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Aug 10, 2022 - 2:42:56 PM
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1537 posts since 7/26/2015

Here's a question. These things you are ”not supposed to do” to a fiddle/violin because they effect the acoustics…, do they still matter if it’s electric?
• Frets
• Bridge permanently attached to instrument
• Guitar-style tuners
• Fine tuners on all four strings
• Bowing guide
• Shoulder rest

...and maybe a strap to keep from dropping the thing...

Aug 10, 2022 - 2:51:09 PM
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24 posts since 2/12/2020

I've been thinking about building an electric fiddle so I can practice with earphones when I travel. I don't think the guy in the room next to me at the hotel a few weeks ago was a fan.

You must not be afraid of the bluegrass police. I once pulled out a practice amp out of a tote at a festival while I was looking for something else. I had to show them there were no batteries to avoid being ticketed. Got off with a warning.

Aug 10, 2022 - 5:59:14 PM
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2756 posts since 10/22/2007

I've got a cheap Ceceilo ev. Has piezo pickup. It sounds like bowed electric guitar. But it doesn't sound like I want. I understand, it won't sound like an acoustic violin. An electric guitar has magnetic coil type pickups. They make a violin with this type pickups but they're too expensive for me. They also make evs with frets. I wouldn't want frets but that's just me. I was going to play one because they feedback less. But my acoustic is just easier to play.

Aug 10, 2022 - 6:08:44 PM
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849 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy

Here's a question. These things you are ”not supposed to do” to a fiddle/violin because they effect the acoustics…, do they still matter if it’s electric?
• Frets
• Bridge permanently attached to instrument
• Guitar-style tuners
• Fine tuners on all four strings
• Bowing guide
• Shoulder rest

...and maybe a strap to keep from dropping the thing...


The things you listed aren't problems for an electric violin, as the sound of a dedicated electric violin is dictated, not by the body of the instrument and its setup, but by the electronic components, amp, and/or mixing board. Acoustic violins with added pickups are a different matter because the pickup is there to capture the acoustic sound as well as it can and send that through the amp.

Fine tuners on all strings are not an issue for acoustic violins, though. The Wittner is a great tailpiece for many players and is very easy to work with. I don't use them on fine violins because most advanced players don't need or want them, but I'll always put one on if asked. I will say, though, that the Wittner pegs have mostly eliminated the need for the fine tuner tailpiece--you get the same precision in tuning but you can have a real wood tailpiece. Shoulder rests have become a standard it players of all styles; whether that's  a good thing or not is a matter of debate!

Bowing guides are not intended to be used all the time on any instrument, so they wouldn't be a standard feature regardless of whether it was acoustic or electric. 

Aug 11, 2022 - 4:44:56 AM

kjb

USA

765 posts since 6/8/2013

depends on what you call an electric violin I use an acoustic with a bridge type pickup, so basically acoustic , but it all goes through the electronics and they you mix the electronics to the sound you want or at least somewhere near . A full on electric has basically no acoustics ( more or less) , and all those things usually come with it. you trade acoustic sound for reduced feedback , and then manipulate the sound with effects.

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:09:23 AM

banjopaolo

Italy

224 posts since 9/14/2010

frets on a violin acuostic or electric can be used but.... they will sound out of tune going up the neck!

I don't see any utility attaching the bridge to the body of the instrument be it electric or not, also in hallow body electric guitar the bridge is not glued...

Guitar style tuner can be used of course, on an electric instrument, I saw some little guit style tuner also on an old acoustic violin (it looked like a small duoblebass)

I use four fine tuner on my acoustic viola

don't know what you mean as 'Bowing Guide'

Shoulder rest are widely used on acoustic instrument and of course can be used on electric

Aug 11, 2022 - 10:24:12 AM

208 posts since 4/2/2019

quote:
Originally posted by banjopaolo

frets on a violin acuostic or electric can be used but.... they will sound out of tune going up the neck!


Why? The frets up the neck would be placed appropriately to be in tune (assuming equal temperament, like guitar and other fretted instruments). 

(I'm NOT a fan of the idea of frets on a violin, but they shouldn't be any worse on a violin than on guitars, mandolins, etc.)

Edited by - DougBrock on 08/11/2022 10:24:35

Aug 11, 2022 - 10:46:01 AM
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5947 posts since 9/26/2008

Except that frets (and equal temperament) are a harmonic compromise. Fretless instruments, like the human voice, can sweeten harmonies by micro tonal adjustments, particular concerning major 3rds.
Given the option, I'd go without frets.

Aug 11, 2022 - 11:08:08 AM

208 posts since 4/2/2019

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Except that frets (and equal temperament) are a harmonic compromise. Fretless instruments, like the human voice, can sweeten harmonies by micro tonal adjustments, particular concerning major 3rds.
Given the option, I'd go without frets.


I totally agree. The only way I can see frets on violin making sense is for somebody who really wants to play violin/bow but doesn't have the time or desire (or ability) to really learn to play in tune. (Intonation is hard, lol!)

A banjo-player friend bought some sort of paper-ish thing that he puts on his violin fingerboard and it gives him frets. He thought it was cool and lets him saw out some notes.

Edited by - DougBrock on 08/11/2022 11:10:34

Aug 11, 2022 - 11:35:38 AM
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banjopaolo

Italy

224 posts since 9/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock
quote:
Originally posted by banjopaolo

frets on a violin acuostic or electric can be used but.... they will sound out of tune going up the neck!


Why? The frets up the neck would be placed appropriately to be in tune (assuming equal temperament, like guitar and other fretted instruments). 

(I'm NOT a fan of the idea of frets on a violin, but they shouldn't be any worse on a violin than on guitars, mandolins, etc.)


it is a matter of compensation: all fretted instruments have a compensated bridge, and fifth tuning needs also more compensation in fact mandolin bridges are built with a strong compensation between the strings, violin bridges haven't any campensation just because they are fretless so we do the compensation with our fingers....

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Aug 11, 2022 - 11:37:36 AM

208 posts since 4/2/2019

quote:
Originally posted by banjopaolo
quote:
Originally posted by DougBrock
quote:
Originally posted by banjopaolo

frets on a violin acuostic or electric can be used but.... they will sound out of tune going up the neck!


Why? The frets up the neck would be placed appropriately to be in tune (assuming equal temperament, like guitar and other fretted instruments). 

(I'm NOT a fan of the idea of frets on a violin, but they shouldn't be any worse on a violin than on guitars, mandolins, etc.)


it is a matter of compensation: all fretted instruments have a compensated bridge, and fifth tuning needs also more compensation in fact mandolin bridges are built with a strong compensation between the strings, violin bridges haven't any campensation just because they are fretless so we do the compensation with our fingers....


Aha! Good point!

Aug 11, 2022 - 11:55:22 AM

1537 posts since 7/26/2015

Are you really going to sound sweeter for not using equal temperament if your accompaniment is a fretted instrument? I'm not meaning to  be rude. I'm genuinely curious about this.
quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Except that frets (and equal temperament) are a harmonic compromise. Fretless instruments, like the human voice, can sweeten harmonies by micro tonal adjustments, particular concerning major 3rds.
Given the option, I'd go without frets.


Aug 11, 2022 - 12:29:56 PM

5947 posts since 9/26/2008

Only if you're playing with other violin family instruments and are playing harmonies. A guitar is fine, but playing with a piano sounds out of tune as far as major thirds and even fifths are concerned.
I've played guitar over 45 years and have always felt it to be a compromise of tuning. I can doubt that frets on a fiddle wouldn't work for a slower tune that reaches into 3rd position, not to my ear anyway?

Aug 11, 2022 - 12:49:21 PM

2756 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy
Are you really going to sound sweeter for not using equal temperament if your accompaniment is a fretted instrument? I'm not meaning to  be rude. I'm genuinely curious about this.
quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Except that frets (and equal temperament) are a harmonic compromise. Fretless instruments, like the human voice, can sweeten harmonies by micro tonal adjustments, particular concerning major 3rds.
Given the option, I'd go without frets.


 


OK, not speaking about sweetness, but essentially playing in tune: The guitar guy tunes for ten minutes. Don't know what he's doing but probably chasing an electric needle. Now, he snaps on a capo and says, "okay, this one's in A." Like it or not, he's not really in A. He's pulled his strings sharp with his capo.  Okay. Now, what you can do as a fretless instrument player, you can slide into Asemi-#, and play away.  Get that solo break with a smug thought, yeah, I got this. I play with a guy weekly, that loves Aflat. He's got a great deep voice. He's so happy to give me a break, so he can rest his rattlin pipes. 

Aug 11, 2022 - 12:53:33 PM

2756 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Only if you're playing with other violin family instruments and are playing harmonies. A guitar is fine, but playing with a piano sounds out of tune as far as major thirds and even fifths are concerned.
I've played guitar over 45 years and have always felt it to be a compromise of tuning. I can doubt that frets on a fiddle wouldn't work for a slower tune that reaches into 3rd position, not to my ear anyway?


Have you done a search on how James Taylor tunes? It's quite something. 

He goes in deep on fingerpicking too (off topic)

Aug 11, 2022 - 1:29:51 PM

2272 posts since 8/27/2008

Not sure I should get into this, but equal temperament is a wonderful tool that facilitates playing in many ways. The sweetness of perfect 5ths is great when it doesn't conflict with another instrument. The debate over violin tuning is all about the open strings. But you actually equalize the temperament as you play a fiddle if the note range is very wide. All fretted instruments and pianos use equal temperament to accomplish what they otherwise couldn't. As for fretting a fiddle, I can't see why it would be different from a fretted guitar or mandolin in terms of playing up the neck.

Aug 11, 2022 - 1:42:20 PM

DougD

USA

10777 posts since 12/2/2007

Steve - Your capo example is exactly why fretted instruments use compensated bridges. Its not because they are fretted with an equal tempered scale, but because as the strings are fretted they go slightly sharp (like bending a string). This effect depends on several factors, including the mass of the string, especially the core diameter. This is why some guitar bridges compensate the 2nd string more than the third, because the G string is often wound on the thinnest wire of any string (which is why I used to break so many)!

Aug 11, 2022 - 2:25:18 PM

2272 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Steve - Your capo example is exactly why fretted instruments use compensated bridges. Its not because they are fretted with an equal tempered scale, but because as the strings are fretted they go slightly sharp (like bending a string). This effect depends on several factors, including the mass of the string, especially the core diameter. This is why some guitar bridges compensate the 2nd string more than the third, because the G string is often wound on the thinnest wire of any string (which is why I used to break so many)!


That is a good point, and why a fretted fiddle might require a compensated bridge. Not hard for an electric, but just don't put frets on an acoustic violin.

Aug 11, 2022 - 2:39:07 PM

DougD

USA

10777 posts since 12/2/2007

It might, but it might depend on the actual construction of the violin strings, which I think is quite different from guitar or mandolin strings (although I'm certainly no expert on this).

Aug 11, 2022 - 5:05:42 PM

3109 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy

Here's a question. These things you are ”not supposed to do” to a fiddle/violin because they effect the acoustics…, do they still matter if it’s electric?
• Frets
• Bridge permanently attached to instrument
• Guitar-style tuners
• Fine tuners on all four strings
• Bowing guide
• Shoulder rest

...and maybe a strap to keep from dropping the thing...


Not sure any are hard fast rules - what supposed to do. While everything theoretically could affect tonal quality (acoustics) in some way, but to what nth degree on a particular instrument becomes quite debatable. Most things listed have other reasons, which outweigh the probably minute affect on the tone (even acoustic). 

Keep in mind, fine tonal differences are bit subjective. This is especially with electric. The goal is impossible to make it sound like a expensive acoustic Strad*... but should be directed on what electric tone going after, and how to affect that (as well as playing comfort). On electric instruments you have electronic options to turn up the volume... and at different frequencies, thus shape the tone. There are some other aspects that might be more important to pay attention to, such as the pickup type and placement (as well as impedance, tone filtering resistors/caps). 

Just to note there are different concepts on electric type instruments... one like electric guitars are magnetic pickups under the strings (strings have to be ferrous for mag field); the other is piezo pickups picking up vibration of what it's attached (typically in or under bridge, can be used on body). There are also MEMS and optical pickups, but those are quite another thing (complex and expensive).

Guitar style tuners or fine tuners are about ease of tuning... though added weight at scroll might be factor to consider. (can also consider guitar style tuners, or knob style at tail).  Fine tuners - are a bit redundant if using guitar tuners, but depending on how fine gear ratio of GT is. 

Bridge - tail piece strung instruments typically use floating bridge, works fine. It does affect the vibrational direction, so could affect tone, though probably not much. Floating bridge is much easier to deal with and adjust. 

Shoulder rest (and strap?) - is about how to support the fiddle... for most it's pretty insignificant to tone, acoustic or electric. Bowing guide - is just a bad idea. If you think need a bowing guide, tone is probably the least of the issue; acoustic or electric. 

Frets - are not about tone (nor acoustic v elec), but intonation. My thoughts: Most fiddles don't have them because they aren't really necessary, can negatively affect some aspects of playability; and add complexity and expense to install and setup. Longer sustained notes make intonation more noticeable. There are fretted violins (esp elec), as well as fretless guitars, banjos. The big advantage to frets making quick multi-fingered chords and/or at longer fingering scale. Most fiddle are playing single notes, and at most double stops, which are easy to intonate. Full chords have to contort/stretch fingers; difficult to land without frets. That said, if want frets, fine with 12TET, can be set up as in tune as a mandolin. Bends, slides and vibrato are different with frets.

-----------

FWIW - Bridge compensation on any straight fretted instrument mainly has to do with dealing with differences of strings, as diameter (inner) increases end stiffness increases so slightly longer distance; wrapped strings have comparatively less end stiffness than plain wire. But most instruments have fixed straight frets are really only designed to be 12TET. The idea of some sweetened tuning is limited... makes some string/frets sound better in a certain key, others much worse... esp other keys. Bowed strings have lots of sustain, so intonation can be much more noticeable compared to acoustic plucked notes. With a fretted fiddle, depend on strings, but probably overall not big issue though, for lot of reasons (maybe if getting up in fifth position?); perhaps just very slight angle with floating bridge.

----------

* There is modern technology that can use a pickup signal as trigger, that then replaces the played sound with a well recorded high quality sample... of very high quality acoustic instruments/mics in studio... what comes through speakers is the sample. (or blend of both). Theoretically no feedback and sounds much better than your instrument.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 08/11/2022 17:14:23

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:20:16 PM

1537 posts since 7/26/2015

Well, I know I don't want to deal with a floating bridge unless it's absolutely necessary. With a banjo, they're fairly easy to adjust. Violin and mandolin,...a lot harder to adjust, at least for me.
quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy

Here's a question. These things you are ”not supposed to do” to a fiddle/violin because they effect the acoustics…, do they still matter if it’s electric?
• Frets
• Bridge permanently attached to instrument
• Guitar-style tuners
• Fine tuners on all four strings
• Bowing guide
• Shoulder rest

...and maybe a strap to keep from dropping the thing...


Not sure any are hard fast rules - what supposed to do. While everything theoretically could affect tonal quality (acoustics) in some way, but to what nth degree on a particular instrument becomes quite debatable. Most things listed have other reasons, which outweigh the probably minute affect on the tone (even acoustic). 

Keep in mind, fine tonal differences are bit subjective. This is especially with electric. The goal is impossible to make it sound like a expensive acoustic Strad*... but should be directed on what electric tone going after, and how to affect that (as well as playing comfort). On electric instruments you have electronic options to turn up the volume... and at different frequencies, thus shape the tone. There are some other aspects that might be more important to pay attention to, such as the pickup type and placement (as well as impedance, tone filtering resistors/caps). 

Just to note there are different concepts on electric type instruments... one like electric guitars are magnetic pickups under the strings (strings have to be ferrous for mag field); the other is piezo pickups picking up vibration of what it's attached (typically in or under bridge, can be used on body). There are also MEMS and optical pickups, but those are quite another thing (complex and expensive).

Guitar style tuners or fine tuners are about ease of tuning... though added weight at scroll might be factor to consider. (can also consider guitar style tuners, or knob style at tail).  Fine tuners - are a bit redundant if using guitar tuners, but depending on how fine gear ratio of GT is. 

Bridge - tail piece strung instruments typically use floating bridge, works fine. It does affect the vibrational direction, so could affect tone, though probably not much. Floating bridge is much easier to deal with and adjust. 

Shoulder rest (and strap?) - is about how to support the fiddle... for most it's pretty insignificant to tone, acoustic or electric. Bowing guide - is just a bad idea. If you think need a bowing guide, tone is probably the least of the issue; acoustic or electric. 

Frets - are not about tone (nor acoustic v elec), but intonation. My thoughts: Most fiddles don't have them because they aren't really necessary, can negatively affect some aspects of playability; and add complexity and expense to install and setup. Longer sustained notes make intonation more noticeable. There are fretted violins (esp elec), as well as fretless guitars, banjos. The big advantage to frets making quick multi-fingered chords and/or at longer fingering scale. Most fiddle are playing single notes, and at most double stops, which are easy to intonate. Full chords have to contort/stretch fingers; difficult to land without frets. That said, if want frets, fine with 12TET, can be set up as in tune as a mandolin. Bends, slides and vibrato are different with frets.

-----------

FWIW - Bridge compensation on any straight fretted instrument mainly has to do with dealing with differences of strings, as diameter (inner) increases end stiffness increases so slightly longer distance; wrapped strings have comparatively less end stiffness than plain wire. But most instruments have fixed straight frets are really only designed to be 12TET. The idea of some sweetened tuning is limited... makes some string/frets sound better in a certain key, others much worse... esp other keys. Bowed strings have lots of sustain, so intonation can be much more noticeable compared to acoustic plucked notes. With a fretted fiddle, depend on strings, but probably overall not big issue though, for lot of reasons (maybe if getting up in fifth position?); perhaps just very slight angle with floating bridge.

----------

* There is modern technology that can use a pickup signal as trigger, that then replaces the played sound with a well recorded high quality sample... of very high quality acoustic instruments/mics in studio... what comes through speakers is the sample. (or blend of both). Theoretically no feedback and sounds much better than your instrument.


Aug 12, 2022 - 11:45:19 AM

50 posts since 12/26/2021

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

I've got a cheap Ceceilo ev. Has piezo pickup. It sounds like bowed electric guitar. But it doesn't sound like I want. I understand, it won't sound like an acoustic violin. An electric guitar has magnetic coil type pickups. They make a violin with this type pickups but they're too expensive for me. They also make evs with frets. I wouldn't want frets but that's just me. I was going to play one because they feedback less. But my acoustic is just easier to play.


I bought one of those just to test the waters after not touching a violin after 50+ years. The bridge was ridiculously high, I looked up recommended string heights and sanded 3/16" off the top of the bridge. It now has exactly the same action as my professionally set up Fiddlerman Concert. I play it strictly as a "silent" fiddle now, I even removed the preamp and battery so it weighs almost the same as my accoustic. It's great for late night woodshedding.

Aug 12, 2022 - 3:44:59 PM

3109 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy
Well, I know I don't want to deal with a floating bridge unless it's absolutely necessary. With a banjo, they're fairly easy to adjust. Violin and mandolin,...a lot harder to adjust, at least for me.
 

I've found violin bridges fairly easy to adjust. As fretless, exact distance to nut has leeway. Of course acoustic violin have to deal with placement for tone/volume and relation to sound post, making a bit more complicated; but electric eliminates that. IMO using standard floating violin bridge set up least complex way to go; blanks are inexpensive, easy to fit and easy to move around and adjust. Not saying not to used fixed, but unsure what plan design have in mind, or advantage would have in this application?  Could be trying to solve one issue (which is easy to deal with)... but introducing other complexities.

One thing to consider, not sure what plan is for PU system, but piezo in or under floating bridge is likely going to be easiest and transmit strongest signal. (placing piezo on solid body probably wouldn't work very easily) For fixed bridge, not sure how would place a piezo PU. I suppose could do like acoustic guitar, wider glued bridge with a saddle slot, piezo under saddle, might be a bit of work getting the actual bridge carved and fit to match string arch radius.

Magnetic coil PU would be another way to go, but might be more complex, difficult to find a pickup to fit string spacing and deal with arch height?

Aug 12, 2022 - 4:15:53 PM

2272 posts since 8/27/2008

This has me wondering what a "fixed" violin bridge might even be. Being relatively tall it would get snapped off very easily when there were no strings on the instrument. I don't see any advantage to gluing a bridge in place. Fixed bridges on guitars have a very low profile and make sense but on a fiddle I don't understand. I guess it might have very wide feet compared to a regular bridge because acoustics don't matter, but still, aesthetics matter and there is no advantage. Explain to me if I am missing something.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 08/12/2022 16:17:48

Aug 14, 2022 - 9:34:07 AM
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Earworm

USA

370 posts since 1/30/2018

I'll just add to the "frets" discussion: It seems a bit strange to me that if you want people to hear you a block or more away (electric) that you might not be comfortable finding the notes on a typical fiddle (with no frets.) I think by that point you can do without frets pretty well. I know there's a fascination for doing things the way guitarists do, but not every instrument is a guitar.

Edited by - Earworm on 08/14/2022 09:36:32

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