New to fiddle playing . I have a nice fiddle but want a electric one. I saw a few Fenders on Ebay cheap and was wondering if there any good. also a yamaha, and a NS. What do you guys use. I Want something not to heavy. thanks
If you want some of the fun without dropping too much coin, buy yourself a pickup for your acoustic; haven't tried the Kremona, but it gets good reviews, is priced nicely, and doesn't require that you alter your violin at all.
Having said that, the Yamaha YEV series are lightweight, not terribly pricey, and work in a very similar way to an acoustic (strung the same, uses a conventional shoulder rest, etc). The NS is neat, but the sound is no better (imho), and it's a bit different in how it's strung, plus requires a proprietary shoulder/ chin rest combo.
Avoid the Fender (heavy and sounds terrible), Wood (heavier than you'd expect, nothing special), Yamaha silent (too pricey for what you get, not as good as the YEV), and really ANYTHING you see on EBay.
I have two NS. The CR4 is very quiet acoustically. The WAV4 is pretty quiet.
When I travel for Christmas, I take the WAV4 and practice in my sister's sitting room while the rest of them read the newspaper (they still do that) or check their phones. So it is really not loud. If you go into another room in the house and shut the door, your wife will not hear a thing.
That said, the NS has a fairly awkward (for beginners) chin and shoulder rest set up. It is quite tough to tighten the nuts enough to keep things from moving (but it is possible and necessary to do). If you have figured out how to set up your current violin so you can hold it properly, it shouldn't be too much of a challenge.
I had a Yamaha SV130 for a while and it was much, much louder acoustically than the WAV4.
I use my electric violin, without amplification, to practice at night. It gives me a couple of extra hours of practice a day.
If you are patient, you can find a WAV4 for decent used prices ($300-$400).
Also in terms of weight, on paper, the NS are not light, about a pound and a half (my acoustic is less than a pound) but because the tuners are in the body (which makes for very, very easy tuning by the way), the weight is balanced more on the shoulder rest than on the end of the neck so that once you get used to it, the weight 'feels' pretty much like an acoustic.