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SteamPunk Fiddle
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November 17, 2012 - 11:05 pm
Member Since: November 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 555
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I was lead down the path of the dark side by Daniel in another post. It started out being a reasonable topic about making a home made pickup for your violin. It ended up with a monsterous villain of a violin in the works on some scientist's workbench.


My question for anyone with experience is on an electric violin. What constitutes the sound vibration (frequencies) from the strings to the sensing circuit? Is it the pad that sits under the bridge?. Lets use the Cicilio as a point of reference.


Now understand, my intent is to still allow the instrument to work, but theoretically alter its appearance.

Can you cut off everything but the fingerboard, electronic box/bridge and tail piece and still have it work properly. I would guess yes, but have ZERO experience on how the sound is affected by the body. I am speculating there is negligeable effect in the body at all. Or for that matter, could you enclose the open portions with plexiglass/formica and put seamonkeys in it and still have it function? (yea, no worries about oxygen or food or everything else - its hypothetical...for now)).


If the body is not going to affect the sound, you could recess multi colored LED's into the body and have the led's illuminate at certain frequencies (or inset switches on the belly you could toggle on the fly). The unit already has the circuitry for the detection, presumably at the base of the bridge.


Desiging and housing the electronics and power source would not be too difficult, as would mounting it all. Again, not that it IS going to be done, but COULD it be done. Time to break out Auto cad.. if it stil works on windows 7. lol


Anyone wishing to offer their ideas, please do. It is only an idea now, but who knows where it will lead.

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


November 17, 2012 - 11:27 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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The bridge sits on the pickup, usually, which is a piezo element.

Hypothetically, one could get about as much violin sound as one gets with any electric violin so long as there is a fingerboard, nut, enough neck to support the fingerboard and nut, something for the bridge to stand up on, some sort of tuners, and something to attach a tailpiece to. 

For playability, it might be best to stick with cutting down a standard neck.  One could need to keep enough of it to use as tactile reference points where it normally goes up into the scroll and where it goes down into the heel where it the neck meets the body.  Cutting down a standard maple neck would keep the same familiar feel as an acoustic for the players hand.

The body, though, could be pretty much replaced with something like a single thin titanium rod and still have enough strength to reliably hold the neck and tailpiece apart while providing something one could attach something to support the bridge with.  Titanium has enough "memory" that it wouldn't progressively bend under the stress from the string tension over time.  Like wood, it would "bounce back".

Whether or not to have a scroll would be a question of aesthetics and the pegbox might or might not actually be needed, depending on how one decided to tune the thing.

Maybe add something like a threaded hole that a shoulder rest designed for this hypothetical instrument would simplo screw into.  Chinrest could be cut down to something that only exists where it actually would contact the chin/jaw.  The usual shoulder rest and chin rest are made to clamp onto the acoustic instrument in such a way as to interfere with body vibration as little as possible and to not damage the wooden instrument.  They could be considerably abbreviated if one is designing an instrument from minimal perspective.

A skeletonic instrument like that could reduce weight enough that even with addition of a fair amount of circuitry and fun doo-dads of decor, it could still weigh no more than a regular acoustic violin, and might even possibly balance at least similarly.

As you can guess, I've given some thought over the months to what *could* be done with designing an electric violin. 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

Honorary advisor

November 18, 2012 - 12:02 am
Member Since: July 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 328
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woah! steampunk! would love to see some pictures of the finished product!

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

Fort Lauderdale
November 18, 2012 - 9:35 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13268

Hey x_Tyberius_x,

It seems you have the understanding of what you would need to save and what you could get rid of. The body can be altered quite a bit and still work just as well. The thing is that you must also make sure you have enough strength in the body to support the tension from the scroll to the end button.

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


November 18, 2012 - 1:02 pm
Member Since: November 8, 2012
Forum Posts: 555
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Oh, good point Fiddlerman. Maybe a steel rod passing down under the fingerboard or possible through a drilled hole/shaft down its length. I probably wouldn't have thought of that until it started to warp or bend under the string tension. I certainly would not have been a happy camper at that point. I have to really thing about this before or IF it become a reality.


Daniel, i'll draw something up about an idea I have to integrate a chin and shoulder rest. I think the pegbox (minus the scroll) to the end pin holding the gut/tail piece should remain intact. Outside the electronic box dimension all the way up the fingerboard and neck will remain. I think I'll even remove the hand stop on the neck and replace it with another idea.


Ozmous,  I'll post drawings of concept long before anything really happens. I would love to find a "destroyed" electric first to play with it. FIddlerman  opened my eyes to something with structural integrity that certainly can't be overlooked. Other things popped into my head after reading what he wrote.


Of course this is still hypethetical, but my brain juice is starting to flow or at least it's seaping/oozing onto the floor. All along, I thought the dog just needed letting out.  ;)

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

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