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Acoustic vs Unamplified Electric
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DanielB
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November 25, 2012 - 12:10 pm
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This is just a quick comparison, since people often wonder about the difference in volume and sound between an acoustic violin and an electric "solid body" violin when it is played without an amplifier. 

Same mic, same settings, same distance.

 

"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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Tyberius
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November 25, 2012 - 12:33 pm
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Daniel thanks for that. What model is the electric that was played? I did play a Cecilio cev4 about a week ago and noticed a substantial drop in Db over my Accoustic. Yours sounded closer to your accoustic then the one I played, but I did hear quite a drop.

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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DanielB
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November 25, 2012 - 1:13 pm
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Never have figured out what model or make it is, Ty.  Some folks have made guesses, but not any I'd say were definitive.

 

100_0152.JPGImage Enlarger

 

It was just about the cheapest one on amazon at the time, ran me about 80$. 

After I got it, I put a set of 4 fine tuners on it, a new set of strings, knobs I liked better, and I redid the internal electronics.  Call that about 30$ total.

So it is still probably one of the cheapest electrics you'll see on this forum. LOL

I had the mic set up about 2 inches from the strings in both recordings, to give an idea how much difference there is to the player's ear.  If it had been further away, the drop would probably have been greater.

I kept bow pressure and speed about the same for both instruments.  Not as loud as they can be played, but not as quiet either, just pretty much average playing volume.

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"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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Picklefish
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November 25, 2012 - 1:40 pm
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without a resonance "belly" I would expect an unplugged electric to be much quieter. Maybe not so much to the player but definately to the audience. Since I have no experience with an electric, I am basing this on my limited understanding of physics.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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DanielB
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November 25, 2012 - 8:02 pm
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Well, yes.  And the recording demonstrates that, Pf.  Almost all one hears is the vibrating strings themselves and a very little bit from the bit of body an electric has.

At least in theory, for a "solid body" electric it should have as little acoustic sound as possible.  I could go into the physics reasons, but that would get long and technical.

Mine is a bit louder without an amp than some, since it isn't really solid.  The body is a hollow internally cross-braced shape made of what a friend of mine who knows plastic refers to as "glass filled epoxy". 

I can't really complain for the price.  It has been reliable, holds tune, has decent action, and gets some sounds I like.  It has also survived some accidents like getting knocked off the table to the floor with no problems (doesn't even have a soundpost to worry about).  

Under the "If I knew then what I know now" things, even though I like the kinda wild shape, I might pick one a bit more "standard".  The differences made it hard to find a shoulder rest that fit, and if I had needed a different chin rest that would also have been a headache since the clamp is a bit shorter than on an acoustic 4/4.  

But I can play it late at night without disturbing anyone, and it does the job.  It is quiet enough when played without an amp or with headphones.  With a reasonable club/gig sized amp and speakers, though..

 

100_0256.JPGImage Enlarger

 

... it could easily go toe to toe with any electric lead guitar run through similar gear. 

That's the thing with "solid body" type electrics.  With no amp/speakers they are very quiet, enough so that most people could definitely play at 2 am or whatever without bothering anyone.  But run through an amp with enough "muscle", they can go as loud as any gig would ever need.   

Even if I didn't like that electric violin sound, I'd still consider it worth owning one just for the "practice any time" capability.  I was also very glad of it being real quiet the first few weeks I was playing when I was figuring out the basics of intonation and getting something like a steady tone when bowing.  LOL

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"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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Fiddlerman
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November 26, 2012 - 4:53 am
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DanielB said

Even if I didn't like that electric violin sound, I'd still consider it worth owning one just for the "practice any time" capability.  I was also very glad of it being real quiet the first few weeks I was playing when I was figuring out the basics of intonation and getting something like a steady tone when bowing.  LOL

Good tip Daniel. I know exactly what you mean.thumbs-up And of course you are right, the completely solid body violins are a bit quieter.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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whitepawrolls
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January 4, 2013 - 8:10 pm
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I have one of those as well (was my very first) and a Cecillio CEVN. Trying both those electrics side by side the plastic cheapy is quite a bit louder than my solid wood Cecillio.

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DanielB
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whitepawrolls said
I have one of those as well (was my very first) and a Cecillio CEVN. Trying both those electrics side by side the plastic cheapy is quite a bit louder than my solid wood Cecillio.

Yeah, the body is hollow with some cross-bracing, so it does have a bit more acoustic sound than a more solid design would.  It is still, however, definitely quiet enough for practice any time. 

For being about the least expensive electric I've ever seen, I have to say that mine has been a trooper.  It usually "lives" on the kitchen table, and has sometimes been knocked off the table and fallen to the floor, small children have run off with it to play it rather rough as if it were a tiny guitar.. It's a tough little thing.

I do have to say though, that is wasn't great right out of the box.  The bridge needed trimmed, the factory set of strings were awful, the tuning pegs slipped and the one fine tuner it had was broken.  But those are all easily fixable and seem to be about typical problems of any violin in that price range.  To a degree, "you get what you pay for".  Use a little sandpaper on the plastic pegs to give them enough "tooth" to be able to hold, put on a somewhat better set of cheap strings, trim the bridge a bit, a nicer set of fine tuners doesn't cost much, and it's been a dependable little instrument.

I also did a few changes most people wouldn't.  I replaced some of the electronics with circuitry I built.  The electronic "innards" weren't very well made, and I didn't feel they'd hold up or perform as well as I would want.  I tuned the afterlength, which led to a problem since the vibrations  through the instrument got stronger, and some places where the back meets the crossbracing started to rattle.  So I went through and put in dabs of silicon caulk at some of the trouble spots, others needed a bit of thin foam until the instrument was sufficiently rattle-proofed. 

But that sort of treatment isn't really unusual for any instrument to get it ready for gigging or recording.  You can end up having to do many of the same things on a brand new electric guitar or keyboard if you want it to be really reliable and good for studio or stage.  "Boutique" shops charge plenty to do such things for musicians who do tours or studio work, and it is common practice.  In normal student or home type usage, though, it isn't usually necessary.  But with all mods and parts (including strings) I've still only paid a little over 100$ for this instrument and that is dirt cheap for an instrument where I wouldn't hesitate to take it to a jam, gig or recording session. 

I would definitely buy another, if I can find the same model.  It's a nice little "battle-axe" that I'd definitely take onto a stage or into a studio, and I like it enough that a back-up or two wouldn't be a bad idea.  LOL  But I have also been thinking of buying something like one of the CVNs though, to have an electric that is more violin shaped and where I might not need to use a shoulder rest, where the balance and the upper and C-bouts would be more standard in shape. 

I had been thinking that the solid wood frames of the CVN types would probably have less acoustic vibration (which is desirable in "solid body" type electric instruments), so thank you, whitepawrolls.  Great to hear it from someone who actually has both.  I have to ask though if there is anything that you do *not* like about the CVN electric violins?

"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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whitepawrolls
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January 7, 2013 - 5:57 am
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Yea I actually liked this one except for 2 problems. One was finding a chin rest to fit it, and 2 once I noticed that it warped under tension I always seem to see that warp. Those 2 reasons are why I got the cecillio to replace it.

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Fiddlerman
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January 7, 2013 - 9:08 am
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Sorry to hear about your problem. Which instrument did you buy? What exactly is it that warped?

If it is a Cecilio you have a one year warranty.
"Cecilio Musical Instruments warrants its instruments to be free of defect in material and construction for 1-year from the date of purchase."

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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whitepawrolls
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January 8, 2013 - 7:38 am
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Sorry to hear about your problem. Which instrument did you buy? What exactly is it that warped?

If it is a Cecilio you have a one year warranty.
"Cecilio Musical Instruments warrants its instruments to be free of defect in material and construction for 1-year from the date of purchase."

 

Oh it wasn't the cecillio that warped. It was the plastic one I got from Music Basics. similar to the one in this thread. It starts to warp right under the bridge as the strings are tightened so that if you set it on a flat surface after tuning it will rock a bit.

 

http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/music-.....813942.gif

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DanielB
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January 8, 2013 - 2:15 pm
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Some differences in design and fittings, but yeah, my electric is plastic.  According to a friend who knows plastics, it is glass filled epoxy mostly with different parts and sections being made of carbon composite this and yadda-yadda that.  Maybe I'm naive, but I think of all that stuff as plastic and wasn't really pleased to find out the only wood on my electric was the bridge.

I personally expected it to bend just as you described or just break fairly soon.  But actually, it has stayed good and straight and solid.  I did take off the factory strings almost immediately, and put on medium strings.  That might have made a difference.  

But if the instrument can't physically handle nasty dead sounding strings that feel like coat-hanger wire when you play, then they really shouldn't ship them with those installed. LOL

Both my electric and my old Mendini came with strings that were pretty awful, and I have a theory that really crappy strings are one of the main things that make inexpensive violins sound and play bad.

I've always been of the opinion that the first thing to do when getting any brand new stringed instrument is to put on new strings, and that the ones they put on them in the factory are just to hold the parts together or keep a minimum amount of tension while the instrument is in a warehouse or shipping.  They will usually at least be so dead that the instrument will sound flat and lifeless without a string change.

 

"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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