  Adding a fifth string to a violin gives it the added lower range of a viola C.  A sixth string goes a fifth lower to F, and a seventh string lower still to B-flat.  There is even such a thing as an E-flat string for violin, that goes a half-step lower in range than the double bass!  Cellists can explore extended range as well, adding  a low F string, or a high E string on top, to lessen the need to go into thumb-position.  If you like the tuning of your violin just the way it is, but still want to delve into deeper ranges, consider octave strings, which are designed to fit your instrument’s scale length but sound a full octave lower. Read our article on 5-string to learn more.

Which is better–the NS Design WAV or the Yamaha SV-130?

The Yamaha will look more like your acoustic violin, but both are quite ergonomic. In fact, one might argue the NS Design WAV is a bit more ergonomic, despite its unique shape. This is because it has a very advanced shoulder rest system that allows adjustment of height, tilt and angle! The Yamaha SV-130 comes with a detachable Kun-style shoulder rest that is only adjustable by angle and height, and only about half an inch for either.

As for tone, both sound quite good. The WAV is passive (no preamp), whereas the Yamaha SV-130 has on-board electronics that power a headphone output (for ‘silent’ practice). The SV-130 also accepts an auxiliary input, so you can play (or practice through headphones) along with prerecorded accompaniment, or your favorite tunes!

For a quiet headphone practice solution, the Yamaha has the edge for the convenience of a headphone jack, though the NS Design can be plugged into another device with a headphone output (such as amp or effects processor) for quiet practice as well. For ergonomics the NS Design has a slight edge due to the more adjustable design and removable upper bout (for unimpeded shifting). In terms of tone and price they are both in the same ballpark. It really depends on your intended use for the instrument, your level of pickiness over shoulder rests and your preference for looks.

How are the NS Design WAV, CR and NXT series instruments different?

NS Design’s instrument lines share Ned Steinberger’s genius for instrument design, with a focus on exceptional ergonomics, and a clean, minimalist aesthetic yet the three differ in price, functionality and overall build quality.
The top of the line from NS is the ‘CR-series,’ so named for their production by master craftsmen in the Czech Republic. These instruments feature high quality rock maple bodies and precision machined metal hardware and parts. The CR series includes violins, violas, cellos and electric upright basses, and these instruments have a powerful and highly functional onboard preamp with a volume control, separate treble and bass controls, and a three position toggle for acoustic tone, electric tone and sustained pizzicato.
The NXT series is available in violin, cello, and bass versions. Though lower in price, they are built in the same facility in the Czech Republic as the CR instruments, and utilize the same excellent materials. The NXT’s are available in transparent amber sunburst and satin black finishes. While they use the same Polar™ pickup technology as the CR-series, they are passive instruments, meaning they do not have a preamp. There are, however, passive volume and tone control knobs.
The WAV series is only available in a violin version, and is the most affordable NS Design instrument. Like the NXT it is passive, with only volume knob and treble cut tone control. The same excellent ergonomic design and precision tuning mechanism as the CR-series are employed. The maple and metal, while sturdy and reliable, are of a somewhat lesser quality than the Czech-made counterparts. The WAV violin is available in gloss amber, red and black finishes.

Can you hear a “silent” violin?

No electric violin is truly silent.  If you’ve ever strummed the strings of an unplugged electric guitar, you have a sense of the level of sound generated by drawing a bow across the strings of a solid body string instrument.  So-called “silent practice” is made possible when a solid body instrument is equipped with a headphone jack.  This allows the player to hear the amplified tone of the instrument privately, while the small amount of sound generated by bowing the strings cannot be heard outside the practice room. Read our article on ‘silent’ instrument loudness comparisons to learn more.

Should I get a mic or a pickup?

Mics or pickups each work well for separate applications.  A pickup generates an electrical signal by amplifying vibrations passed from the strings through the bridge, whereas microphone amplifies the actual sound of the violin.  A microphone will therefore generally provide a more accurate reproduction of the violin’s tone, but is more subject to issues such as “boominess” and feedback.  Many pickup options are less expensive than microphones and will actually work better than microphones in louder environments, such as on-stage with a band, where extraneous sounds may be picked up by a microphone and higher noise levels can create feedback. If you’re still unsure, check out our article on choosing mics and pickups.

Do you sell ‘wireless pickups’?

Please read this brief article to learn how to amplify your instrument wirelessly.

Do you send instruments out on approval?

Please follow this link to learn more.

What is your returns policy?

Follow the link to read our full returns policy and read instructions on how to return your items to us.

What does an electric violin sound like?

In short, any way you want it to sound!  Through use of EQ and effects, you can drastically alter the tone and sound of your playing, from mild…to wild.  One important point to note is that no electric will sound exactly like your acoustic.  We often describe electric instruments to customers as “acoustic sounding,” but this term is quite relative, and you should keep in mind that even the most natural sounding electric is still an electric.  Use the purchase of your electric instrument as an opportunity to explore new sounds!

How do I add effects?

Adding effects can be as simple as adding reverb to warm up your tone.  They can also change your sound drastically through use of distortion, delay and modulation.  You can buy individual effects as stomp-boxes, but for most players we recommend a multi-effects processor that will allow you to explore and even create scores of different tones.  The effects processors we carry start at $79 and range up to $499. Read our article for more information about choosing an effects processor.

Can I use my regular bow?  Strings?  Rosin?

Yes, yes and yes! Electric instruments use normal strings under normal tension. Therefore, any traditional horsehair bow and rosin combo will work. That said, there is tremendous variation in bow quality, which will affect your tone and technique greatly. We deal exclusively in synthetic bows, ranging from beginner level fiberglass, to carbon composite, to professional level braided carbon fiber bows.  These bows are highly durable and provide excellent tone production and feel while saving money compared to the expense of comparable quality wood bows.

What strings do you recommend for fretted violins?

If it’s a 4 or 5-string fretted violin D’Addario NS Electric braided core steel strings will provide great tone and longer life with rubbing against the frets.

NS Electric strings aren’t made for the 6th or 7th strings however, but we do recommend the Super-Sensitive ‘Sensicore’ perlon-core strings. They perform well on Jordan violins with relatively little fret wear over the normal life of the strings and sound very focused and warm.

If it’s a 6 or 7-string Wood Violins Viper you’re playing, we recommend a special set of strings that mix the aforementioned extended-range Sensicore strings with titanium-wound Helicore D and A strings, which will stand up against wear on the higher profile Viper frets better than their nickle-wound counterparts. View our mixed Viper string sets here.

Do I need a preamp?

To find out if an instrument you are interested in has a preamp already refer to the description of the instrument in question.  Instruments described as ‘active’ are already equipped with a preamp.  Instruments described as ‘passive,’ do not have a preamp.  Passive instruments may not require an external preamp though, depending on the type of pickup, the quality of its signal, and the amp it is paired with.  Having a preamp can never hurt though, and if nothing else will give you better control over volume, gain and possibly tone.  Read this article to learn more about choosing a preamp.

Do I need an amp?  Cables?

If your only intention is silent practice, than a set of headphones will be sufficient, provided your instrument has a headphone jack.  If not, you will need some other device, such as an amp or effects processor that does have a headphone jack, which will then require a cable.

If you want to be heard by others, you will need amplifier, or the ability to connect to a PA (Public Address) system through a soundboard.  This will require at least one cable.  Each preamp stage you add between yourself and the speaker will require the addition of one cable.  Contact us for assistance with determining the number, type and length of cables required for your performance application.

Does it come with a bow or case?

Some instruments do and others don’t.  Please refer to the description of the instrument in question.

Do you sell outside of the US?

We do ship worldwide, and have sold to customers in 43 countries and counting. For more information about making a purchase from outside the United States, please visit our Customer Service page.

Is my instrument covered under warranty?  For how long?

Please refer to the description of the product in question.  Some manufacturer warranties, with links to their pages are provided here.  If you are having an issue with your instrument, call us right away for guidance.  The solution may be a simple one!

13 Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Michael says:

    May I know that, you say u do ship worldwide, but for Asia, Malaysia, we need to pay the shipping cost? And the price is for just the violin right?

  2. Alitza says:

    Where do you plug in an amp on an electric violin?

    • duncan says:

      Look for an output jack on the violin (usually a 1/4 inch output) and use a cable to connect it to an input (also usually 1/4 inch) on the amplifier. Feel free to call us toll-free at 866-900-8400 for assistance.

  3. Dakota says:

    Can i use a regular violin bridge on an electric violin? or do i need a special Bridge?

    • duncan says:

      It depends on the violin, as some models have a pickup integrated into the bridge itself. For many models though, such as Yamaha Silent violins, a standard maple bridge is used. Any violin you buy will have the correct bridge installed already though.

  4. Brayan says:

    I’m looking to be purchasing an electric violin. I have a question, are there any extended payment plans? If so, what are the options?
    Much appreciated!

  5. Warren Rudolph says:

    I Got an Electric Violin And People Say If You Want To Hear Yourself Playing Just Plug In The Headphone INto The Violin I Did That And I Still Dont Hear Nothing What Should I Do?

    • duncan says:

      Your violin must have a headphone jack and preamp (with battery power) in order to play through headphones. If yours does and is not working, you may need to change the battery out or contact the seller or manufacturer about the problem.

  6. Inti says:

    Where and how much can I get Wood Violins Stingray SV-4
    cables? For the starters package.

    Thank you.

  7. Deirdre says:

    Do the Barcus Berry violins need a preamp? Hard to find more information about them…

    • duncan says:

      A preamp is always helpful for tone, but not required. Usually a good set of strings and a decent quality acoustic amp with good tone controls will be enough to make the Barcus sound great amplified. For basic tone improvement you could try the ART Tube MP for under $50. For more advance tone and feedback controls, check into some of our more advanced preamp offerings.

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