Electric Violin part design reasons

August 11, 2017, 6:32 AM · The other day a question came into my mind: what parts of the violin are perfectly designed? Are some things just like that because of tradition?
Pretty much, my questions are: Why does the bridge have to be so tall; Why is the bridge not secured; and is there a reason why the tailpiece isn't more like a guitar bridge? These questions are intended to be about electric violins. Thank you!

Replies (9)

August 11, 2017, 9:13 AM · The violin bridge, being an acoustically vibrating structure, has a fundamental effect on the tone, which explains its particular shape that has taken a long time to mature. The bridge is freestanding, in part so that its position can be easily adjusted to meet particular playing and tonal requirements. If the body of an electric violin is not a resonant chamber then there is a lot more scope for redesigning the instrument, including parts like the tailpiece arrangement.

Nothing whatsoever to do with electric violins, which have their own particular technology, but I once met in a session a fiddler who had the brilliant (to him!) idea of fixing a soundpost that kept falling down by hammering a nail through the back of the violin into the end of the soundpost. I think he may also have had a cousin who glued the bridge of his own violin, presumably to stop it from falling over when he changed strings. There are probably luthiers around who have had the misfortune of dealing with violins "set up" by such gentlemen.

August 11, 2017, 10:27 AM · Pegs, on the other hand are a real PITA. I'm trying pluck up courage to ask my luthier to fit mechanical pegs to the viola he made, but I'm wary oh is possible reaction.
August 11, 2017, 2:14 PM · Trevor- you got to give a guy credit for being able to get a nail into the soundpost without splitting anything wide open. But it is sad what people do.
August 11, 2017, 5:27 PM · It took me a minute to figure out PITA Adrian. I too have been thinking about having mechanical tuning pegs for a while now with many good reasons for and only a few disadvantages against.
August 11, 2017, 5:46 PM · I long ago had mechanical pegs fitted to my violin. They look exactly like normal pegs so nobody needs to know except your luthier :)
Edited: August 11, 2017, 5:54 PM · Gear pegs are brilliant. I have wittners on my viola, pegheds on my violin, and knillings on my daughter's violin. I like the pegheds the best.

I suspect a guitar-type tailpiece on an electric violin might work just fine.

Edited: August 12, 2017, 5:35 AM · Electric violin is no different from electric guitar, or any other amplified instrument. You can get creative with design and change whatever you like, as long as the vibrating string length (nut<--->bridge) is about 325-327mm and neck_stop:body_stop ratio is 2:3 (130:195mm).
As far as bridge height is concerned, it is driven by many reasons, one of them is proper string clearance (the distance from fingerboard). Even on an electric fiddle, bridge design will affect sound quality (since piezo pickup is installed under it or attached to it).
Edited: August 13, 2017, 3:59 PM · Well, you certainly get things like the traditional violin outline - the older Yamahas come to mind. Some also have a traditional scroll. These things have nothing to do with an electric violin's performance and have no function other than to appeal to a conservative market. I would suggest to makers that it's time to move on from that one!
Certain things must stay consistent like string length and dimensions of the neck. A lot of people want something to imitate the rib on the right hand side, though not all. Basically, most players want something that feels like a regular instrument if they close their eyes (sometimes there are extra strings so some adjustment would be necessary in that case). Other than that, you can change most things. Sometimes the body is shaped in such a way that the bridge does not need to be so tall for instance.
As for something being perfect - ask an electric guitarist something like what are the best pickups or best overdrive or whatever and they will say it all depends on the sound you are looking for. That is very different from the acoustic violin world that more or less looks for a specific sound.
August 14, 2017, 10:39 AM · Good questions Connor. Some basic background..... An electric guitar and electric violin generally work much differently. An electric guitar uses electro magnetic pickups with with metal strings. As the metal strings vibrate, it causes changes to the magnetic field, which creates electric current which become amplified. Most electric violins use a piezo electric device, which converts the physical vibrations to a voltage. as for the tailpiece, if the electric violin is essentially an acoustic with a piezo electric bridge then the plate vibrations are a central component to the sound. Attaching the strings to the top plate would completely change the ability of the plates to vibrate. A solid body electric violin I assume doesn't care how the strings are attached to the body, as long as a proper after length is acheived.

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