[caption id="" align="alignright" width="250"] Bridge Golden Tasman 5-string violin[/caption]
Is there a market for an electro-acoustic violin in the $4,000 price range? Can any acoustic-electric really be that much better than its $2,000 and under competition? These are two of the questions that initially made us skeptical towards the high-end Golden Tasman electro-acoustics from Bridge Violins in the UK.
Having seen, played, heared, photographed and soldl the four-string, five-string, and octave Bridge Golden Tasmans, we can no longer doubt. For anyone who can afford to say that exceptional tone is more important than price the Bridge Golden Tasmans are a fantastic choice.
Watch video of the Golden Tasman octave 5-string being played here.
The bodies for Bridge’s Golden Tasman violins are manufactured in China, and their construction is, for the most part, traditional. Necks are carved from a single piece of maple; backs and sides are of relatively well-matched flamed maple; and tops are tight grained spruce. Cosmetically, the varnish is heavily antiqued.
There are three main deviations from standard violin design, two cosmetic and one functional. Cosmetic changes include modified f-holes with a lightning-bolt design in the center, and the pegbox, inspired by the Stadivari 1710 Viola da Gamba, that has become a trademark of Bridge Violins, with a lightning bolt inlay in place of the stylized lowercase "b" that marks their line of purely electric instruments.
The violin's output jack, which is inset into the left side of its two-piece back (see image at left), is the Golden Tasman's most functional innovation. While it initially looks a bit awkward, in use it proves to be a stroke of design genius. For those classically-trained violinists who don't use a shoulder rest, this is the first design we’ve seen that makes it possible to comfortably position the body of the violin on your shoulder with the cable plugged in.
Under the ear, the Golden Tasman’s tone is sweet and complex, with plenty of color, but it’s not a big sound, and its projection isn’t what you’d expect from a comparably-priced acoustic violin. It’s important to check that particular expectation at the door. This isn’t your acoustic violin; it serves a completely different need, one that even the best acoustic violins aren’t capable of satisfying.
Both the four and five string Golden Tasman violins have a noticeably stronger output than any other acoustic-electric we’ve carried. It’s not just a difference in volume, either – these instruments have unrivaled richness and complexity of tone, almost immediately compelling you to stop and listen. As for the Golden Tasman Octave “chin cello”, its amplified sound mimics a good acoustic cello so convincingly that you might be inclined to doubt the evidence of your eyes.
If a Golden Tasman violin is your first foray into the world of amplified strings, you're going to start happy with your tone and stay that way. If you've been wrestling with less-than-satisfying compromises for years, a Golden Tasman might be the Holy Grail of tone that you've been seeking all along. Either way, we're confident that you will be thrilled with this instrument's incredible amplified tone. We think you'll agree that Bridge's Golden Tasman electro-acoustic violins more than deliver on their initial promise. The resulting four-string, five-string, and octave violins are among the best available at any price, and in the eyes and ear of our satisfied customers, have already proven themselves worthy of the premium price they command.
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