Direct-from-maker electric violins

September 1, 2016 at 02:39 PM · Most of us are familiar with Chinese makers such as Yitamusic who sell reasonable-quality acoustic violins direct through trading platforms such as Ebay (and there are endless debates about what "reasonable" actually means).

However, has anyone had a good experience with Chinese (or other low-cost) makers of electric violins?

Clearly many of the big US or European makers sub-contract their production to China, but I have not seen as many examples of direct-from-maker sales for electric violins.

There are clearly lots of very low quality electric violins out there, but would be interested to know if there are any Chinese makers with a good reputation for this kind of project.

Sadly a UK-designed electric violin such as the Bridge is currently out of my budget (as I'm currently saving for a viola). I'm considering an NS-Wav though.

Replies (1)

September 1, 2016 at 09:22 PM · I can't really answer your specific question about Chinese makers, but I could say a few things about electric violins generally. One is that they never seem to sound very good "as is," but depend very much on what you do to process the signal. Modeling amps and processors seem to be the key to getting a good sound. So it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to spend a great deal of money for an electric violin. As evidence for this, go to the website of Barcus-Berry, and look at how many pros use their inexpensive Romanian factory electric fiddles with spray lacquer finishes and a basic piezo bridge pickup. Those pros have found that it does the job.

Another thing is that electric violins seem hard to resell, and the low prices they command reflect that fact. You mentioned the British designed Bridge violins. A few months ago I followed one being offered on eBay repeatedly, each time with a lower opening price until it was near to 1/2 of the retail price. It never got any offers while I was watching it. And there was nothing wrong with it. So buy used, and let someone else take that hit. I'm kind of intrigued by the new Yamaha YEV violins, and I think others are too because my impression is that they are "flying off the shelves," or at least for violins they are. So I'm confident that in about a year some of those buyers will realize that they didn't really need them, and they'll start appearing used, and significantly less expensive. I can wait.

I realize that what I'm saying isn't helpful for makers or retailers, but it's JMHO.

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