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mejoyh2006

DIY electric with shrill A&E strings

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Greetings.

I've encountered a problem with a project, and since your forum came up in the search results (all hail the almighty Google), I was hoping you might have some suggestions for me.

I just finished a copy of the 'Mina' electric violin (Thingiverse link) and strung it with a $1.50 unbranded set off Amazon*  - while the G and D actually sound really good, similar to my old acoustic with Dominant, the A and E are hella shrill. Part of this is probably the string quality and over-bowing since I'm still getting used to playing with an amp, but I can't help wondering if some more bridge shaping would warm it up. Luthier is not an option since I'm a broke engineering student. Help?

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* Already aware the strings are a problem, but I didn't want to drop $$$$$$ on good ones when I wasn't certain it would survive assembly. PLA filament has a low tensile strength and doesn't flex easily, and I wasn't sure how much pressure the carbon fiber rod could mitigate.

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My experience is with cellos, but when I had shrill ones some tricks I have used are: leave bridge thick, so I think Duane88's idea of acoustic putty would be similar. I have also added mass to tailpieces or used heavier ones rather than aluminum or carbon fiber. Putting o-rings under the strings at the bridge helps dampen them a little. With fractional instruments I found going up to the next size up (eg. put 3/4 on 1/2 size instrument) helps, I think the bigger strings come up to pitch with less tension IIRC.

 

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Oh dear.   Well.  IMHO, your first mistake was in not plagiarizing one of these:

https://www.electricviolinshop.com/barcus-berry-vibrato-ac-el-violin-passion-pink.html

https://www.electricviolinshop.com/glasser-aex-carbon-composite-acoustic-electric-violin-black.html

https://www.electricviolinshop.com/bridge-golden-tasman-electro-acoustic-violin.html

or, if you simply have to have something that looks like a weapon out of a video game,

https://www.electricviolinshop.com/wood-viper-4-deep-red-quilt.html

since, if it's good enough for Rachel Barton Pine to get bizarre on, it's more than good enough for you.

I took a $50 eBay Chinese acoustic violin, put a scavenged bridge pickup on it, and played it with a portable amplifier for several years, quite successfully.  I had maybe $100 invested in the whole schmear..  IMHO, the farther you get from a conventional violin, the more opportunities exist for the Foulup Fairy to pay you a visit, probably in the middle of a set, while you're trying to placate a house full of belligerent drunks, with cans, bottles, and draft mugs to throw........ :ph34r::lol:

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8 hours ago, Deo Lawson said:

Electric violin with tone issues? Dude. Just change your eq.

Well, I feel like a dumb cluck LOL.

 

Thanks all for your comments! To answer questions: it's supposed to be a silent EQ pickup (I say supposed to be because it was the cheapest option on Amazon). Bar sits under the bridge and filters through an onboard preamp with controls for high and low tones. Ran it directly to a set of desktop speakers I have on hand via headphone jack. I don't intend to do any performing with it, more of a "will this actually work" that turned into "how far can I push this, how  can I max out the sound" (etc). No tailpiece - the strings "end" in the scroll and are tuned under the chinrest with guitar tuners. 

Violadamore, love the suggestions. Unfortunately, I didn't pick it because it looks like something out of a video game - consensus in the maker community is that printed violins with resonance chambers have a steep inverse relationship between the size of the chamber and tone quality. I might, however, attempt some reverse engineering of one of the ones you mentioned and see what happens with it. I could've definitely gotten a better quality one if I'd bought it, but I doubt my professor would have been amused if I tried to pass it off as original work, and my grade in Prototyping would definitely have suffered :)

Bridge is still at original thickness - will dial down the high tones, try adding to treble side, and report back!

Edited by mejoyh2006
Added clarification on why I picked this model to print.

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12 hours ago, Deo Lawson said:

Electric violin with tone issues? Dude. Just change your eq.

I did an analysis of Jean Luc Ponty's  frequency output. His eq curve is rolled off starting at the midrange. He is using a Barcus Berry on the recording that I analyzed. No doubt a decent electro acoustic to start.  On an instrument like yours you are probably accentuating all of the frequencies (high mids especially) that contribute to bad amplified sound. The amp you use will obviously influence the sound. Acoustic guitar amps work the best.

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4 hours ago, mejoyh2006 said:

cheapest option on Amazon

There is a cheaper option that works just as well that I'm surprised you forgot about.

Take a piezzo buzzer from a fire alarm and rig it up. It worked great for me after a bit of tweaking and I ain't no engineering student. :)

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20 hours ago, mejoyh2006 said:

Well, I feel like a dumb cluck LOL.

 

Thanks all for your comments! To answer questions: it's supposed to be a silent EQ pickup (I say supposed to be because it was the cheapest option on Amazon). Bar sits under the bridge and filters through an onboard preamp with controls for high and low tones. Ran it directly to a set of desktop speakers I have on hand via headphone jack. I don't intend to do any performing with it, more of a "will this actually work" that turned into "how far can I push this, how  can I max out the sound" (etc). No tailpiece - the strings "end" in the scroll and are tuned under the chinrest with guitar tuners. 

Violadamore, love the suggestions. Unfortunately, I didn't pick it because it looks like something out of a video game - consensus in the maker community is that printed violins with resonance chambers have a steep inverse relationship between the size of the chamber and tone quality. I might, however, attempt some reverse engineering of one of the ones you mentioned and see what happens with it. I could've definitely gotten a better quality one if I'd bought it, but I doubt my professor would have been amused if I tried to pass it off as original work, and my grade in Prototyping would definitely have suffered :)

Bridge is still at original thickness - will dial down the high tones, try adding to treble side, and report back!

OK, we had a slight communications glitch here.  I'd read your OP and figured you were a college student with a "garage band" (and probably playing a genre I'd wear ear protectors around) that you were trying to make a cheap electric violin for.  If you're grinding out a project for a design class, I have no suggestions except to suggest that you avail yourself of the best modeling and CAD software you can get your hands on.  Good luck.  :)

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