Amplifying a musical instrument requires some way of transmitting an electrical signal from the instrument to an amp to a speaker. The simplest and cheapest way to do this is with an instrument cable, physically connecting your instrument to the signal chain that includes effects, amplifier and speakers. But performers (and indeed, stage mangers) know firsthand about the annoying, complicated mess that cables present. There's the "black spaghetti" of tangled instrument and mic cables on stage that make setup and tear down a hassle; there's the tripping hazard for you and your bandmates on stage; and, last but not least, there's the loss of the feeling of freedom to move, especially for violinists and violists who are not accustomed to being tethered down and tugged on by a weighty cord coming out of their instrument.
If you've ever wished you could "plug in" without actually plugging in, then a wireless system might be just the thing for you. We have three great wireless options, each suited to different types of instruments. Read on to see which wireless system is the one for you.
We love the BOSS Katana amps and there are three pretty solid reasons we recommend them:
- Unlike with many electric guitar amps, the Katanas' acoustic preamp setting allows them to sound great with violins, violas and cellos
- They are extremely affordable for their wattage, huge speaker size and expansive feature sets
- They include a powerful suite of editable digital effects!
The first two are pretty self explanatory. If you're in the market for a gig-worthy amp under $200 then the Katana 50 is simply unbeatable; if you need 100 watts of power for larger venues or to compete with your bandmates and cut through the mix, then the Katana 100 is just a ridiculous value at well under $400!
While it's clear the Katanas would be winners even without them, the onboard effects push these amps over the top, allowing you to perform with a full palette of effects using only your instrument and amp--no expensive pedal board required.
The free BOSS Tone Studio software lets you edit effects and load them into your Katana amp. And although you can switch between effects by turning knobs and clicking channel buttons on the amp panel, you don't want to have to set your bow down and tweak settings in the middle of a song! That's where BOSS's FS-5L and GA-FC foot controls come in to turn the Katana amps into viable live effects processors. Read on to learn how it works and which one you need with your Katana 50 or Katana 100 amp.
Tina Guo is an internationally acclaimed and Grammy-nominated virtuoso cellist, recording artist, and composer. With a multi-faceted career and mastery in a wide range of genres, her passion for musical exploration, artistic expression, and technology are expressed through live performance and visual media. Tina can also be heard as a featured soloist in many Blockbuster Film, Television, and Game scores.
Los Angeles based Dutch violinist Rachel Grace has been a pioneer in mixing virtuoso violin skills with electronic dance music.
Rachel studied at the Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands, plays anything from classical music to EDM, and is known for her improvisational skills. She plays both electric and acoustic violin and loves to arrange, compose and produce music.
Rachel recorded with and performed for: DJ Tiesto, Annie Lennox, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, Juanes, Daughtry, Tonight Show, Jane the Virgin, Usher, Will.I.Am, Marc Anthony and many others.
She also plays solo shows/events and tours with her electric string band Saga Strings. Learn more about Rachel Grace at www.rachelgracemusic.com.
0:00 Intro: 'Aerodynamic' by Daft Punk, performed by Saga Strings 2:36 Rachel's musical upbringing 4:14 Unfortunate mishap with an 18th-century violin & a high heel 7:23 "Sketchy places lend themselves better to electric." 10:46 Rebelling at conservatory / improvising by ear 12:42 First electric violin 14:48 First EDM gig 19:59 Coming to the U.S. -- meeting Usher & other music celebs 26:15 Music: 'Sing2Me' by Thomas Gold, performed by Saga Strings 28:20 Backstage with Elton John 30:00 Some of the stars Rachel has played with or performed for 34:30 "Would you do this with an electric guitar player?" 42:13 Playing with Saga Strings 44:24 On the importance of learning electric violin technology 45:50 Rig rundown 49:21 Emulating sounds without using effects processors 52:03 Outro music: a spontaneous improv in Rachel's studio
Evan Garr is an up and coming jazz violinist currently touring with legendary jazz fusion and Latin jazz guitarist Al Di Meola. Hailing from Detroit, Evan was discovered at a young age and has spent years perfecting his technical sound and unique style. Evan also writes, performs and records his own music. Enjoy this interview and be sure visit www.evangarrviolinist.com to hear more of Evan's music.
0:00 Music: “Race with the Devil” Al Di Meola w/Evan Garr 2:48 On his musical upbringing and moving from classical into jazz 8:29 Getting into instrument building 9:53 Evan’s current electric violin 11:34 Early gigs (Norman Connors)
13:30 Music: “A New Beginning” from The Chill Out Album, Evan Garr
15:29 How Evan landed a gig with Al Di Meola
21:26 Evan’s rhythm “guitar” and bowing techniques
26:30 Music: “Play Time” - from The Chill Out Album - Evan Garr
28:50 Playing with Jean-Luc Ponty
29:54 On how he learns jazz lines by ear
32:59 Evan’s practice routine
34:46 Looking ahead to new career opportunities
37:52 Music: 313 - The Live Experience featuring Evan Garr
In the inaugural episode of the 'Rockstar Violinist' podcast, Electric Violin Shop's Matt Bell interviews rock violin legend and electric violin pioneer Mark Wood on the floor of the NAMM show. Mark Wood shares stories about:
- his classical viola upbringing
- his entry into rock music
- his experiences performing and touring with world renowned acts like Celine Dion and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- his invention of the Viper electric violin, first as a performance instrument for himself, then as the flagship instrument for his instrument company Wood Violins.
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!
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.Key topics:
- 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
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.
Signal ChainSignal 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
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 (far left) and the new Electric Violin Shop ownership team
It's one of the most common questions we hear: "Do I need a preamp?" As with most tech topics the answer is nuanced, but as a general rule of thumb, yes, electric bowed strings need a preamp, particularly if plugging into a sound board. Watch our video and read below to learn more...
Creative Strings Podcast Episode 14/15 - Songwriting Strategies: A 360 Degree Approach w/ Mark SimosMark 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
- 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
The SetupIn 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.
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.
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…