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Electric Instrument Benefit (Violin, Viola, and Cello
I did not out this in learning because that is violin and this is for all three.
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November 25, 2019 - 6:57 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 2157
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Last month I had the opportunity to purchase a used Yamaha electric violin at a good price, plus all the money went to a local charity of the owner. What could be better? I then purchased a Cecilio Electric cello.

The cello was basically purchased because of its shape. Both upper, left and right, bouts were there, but the lower left, or maybe right - I am not looking at it right now - is not there. Looks similar to a treble clef. The upper bouts being there gives the the thumb and palm (sort of - best way to describe it) placement as it would be when playng the acoustic. Making shifting just the same. Odd shaped ones without upper bouts would not be good for learners of the cello. The missing right or left lower bout allows me to play when my knee is giving me issues.

Well, here is another bonus. Even if you are totally against electric bowed stringed instruments, if you are a purist acoustic, the electric bowed string instruments are great for hotel rooms. We were away the last couple days. I brought my electric cello. I was able to practice in my hotel room. I brought my iPad stand and my Pro. My music that I am currently playing is in digital format and on  my Pro. I also purchased the digital versions of Suzuki books 1-3. I use them to just play to warm up and play around with bowing. I already had the paper copies, but it is easier for me on the Pro.

This is a great benefit of acquiring an electric bowed string instrument, if you have the ability, and you sometimes need to be quiet, they are perfect, if you get one of a similar shape of the acoustic. I think, if you are a student, it is imperative to get the same shoe as the acoustic. 

Now, I am just learning vibrato and do not do that on my electric. That feels a little different on the electric than the acoustic. Other playing, such as shifting, trills, extending, bowing, feels the same. So, I just do not do vibrato on it for now.

If I was getting violin lessons, and not cello lessons, I would have brought my Yamaha violin instead. 

So, even if you are an acoustic purist, if you snub your nose at electric bowed string instruments, there is a time and place for the acoustic, even if you fall into those two categories. Even without the headset, the strings are clear enough and loud enough to be able to play and learn, while still quiet enough not to be heard by those above you, below you, across the hall, or on either side of you while in the hotel.

Another benefit I can see for when it gets warm again, I can take it outside and not bother the neighbors, and I don’t think the heat and sun will be as much of an issue. I do have to look into the heat and sun issue when the time comes to make sure. There isn’t that glue to worry about as with the acoustics.


By the way, I purchased my Cecilio from The Fiddlershop and received great service and tracking. They do not do setup of Cecilio, but they still do great service in ordering and tracking.

Viola Time! 


November 26, 2019 - 10:18 am
Member Since: December 23, 2017
Forum Posts: 1529
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@cid and others.  Do you think that the differences in electric instruments is sufficient to warrant a separate forum topic heading?  I can see many people that would take up the violin/cello if they could practice without creating a disturbance.  I can also see parents taking the same position with their children.

On another subject, I recently heard that Amazon has employees wear a bracelet which provides the user an electric shock if the arm goes in the opposite direction when picking a product from the shelf.  It looks like my idea of a device which provides a shock when an off note is bowed has found a commercial application.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

It is unpleasant to be thought so uncleverly unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city.—Sir Walter Scott

November 26, 2019 - 11:59 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 2157
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@Irv I am sending you a PM about the topic suggestion because I don’t really want my subject of my original post changed with responses to your forum topic suggestion. I am avraid my points about the benefit will be lost.

Off to type up a typo filled PM for you. 😂

Viola Time! 

West Sussex, England UK

November 27, 2019 - 5:23 am
Member Since: September 27, 2019
Forum Posts: 348
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Hi @cid,

Electric instruments are a lifesaver for people like myself, who are _petrified_ of offending people with their playing / learning.

My main instrument is a home-made electric fiddle, and to afford an easy transfer to my lovely old acoustic violin once I have the confidence and competence to play it comfortably, the solid (electric) fiddle has dimensions which closely follow the acoustic instrument. Curiously, I have trouble playing vibrato on the electric, too.

The electric is an absolute joy to play, and I'm comfortable with my progress as a fiddler / violinist; I can practice anytime, confident that no-one outside of my closed room can hear me. I have the fiddle shut down even further with a rubber mute on the bridge. It has a wafer pick-up and a built-in amplifier, so if I want to hear myself play at high output, I just slip on a pair of headphones.

The amplifier is also pretty cool for use with a smartphone violin tuner, which keeps a close eye on my intonation when things sound a little 'off'. As a stand-alone practice instrument, the amplifier is largely unnecessary.

If anyone with woodcraft competence wants the rough plans, I'm willing to put a package together showing how to make one; and if any electronic hobbyists fancy making the simple amplifier, I have the design for that, too. The designs ought to be scalable for viola, cello or bass instruments, and the materials are simple and affordable.

Of course, you can buy electric violin-family instruments, as you have. I'm tightly constrained on budget, and I enjoy constructional challenges. I hope my two penny-worth hasn't shifted the topic too far astray; my main point is the use of near-silent instruments for folk like me, who are introverted and still want to practice.


"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

"A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in" - Frederick the Great

November 27, 2019 - 7:23 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 2157
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@Peter You were right on the mark with your comments. I was just hoping it would not turn into forum topic discussions. 

That is neat you made your electric violin.

I think they really make finding playing time a lot easier. I was hesitant about the need for the violin when the opportunity for the electric violin presented itself. I was on the edge about the electric cello. I did not think either would sound good enough for me, a student, to be able to learn on them. I was not sure how much like the typical violin and cello they would sound. I am quite pleased. I don’t use the sound affects right now, other than test them out when I got the instruments because it want them to sound normal for my intonation. The reverb(?) options on the cello really doesn’t change that much anyway, but I keep it simple for now. I am sure with all the electronic gadget options you could make them heavy metal, but that is not my preference. 

Thanks for your input.

Viola Time! 

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