- Max Kuehn
Electric violin vs acoustic violin are both types of string instruments that are played with a bow. The main difference between the two is that electric violins have an amplifier and speaker, so they can be played without being plugged into an external sound system. Acoustic violins do not have an amplifier or speaker, so they must be plugged into an external sound system to be heard. Check out this article for a head-to-head comparison of electric and acoustic violins.
Acoustic violins are hollow-bodied, traditional-looking and sounding violins that emit sound through f-holes on both sides of the instrument. They are commonly made of wood. Amplification is not required, though it is feasible on an acoustic instrument.
Acoustic violins, without a doubt, provide the most accurate depiction of a violin’s true sound. Although some higher-end electric violins get close, you’ll always be able to detect the difference.
This is the main reason why teachers and beginners advocate starting with an acoustic instrument so that you can learn how to play the violin properly and develop a good feel for it.
A good grade acoustic violin will also be significantly less expensive than a good quality electric violin, which will be more comfortable to handle and provide a remarkably similar sound to the acoustic violin.
The acoustic violin will have the upper hand in depicting the brilliant, resonant sound in orchestral settings, conventional recitals, and school performances.
Another advantage of an acoustic violin is that you don’t need to bring an amplifier with you; the setup is simple, and once you’ve checked that your violin is in good working order, you’re ready to go! This is especially useful in a traditional environment where your electric violin may not be able to be amplified.
Acoustic violins are probably not the greatest choice for you if tinkering with sounds and amplification is what genuinely thrills you. You can still use a pick-up to amplify your violin, but it will take longer to set up, and you won’t be able to get as many creative tones and alternatives as you would with an electric violin on the spot.
These are solid-bodied instruments with a more artificial sound than their acoustic equivalents. They are primarily designed for increased inventiveness. The electric violin is amplified through jack output and features an inbuilt headphone amp for silent practice.
Electric violins are ideal for performances in more current forms of music such as jazz or rock, where the classical tone is less important. They offer a variety of innovative features and a world of experiments for the violinist wishing to broaden their horizons.
The e-violin allows you to effortlessly enhance your instrument using a jack-to-jack instrument connection to let it rip, or you can practice quietly with the inbuilt headphone amp. Some violins can practice with a backing track.
Like an electric guitar, you may use various effects and loop pedals to enhance your possibilities and range of sounds.
These violins make recording and amplification simple, and some of the e-violin versions have a very unusual, eye-catching design that is a terrific twist on the classical instrument. Most electric violins will be quieter during silent practice than a muted acoustic, and others will make no sound at all.
Electric violins are not recommended as a starter instrument by most musicians, and most teachers would prefer to educate you on an acoustic violin. Because sound travels through wires and technology rather than resonating from a hollow wooden body, electric violins will not provide the same resonant sound as an acoustic violin.
An electronic violin will not have the same feel as a traditional violin. Electric violins that aren’t amplified produce a muffled, tinny sound that isn’t ideal for practicing.
Suppose you want to perform in a very traditional setting and your repertoire consists primarily of classical music. In that case, an acoustic violin will fit in much better in terms of sound and appearance, and it will not require amplification, making setup and transportation much more straightforward.
Difference Between Violin And Electric Violin
The electric violin has a solid body construction that vibrates and amplifies the music, whereas the acoustic violin has a hollow body structure that vibrates and amplifies the sound (less). A pickup is required to amplify the sound.
As a result, the acoustic violin is less heavy than the electric violin.
The acoustic violin is substantially lighter than the electric one, weighing 470 grams (16.5 oz) (598 grams or 21 oz).
The biggest distinction is in the way the sound is created. An electric violin does not have a sounding board or box because it is designed to be plugged in. It reminds me of an electric guitar. LesPaul created electric guitars, which have a solid body.
Electric violins by Yamaha, for example, are created around a wooden piece without a hollow-sounding box, similar to how the first Gibson was made. The sound is mild and feeble by nature, practically silent. Yamaha’s first electric violin is known as the “quiet violin.” So it’s a sound-capturing microphone.
Without its typical body, an electronic violin can take on a variety of novel designs that are distant from the de facto Italian classical standard.
However, one characteristic is usually critical to technique: the capacity to rest the hand in the third position of the body, as provided by classical instruments. Yamaha has meticulously measured and implemented that reference position.
To look more modern, some radical designs completely remove the pegbox. In that case, the string is mounted in the other direction. The end of the string is fixed and tuned to a micro adjuster close to the chin rest, and the ball is attached to the nut.
The instrument’s thickness is critical. It has a lot of implications for how you hold your violin and, as a result, how you play it.
Yamaha has progressed in this area. Their first violin was a little too thin, so I had to construct a custom chin rest to compensate for the lack of thickness.
Count of strings
Violins with four strings are known as acoustic violins. Although most electric violins have four strings, it is not rare to see electric violins with five strings. The fifth string is a lower C, allowing the violin to play as low as a viola in the lower register. That instrument has the tessitura of a violin and the range of a viola, which may be pretty intriguing.
Playing a 5-string instrument, on the other hand, necessitates a different approach. Buying a five-string violin is not suggested unless you want to modify (change) your technique to match this new manner of playing.
A 5 string electric violin is commonly used by well-known violinists, such as jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Subramaniam, an Indian classical musician, uses a five-string electro-acoustic violin.
Amplification by nature Vs. Amplification by electric
The classical violin does not require any special technology to work because of its soundbox. It employed a traditional bridge attached to the violin’s body and held in place by the tension of the strings. This bridge makes it easier for vibrations from the strings to reach the soundbox.
The electronic violin will have to convert the strings’ vibrations into an electric signal, which will then be delivered to an amplifier in the case of a solid body. The “fabrication” of this electrical signal will be carried out by one or more sensors placed within or beneath the bridge.
The type of bridge, also known as the pickup, and the number of sensors on an electronic violin will determine the sound quality.
Sensors and Pickups
This electrical signal can be generated by various sensors, including piezoelectric and magnetic sensors. Pickups with one piezoelectric sensor per string are used on all 3Dvarius electric violins.
Play in silence
Every violinist has a story about enraged neighbors who couldn’t stand hearing them practice. A violin mute may not always be sufficient to suppress the sound of a classical violin. As previously stated, an unamplified electric violin creates a soft, barely discernible sound.
You can play the electric violin quietly at home without disturbing your neighbors if you use headphones to amplify it. Only the violinist hears the sound in this way.
Sensations and Playing Techniques
Due to the loss of the soundbox, there will be a period of adjustment.
The absence of the soundbox will necessitate some adjustment time for classical violinists while playing an electric violin for the first performance. The classical violinist is accustomed to hearing what he is playing in his ears. The violinist’s ears directly perceive the sound, which is amplified by the sound box.
When a violinist plays an electric violin, the sound does not directly reach his ears but travels through the amp or speakers surrounding him. The sound has a different source and takes a little longer to reach the instrumentalist’s ear.
This will necessitate a brief time of adjustment on the violinist’s side for him to re-establish his perception of the sound. He’ll get acclimated to the difference after a few minutes of playing.
Every violinist who picks up an electric violin for the first time feels the same way. The source of the sound perplexes them. When we speak with them, they all say the same thing.
Vibrations from the soundboard are eliminated.
The vibrations of a classical instrument are familiar to a classical musician. Depending on the nuances produced by the bow stroke, these vibrations are more or less prominent. An electric violin’s sturdy body will vibrate less. The violinist will experience fewer vibrations and may find it more difficult to nuance his notes.
Like the source of the sound, the violinist will require time to adjust and practice to become accustomed to it. Classical violinists tend to overuse the bow to nuance their notes initially.
On an electric violin, however, this does not function. You can’t entirely finesse the notes if you force the bow. Instead, you must use your fingers to create effects by combining their movements.
Changing your playing methods
We’ve all heard that learning to play the violin on an acoustic violin is preferable to learning on an electronic one This is both correct and incorrect. If one or the other tempts you, go for it! There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to play both at the same time! Both are violins, and they are both played with a bow and with fingers.
No violinist can produce a faultless sound after only a few days of practice. Learning to play the violin takes time and patience to generate high-quality tones. The difficulty resides in one’s ability to enhance right-hand bowing movements while also increasing the left hand’s dexterity, which is required for fingerings.
The acoustic violin’s hollow nature makes it more challenging to achieve a flawless tone. Pressure, inclination, weight distribution, and position must all be balanced. On the acoustic violin, the bow’s weight and the pressure applied are more crucial than on the electric violin.
The pressure exerted on the strings is less important with electric violins because the sensors on the bridge cannot interpret it. A pickup can handle nuances up to a point, but they will never be the same as those found on an acoustic violin. As a result, some of the most crucial nuances in classical repertoires are lost on the electronic one.
Classical Music Vs. Amplified music
An electric violin’s tone is distinct from that of an acoustic one. This makes sense because they both produce sound in distinct ways. The soundbox of a classical violin amplifies the vibrations of the strings. The strings’ vibrations are converted into an electrical signal, which is then amplified by an electric violin.
These two instruments will always produce different sounds. It is feasible to get closer to a classical sound with an electric violin by using modest effects like reverb, delay, and impulse response. You can use impulse response to emulate an instrument’s acoustic response and replicate its sound.
There will always be a difference in tone between the two instruments. With modest effects, an electric violin can sound more like a classical instrument. But, let’s face it, if you wanted to play classical music, you’d use a classical violin.
It’s pointless to compare the sound of an acoustic violin to that of an electric one. Suppose a violinist tells you that an electronic violin sounds horrible. In that case, it’s either because he doesn’t comprehend the instrument’s purpose, playing a low-quality electric violin, or has a completely obtuse mind.
Take the acoustic and electric guitars, for example; the sounds of these two instruments are not the same! No guitarist, in fact, ever wonders why they don’t sound alike. Guitarists have taken advantage of the benefits and chances that each instrument provides.
They utilize either a classical or an electric guitar, depending on the style of music or the feeling they want to create. At a metal event, a flamenco guitar is not used.
If you desire to play classical music, a classical violin is a good choice. Each instrument has its characteristics, and an electric violin is not designed to perform classical music. If you wish to join a modern music band, the electric violin’s effects usage will undoubtedly open doors for you.
Many people want us to compare the sound of a classical and electronic violin. We recorded Telemann’s Canonic Sonata for Two Violins to provide a comparison.
Each instrument has its characteristics, and an electric violin is not designed to play classical music…
Electric violin effects
Like an electric guitar, the electric violin can apply effects to enhance and modify the sound it generates. Give your sound a saturated distortion like Jimmy Hendrix’s, or add reverb and delay to make it more dynamic!
We employ electric guitar effects pedals to modulate the sound of the electric violin, always taking care to match the effects to the violin’s frequencies. You can play any genre of music with these effects pedals: rock, metal, jazz, pop, etc.
This video covers the video game The Legend of Zelda’s song “Song of Storms.” A 3Dvarius and an Ampero effects processor were used to create this cover version. The effects processor may generate various effects such as bass, pizzicato, wah-wah, distortion, and more.
Violinists should be able to play both acoustic and electric violins with ease and comfort. There are frets on some electric violins. It’s ideal for beginning violinists or musicians who are used to playing fretted instruments.
Electric violins, on the other hand, take some getting accustomed to. The instrument does not vibrate as much as an acoustic violin because there is no sound box. This may be a weird sensation for accomplished violinists who have been formally educated on acoustic violins.
Keep in mind that the price of both instruments has a significant impact on their playability. You’re paying not only for the sound but also for the quality of the work.
We occasionally hear violinists complain that their electric violins aren’t as intuitive to play as their acoustic violins. However, they could be comparing a $5000 acoustic violin to a $5000 electronic violin.
When a $3000 electric violin is compared to a $3000 acoustic one, the results of both instruments may be pleasantly satisfying.
A luthier must maintain a classical violin regularly. The classical violin’s hollow construction makes it more delicate, and the traditional procedures used to create it are more likely to decay over time.
A violinist usually visits his luthier once a year to make some changes to his instrument. The luthier checks the condition of the bridge, the instrument’s body, the tuning pegs, the fingerboard, the string adjusters, and the nut.
There are no regulations for the electric violin. The majority of manufacturers employ more efficient methods. An electric violin, for example, is not protected by any form of polish. A challenging and robust varnish is applied directly to the violin to ensure long service life.
As a result, the polish does not need to be reapplied every year. On an electronic violin, there is no need for any intervention for several years most of the time.
Of course, whether your violin is acoustic or electric, you should always take care of it by removing rosin residues, cleaning your hands before each use, storing it in its case, avoiding dampness, sun, excessive heat, and so on.
As for us, we propose cleaning any rosin dust that may have gotten into the bridge and lowering the sensor’s performance. The electric violin’s sonic capabilities will be reduced as a result. It’s also crucial not to store the instrument haphazardly. When an instrument is not in use, the best place to keep it is its case!
Is Playing An Electric Violin The Same As Playing An Acoustic Violin?
An electric violin’s tone is distinct from that of an acoustic violin. This makes sense because they both produce sound in distinct ways. The soundbox of a classical violin amplifies the vibrations of the strings.
Is It Necessary To Tune Electric Violins?
The usual tuning is G, D, A, and E from the lowest to the highest string on a 4-string electric violin. You’ll need to adjust the tuning peg if your electric violin string is much lower or higher than it should be.
What Is The Decibel Level Of An Electric Violin?
As a result, electric violins lack the hollow construction of acoustic violins, which allows the body to vibrate and radiate sound. The tone is usually between 65 and 75 percent softer than a traditional violin.
Both instruments are rather distinct. Acoustic violins have a long history. The sound will always be rich and full, and it will be impossible to duplicate. On the other hand, electric violins have a plethora of qualities that would be appropriate for today’s genres and performance requirements. Fidlar hope you found this article useful and let us know