EVS Blog

  1. "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).
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  2. Violin as Keynote Speaker?

    What sounds are possible on a violin? Electric violins have certainly expanded the way string players can answer that question. Violinist David “Dixon” Hammond used this example to great effect in a 'speech' titled "Doing The Impossible," in which he illustrates the disparity between what is forsaken as impossible and what can be achieved through optimism and the will to find a way. Video of his speech is after the jump.
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  3. Rebranding An Evolving Strings Pedagogy

    **Update** -- Christian Howes now offers his improv method in an online video lesson subscription program called 'Creative Strings Academy.' Sign up for a free trial subscription here!
    Christian Howes


    Over a year ago in his article "The Turning Tide in Strings Education" EVS's Duncan Monserud identified the changes in attitude towards non-classical styles that have taken place in recent years within the world of strings pedagogy. What has become increasingly accepted within strings education is actually the nebulous coming-together of teaching influences from many styles and methods outside the classical tradition, up until now labeled 'alternative styles' and considered an optional addendum to the traditional classical strings education. Violinist and educator Christian Howes has boldly taken the next step in calling for the integration of 'alt-styles' values -- namely the teaching of improvisation, harmony and composition skills to young strings players, regardless of style -- into the mainstream methodology. His must-read article in the latest issue of Strings Magazine, "Let’s Rebrand the So-Called Alternative Styles Movement" intrepidly puts forth a new manifesto not only to rebrand the amorphous 'alt-styles' movement, but to redefine the mainstream strings education in a more holistic and comprehensive manner. We applaud Mr. Howes' initiative and will continue to do our part to foster any means of putting the tools of musical creativity in the hands and hearts of string players.
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  4. 'The Talking Violin'


    Julie Lyonn Lieberman is a renowned violinist, pedagogue, composer, author of a multitude of violin method books and style primers and--not least of all--a historian. Over the years Ms. Lieberman has researched, interviewed musicians, written articles and produced radio programs documenting the too-often overlooked role of the violin in America's musical heritage. The 'String Player's Corner' on her website julielyonn.com is a veritable treasure trove for violinists, violists and cellists interested in non-classical styles. In addition to offerings from her extensive catalog of books and media you will find here what is truly a primary source in American violin history--the five-part radio program entitled 'The Talking Violin.'
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  5. Don't give up...call an expert!

    by Blaise Kielar, owner, Electric Violin Shop At Electric Violin Shop a big part of what we do is to interpret the electronics world for string players for whom amplification gear is quite foreign. This involves making expert gear recommendations as well as offering top-notch support after the sale. Inexperienced electric players can have difficulty troubleshooting their new equipment and often overlook minor tweaks or user errors that cause them difficultly. I remember one violinist who was ready to junk an electric violin, when all that was needed was a fresh battery! We understand the varying levels of comfort folks have when new to electrics. Our focus is not just to get you amplified but to keep you satisfied in your new musical surroundings—and we’re always just an email or phone call away.
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  6. How to turn your violin (or viola) into a 'chin cello'

    Now, we all know that most violinists chose their instrument in part because they cherish the singing high melody you can play way up on the E string, and that violists chose their instrument because they got confused on instrument picking day...I'm sorry -- couldn't resist. At any rate, most of us high strings players are generally pretty comfortable and satisfied in our respective tessitura. But from time to time, at least I and I'm sure most of you, have wondered what it would be like to dig into that low cello C string and rumble the stage a bit, though we violinists (1st violinists, especially) would never admit jealousy of another string instrument aloud. We at Electric Violin Shop would like to save high string players the potential embarrassment of being caught sampling a cello after rehearsal -- hey, we've all done it once -- by letting you know that your own violin (or viola) can rumble the low notes. And those J.S. Bach cello suites you've been searching for a violin transcription of? Well, polish up your bass clef reading and play them at pitch! How, you ask? Well, there are two fun, easy ways...

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  7. 2011 Summer String Camps

    Christian Howes rocks out with attendees of his
    Creative Strings Workshop in Columbus, Ohio.

    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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  8. NYC Show Features EVS-Wired North Carolina String Section

    'Lost In the Tress' of nearby Chapel Hill, NC added their unique blend of strings and horns to a star-studded live performance of the 1970's American rock-band Big Star's album "Third" last weekend at Mason Hall in New York City. Of course, Fishman pickups were provided for the string section by yours truly, Electric Violin Shop. Read on to learn more and view a video of the performance.
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  9. Real tone, real simple? -- Realist violin

    Realist RV5 Pro

    How quickly could you be gigging amplified? It's not as difficult or time consuming as you might think to go electric, especially if you give us a call for guidance to get you started. Nor do you have to necessarily dive into a flashy solid body instrument. Sometimes acoustic fiddlers just want a simple, reliable way to plug in and be heard, without a lot of hassle. If this is you, consider the Realist series acoustic-electric violins by David Gage String Instruments.

    Electric Violin Shop customer Rick May sent along the following message and video about his recent Realist violin purchase. His experience reinforces what we know about the Realist -- that it is a plug and play solution for amplified strings that sounds great and, unlike many pickups an clip-on mics, requires no difficult installation or expertise whatsoever to use. A Realist shipped with a careful EVS setup can go from out of the box and onto the stage in no time flat! Here's what Rick had to say:

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  10. An Innovative Recording Method

    EVS customer and NS Design NXT bassist Grant Emerson recently shared with us an mp3 of his band Delta Rae's song "Deliver." [Listen to "Deliver" here] I was struck by the "acoustic authenticity" of his arco bass tone, so much so that I felt compelled to inquire about his recording method. We at Electric Violin Shop are already aware of just how great the NS Design NXT-series basses sound, especially for passive instruments, but there was something additionally special about Grant's almost cellistic bowed tone. Grant was kind enough to accommodate my curiosity with his explanation of an even more unique and innovative recording method than I imagined.

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  11. Electric Violin Shop (a blog by John Silzel)

    Thanks to our friend, colleague and partner John Silzel for his kind words in this very well written blog post. http://silzel.com/cgi-bin/weblog.cgi?blogfile=110222 John's blog, "Where the Rosin Meets the Road" is featured in our Blogroll to the right. Visit him there often!
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  12. Artist Interview Series: Scott Laird

    17m 33s
    Scott Laird Scott Laird
    Nationally renowned string educator Scott Laird joins us to discuss his views on the use of amplification in string education. Scott is the Fine Arts Coordinator at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, where he also teaches strings and conducts the orchestra. He serves as a clinician on behalf of NS Design instruments and D'Addario strings and is a frequent presenter at ASTA and MENC conferences. You may listen to our full conversation above and we encourage you to visit the following sites for more of Scott's teaching and materials, which are excellent resources for string educators and students alike! Music credit: "Wherever You Are," written and recorded by Scott Laird, from his 1998 CD Free Way
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  13. A visit from 'Sweet Plantain'

    Sweet Plantain is a genre-bending acoustic string quartet that combines classical training with an affinity for latin, jazz, and afro-cuban styles creating highly energetic original compositions and arrangements as well as performing contemporary works by Latin American composers. On February 18th the group--in North Carolina to perform as part of NCSU's Center Stage concert series--took the opportunity to stop by our shop in Durham.

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  14. Artist Interview Series: Ion Zanca

    EVS is pleased to announce our new Artist Interview Series. The inaugural installation is a conversation we had with violist Ion Zanca of Dallas String Quartet. Ion discussed with us the implications of his group's recent decision to go electric and enlightens classical musicians of the pros and cons involved in making that transition.
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  15. 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.
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  16. The Turning Tide in Strings Education

    Growing up studying classical music and the violin, I often found myself jealous of the training that jazz students were receiving. It seemed they were taught to be working musicians, capable of picking up their instrument and adding a meaningful part to any musical performance without guidance from a part or score. Meanwhile, classical string pedagogy binds students to the notes written on the page and teaches only the historical common-practice styles of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods.
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  17. Amplification vs. Sound Reinforcement

    Great Tone At Any Volume

    by Blaise Kielar

    OK, I must confess I've got a license plate that reads PLAY LOUD. And, one advantage of loud is that it tends to inspire creative dancing. However, I am not a fan of too-loud concerts. If attending a rock show, I'll wear earplugs that filter anything above a comfortable decibel level. My favorite events are those that approximate unamplified musicians in a place with great acoustics. As more string players go electric, how do we preserve the tone we love?

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