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Symphony Player "Goes to Bat" for Electric Violins
The nation of electrified bowed strings has a new ambassador . . . and a new anthem! You may have seen Glenn Donnellan's YouTube video of his rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner on a baseball bat:
Mr. Donnellan, a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, used a Louisville slugger to construct an electric violin, which he plays in educational outreach programs.
Recently the bat found itself in familiar surroundings when Donnellan played the national anthem at the August 8th Washington Nationals baseball game, and for the Atlanta Braves' home game on August 17.
As fate would have it, Electric Violin Shop, located in Durham, NC lies conveniently on Donnellan's route from the Atlanta game home to Washington, facilitating a shop visit. Though he'd contacted us on the phone prior to his visit, he did not mention his baseball bat invention. Donnellan maintained anonymity when he arrived and undertook playing every make of violin two-by-two, taking copious notes all the while. Our suspicions were aroused when strains of Vivaldi juxtaposed with Eddie Van Halen solos streamed out of the demo room. Eventually the pieces came together to reveal Mr. Donnellan's true identity: Batman.
Having demo-ed most of what we have to offer, we insisted it was only fair that we be allowed to test-drive his instrument! Mr. Donnellan graciously obliged and allowed Blaise and Duncan to indulge in playtime with the bat. Playing the bat requires some adjustment due mainly to the extreme curvature of the surface, however, with practice it becomes remarkably playable. Donnellan uses a Gage Realist violin transducer to pickup his bat. In anthem performances a Line 6 Pocket Pod provides distortion effects. The bat-specific shoulder pad is not available for sale through EVS, but you can buy officially licensed team logo beer cozies through MLB.com!
"I saw your bat video post - that was hilarious. You guys are the best. Thanks again for all the time you guys gave me. Was a lot of fun, informative, and I'm sure I'll be back...."
Check back here from time to time for updates on Glenn's whereabouts with the bat, as well as his refinements to the bat. He is currently working on replacing the Realist pickup and handmade bridge with a Barbera transducer, modified by Rich Barbera for the unique shape of the instrument.