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Hey all. I hope what I'm about to post isn't considered sacrilege here.
I am a classically-trained violinist who started playing at the age of six and stopped playing when I turned sixteen. I got really burned out on orchestras and my musical tastes changed drastically from all classical all the time to hard-edged rock with some metal thrown in. A couple years ago I picked up an electric guitar and I have been learning to play it ever since, but lately I have been considering going back to the violin. My brain is literally wired from all those years to think in violin which is making it a real challenge to learn another stringed instrument that uses a different layout.
I want to be able to mess with the sound of a violin the way I can mess with the sound of an electric guitar so I have been toying with the idea of getting an electric violin. Is there anybody here who has experience with the instrument that can answer a few questions or give me some pointers? Namely:
1) Can an electric violin be plugged into any old amplifier like an electric guitar or is specialized equipment required?
2) Can different chin rests be attached to an electric violin? During my time playing the acoustic violin I had my chin rest changed from being on the left side to being mounted in the center which for my position was drastically better.
3) Can you use a standard bow with an electric violin? If so I'm assuming you also use rosin?
4) Anything else I should know about electric violin versus acoustic?
Maybe the first thing to know is that the electric violin has no sound post and related luthier visits. (Yippee!)
My e violin is a Bridge Aquila.
It plugs into any amp with 1/4" hardware. Currently using a guitar amp.
The violin contains its own pre-amp which I think is needed for e violins.
Regular chin rests fit almost anywhere in usual places.
Bow and rosin same as acoustic.
Strings about same mystery as in acoustic although some strings are advertised as "special" for e violin.
My Aquila is too heavy for prolonged playing.
Friends tell me that a keyboard amp is the way to go.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
I would say amplifier choice depends on what you like. I have seen that they make amps just for electric violin, but I have never tried one.
However, so far as "any old".. I tried running my violin through a Danelectro amp from the mid 1950s. Sounded like crap. Not surprising, since guitar, keyboards, and everything else I've ever tried through it also sounded like crap. But through my old Fender twin, through my wife's old Ampeg, through the old band PA, through my recording mixing console, those all sounded pretty good, at least with a bit of tweaking. But some old amps are crap. If you use one that sounds decent with some other instrument, it's a good bet you can find at least some sounds you like, though.
In my opinion, you want at least some eq and a little bit of reverb on an e violin.
As Fiddlerman said, you would need to lug a bit more gear than an acoustic violin needs to gig or jam. But they make some awfully small gear these days. I could pack a tube preamp, a reverb/delay unit, and my smaller mixing panel into a space maybe as big as half a briefcase. That would be all I'd need if there was a PA or other amp available if I needed to do a gig. Or to jam at a friend's house, I could add a small FM radio transmitter and play through that friend's stereo or even a boombox. Or at an outdoor jam or party through somebody's car stereo.
Gear does not need to be huge.. It is just funner when it is. LOL
"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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