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I've had my electric violin for a few years, but was never happy with the sound, and even though I was having trouble hearing myself in the mix, folks told me I playd too oud. Recently I figured something out.
I have a Barbera pickup that I installed after buying the violin. Four strings, two pickups per string. I think it's called the "hybrid".
It always seemed to have potential, but I wasn't happy with the sound. I was using a kind of "subtractive" method, trying to turn down the frequencies I didn't like, rather than boosting things up. This didn't really work out. I would turn down the shrill treble until it wasn't so...shrill. But then when I tried to play with bands I couldn't really hear myself, or "cut through". So up came the treble, and the shrillness. Meanwhile, the low frequencies sounded nice, but not really like a violin, you know.
I have a six-band EQ on my multi-effects machine. I have it set to
0/10 8/10 8/10 0/10 0/10 0/10
So only those two bands the lower-mids, are putting out any sound. Oh, sounds great!
[ This is a 60 watt 12" speaker amp. I know, kinda overkill ]
Yeah, I turn up the bottom sometimes, but that can get "boomy" sometimes, so mostly I've got the lowest frequencies basically off.
If I turn up those two bands any more, my amp is unhappy and distorts.
If I turn those two bands to "flat" or "unaltered" setting, I miss the mids. I guess this Barbera pickup is weak in the mids.
The pickup is wired straight to the volume pot, and there is no tone pot. This is because I installed the thing myself and I wasn't sure how to do the tone pot at that moment, so I just went straight to the volume + and -.
Well, if you have a Barbera or other piezo-based pickup, I'd be interested if your experience matched up to mine or not.
I can also play decently when plugged straight into a guitar amp with the bass on nearly zero, mids up a bit, and treble on zero, but I prefer to have six bands to play with.
I also have a L.R. Baggs pre-amp with the nice sweepable mids, and that's the next project. Well, I can guess. Low and high frequencies on nuthin'.
Bottom line: This Barbera pickup seems to have great bass and treble output, but mids are weak. It's not good enough to mess with just the treble knob - you have to also tweak the mids to get it working right.
It's true that I like the sound of an electric guitar, and I'm not into just slender high frequencies - I want to hear strong mids.
Overdrive / distortion sound pretty crappy. Zoom G3 multi-effect "Boost" patch has a subtle Gain setting that fattens things up without going over the edge. I get the feeling that piezo pickups don't like digital guitar overdrive / distortion machines very well.
Those are my thoughts. Feedback about your experience is welcomed. I play with all kinds of band members, but no other violinists, so...