Video Demonstration of the New Yamaha Electric Violin, a catalyst for creative expression

January 23, 2016, 12:44 AM · The first time I used an electric violin, 28 years ago, the motivation was clear to me: I needed to be heard over the drummer and achieve an overdriven tone to mimic guitar heroes like Jimi Hendrix.

Over time, I discovered that the sound of rock and roll wasn't all I was after. Rather, regardless of the style of music, I was longing for that feeling you have when you've made something from nothing and you're totally spent and thrilled at the same time. It was the longing for creative expression; that feeling mattered more to me than any particular genre of music.

Here's one more tool for achieving that: the new "YEV" electric violin by Yamaha. The news that Yamaha was releasing the "YEV" at a street price of under $600 was actually shocking to me, even after working closely with Yamaha for 19 years, and even after having consulted them during the five-year process of creating the YEV. I simply couldn't understand how they could have made something this good at such an affordable price.

When they asked me if I would care to comment on the new violin, I took it as a challenge. What could I create with it?

Yamaha made this for players like me to have a tool for creative self-expression, so I created this video to embody my own search for creative self-expression, (complete with original music, juggling and break dancing):)

Thank you Yamaha for providing not only a tool and a solution, but with it an implicit challenge to each of us to find inside of us the courage to create.


January 23, 2016 at 09:34 PM · OK too many questions.

Sound awesome. But I have tech questions.

1. I couldn't see a cable. Wireless? Or am I blind?

2. Pre-amp? If so what kind and any tips? I use two different ones: the little LR Baggs one, and the TubeMP40.

3. You did some heavy processing. Was that a modeling amp? Or did you run pre-amp output into a ADI and do it in Protools or something?

4. I use a real violin. I've played the WAV4. Which is ok but annoying with the shoulder rest thing. I'm tempted with the VIPER. Just because it is really interesting. Have you played the VIPER?

5. I tried the Stingray SV4 and couldn't see any reason to torture myself when I could plug in my real fiddle and sound better and have all the touch I normally have.

6. On that vein, setup is so key. I love my real fiddle. Other than paying real $$$ for a Jordan or a Jensen, or a full-on Viper, is this machine good? Again, I'm not overwowed by the WAV4. Other than feedback on stage, I never would use it. How about this one? Does it make you want to play it regardless of volume?

January 24, 2016 at 12:00 AM · As a non-musician but admirer of Chris Howes' work and music, I must say I love the style and look of this violin and it was a thrill to hear Chis play on it. Sounds like a winner to me!

January 24, 2016 at 03:49 AM · A great looking, but still passive electric violin. You can not use it for silent practice!

The real deal is still their sv-250, but for way more money:

If I am not mistaken, after the initial hype dies down, they will eventually merge design of Yev with features of sv-250, hopefully for less money.

Patience is a virtue.

January 24, 2016 at 04:13 PM · I like the idea of a cheaper one that you could mod with a pickup of your choice. Also the previous more expensive one had a separate preamp - I would rather chose my own or rather use what I already have. It's also easy enough to get a headphone practice amp to do the whole silent practice violin thing.

January 24, 2016 at 05:00 PM · Rocky--why can't you put a pre-amp after the fiddle and a set of earphones to that? Works just fine with any passive pickup...

January 25, 2016 at 04:15 AM · In answer to various comments on this thread, or just to provide general additional thoughts:

1) The instrument plays like a violin. The set up is great.

2) One can definitely practice quietly with this instrument. If you want to put headphones on, Im sure it shouldn't be that difficult to accomplish via the 1/4 inch jack.

3) It does not come w a preamp. This shouldn't be a problem for many who prefer to have their own. For example, in my audio recording (for this video), I went directly into a BOSS ME_70 multi effects unit and into the board from there. I also went directly into a Fishman amp. I mixed the two signals. You can hear the sound for yourself. No tricks there.

4) I have not seen electric violins under $1,000 that compare in quality, playability, sound, etc... Not to mention noone even comes close to matching Yamaha's 5 year warranty.

5) In short, I really don;t see a downside to this instrument, especially for anyone limited by budget. At $600 its really hard to say anything negative about this product or compare it unfavorably to any other product out there.

Hope this helps!

January 25, 2016 at 08:12 PM · On the one hand, compared to what's out there in terms of electric or silent violins, it's pretty hard to go wrong for $600. The other half of me thinks about the kind of keyboard or synthesizer I could get for $600, including Yamaha (for example the MX49 runs about $500).

And why IS the SV-250 three times as expensive? Because it comes with a pre-amp that might be a $100 job? Because it has two pickups that you can blend? Again, for that kind of money you can get a whale of a digital piano.

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