When my birthday rolled around in February, I decided that I wanted something a little adventurous. In particular, I wanted an electric violin!
I'd been thinking about it for more than a year, since my first encounter with the new Yamaha Electric Violin (or "YEV") in Jan. 2016 at the NAMM Convention. I fell in love with a lot of things about the YEV: it does not feel synthetic, as it is made with six kinds of wood, and it has a modern but beautiful look. Playing it feels like playing a normal violin. It also can sound like a normal violin, yet it has the capacity for special effects. And not insignificantly, it is less expensive than previous electric models, at $600 for the four-string and $650 for the five-string violin.
With so many comfortable features, it seemed like an instrument that would allow me to start in a relatively familiar place, then branch out in an organic way, into the many other things that an electric can do. So I took the plunge and got a Yamaha Electric Five-String Violin last month. As excited as I was about getting a YEV, I was less clear on how exactly to proceed. For example, how do I actually make a sound with this thing?
Thankfully, my friend and longtime Violinist.com member Jesus Florido was happy to help me get started. He came over with his young son, Sebastian (my violin student for a while, so it was fun to see him!) and we took a little trip to Guitar Center to get me the basic equipment that I needed to get started - cords, amp, connector, sound processor.
Jesus is well-versed in the world of electric violin, like a number of other members on Violinist.com, including Christian Howes, Adam DeGraff, etc. While he has the expertise to recommend the very best of everything, he advised that I get started with just the basics, so that I can start getting familiar with the violin, then make more educated decisions to upgrade equipment at a later date. This idea also worked well for my budget, especially after just buying the fiddle!
So we managed to assemble the basics that I needed for around $150. Below is a video about it, and about what I'm trying to do to get to know the instrument. Here also is the list of the things I acquired to get started:
As far as what I plan to do first musically on this fiddle, I'm actually very excited to have a "C" string, so I plan to practice the Bach Suites for Cello. I've always loved them, and it seems like a great way to get to know the geography of a five-string instrument, which actually is very tricky. For example, the D string is the "middle" string! I'm very grateful to have a wonderful arrangement of the first four Suites by Valerie Prebys Arsenault, which is actually transcribed for violinists into treble clef. Ironically, I plan to use that version and just play it down a string!
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