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Glasser Carbon Composite Acoustic-Electric 5-String Violin

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Sep 18, 2019 - 4:23:52 AM
14 posts since 8/16/2019

I bought this instrument through Fiddlershop.com -- great service, very helpful people and very quick service, too!

I bought the green one and have to say that it is a very handsome looking instrument. I love the fact that it has the shape of a traditional violin, with the edges which make attaching any shoulder rest easy. The F-holes are traditionally shaped, which I like. The price was very reasonable when compared to the more expensive instruments out there, such as Luis and Clarke or Mezzo-Forte.

I am mainly a trumpeter who is married to a wonderful violinist who was very supportive of my purchase. I've been playing violin for the past 4 years, using a 70-100 year old cheap German violin that had belonged to my wife's father, who was a professional violinist like she is. So we have the traditional wooden violins around the house -- the one I'm using was cheap when it was new, it sounds very nice but like all wooden instruments it is delicate and can't be used in certain situations such as outdoors in direct sunlight, outdoors when if it might rain, in very cold weather. Thus my interest in the carbon fiber instruments -- I keep my instruments out all the time and over the 4 years of using the old German instrument (it had previously been sitting in need of repair with some open seams and a crack before we had it repaired for me to us) there was no damage to it -- my basement office is never particularly dry in winter nor particularly humid in summer, but there is always that chance of damage to an exposed wooden instrument. No such worries for a carbon-fiber instrument.

Musically it sounds very good -- a good level of volume but not quite as loud as a wooden instrument. Still plenty of volume for my uses and it will hold its own in the one ensemble I play in each year at a week-long Suzuki music camp where I conduct the camp orchestra at the end of June each year. Of course, with this violin amplified the sky's the limit regarding loudness.

The pickup is built into the bridge and a pre-amp is built into the chinrest so there's no need for anything other than the instrument, a cable and an amp. No need for an extra pre-amp. And if you purchase a wireless connection such as the Boss WL-20L you can hook up to the amp wirelessly for complete freedom while performing with it amplified.

The neck is wider than a 4-string violin, which is good for using all 5 strings. Some 5-string violins try to keep the neck the same width as a 4-string, which makes the strings too close together for easy playing. The width of the neck on this Glasser 5-string is wide enough that all 5 strings are the same distance apart at the bridge as they are on a 4-string violin and are nicely separated at the nut for easy fingering. It will take a bit of getting used to for me to remember that notes on the G string are no longer on the lowest string, but I'm already getting comfortable with that and I've only had the instrument since yesterday.

The Larsen strings that it comes with are well matched to the instrument, but of course I will be experimenting with other strings in the coming months to see if there is a better set for it.

The tone is very even across all the strings, but the low C (which is a Dominant since apparently Larsen doesn't make a low C string for violin) seems a bit weaker. Part of that is due to the fact that the instrument has a violin-size body and so isn't really designed for the resonance required to make that C string sing out. That's common to all 5-string violins, though, and not a fault of this Glasser instrument. But for those instances when a viola is needed but not available, I will be able to fill the need with this instrument.

The color is brighter than I had been led to believe from other reviews I had read online about these instruments -- it is not bright nor is it garish, but it is easy to see that it is green. Other reviewers had remarked that the carbon weave added darkness and subdued the color a lot. I would say that at least for my tastes it is very nice -- it doesn't scream out "look at me, see how different I am!" Glasser also makes an AEX line of these instruments which have much brighter colors and which don't show the carbon weave, but those instruments are much quieter when played acoustically and pretty much would always need to be amplified. The model I purchased will only need to be amplified if I want it to be - it has plenty of volume when played acoustically.

It is heavier than my wooden violin, but not by a lot. Some of that weight is the extra string and wider tailpiece and extra peg, and some of it is the pre-amp which is built into the chinrest. But since the bulk of the extra weight is in the chinrest, once the instrument is on my shoulder it balances very nicely and there isn't any extra weight out at the scroll so it doesn't change my playing posture. And as I said, it's not a lot of extra weight, another 4 or 5 ounces or so. My wife played it and made it sound beautiful and didn't complain about any excess weight issues.

So I'll end by saying that I am very happy with this instrument and would encourage others not to avoid it or diss it simply because it's not made of wood. I will readily admit this instrument (even the 4-string model, and they even make these without the electronics which are even cheaper and lighter) is not for everybody. But for those who need a "knock around" instrument for those occasions when a more expensive and delicate instrument would be unthinkable, this is a great instrument to consider. And for people like me it's a great choice -- reasonably priced, musically very good, and very easy to take care of.

To see what this instrument is capable of check out Alex DePue's youtube video of him playing "The Bee" on it. I will never be able to play like that but it's great to know that I have an instrument that is capable of that.

Sep 18, 2019 - 5:15:35 AM

Dragonslayer

Mozambique

102 posts since 9/1/2019

Cool, I have a carbon guitar (well it's my dad's but he doesn't play much) and have only good things to say about it. I'd love to see pictures, and maybe a video of you playing it. I know there's videos on YouTube probably, but I prefer to see the owner playing it, not sure why

Sep 18, 2019 - 11:16:27 AM

14 posts since 8/16/2019

I've just uploaded 3 pictures -- the front, the back and the bottom showing the chinrest.


Sep 18, 2019 - 11:16:58 AM

14 posts since 8/16/2019

I will not be posting a video of me playing the instrument until I become a bit better. :-)

Sep 18, 2019 - 1:20:26 PM

Dragonslayer

Mozambique

102 posts since 9/1/2019

Looks great! How bout a video then of your "wonderful violinist" wife playing it?

Sep 19, 2019 - 1:14:58 AM

14 posts since 8/16/2019

She respectfully declines. :-)

Sep 19, 2019 - 6:52:01 AM

Dragonslayer

Mozambique

102 posts since 9/1/2019

Oh well, it looks cool. And I think I saw a pair of these (or something similar) on YouTube today, search Celtic dueling violins, it's the one with the blonde ladies wearing blue, sounded good

Sep 19, 2019 - 11:31:57 AM

34 posts since 3/11/2015

Dude, it's really beautiful. I must admit I scoffed a little at the description of a green violin, but this thing is the business. Really pretty.

Sep 20, 2019 - 5:55:37 AM

2 posts since 9/20/2019

Looks very nice. I also want something like that for myself. How does it sound?

Sep 21, 2019 - 1:23:17 AM

14 posts since 8/16/2019

It sounds very good -- nobody would mistake it for a 100 year old wooden fiddle, but it's got plenty of volume, it plays well, it sounds good to my ears and my violinist wife didn't make me send it right back (which we would have done if it had sounded like crap.) If you search for Alex DePue The Bee on youtube you can see what it's capable of sounding like in the hands of a professional fiddler (he was a consultant for Glasser in the development of this instrument). There are some other videos demonstrating it, one being played by a woman who also plays a couple of wooden instruments so you can really hear the difference, although the Glasser she's playing on may not have been set up as well as it could be.

Last night I compared the distance from the nut to the bridge on the Glasser with my 100 year old wooden violin, which has been setup by an excellent luthier in my area, and discovered that the bridge on the Glasser was about 1/8th of an inch too close to the nut. I very carefully moved the bridge (I repair woodwind and brass instruments professionally and had watched the luthier do a similar bridge adjustment on my wooden violin so I felt comfortable moving the bridge) so that it matches my wooden instrument and it opened up the tone even more and it rings much better now.

I'm very happy with it, and am enjoying learning to play viola music on it -- that C string makes it a versatile instrument for improvisation, it also provides more ring for any Cs that are played (just as the other open strings provide resonance for certain notes), and it allows me to serve as a violist (certainly not with the same tone as a 16" or 17" viola, but at least the notes can be played and it sounds like a small viola) in the absence of someone with a viola.

For fiddling it's great, for my meager (but improving) classical chops it's great. And the almost indestructible nature of this instrument makes it a no-brainer for travel or for playing in less-than-ideal conditions, even for people with more expensive and more delicate wooden instruments.

Sep 21, 2019 - 8:06:22 AM
likes this

4262 posts since 9/26/2008

I have never worried about my wooden fiddle and I play out in weather of all kinds (hot, cold, humid, arid) in every combination, even had some rain fall on it once. How 'indestructible' does it need to be, eh? wink Just take care not to put it on a chair or on the ground... 

Edited by - ChickenMan on 09/21/2019 08:08:16

Sep 21, 2019 - 9:20:47 AM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2401 posts since 2/3/2011

I've always wanted a fiddle that could double as a canoe paddle. I actually played one of those in the 4-string non-electric version. It played ok but it sounded underwater. I don't know if it was set up properly or if such was even possible. I still gave it some serious thought. And that green color would look good out over the water...

Sep 23, 2019 - 11:46:10 PM

2 posts since 9/20/2019

quote:
Originally posted by dhbailey52

It sounds very good -- nobody would mistake it for a 100 year old wooden fiddle, but it's got plenty of volume, it plays well, it sounds good to my ears and my violinist wife didn't make me send it right back (which we would have done if it had sounded like crap.) If you search for Alex DePue The Bee on youtube you can see what it's capable of sounding like in the hands of a professional fiddler (he was a consultant for Glasser in the development of this instrument). There are some other videos demonstrating it, one being played by a woman who also plays a couple of wooden instruments so you can really hear the difference, although the Glasser she's playing on may not have been set up as well as it could be.

Last night I compared the distance from the nut to the bridge on the Glasser with my 100 year old wooden violin, which has been setup by an excellent luthier in my area, and discovered that the bridge on the Glasser was about 1/8th of an inch too close to the nut. I very carefully moved the bridge (I repair woodwind and brass instruments professionally and had watched the luthier do a similar bridge adjustment on my wooden violin so I felt comfortable moving the bridge) so that it matches my wooden instrument and it opened up the tone even more and it rings much better now.

I'm very happy with it, and am enjoying learning to play viola music on it -- that C string makes it a versatile instrument for improvisation, it also provides more ring for any Cs that are played (just as the other open strings provide resonance for certain notes), and it allows me to serve as a violist (certainly not with the same tone as a 16" or 17" viola, but at least the notes can be played and it sounds like a small viola) in the absence of someone with a viola.

For fiddling it's great, for my meager (but improving) classical chops it's great. And the almost indestructible nature of this instrument makes it a no-brainer for travel or for playing in less-than-ideal conditions, even for people with more expensive and more delicate wooden instruments.


That is great! I will buy by Bunnel EDGE Clearance... I think its best choice for me. I chose based on these criteria https://webproductradar.com/best-electric-violin-for-the-money What you think?

Sep 24, 2019 - 1:47:45 AM
likes this

14 posts since 8/16/2019

Monica
The Glasser is an acoustic/electric violin -- playing without amplification is fine. It has a resonating air chamber shaped just like a wooden violin. The Bunnell Edge electric violin needs to be played with amplification. So if you are looking for a totally electric violin it seems that the Bunnell Edge may be a great way to begin. The one review that has any detail indicates that the included mini-amp is just okay -- he was running his Bunnell Edge through an acoustic amp. The included amp is only a practice-sized amp, so if you want to perform for more than just one or two people you'll need to use a larger amp.

At under half the price of the Glasser, it looks like it might be a very nice entry into the electric violin world.

Oct 4, 2019 - 12:32:51 PM

14 posts since 8/16/2019

I took the Glasser to my luthier, who adjusted the soundpost and who agreed that I had moved the bridge to the correct spot, and this instrument really rings properly now. I'm working on learning to play viola music on it now.

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