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Which violin to purchase
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New member
August 19, 2012 - 12:54 am
Member Since: August 19, 2012
Forum Posts: 1
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I am getting back into playing the violin, however I can't decide on an electric or acoustic. Any suggestions?

King for a Day, Peasant for many

August 19, 2012 - 2:36 am
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1816
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Welcome to the group fellow fiddle player...you realize that once you step into the light of playing again you will be forever infected with a disease that there is no cure for... many of us on here have more than one violin... some both types and some just like to buy, repair and refurbish and then sell or give away their handiwork. I for one have 3 acoustic violins of varied value and age from my most recent 2012 mfg K500 to my 90 yr old German production Strad copy (which I love) and a 10+ yr old Chinese Student violin that sounds divine now that I've worked on it and modified the various components and tuned it to perfection. Enough about me...

To be honest Ronnie, you're going to get a LOT of opinions on this one... but... it boils down to whether you want to deal with headphones and/or amps and speakers or just pull the violin out of the case and play it. E violns are quieter so playing in an apartment or crowded home can be done better than with a straight acoustic.

Acoustics are the easiest to pack back and forth to your lesson if you start taking them locally from a teacher. The electrics offer a lot of different sounds than the straight acoustic one does but you can electrify the acoustic to play with amps and speakers like in a band or performance with other instruments.

There's more than a handful of members here that have both instruments and their opinions are to be honored and listened to. Experience and hands on speak volumes of info you could only get from someone who's been there, done that, far from just book smart stuff.

I feel that learning on the acoustic allows you to concentrate on the basics, the technique and the most important intonation factor before going on to more elaborate sounds and styles of playing.

You said you're returning to playing so I'm curious if your "other" violin was acoustic or electric and how long ago were you playing, did you take lessons, play for a long time, etc. Continue with what you're comfortable with, since entry into the violin playing field can be achieved with a minimal investment. http://www.Fiddlershop.com has a very nice inventory to select from of both acoustic and E violins. Pierre will make sure you're 100% satisfied and delighted with your purchase regardless of the one you choose to continue with. Also, no matter which you start back up with, you can always step over to the other one when your ability progresses to that level.

Good luck with your decision and read and listen to the others who will post in the coming days as well...thumbs-up

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Fort Lauderdale
August 19, 2012 - 10:14 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16062

I think that there are a few real good advantages of having an acoustic. I recently posted a review of the Barcus-Berry clamp-on pick-up on my violin where you can see that you can have just as much fun, if not more, on an acoustic violin with a pick-up.

An acoustic violin doesn't need a lot of equipment to sound good. You can always buy a heavy steel mute to play quietly without disturbing anyone.

That is my two cents worth :-)

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


August 19, 2012 - 1:03 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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I have both an acoustic and a "solid body electric" violin.  I like both of them. 

The drawback to the acoustic is that it only goes so quiet, and so I can't play on it late at night without risking waking someone up or maybe bothering neighbors. 

The drawback to the electric is that for the best sound from it, it needs at least batteries (or a headphone amp which needs batteries) and ideally something like a guitar amp or PA amp.  It *can* be played with no amplifier and without the headphones, but it is very quiet then and doesn't sound like anything I personally really like.  Ok for just trying a quick run or something, but not a lot of fun.

Using an acoustic with a clamp-on pickup as Fiddlerman suggests can also be a good option to consider.  If there are drawbacks to it, they would be that it won't sound exactly like a "solid body electric" OR an acoustic. But when you take the pickup off, it would definitely be an acoustic with all the portability and cool sound acoustic violins have.  The other thing would be if you needed to play in really loud situations, like say a loud band where you need to compete with something like an electric guitar?  You could run into feedback issues.  Probably not a big concern unless you want to play in a rock band or something like that.  So it is a good compromise, but definitely a compromise on some levels. I would call it a third choice that might or might not be a better choice, depending on what you actually want.

At least one of our members here, Grofica, has a violin that was designed to have both electric and some acoustic sound to it.  I'd call that another option all on it's own, and she gets some great sounds out of it, it looks to be a seriously sweet little instrument.

For me personally, I don't feel there is a single best choice, and I like having both "solid body electric" and an acoustic.  I like playing electric a bit better, but that is just what I like.

For you though, Ronnie, the big question would be what do you want to do and what do you want to sound like?  The kind of music you want to play and the kind of sounds you want and whether or not you'd need amplification to be able to play the sort of gigs you eventually want to play are some of your deciding factors.

The thing is, each choice has a distinct range of sounds, some of which can be very good.  If you have a local music store where you can try the different options out, it could be a very good idea to do so.  See what you like.

I don't really think there is a "bad" choice, since a lot of good sounds are possible with any of the options.  But I also wouldn't say there is a definite "best" choice since each option will have certain advantages and disadvantages, just like anything else in life. 

Me, I like having both acoustic and electric. If I could only pick one, it would probably be the electric but that is strictly a matter of personal tastes.  Having had both, I'd miss the acoustic a bit if I ever had to make a choice like that.

"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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