I invented a new pickup

May 15, 2016 at 04:19 PM · I spent 2 years developing a new kind of violin pickup and I just completed the first run of field tests. I'd love to get some feedback from other players. Everything can be found here:

VCOIL Pickups

If you like it I'll be introducing a short run of them this summer through Kickstarter.com

Replies (17)

May 15, 2016 at 05:45 PM ·

May 15, 2016 at 07:55 PM · this is a real post, not spam or whatever. I really do want some opinions.

May 15, 2016 at 10:06 PM · How does a fiddle with one of those things attached sound unamplified?

May 15, 2016 at 10:38 PM · When i read the title, i was curious. I like to test new things :)

But when i saw the photo, i believe it's quite difficult that i can put some things around the body and the bridge, that way :)

Sorry ...... :)

May 16, 2016 at 05:26 AM · My opinion - too large and clunky. Move the DI box elsewhere, like the floor. Or make it a lot smaller. Or something. Anything.

Sound? This is my opinion, and is mostly based on my love of acoustic instruments. Probably most of us here are rather biased. ;-) I think it still sounds incredibly non-acoustic(like all other pickups), and somehow a bit muted/muffled/artificial. Like it's trying to go too far in the opposite direction from piezo quack.

Question: how does it sound after effects? I'd love to see a more in-depth comparison of different pickups with something like vSound(vSound is probably the only way I would ever amplify my violin). http://signalwizardsystems.com/vsound.html#Overview_vs

Best of luck with your endeavors!

May 16, 2016 at 01:49 PM · @Kristian:

i believe that writing one only reply at a time, instead of many, could be a large improvement. :)

May 16, 2016 at 04:22 PM · The number one concern of an acoustic violin pickup is that it should have minimal negative effect on the acoustic sound so the player can still play it without amplification if they want. Your pickup obviously completely fails in this regard, might work fine for an electric violin though, that's not intended to be played acoustically.

May 16, 2016 at 05:20 PM · First I just want to thank everyone for their quick responses and feedback which I find incredibly helpful. I have to say that I myself am classically trained and in the beginning I was not a fan of electric violins. I'm also a guitar player and I've been building tube pre-amps, pickups and stomp boxes for years. This project started from talking with players in my section at orchestra who doubled in rock, country, and jazz bands that they really dis-liked all of the piezo pickups they've ever tried. They also complained that mounted microphones were too sensitive and caused feedback. I started experimenting on my own and discovered a way to use a coil pickup on a violin in a way that's never been tried without modifying the violin. It needed a lot of massaging to get a sound that was democratic to a variety of players. I knew most classical/acoustic traditionalists would likely reject it on the grounds that unplugged it is not a suitable acoustic violin bridge, and as stated above appears "clunky" taking up surface real-estate.

This pickup is designed to sound virtually the same on any violin with natural variations based on violin build, string types, etc. Ultimately the difference in tone to an acoustic violin should be akin to hearing the difference between a fine classical guitar and a nuts and bolts electric guitar. The tone is a radical change.

One thing I'm trying to do here is to offer an affordable and pleasing solution to all piezo pickups. The piezo world has forced us to explore pre-amps, effects, processing, etc. ; all to mask the inherent flaws in the technology due in part to it's industrial/millitary origins.

Just to touch on a few of the above mentioned points:

This pickup is meant to totally transform your acoustic violin into an electric violin temporarily for specific needs without buying an electric violin, and sounds 'different' than piezo pickups do.

I wanted to avoid wires hanging off the violin, belt clips, or external devices and so chose the surface mounted output box which fits like a chin rest.

It does sounds artificial. No on-board pickup can re-produce an acoustic violin in a way that does not.

I allowed the players who demoed the pickup for me to use whatever effects they typically use in performance. I can't really comment on "bad effects" but I can say that the pickup sound is similar to an electric guitar which is characteristically metallic. I believe it is preferable to piezo pickups which sound digital and buzzer like.

I do plan to do another comparison video with a variety of piezo pickup choices. I don't believe this pickup is meant to compete with microphonic devices or be the best solution suitable for all violin players. Violin tone preference is different for everyone.

Hum-cancelling vs Single Coil is mirrored in the guitar world: (Fender Strat vs Gibson Les Paul) It's a choice the designer makes. All coil violin pickups in the past were single coil pickups and they all failed. I chose hum-cancelling.

Again, thanks everyone for their feedback. Many of the points made will be taken into consideration when I go into the first production run.

May 16, 2016 at 05:27 PM · You ARE NOT the first person to use electro magnetic pickups on a violin, the drawback being it requires all steel strings, no aluminum, no silver, just steel and most players don't like that for their acoustic sound, also with a little ingenuity you could easily design an electromagnetic pickup that did not touch the bridge, hampering vibrations, and attached at both side for minimal sound effects.

May 16, 2016 at 05:42 PM · Thanks, as I mentioned above, a few coil pickups were made before this and they all failed.

You can use ANY string types on this pickup. Dominants sound great. It's designed to use all types of strings.

There is no loss in vibration in the sound-collecting method. Like I mentioned above - this is a design that's never been tried.

May 16, 2016 at 05:44 PM · So you're saying its not electromagnetic, because electromagnetic would not pick up dominants. Here's a link to one of several electromagnetic designs available from google search.


May 16, 2016 at 05:54 PM · I discussed the topic of string types with several players on a reddit blog last week, here's the link:


also you can find some of this information on my FAQ page:


it is electromagnetic and you can use all string types, brands, etc. I can't say much more without damaging intellectual property.

The link you shared is not something that is available for sale.

When I wrote "failed" I meant not accepted by players or the idea was abandoned

May 16, 2016 at 05:59 PM · delete

May 16, 2016 at 06:10 PM ·

May 16, 2016 at 06:49 PM · My guess then Is you've made the bridge out of steel, wrapped a lot of wire around it and hooked it up to a preamp. With rather detrimental effects to the acoustic sound of the violin.

May 16, 2016 at 06:55 PM · Sounds pleasant enough, I hope to God that isn't a genuine Ceruti violin though, no owner of such in their right mind would let you install your pickup on such.

May 16, 2016 at 07:12 PM · That's one of mine. I bought it in Germany - it's from the period and the label says ceruti but there's no provenance to prove it. It's had several repairs over the years including a patch where the sound post unbelievably wore right through the back plate.

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