Electric Violin Teacher Wanted San Francisco Bay Area

March 19, 2018, 11:50 AM · Electric Violin Teacher Wanted San Francisco Bay Area

My 16 year old son has been playing the acoustic violin for 9 years and is level 9 in the California Music Teachers Association Certificate of Merit program. He currently has a very good acoustic violin teacher.


He's expressing an interest in switching to the electric violin. My assumption is that the electric violin is different enough from the acoustic violin that he will need to get a teacher with experience on this instrument. Is that a correct assumption? Does anyone know of a teacher who has this experience in the SF Bay Area (Near Palo Alto), or of resources hat could direct me to a local teacher?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Replies (8)

Edited: March 19, 2018, 1:08 PM · I don't think a teacher is that important because the playing technique is essentially the same. All he basically has to learn is how to use an amplifier, which I think is something you can learn using online resources and an instruction booklet.
March 19, 2018, 1:33 PM · Sir, I'm a Certified Electric Violin Instructor (CEVI), but I charge $500/hour and you must drive 2 hours to get to me.

(why do I feel like I could actually charge this in the Bay Area?)

Ok, now being serious: if he's already proficient on an acoustic, you don't need a separate teacher for electric.

Buy him an electric violin plus an amp and let him screw around on it, and he'll quickly find that he can transfer his skills from acoustic onto the electric.

Electric violins are much easier to play than acoustic. They also get boring pretty fast, in my experience. However, they are very novel at first, especially for someone that's had to work at acoustic for a long time. It's fun to make such a loud sound with so little physical effort. But, the novelty wears off. I have like 3 electric violins and I play them all about the same amount: almost none.

In my opinion, a nice compromise would be to buy an excellent pickup for his acoustic and a nice amp, and that way you'll still capture the tone of the acoustic to some extent, but be able to turn it up as loud as is necessary (and add effects if that's his jam).

March 20, 2018, 7:56 AM · There is no significant difference in technique for acoustic vs electric violins. A new teacher will just teach different repertoire. See if your current teacher will do this.

Low priced electric violins sound stringy and harsh. Good electrics cost many thousands. Erik (above) mentions another alternative. I put a Realist pickup (~$200) on my acoustic violin. Its a thin strip that a luthier places under the bridge. I can play acoustic when I need to, and I can plug into an amplifier when I need more volume in a combo band. IMO, you will be better off to put the money into a good amplification / sound enhancement system, initially. If your son goes professional with electric country music, you can get a top quality electric violin to match his existing quality amp system.

Edited: March 20, 2018, 10:08 AM · Karen Bentley is both an excellent classical violinist, as well as an accomplished player of a variety of non-classical styles, including electric violin. I've never taken a lesson from her but she has a reputation as a good teacher. I believe she lives in Palo Alto. http://www.kbentley.com/
March 20, 2018, 9:36 PM · Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll speak to his current teacher and see what she's willing to continue teaching if he switches instruments or perhaps if he does both. Lydia, thanks for letting me know about Karen Bentley. She has a web site and I'll reach out to her and ask about her experience on the electric violin, opportunities to play, etc. etc.
March 20, 2018, 9:42 PM · Doing both is fine. Plenty of people play multiple instruments that are very different from each other. Obviously, he can just fool around and have fun.
Edited: March 22, 2018, 10:22 AM · a cautionary note: if he doesn't play his acoustic at all for a few months, it will likely take some time to get his acoustic chops back. at least that was my experience.

I was in between acoustics for several months one time and only had an electric. I had to put some time and effort to get back to where I was when I left off.

@Erik Williams: I can be a bit naive and gullible at times. I was all set to express outrage at $500 per hour... you got me!

March 22, 2018, 12:19 PM · I'm worth every penny, Dave. But I'm actually quite affordable because lessons are only 5 minutes long!

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