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How to get a good beginner electric violin in Europe?
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kiwibird
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January 19, 2014 - 9:36 am
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Greetings to all violin lovers!:)

I know that most of you are from the USA but I hope somebody can help me! I'm a beginner violinist and I live in a flat, where walls are paperthin :-) I bought a beautiful 30 yrs old violin, but even after buying the most expensive sordinos (a heavy metal one and the Artino Practice Mute), I'm really loud, so I can't play confidently whenever I would like. My teacher didn't like the idea of electric violin, but I usually arrive home late, and I think it is better to practice on an electric one, than not practicing at all :-)

So I saw Fiddlerman's review of Cecilio violin, and I really liked it, so I deciced to purchese one. My problem is, that I can't find this brand in Europe, and the tax would be extremely high if I ordered outside of the EU (violin: 130$, shipping: 50$, and the tax is an addittional 60-65$ in my country...). We have the Stagg, MSA, MPM, Harley Benton (these are around 120-180$), and the expensive Yamaha electric violins here... I have found an ad of a used Palatino as well (with plastic case, but without a bow or headphones, 195$): http://aprod.hu/hirdetes/elekt.....be694cc798 .

Do you have any idea which one I should choose? Is Cecilio the best choice even with the high tax prices? Or do you know a Cecilio dealer in UK or other European Union state? I don't want to buy a junk violin, but I don't have money for the Yamahas...

Thank you for your help! :-)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 20, 2014 - 10:27 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

From what I have seen, never tried one myself, the Harley Benton seems very similar. This is only a guess. The Stagg, IMAO, is junk. I know the Palatino basses (which I am not fond of) but have never tried the SE violin. I would however not recommend it. Do you have a nearby violin shop?

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

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kiwibird
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January 21, 2014 - 2:02 pm
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Thank you for your answer! :) Unfortunately the nearby violin shops don't offer electric violins (or only one type of Yamaha SV), I have to order online. The Palatino doesn't have hole for the earplug, so I think it might not be a silent violin. I have found a link for the MSA and the HB:

 

The quality of the videos are not really good, but the Harley Benton seems to be a better one (more expensive, too). I hope this one is as good as the Cecilios :) I don't think that I will have a high quality, lightweight violin for this price, but I don't want it to be a junk.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 21, 2014 - 9:10 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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None of these sound good to me. The first one "msa electronics" sound way to dark and cheap for my taste. The HB probably needs better tone adjustment on the mixer or amplifier. In any case, all solid body electric violins are extremely dependent on a good sound system.

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

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kiwibird
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January 22, 2014 - 7:00 am
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Thank you again for your answer! 

I think the HB will be the better choice, since it is not too expensive and seems to be the best choice after all :-) In the EU they sell more typest of it, but I can't figure out the differences.. Maybe design and the secound is made of (more) wood?

Harley Benton HBV 840FR 4/4 Electric Violin - active Shadow NFX Nanoflex pickup system, combined line out / phones thomann out, aux in way, bass, treble, volume. Includes case, bow, rosin, battery, headphones and cable. Weight: 700g.

 

Harley Benton HBV 990BCF 4/4 Electric Violin, with active pickup-system, basswood-body, plastic-frame, ebony fingerboard, comes with violin-shaped case, thomann carbon-bow, rosin, earphones, 9V battery, cable.

 

What is the difference between active and passive pickup system? Is one better sounding or more quiet than the other?

Plywood or basswood body is better? 

 

 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 22, 2014 - 8:45 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

Active pickups have a power source of some kind. Usually a battery and built-in pre-amp. Sometimes with violin and tone controls. If it's a good product the pre-amp = a quality output signal.

Passive pickups require a preamp but most mixers and even amplifiers have built-in pre-amps. In a way, it's not a bad idea with passive pick-ups because you have the option of getting a great pre-amp or high quality amplifier later and or change at any time. :-)

As far as Plywood vs Basswood, it doesn't matter concerning solid body instruments as long as the wood is not too fresh/green. New wood can change shape, crack.... I prefer non-plywood. There are many grades of plywood as well.

 

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

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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April 3, 2014 - 7:14 am
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Hi kiwibird,  

I've just recently purchased the HBV 870FR - had it for 2 weeks and I'm very happy with it.  Once the strings stretched and settled, it rarely needs re-tuning - very stable (as you would expect) - besides it is kept in a fairly unchanging environment anyway.  With my acoustic kept in the same conditions, it needs frequent minor re-tuning.  I didn't like the original strings - now I don't know if that was due to the strings themselves or possibly the fact that the bow was not fully "rosined-in" - but I did change the E to a D'addario Prelude (and, visibly - the D'Addario E is about the same weight as the fitted HBV A string ! ) The strange "squealing" ( it wasn't a "scraping or scratching" noise - it sometimes sounded like the note - but almost 2 octaves up ) has now gone - but- it may have been the bow settling in as well.  

Anyway - that's my own initial feedback on the instrument - this is quite a late follow-up to your post - I assume by now you'll have purchased something anyway ! LOL

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Flying_Doc
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April 9, 2015 - 3:07 pm
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Hi,

I'm currently in the exact same position. I was wondering which Harley Benton you choose, and how are you experiencing it? I can find a couple of YouTube videos of the HB 840, but none of the HB 990. I'm actually deciding between those two, so any help would be much appreciated. 

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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April 9, 2015 - 4:07 pm
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Hey WELCOME @Flying_Doc - and great to have you on the forum !  Thanks for joining in!

It is now close to a year on from my original post - to be honest with you - at the "basic price" of a low-end EV I never did expect over-much from it - but it has without doubt TOTALLY fulfilled my early expectations as a beginning player -and I still play it regularly.

I have (as a player of other instruments, for MANY years and not unfamiliar to the 'physical basis of music') a couple of things to say about it - ( nothing bad in relation to its cost )

(1) the fitted strings are real cheap and like cheese-wire - change them to something better - not necessarily terribly expensive - I think my first change was to D'addario preludes.   I have also over time, discovered that the bow that comes with it, and to this day still cannot explain it, "seems to work OK" on the EV, but "is not a good bow on an acoustic" - which may not matter to you.   And besides, any EV does not come alive until FX are added - initially I used it "plain" just to work on intonation - nothing else - unlike an acoustic no body resonances, no, or very little, inter-string-resonances -I found it real good ear-training because of that - but that is JUST ME ... so take ALL OF THAT ON ADVISEMENT !   LOL 

(2) any "solid body" EV is fundamentally a simple bit of engineering, but at the price, can be put together "cheaply" ( i.e. without attention to detail ).   After playing the Harley for a few weeks ( and I was a REAL beginner at that time ) I realised the "buzzing sound" was not ME, but the violin.   Listen - for less than 100 Euros, ( 70 bucks USD etc ) who is gonna complain... right ?  And with a day or so of patience, the "buzzing sound" ( could have been from many sources ) - i traced down to a "loose, unused and un-soldered pin" on the jack socket and a spot of epoxy-resin fixed it forever ! LOL

But, at that price - to be honest I had not expected perfection, and was perfectly happy to "expect" that I "may have to do something to it" - which I felt I had to ( and that was just my feeling about it )

Hard to say really - these HB instruments are of course indeed "basic" instruments, but to my mind, are "not at all bad" for the price you pay if you are a "practical person" and are happy to do the relatively simple things like mess with strings, change bridge, open the electronics enclosure, explore the instrument, and so on...

.... I guess that's my tuppence-worth ... 

Good luck with your adventure into violin / fiddle !!!!!!!

Bill

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Flying_Doc
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April 11, 2015 - 10:13 am
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Hi,

Thank you for the warm welcome :)

I know it was almost a year from your original post, so I hoped you had some experience to share. I'm glad I was right in that.
Even though I'm an advanced player, I still think I will buy a HB EV because it's just for fun and it will not replace my acoustic violin.
Actually, I'll mostly use it for a band that I sometimes play in and I'm hoping a HB sounds okay for that.

Thankfully I already have some pretty good spare strings so that should work on the HB.
It's strange that the bow works properly only on the EV, but that's fine because I already have a good bow for my acoustic one.

I have one question though, which type of HB did you buy? The 840 one or the 990 one (or perhaps another type)?
I'm still deciding and the 990 seems much newer but of course this does not nescessarily mean it's better.

In any case, thank you very much for the detailed description!
I think overall you are pleased with it, so that will definitly play a part in my decision to buy one.

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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April 11, 2015 - 11:15 am
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... @Flying_Doc - I don't really have a "worthy" video - but here's the HB 870FR playing  solo with a little bit of reverb and echo on Auld Lang Syne --

And yes, one other thing - which to a seasoned player probably should not matter too much - the nut-to-bridge length is close on 1cm longer than the "normal" - so clearly intonation/fingering is *marginally* different.   Shouldn't matter too much, just pretend it's a small viola LOLOL....  A year on, it now is simply automatic when I swap between my acoustics and the EV - but thought I would mention it...   I find it a joy to play !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Flying_Doc
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April 13, 2015 - 2:58 pm
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It's surely worthy enough, thank you! :) Now I only have to decide which HB EV to buy, but I'll figure it out. Thanks for all the info. 

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RedViolin
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October 8, 2015 - 6:09 am
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BillyG said

(2) any "solid body" EV is fundamentally a simple bit of engineering, but at the price, can be put together "cheaply" ( i.e. without attention to detail ).   After playing the Harley for a few weeks ( and I was a REAL beginner at that time ) I realised the "buzzing sound" was not ME, but the violin.   Listen - for less than 100 Euros, ( 70 bucks USD etc ) who is gonna complain... right ?  And with a day or so of patience, the "buzzing sound" ( could have been from many sources ) - i traced down to a "loose, unused and un-soldered pin" on the jack socket and a spot of epoxy-resin fixed it forever ! LOL

Just wanted to say THANK YOU BillyG. I was experiencing a buzzing sound on my EV, and thought it was something to do with the tail gut (I had that problem in the past and fixed it) but it wasn't... thanks to your post, I decided to check the electronics, and lo and behold, it was an issue with the battery holder. All good now! banana

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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October 8, 2015 - 12:05 pm
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LOL that's well cool @RedViolin - glad to know it helped - and you are most welcome !     I know - it sometimes takes a little bit of investigation.   Not everyone's issues are the same of course, but it's always useful to share what you find !   Rock on !  thumbs-upthumbs-upthumbs-up

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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