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Encyclopedia > Electric violin
This electric violin, made by Leo Fender in the late 1950s, has a non-traditional design.
This electric violin, made by Leo Fender in the late 1950s, has a non-traditional design.

An electric violin is simply a violin with an electronic signal output. The term can refer to a standard violin fitted with an electric pickup of some type, or to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body. Image File history File linksMetadata F58_wiki. ... Image File history File linksMetadata F58_wiki. ... Leo Fender working on a guitar Clarence Leonidas Fender (August 10, 1909 - March 21, 1991) was an American luthier who founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, now known as Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, and later founded G&L Musical Products (G&L Guitars). ... A violin The violin is a bowed stringed musical instrument that has four strings tuned a perfect fifth apart. ... A picku device acts as a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations (usually from suitably equipped stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass guitar or electric violin) and converts them to an electronic signal which can be amplified and recorded. ...

Electrically amplified violins have been used in one form or another since the 1920s; jazz and blues artist Stuff Smith is generally credited as being one of the first performers to adapt pickups and amplifiers to violins. A few larger manufacturers attempted to sell electric violins in the 1930s and 1940s; Fender produced a small number of electric violins in the late 1950s but these instruments are very few in number. Larger scale manufacture of electric violins did not happen until the late 1990s. Stuff Smith was one of the big three of pre-bop violinists along with Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelli. ... The Fender logo, often called the spaghetti logo. ...

Acoustic violins may be used with an add-on piezoelectric bridge or body pickup, but often suffer from feedback on stage, in addition to the raw piezo sound. Some magnetic pickups have no feedback and a less sharp sound. Piezoelectricity is the ability of certain crystals to produce a voltage when subjected to mechanical stress. ... Audio feedback (also known as the Larson effect) is a special kind of feedback which occurs when a loop exists between an audio input (for example, a microphone or guitar pickup) and an audio output (for example, a loudspeaker). ...

To prevent feedback from the resonances of the hollow body under high amplification on stage, many instruments have a solid body. The timbre (tone color) of an acoustic violin is created directly because of these resonances, however, so depending on how the signal is picked up, an electric piezo violin may have a "rawer," "sharper" sound than an acoustic instrument. This raw sound is often preferred in rock, pop, and some avant-garde genres. Several "semi-hollow" designs exist, containing a sealed but hollow resonating chamber that provides some appoximation of violin resonances while still reducing susceptibility to feedback. In music, timbre, also timber (French, IPA /tæmbər/ as in the first two syllables of tambourine), is the quality of a musical note or sound which distinguishes different types of sound production or musical instruments. ... Experimental music is any music that challenges the commonly accepted notions of what music is. ...

Solid-body electric violins typically have a non-traditional, minimalistic design to keep weight down. Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features and core self expression. ...

They are often seen as "experimental" instruments, being less established than electric guitar or bass. Hence, there are many variations on the standard design, such as frets, extra strings, machine heads, "baritone" strings that sound an octave lower than normal, sympathetic strings, and more, without even going into the many electronic effects used to shape the raw sound to suit the player's preference. The neck of a guitar showing the first four frets. ... The machine heads on a Squier Stratocaster electric guitar. ... Sherrill Milnes as Toscas Baron Scarpia Baritone (French: baryton; German: Bariton; Italian: baritono) is most commonly the type of male voice that lies between bass and tenor. ... Sympathetic strings are strings on musical instruments which begin resonating, not due to any external influence such as picking or bowing, but due to another note (or frequency). ...

Acoustic 5-string violins exist, but it is much more common for an electric violin to have 5, 6 or 7 strings than an acoustic instrument. The typical solid body also accommodates the extra tension caused by more strings without stressing the instrument too much. Extra strings are usually a low C string for 5-strings, and a low C and high B or low F for 6, and a low C, F and B-flat (or high B) for 7.

Electric violin signals usually pass through electronic processing, in the same way as an electric guitar, to achieve a desired sound. This could include delay, reverb, chorus, distortion, or other effects. Sound effects or audio effects are artificially created or enhanced sounds, or sound processes used to emphasize artistic or other content of movies, video games, music, or other media. ...



Electric violins commonly use either magnetic or piezoelectric pickups. Magnetic pickups require the use of violin strings that have ferrous (iron-containing, as in steel) metal cores. Magnetic pickups may have a less sharp sound and less feedback. A few single-coil guitar-style magnetic systems are available, and one unusual acoustic/electric violin system uses the strings as a linear active pickup element.[1] This circumvents the problem that the small body size and arced string arrangement of a violin often limit the amount of space available for coil placement. In physics, magnetism is a phenomenon by which materials exert an attractive or repulsive force on other materials. ... Piezoelectricity is the ability of crystals to generate a voltage in response to applied mechanical stress. ... A picku device acts as a transducer that captures mechanical vibrations (usually from suitably equipped stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, electric bass guitar or electric violin) and converts them to an electronic signal which can be amplified and recorded. ... This article covers the anatomy of a violin and some of its accessories. ... This closeup shows three traditional single coil pickups on Stratocaster guitar. ...

Generally, piezoelectric pickups are more common because piezo materials are cheap and readily available, as well as because of the range of string material they allow. They detect physical vibrations, sometimes in or on the body, but more commonly in the bridge. Some piezo setups have a separate pickup (or two, or even four in the case of some Barbera Transducer pickups) embedded in the bridge under each string. A few systems use transducers oriented in various directions to differentiate between bowed and plucked string motion.[2]

Piezo pickups have a very high (capacitive) output impedance, and require a powered preamp for buffering the raw sound (a charge amplifier is best), and to avoid signal degradation and excessive noise pickup in the instrument cable. Preamplification is often done by an external signal processor, but some body designs can provide internal housing for preamp circuitry. The output impedance, source impedance, or internal impedance of an electronic device is the opposition exhibited by its output terminals to the flow of an alternating current (AC) of a particular frequency as a result of resistance, induction and capacitance. ... A preamplifier (preamp) is an amplifier which precedes another amplifier to prepare an electrical signal for further amplification or processing. ... A charge amplifier is an electronic amplifier intended for use with a piezoelectric transducers for converting the charge output from the transducer into a voltage. ...


Although the violin is an instrument used extensively in classical music, electric violins are generally employed by classical performers only in the performance of contemporary classical music. The electric violin is more frequently used by non-classical musicians in popular genres such as rock, hip hop, pop, jazz, country, New Age, and experimental music. Classical music in its widest sense is held to refer to music deriving from learned traditions, taught through institutions either specifically devoted to music (e. ... In the broadest sense, contemporary music is any music being written in the present day. ... Rock is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars, and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles, however saxophones have been omitted from newer subgenres of rock music since the 90s. ... Hip hop is a cultural movement that began amongst urban African American youth in New York and has since spread around the world. ... For Popular music (music that is popular, rather than of a specific genre or style), see Popular music. ... Jazz is an original American musical art form originating around the start of the 20th century in New Orleans, rooted in Western music technique and theory, and is marked by the profound cultural contributions of African Americans. ... country music, see Country music (disambiguation) In popular music, country music, also called country and western music or country-western, is an amalgam of popular musical forms developed in the Southern United States, with roots in traditional folk music, Celtic music, blues, gospel music, and old-time music that began... New Age music, is a vaguely defined style of music that is generally quite melodic and often primarily instrumental. ... Experimental music is any music that challenges the commonly accepted notions of what music is. ...

Tape-bow violin

Laurie Anderson's tape-bow violin, an electronic instrument developed in 1977, resembles an electric violin but does not have strings. It produces sound by drawing a bow, strung with a length of recorded magnetic tape rather than hair, across a magnetic tape head mounted on the instrument where the bridge would normally be. This anticipates the later technique of "scratching" in rap and hip-hop music, where a vinyl recording is turned back and forth on a turntable. Laurie Anderson on the cover of her album Strange Angels. ... Laurie Anderson on the cover of her album Strange Angels. ... Scratching is a DJ or turntablist technique originated by Grand Wizard Theodore, an early hip hop DJ from New York (AMG). ... Hip-Hop music is a style of popular music. ...

MIDI violin

In the mid 1980's, Zeta Music[3] developed a prototype violin for Laurie Anderson that, through the employment of a custom pickup and a conversion module, sent MIDI data, allowing the violinist to control synthesizers. This design was later refined and turned into a commercial product. While no other dedicated violin-to-MIDI systems have been manufactured, more generic pitch-to-MIDI systems like those from Roland and Yamaha can be adapted to use standard electric violin output. Most systems allow only monophonic operation—only one pitch can be detected and digitised at a time—but through the use of proprietary pickups, some limited MIDI polyphony can be achieved. Laurie Anderson on the cover of her album Strange Angels. ... Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, is a system designed to transmit information between electronic musical instruments. ... The term synthesiser is also used to mean frequency synthesiser, an electronic system found in communications. ... Roland EXR-3 Keyboard Roland Corporation TYO: 7944 is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. ... Yamaha may refer to: Yamaha Corporation – A manufacturer of a diverse range of musical instruments and electronics. ... Monophonic can mean: In music, see: Texture (music). ...

Notable artists who have employed MIDI violin include Jean-Luc Ponty and Charles Bisharat. Grappelli (left) and Jean-Luc Ponty (right). ...

External links

  • Bowed Electricity — website linking many electric violin players, makers, equipment, and other resources.
  • Digital violin - A survey and review of the violin today, including patents, makers, players, recordings and technique.
  • Fiddle and Alternative Strings Forum — forum with large section dedicated to electric bowed instruments, effects and amplification.
  • Barbera Transducer Systems — Multi transducer bridges for violin family instruments.
  • Bridge Electric — manufacturers of electric violins, cellos and basses with composite carbon fibre and kevlar bodies; based in the United Kingdom.
  • Electric Violin Lutherie — custom built electric violins and violas.
  • Jensen Electric Violins — Jensen electric violins, violas, cellos, and basses; for all stringed music styles; based in the United States (Seattle, WA).
  • Jordan Electric Violins — Jordan electric violins, cellos, basses and guitars; based in the United States (Concord, CA).
  • E. F. Keebler Musical Instruments — Custom-built "tubular" electric violins and violas; based in the United States (Wilmington, DE).
  • Ned Steinberger Designs - The developer of the "headless" guitar now focuses exclusively on bowed strings.
  • StringAmp string transducer unique string pickup system for professional users, and a USD$1 DIY piezo pickup for everyone else.
  • Violectra — "Violectra" electric violins, violas and cellos; based in the United Kingdom.
  • Wood Violins — electric violins and cellos designed by renowned electric violinist, Mark Wood. Utilise a unique chest support system, and a traditional Schatten pickup system.
  • Yamaha Silent/Electric Strings — Yamaha silent/electric violins, violas, cellos and basses.
  • ZETA Music Systems — "ZETA" electric violins, violas, cellos, and basses; based in the United States (Arizona).
  • Bowed Radio — podcast focusing on new music for bowed string instruments (particularly electric ones)

  Results from FactBites:
EVL - Electric Violin Lutherie, custom violins (320 words)
The EVL electric violin bodies were designed to give the player all of the benefits of an acoustic violin.
Violins may be purchased with 4, 5,or 6 strings.
Electrics are now available with Viola lengths (including configurations with E strings) and 3/4 sizes, please contact us for more information.
Violin Bridge, Violin Pickups, Violin Pickup, Professional Violin Pickups, Acoustic Violin Pickups, Electric Violin ... (1137 words)
Barbera electric violin pickups are available in various models for electric violins, and in kit form for the conversion of acoustic violins into high performance, pro level acoustic electric violins.
Solid model bridges are available for 4, 5, 6 and even 7 stringed electric violins; 5 string violin with low C, 6 string violin with low C and a low F and 7 stringed electric violins with low C, F, and B flat.
Electric violin models are also optionally available wired polyphonic for access to each strings output separately.
  More results at FactBites »



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