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Help picking an electric violin


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Hi guys. So, I have been really interested in trying an electric violin. I'm looking for the best, most genuine acoustic sound. I hope to have an output for an amp and an input for a headphone jack. My biggest concern is sound. I've heard some electric violins I liked, and some I really hated. Does anyone have any recommendations with pros and cons? What are your favorite electric violins?

Someone in the area is selling a Yamaha sv120. I don't know much about them. Does anyone have experience with this instrument? How much like a real, acoustic violin do these sound?

P.S. I only have $500 to spend, so keep budget in mind with recommendations.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have tried quite a number. Each year I’m hoping something reasonable will turn up at NAMM. Each year I am disappointed. IMHO they are all horrible.


I believe the best solution is an acoustic violin with a Piezo pickup built into the bridge with small cable to carpenter jack. Retail around $150. Schatten 02, the one with tiny volume knob. The products that have the transducers that must ride under the bridge feet are not very good. Just get your luthier to fit it for your 2nd instrument. Mine is on a 1738 Wenger I picked up for $700 with a huge repaired soundpost crack. Doesn’t matter, great rich sound and fun to reference it when folks start going on about their 1954 Strat or whatever.


Highly recommend the Sennheiser digital XS system for wireless connection to PA, pedal board, or amp. Introduced at NAMM two years ago. It is awesome, noiseless, and fits into your case. Only two parts to it. USB rechargeable. XSW-D


Edited by Just Sayin’
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I'd vote against putting a pickup on an acoustic. Acoustic violins with piezos are still very prone to feedback and the bridge with an embedded pickup generally don't sound as good (unamped) as regular bridges. The "angry bee in a jar" sound of a single crystal on an acoustic doesn't sound great amped either. If you are going full electric, go full electric, otherwise get an onboard mike.

I've used a few pickups on acoustics but the best by far has been the Barbera Twin Hybrid on a solid body electric (the bridge will be about 99% of your tone):


You should also get a pre-amp, the impedance of piezos don't match guitar amps (99.9% of the time) and sound like crap without. I like the Fishman Platinum Stage:


I realize that this is beyond your budget but it's hard to get something satisfactory for $500. A fiddle, a pre-amp, and amp that you want to play will run more.

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Acoustic violins with piezos are still very prone to feedback

I do about 70 gigs a year using that violin. Never, ever, have I experienced feedback. That’s because the tiny cable never contacts the top of the violin. If it were to touch the top = feedback. I suggest that if you’re experiencing feedback, that’s the cause.

If you really want to experience feedback


 get an onboard mike.

I do agree that acoustic violins with Piezo pickups do need a pre-amp if plugged into a guitar amp. I don’t do that. My gigs I plug into an input of the PA, dial in a smidge of reverb and I’m done.

The OP wrote that they are


looking for the best, most genuine acoustic sound


No solid body electric is going to do that, IMHO.

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46 minutes ago, Just Sayin’ said:My gigs I plug into an input of the PA, dial in a smidge of reverb and I’m done.

Yes, you’re done, but the sound tech still has to tinker with the EQ to get your good sound, doesn’t he/she? Making piezos sound good is all about EQ. Without that they’re awful.

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