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Electric vs accoustic
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Superslinky
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August 10, 2012 - 10:53 am
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Hello everyone,

Im still in my rental days using a poopy violin but im ready to drop some cash on a violin. Ive been going to different shops and looking online which led to me to a couple potential buys but I looked at a fender fv-3 for like $400 and thought that it sounded pretty good with it not even plugged in.

I wanted to get some opinions on pros and cons of using accoustic compared to a electric. My first intentions were to get a accoustic because I found with guitar I felt that I benifited more playing the accoustic first then jumping on the electric. Maby Im looking to much into this haha but if you guys got any comments lemme know how you feel.

Thank you my fellow fiddlers hats_off

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Grofica
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August 10, 2012 - 11:51 am
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Why not get an electric/acoustic violin? if your looking at around the $400+ price range.... Barcus Berry has some REALLY nice looking ones that are both..... 

 

An acoustic violin is much cheaper for a beginning violinist. On the low end of the price range, the electric violin itself will usually cost more than the acoustic violin. In addition, an electric violin also needs an amp in order to properly hear the instrument. 

violin-student

~Grofica 

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Oliver
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August 10, 2012 - 11:55 am
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I recently made the decision to abandon the acoustic because the electric was not a constant problem of sound post AND I can simply dial away any day to day problems instead of hunting for a legitimate luthier.

I also learned how to tailor the e-violin with all the amp knobs and just last week I got a "thumbs up" from a VERY fussy church organist.

Another feature of the e-violin is no "under the chin noise".  This has been a major improvement in intonation.

So, now I'm looking to converting the acoustic to electric.  Gotta do something with it and I doubt I'll ever play it again.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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ftufc
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August 10, 2012 - 12:00 pm
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Hey Kris, I'd kind of agree with Kelly.

I think starting with a solid-body electric you miss some of the finer points of sound that we newbies need to get accustomed to finding and hearing.  So FM's Barcus Berry or Realist, for example, would be a GREAT solution.

Or get an acoustic that you love and you can always add a pickup later, also, kind of the best of both worlds; unless you have a need/desire to practice quietly, then take a look at my comments on the "How quiet are "silent" violins" thread; I thought those findings that I reference were very enlightening.

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ftufc
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August 10, 2012 - 12:03 pm
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That's very interesting Oliver, what electric do you use?  Is it solid or hollow?  And why did you pick the one you have?

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Grofica
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I also wanted to add..... I have an electric and there are times when an acoustic would come in handing.... you would not BELIEVE the amount of stuff i have to drag with me everywhere..... violin, amp, effects peddle, cords, music, OK my fold-able music stand cause i have a problem memorizing stuff, plus the normal stuff.... so yeah.... pretty much anytime i want to go anywhere i wish i had an acoustic..... or the option of playing acoustic.... (just saying)

dazeddazeddazed

~Grofica 

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Picklefish
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August 10, 2012 - 12:16 pm
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My main fiddle man crush David Garrett prefers a mic'd acoustic to an electric according to the violinist blog interview. "I never use anything but a classical violin, and I'll tell you why: I think the sound sucks from an electric violin -- for me, personally," David said. "If you know how to play the classical violin properly, the electric violin is not even five percent in comparison. Everything you need is in that instrument, to do any music you desire. "

 

He also prefers multiple short 30min practice sessions to the 2 hour ones.

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

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Kevin M.
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August 10, 2012 - 12:19 pm
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I have been toying with the idea of taking an acoustic and electrifying it then filling it with foam.  This should keep the weight down and stop the acoustics of the violin but then I'm crazy.

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ftufc
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Kevin's luthier supply list:

[Image Can Not Be Found]

lmao!

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Oliver
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August 10, 2012 - 1:40 pm
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Fred,

I have an Bridge Aquila e-violin.  I bought this violin because it has fantastic bass.  Sounds just like a cello if I want.  It is semi hollow.  There is only a cavity for a pre-amp which is standard with the violin.

The violin is made from some modern composite ( I forget which ) but is really too heavy .... or heavier than I would like.  However, it is very well made with great peg actionl.

This violin has neither "good" or "bad" sound without an amp and equalizers.  In which case it can sound like almost anything I want.  I never got a really true acoustic sound from it however .... good, useful, sometimes outrageous depending on amp settings.  The violin is the AMP and vice versa.

I bought it from Electric Violin who is 25 minutes from me.  Those guys are the real deal and reply to their e-mail.

Grofica  Stuff !!!!!!!!!!!!     That's for sure !!!!!!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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eoj02
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The only thing I have for this is that i've played guitar.  I played electric guitar because it was the only way I could get the sound I wanted for metal.  Electric guitars are made for playability, speed or tone depending on what type of sound you want. 

 

When playing violin, you seem to be in search of the strad.  Well, you get that from being unpluged. 

 

One other note.  You can always mute an acoustic.  You kind of have to plug in an electric.  I'm lazy.  I like being able to just pick up, tighten up and play.

 

If you play with others and need  the effects of an electric, then chose an electric.  If you are just looking to play, go with the standard.  You won't be dissapointed.

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DanielB
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August 11, 2012 - 6:57 am
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Superslinky, the biggest "con" to going for electric at first looks something like this:

100_0256.JPGImage Enlarger

 

That is not a huge or outrageous amp rig.  An old 60 watt tube rig, and a cabinet with a few 12" speakers in it, a multi-effect unit, and a compressor/limiter.  I never actually weighed it, but it is probably about 150 lbs total (around 70 kilos) and about 5 ft tall (1.5 meters).  If I was going to do any sort of a public performance on electric violin, I probably wouldn't use anything much smaller than this.  Even if you were fairly lucky on finding some old used gear at good prices, it would still likely cost you more than the Fender EV you are looking at.

On the other hand, an acoustic violin weighs in at maybe one kilo or so? 

Unless you happen to already have amp gear (like I did) or electric is something you really want to do, then starting with the acoustic is probably the more sensible option even looking at it purely in terms of cost and portability.

I already had amps and gear, and electric violin is actually what I always wanted to play (so far as things I wanted to learn of bowed strings).  I already knew how to run the gear from playing electric guitar and how to use assorted effects and etc.  So in my case, I feel it was still sensible.  Probably not for most people, though.

But sensible isn't always the most important thing.  It depends on what you actually want to do.  I do not view electric violin and acoustic violin as even being really the same instrument.  There are things that will work and sound good on one that won't work as well on the other, and neither one can sound exactly like the other.  Amplifying an acoustic or using an acoustic with a pickup will not allow for all the same things as a "solid body" electric.  On the other hand, no amount of FX wizardry will get you exactly the sound of an acoustic violin out of that electric, either.  

With guitar, I play both electric and acoustic.  I don't feel I was harmed at all by starting with electric, and that I gained from learning both.  There are things that are easy to sound good with on each that don't work so well with the other.  They are similar in how they are played and what techniques can be used, but how those techniques are applied and what sounds are possible are kinda two different worlds.

Ideally, if I was just starting out, I would probably want both.  So I'd get the one I wanted to do most first and then get the other, even if it was a cheapie, just to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything.  Put your main money where you think you want to end up.  But I started out learning to play music back in the 70s.  Back then, diversity was considered a good thing and desirable.  These days it seems more like the trend is to focus on just one thing and specialize immediately. 

But I do not think there is a "wrong" choice between acoustic violin and electric.  Whichever way you go, it is work but it is fun.

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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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Oliver
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August 11, 2012 - 8:14 am
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DanielB sed:

"I do not view electric violin and acoustic violin as even being really the same instrument."

I second the motion.

I said somewhere that I recently "auditioned" for playing at church but I explained to the "boss" that my acoustic was acting up and I would audition with the electric.  Later I announced that the acoustic was "fixed" and I would be using that.  The "boss" said  "No.  Stay with the electric, it was beautiful." ..... go figure !!!

PS  The "worse" part is that I used a Sundown Rambler practice amp  ($80).  (Yes, I know I should check into rehab.)   However, the e-violin also has a treble/bass knob so all together, the choice of 4 knobs works to some extent.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Superslinky
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August 11, 2012 - 9:12 am
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Sweet thank you guys much for your replys, much appreciated!

I was kinda thinking the same thing daniel as far as just owning both, I mean eventually i would get an electric and a accoustic so it doesnt matter. Most of my equipment from guitar should still be handy. I just gotta decide which one im gonna get first haha.

Ill let you guys know my decision here soon im getting eager to purchase one banana

Thanks again everyone for the advice!

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DanielB
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August 11, 2012 - 2:24 pm
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Oliver said

PS  The "worse" part is that I used a Sundown Rambler practice amp  ($80).  (Yes, I know I should check into rehab.)   However, the e-violin also has a treble/bass knob so all together, the choice of 4 knobs works to some extent.

 

It looks like a nice little amp.  Digital reverb and the 3 band eq are nice.  I've never found much use for distortion yet with violin, myself.  But it might be a little small for playing church gigs. 

If you're using the lower timbres a bit, a single 8 inch speaker is a bit small.  8 inches isn't too bad a match for being maybe able to reproduce the tone of a violin.  But if you are making much use of the cello-like timbres you mention in some places, 8 is a bit small.

Violin is a fairly powerful instrument, and it would take around 25-30 watts to just barely equal what an acoustic violin could do.  That wouldn't leave enough "head room" though.  To get the best clean sound, it's usually good to have about twice the wattage you're ever likely to need.  It's not about playing louder, it is about having enough power so the amp can easily manage the volume you need without going into overdrive.  That way when there's a full house and the choir is in a chipper mood and are singing a bit more enthusiastically and the boss needs you to turn up a little bit, you don't start sounding "muddy".

If you got another Rambler just like the one you have, the pair of them could probably do a bit better job.  But if you aren't using more than maybe half the volume on the one practice amp, then maybe you have enough already.

Three band eq and the tone on your violin isn't bad.. But knowing what a perfectionist you are about tone, you might think about getting a small pedal with 7 bands or so of eq.  They don't run too much, especially used ones.  Just because it's a pedal doesn't mean it needs to sit on the floor.  Keep it on top of the amp where you can adjust it easily. 

I like a bit of flange or chorus along with reverb, those aren't expensive either, but tastes vary a lot from player to player with effects.  I feel they help to give the sound a bit more dimension, if they aren't set too fast or high.

Not saying you should run out and buy a bunch of stuff, but if you have a friendly music store, they usually are happy to let a musician try some effects or another amp and see if they are anything they can use.

"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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Oliver
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August 11, 2012 - 2:45 pm
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I think you are correct that the Sundown R. could be sucking wind in some cases, HOWEVER,  I actually did a swap of a Sienna 16 for the Sundown .... because, the Sienna had all the good stuff but I would need a hand truck to lug it around !!!

For effects I have a ZOOM G1N which is OK when I want it.

I have come to a nasty conclusion about equalizers.  They give no enhancement if the frequency content is not there to start with.  For instance, if I have poor bass, an equalizer will not CREATE bass for me.   Is that so ??

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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rtodde
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August 11, 2012 - 3:15 pm
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As a beginner I have been playing with the idea of getting either the electric or acoustic. I dont have much advice for tone or sound quality since I'm just starting out, but I can say one thing... Playing quietly is the primary concern for me, so all the benefits of learning on an acoustic would be wasted because i simply couldn't practice when I wanted to (the middle of the night for example). And using a practice mute ALL the time would really be a shame.

That's why i've recently gone with a Yamaha sv-120 silent electric, aparently it's got decent tone compared to cheap chinese electrics and I will jump to an acoustic when I start to improve (lets say a year from now haha).

Just an added note, I was very interested in the fender electrics when I started my search, really liked the look and the fender 'brand' was nice regarding quality (buying used). I've heard they are rather heavy, a little louder than your average electric 'silent' violin, and the comments on the fender tone just put it out of runnings for me.

in a few days my yamaha should arrive, so I'll be sure to share my insight. I hope its quiet enough I dont have to regularly use a rubber practice mute crossedfingers

Good luck on your search though!

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DanielB
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August 11, 2012 - 5:40 pm
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Oliver said

I have come to a nasty conclusion about equalizers.  They give no enhancement if the frequency content is not there to start with.  For instance, if I have poor bass, an equalizer will not CREATE bass for me.   Is that so ??

 

No, they don't.  But the effect called an octave divider does.  They work by synthesizing a note one or two octaves (or both) below the note you are playing.  By mixing those signals with your regular signal, you can "beef up" the low end.  If you wanted to use just those extra octaves to imitate a cello or something, you might want a bigger speaker.  But what you have would probably work if you just wanted a bit more low end to work with on your violin sound. 

There are drawbacks though, of course.  All the ones I've ever seen can only do one note at a time, so they won't do a doublestop, drone or chord.  They will only do one of the notes you are playing, usually the lowest.  Also they sound kind of "synth-ey", but if you blend in a bit of your regular signal so you have a bit of the bow noise and etc, it can be at least a reasonably good illusion. 

An example of one would be a Behringer SO400.  Again, not real expensive, particularly if you hunt up a used one.

"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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Oliver
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August 11, 2012 - 5:58 pm
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Very interesting. 

I will be listening how my violin fits in with some other instruments while keeping the octave divider in mind.  

Good to know.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Crazymotive
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I am partial to the acoustics. Of course on of my likings for the accousitcs is the inherent beauty of a well made wood instrument. An age old design, science and an art that has stood the test of time.  Additionally I seem to be favoring playing classical music to which the traditional acoustic lends itself quite well. Lastly, since I am now playing for an orchestra an acoustic is more or less a necessity to be a part of the  violin section.

That said I wouldn't mind purchasing an electric one of these days and experimenting with it. Although I prefer the acoustics I think it would be enjoyable to play an electric now and then and may lend itself to future musical endeavors. Plus they can be had at modest prices these days thus a big investment is not needed to own one. 

My next violine will probably be a quality acoustic but I might also grab an electric as well.

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