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Learning Electric Violin?
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Malachi
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August 13, 2014 - 2:39 pm
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Hiya! I'm new to this site, and very new to the violin in general. I've always wanted to learn how to play, and have decided to finally go for it. However, what I want to learn isn't the usual "classical" violin. So I'm not sure where/how to start.

 

What I'd like to learn is how to play electric or metal violin. I've done a wee bit of researching, and my understanding is that an electric violin is just a normal-sounding violin but amplified to be louder. How would I go about getting some wicked distortion on the sound? Like, there's a very clear difference between acoustic and electric guitar, but it doesn't seem to be that kind of difference for violin? I'd like the violin to sound like it belongs in either a metal or goth or progressive rock band. 

 

Here's some examples:

 --perfect example

and anything by Lindsey Stirling, obviously. Sure, it's not rock/metal, but it's definitely not classical either.

 

Also, how would I go about actually learning this style? I'm guessing there's not many guides or teachers for this kind of thing. 

 

I've wanted to learn to play the violin ever since I was really little and saw "Queen of the Damned" (and read all the Anne Rice books afterwards). I mean, c'mon, Lestat is the badass violin rockstar that everybody secretly wants to be, right? 

 

So if anybody could point me in the right direction, I'd be very appreciative. What kind of violin should I be looking to buy - electric silent or electric solidbody? Or is it better to learn on pure acoustic? Are there any learning materials that don't use classical music? Do I need a special violin amp to get the metal/rock sound and if so, where do I get one?

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coolpinkone
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August 13, 2014 - 3:01 pm
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Hello and Welcome!

I can't answer on learning on the E violin.. and how to be a rock violinist.  I would still suppose it begins with learning the basics and then progressing into the genre that you  want.

I just wanted to say Hello.  I love Anne Rice's, The Witching Hour, and Lasher, I have yet to read the last book in the series (Taltos), I am eager to read it, I believe that one takes us over to Scotland?

Anyway... Good luck and enjoy your journey.

Toni.

 

PS.  Lestat is pretty BadA.. :)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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August 13, 2014 - 3:55 pm
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Hi Malachi.  Welcome to the Fiddlerman.com forums.

Easy question first.. No it doesn't take a special amp.  Most of the ones that can sound decent with an electric guitar could sound decent with an electric violin.  Most of the same effects pedals work for either, as well. 

You can get distortion the same way that you do with electric guitar.  Either a pedal or overdriving the amp. 

Should you learn on a "pure acoustic" violin first?  In my opinion, only if you want to be able to play one.  Much like with guitars, there are some differences between acoustic and electric in how they are played.  What I would suggest is getting the one that you actually have the most interest in first.  If you want to play electric, go with electric.  If you can't get the sounds that you are after out of the instrument, then you aren't as likely to stick with it and keep your enthusiasm going.  

How to go about learning it?  That's a trickier question.  You can find tons of websites dedicated to teaching folks how to play "classical" music, bluegrass, old-time and etc.. But little or nothing that I've seen so far on playing metal, rock or etc.

Fortunately, notes, scales, beats and etc are the same.  So for learning the bare basics for playing the instrument, you can use basic educational materials for "classical" or bluegrass, etc.

Do you have any background in maybe playing another instrument in metal/rock bands, like guitar or keyboards?

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Malachi
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August 13, 2014 - 4:16 pm
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DanielB said
Hi Malachi.  Welcome to the Fiddlerman.com forums.

Easy question first.. No it doesn't take a special amp.  Most of the ones that can sound decent with an electric guitar could sound decent with an electric violin.  Most of the same effects pedals work for either, as well. 

You can get distortion the same way that you do with electric guitar.  Either a pedal or overdriving the amp. 

Should you learn on a "pure acoustic" violin first?  In my opinion, only if you want to be able to play one.  Much like with guitars, there are some differences between acoustic and electric in how they are played.  What I would suggest is getting the one that you actually have the most interest in first.  If you want to play electric, go with electric.  If you can't get the sounds that you are after out of the instrument, then you aren't as likely to stick with it and keep your enthusiasm going.  

How to go about learning it?  That's a trickier question.  You can find tons of websites dedicated to teaching folks how to play "classical" music, bluegrass, old-time and etc.. But little or nothing that I've seen so far on playing metal, rock or etc.

Fortunately, notes, scales, beats and etc are the same.  So for learning the bare basics for playing the instrument, you can use basic educational materials for "classical" or bluegrass, etc.

Do you have any background in maybe playing another instrument in metal/rock bands, like guitar or keyboards?

Awesome. Any amps/pedals you can recommend? What about a recommendation for a beginner electric violin I should buy? I read that it's best to change the strings when buying a beginner violin, is this still the case for an electric?

 

And my only musical experience is from mixing music on my computer. Took a few guitar lessons when I was younger but didn't stick with it. 

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DanielB
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August 13, 2014 - 5:02 pm
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There are so many options on gear.. Much like if you asked the question on a guitar forum, there could be hundreds of answers, at least.

What I'd recommend first is checking out Pierre's review of one of the Cecilio electrics.  More than a review, it explains a bit about electric violins and he demonstrates some effects and etc, which just txt in a reply really can't do so well.

In most cases, changing the strings is a good idea.  Even if it was strung with something decent, usually it will have sat in a warehouse and they can already be pretty stiff and dead. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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gwscheer
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August 13, 2014 - 10:14 pm
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Hi, @Malachi , and welcome to the fiddlerman forum. I started playing electric violin about a year and a half ago, after 40 plus years of playing guitar. I play lead guitar in two bands, a jazz trio and 70's "oldies" band, and chose an electric violin to get enough volume to not get overpowered in the mix for either band. I took two lessons to make sure i understood the basic holds and fundamental techniques, and then watched a lot of fiddlerman videos.  For your interests, most of the videos apply.Especially important for more modern music I reccommend the fiddlerman series on blues / blues improvisation.  Those will help you with all modern music. If you are most interested in electric violin, i recommend that you learn on an electric violin. That is what i did.

Fiddlershop.com is a good source for an electric violin and advice. We trust the proprieter, @Fiddlerman .  For pedals, as a minimum i recommend an equalizer and delay; Use an equalizer at the front of the effects chain, to tame the harshness of electric violin pickups before you feed them into pedals. An analog or digital delay fattens up the tone and adds the effect of playing in a large hall. I use a Fishman Platinum as the equalizer (See fiddlershop page) and an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay, but there a lot of others that would be equivalent  Beyond the minimum, reverb ,  stereo chorus, flanger, and overdrive might help you get the sound you want. For a smaller cost, you can get a lot of effects in a multieffects pedal instead of buying and wiring a whole bunch of individual pedals.   And, you need something to send the amplified signal to, whether it is a small guitar amplifier, or into a mixer for a public address system, or maybe just a headphone amplifier or computer interface.

I hope this is helpful to you.  Hey, you might try listening to Fuse on youtube, Linzi Stoppard & Ben Lee, if you like electric rock violin   gws

"Make every note beautiful", Ivan Galamian

“To play a wrong note is INSIGNIFICANT; To play without PASSION is INEXCUSABLE!” , Ludvig Van Beethovan

"It ain't rocket surgery"

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Malachi
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August 14, 2014 - 5:00 pm
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gwscheer said
Hi, @Malachi , and welcome to the fiddlerman forum. I started playing electric violin about a year and a half ago, after 40 plus years of playing guitar. I play lead guitar in two bands, a jazz trio and 70's "oldies" band, and chose an electric violin to get enough volume to not get overpowered in the mix for either band. I took two lessons to make sure i understood the basic holds and fundamental techniques, and then watched a lot of fiddlerman videos.  For your interests, most of the videos apply.Especially important for more modern music I reccommend the fiddlerman series on blues / blues improvisation.  Those will help you with all modern music. If you are most interested in electric violin, i recommend that you learn on an electric violin. That is what i did.

Fiddlershop.com is a good source for an electric violin and advice. We trust the proprieter, @Fiddlerman .  For pedals, as a minimum i recommend an equalizer and delay; Use an equalizer at the front of the effects chain, to tame the harshness of electric violin pickups before you feed them into pedals. An analog or digital delay fattens up the tone and adds the effect of playing in a large hall. I use a Fishman Platinum as the equalizer (See fiddlershop page) and an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay, but there a lot of others that would be equivalent  Beyond the minimum, reverb ,  stereo chorus, flanger, and overdrive might help you get the sound you want. For a smaller cost, you can get a lot of effects in a multieffects pedal instead of buying and wiring a whole bunch of individual pedals.   And, you need something to send the amplified signal to, whether it is a small guitar amplifier, or into a mixer for a public address system, or maybe just a headphone amplifier or computer interface.

I hope this is helpful to you.  Hey, you might try listening to Fuse on youtube, Linzi Stoppard & Ben Lee, if you like electric rock violin   gws

Thanks for that great advice.

 

Ok so I'm going to be ordering that Cecilio violin from the video posted above. But I've been searching for the 'extra' stuff to give the violin that metal sound and I'm totally confused. I just want the simplest setup possible to be able to practice the violin through headphones and still have that metal/rock sound. 

I remember years and years ago, when I was learning guitar, I had a tiny amp that just automatically had the distortion effects built into it that I could switch on/off. Pretty sure it also had a headphone jack. I might go to my local guitar shop and see if I can find another one of those. It didn't have any kind of way to tweak the distortion sound though :/

Is there any way to hook the electric violin up to my computer and play through my computer speakers? If there is, then I can easily find a program that'll give me whatever effects I want.

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gwscheer
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August 14, 2014 - 7:38 pm
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You could just  a multieffects pedal like the Line 6 POD, Boss, or Vox Tonelabs 

for example, this Line 6 POD has distortion and headphone jack

http://www.sweetwater.com/stor.....Mgodam8AAw

as used by this metal violinist

Not really my sound , but maybe that is what you are looking for

"Is there any way to hook the electric violin up to my computer and play through my computer speakers? If there is, then I can easily find a program that'll give me whatever effects I want. "   look at a low-cost guitar headphone amplifier to plug into the line-in input of the computer, or something like the Behringer UCG102 Guitar Link Guitar-to-USB Interface  I have not used it but it should work for what you want to do.

gws 

"Make every note beautiful", Ivan Galamian

“To play a wrong note is INSIGNIFICANT; To play without PASSION is INEXCUSABLE!” , Ludvig Van Beethovan

"It ain't rocket surgery"

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DanielB
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August 15, 2014 - 6:07 am
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If you're looking for something tiny to just hear with something like a set of earbuds, Vox also puts out the "amplug" series.  Very small, they'd fit easily into pretty much any violin case or gigbag.  They don't cost a lot, they do a decent enough job, and they hold up well.  Their limitation is that, like that tiny amp you mentioned having bought before, they're a bit limited so far as flexibility.  

I sometimes use the amplug version of a Vox AC30 for guitar.  That particular one probably isn't the sound you're looking for, but their "classic rock", "metal", or "lead" ones would likely have at least some of the sounds you seem to be thinking of.

That'd be towards the small and inexpensive end of the spectrum of options you might consider.  As gws already mentioned, there are also some multi-FX pedals with a headphone out that would cost a bit more, but would do the same basic job and allow you more flexibility to experiment with different effects and tweak the sounds.

Software amp and fx rack emulators, like you already mentioned, can also be a good low-cost platform for experimenting and trying different FX and emulations of amps and speaker cabs.  The problem with them is that they usually have "latency".  That is a tiny delay between when you do something and you hear it.  Depending on your computer's speed and etc, it may be low enough to ignore, or enough to be annoying or unplayable in practical situations for stage, jams or even practice.  Even so, the free ones can be useful at least for getting an idea what fx or etc you might actually want. 

The sky is the limit when you're talking about gear for rock or metal.  You're probably going to want to start kind of small until you learn how to play, at least.  Otherwise, you can sink an awful lot of money into something that ends up just collecting dust if you don't stick with violin more than you did with guitar.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the little "practice" amps with one or two watts and a small speaker.  Most of them don't sound very good, and they are still often too loud to be able to practice late at night and way too small to jam or gig with.  For late night, I use a headphone amp, and the rest of the time I use this:

http://i96.photobucket.com/alb.....4e6235.jpg

That's a vintage (old) 60 watt tube/valve amp with three 12 inch speakers in the cabinet, and sitting on top of it is a compressor and a multi-FX unit.  It can go quiet enough to practice for all but the very late hours of the night, but is enough that I could gig or jam with it and it would be plenty for most situations.  For violin, I'll usually use that and a volume pedal.  For guitar, I'll usually also use an overdrive box and maybe another multi-fx. 

For recording, I can mic that, or I can run the line-out from the head into my mixing board and then into an audio to usb interface box to get it into the computer.

But what I'm saying is it is a matter of trying some things and finding out what you like and what sounds you want and what works for you, and then finding some gear you can afford that can deliver it. 

The suggestion gws made of a multi-fx pedal with a headphone jack sounds like a pretty good one.  I've never played with those, but at least then you aren't blowing budget on a practice amp that you aren't likely to have much use for when jamming, gigging or recording.  It would probably give you a good assortment of sounds to work with for starting out, and still be useful enough at gigs later.

If you wanted something smaller and less expensive, something like the Vox amplug series might work, and they hold up pretty well to the typical use and abuse.

But get something to start with and start playing.  Learning to play well enough to get the sounds you want is likely to take more time and work than finding gear will.

devil-violinjimi-hendrixcrossedfingers

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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HotHands
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August 16, 2014 - 5:53 pm
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Coolpinkone is right, learning the basics should be the first step. I never bothered with it myself and now almost 3yrs in i find it very hard to go through my skills book and learn the notes when i can play practically anything by ear. However, learning how to hold the bow and learn different bow strokes is essential. As for distortion? theres a multitude of ME pedals on the market, I use a Boss ME50 and a Jamman2 loop pedal,

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Fiddlerman
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August 17, 2014 - 1:07 pm
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Malachi said
Hiya! I'm new to this site, and very new to the violin in general. I've always wanted to learn how to play, and have decided to finally go for it. However, what I want to learn isn't the usual "classical" violin. So I'm not sure where/how to start.

Not many know the answer to this but one thing for sure is that learning a good solid technique will really make playing other types of music much easier.

What I'd like to learn is how to play electric or metal violin. I've done a wee bit of researching, and my understanding is that an electric violin is just a normal-sounding violin but amplified to be louder. How would I go about getting some wicked distortion on the sound? Like, there's a very clear difference between acoustic and electric guitar, but it doesn't seem to be that kind of difference for violin? I'd like the violin to sound like it belongs in either a metal or goth or progressive rock band. 

Actually that is false IMAO,
The comparison is very similar. Just not with an acoustic electric violin, rather a solid body electric violin. They don't sound like amplified violins at all, just amplified strings. Therefor, it's important to have good effects. Guitar effect pedals are perfect. If you want a wide variety of effects you should begin with a multiple effect processor to learn the differences in sound and names of the effects. Distortion, Wah wah, amp sounds .... Reverb, chorus, echo.... Lot's to play around with.

and anything by Lindsey Stirling, obviously. Sure, it's not rock/metal, but it's definitely not classical either.

Also, how would I go about actually learning this style? I'm guessing there's not many guides or teachers for this kind of thing.

You are guessing right but learning scales, major, minor, arpeggios, riffs and patterns, give you tools that make it easier to ad lib and play by ear.
Also, participating in this forum and staying motivated will help.exactly

I've wanted to learn to play the violin ever since I was really little and saw "Queen of the Damned" (and read all the Anne Rice books afterwards). I mean, c'mon, Lestat is the badass violin rockstar that everybody secretly wants to be, right?

You don't have to convince us. devil-violin

So if anybody could point me in the right direction, I'd be very appreciative. What kind of violin should I be looking to buy - electric silent or electric solidbody? Or is it better to learn on pure acoustic? Are there any learning materials that don't use classical music? Do I need a special violin amp to get the metal/rock sound and if so, where do I get one?

Look forward to hearing about your next steps and following your progress.
Welcome. jimi-hendrix

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but the one who needs the least."

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