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Electric Violin Pickups
Any thoughts about electric violin pickups?
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New member
August 27, 2016 - 8:06 pm
Member Since: September 1, 2015
Forum Posts: 1
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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.


New EQ:

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...

Fort Lauderdale
August 29, 2016 - 12:08 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15826

I've tried most of the violin pickups at one time or another. If you go with a piezo type pickup on an acoustic electric instrument you don't really need to shape the sound so much but when using a solid body, it's like night and day to experiment with effects and the tone control.
I, like you, like to turn up the lower frequencies when adjusting the tone control but I'm careful not to over do it.
No idea why your other four bands are not putting out any sound. To me that sounds like an amp problem.
I too, used the Zoom multi-effect processor and I feel it's a great processor for the price. Obviously if you can afford it, there are better options but the options are limitless, and you need to test these processors side by side in the same acoustics to make an accurate comparison.
My biggest problem is that I'm always looking for the perfect sound and I don't know if I can ever be completely satisfied. LOL

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

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