Electric/Silent Violins

June 19, 2005 at 05:39 AM · About silent/electric vioins... Can anybody give any info on how good these violins are? I am especially looking for something that is really quiet (unless of course you have the headphones on)...something that you could play even if a bunch of people are sleeping in the same room. And of course, looking for decent sound quality as well. Open to all suggestions, but I am particularly keen on hearing about the Yamaha Silent violins (there are so many different s too made by Yamaha...what's the difference?) Thanks.


Replies (20)

June 19, 2005 at 11:17 PM · anyone?

June 19, 2005 at 11:25 PM · Well, I tried a Yamaha Silent violin a few years ago in a shop, and was actually tempted... Seemed like it would be usable for practice very late at night in a hotel with thin walls, perhaps. I decided I wouldn't use it enough. A roomfull of sleeping people is pretty tough, though. Even the Yamaha makes some noise, as will any even remotely violinish contraption... You can't avoid having strings that vibrate, as far as I know, and vibration = noise.

A lot of shops have these - I found one to try in a general music shop (not violin-specific)... So give it a shot and let us know!

June 20, 2005 at 02:52 PM · I agree. I own a Yamaha and it is very quiet for practicing but I'm not sure if you're in a room full of sleeping people. I dont really think it would be worth buying one just for this purpose. You might be better of just using a practice mute on your acoustic violin- they produce about the same level as the Yamaha.

But if you would also use the electric violin for performing it may be worth purchasing one. The best thing is just to try one out and see what you think.

June 21, 2005 at 05:45 PM · I've lately considered trying to construct a quiet practice instrument that might double as an electric.

Some ideas I've had would be to use a solid-body construction, probably hardwood but perhaps something nice and light instead, since I wouldn't want/need the extra vibrations. I'd probably dampen the vibrations under the bridge, putting the pickup mechanisms in the bridge itself. I don't know much about this (yet), so I'm shooting in the dark here, but it seems like it'd work.

I'd definitely build in a wireless pre-amp and volume control.

Anyone out there wanting to try this? :)

June 21, 2005 at 07:45 PM · I believe that the Zeta electric violins are by far the best ones out there. I own a Zeta Strados Modern violin and it has the capability of plugging headphones directly into the violin, allowing me to play without being heard.

Hope this helps out!

-Ross Christopher


June 21, 2005 at 07:57 PM · If you want it only for practicing, a Zeta would be more money than you need to spend. I think the less-pricey Yamahas can be had for around $600, and they're perfectly adequate for practicing. There are others even less expensive which might be OK. Try to find a music store which stocks different makes and go test a few.

July 17, 2005 at 06:22 AM · I own myself an electric-violin, a yamaha copy precisely, those can be found in ebay under names like jurgensmeyer, but frankly if you wanna practice in a room full of sleeping ppl, even the yamaha silent violin won't do any good, bcoz although it's called silent violin, in reality it's not silent at all.

even though it's a silent violin, it would still project sound out from the string's vibration, the sound will be as loud as playing an acoustic with a metal-mute (not rubber), which is also another alternative I would suggest if your only intention is to practice silently,

but if you're also performing, an electric will be a good shot too..=)

July 17, 2005 at 08:09 AM · Patty (and others)

It's impossible to make a silent violin. First of all, how are you to hear yourself? And, chances are that after you can hear yourself, those around you in close proximity can hear you, too. Having said this, are the people heavy sleepers?

Even a solid wood body will aplify the sound a little, especially if it's light. Anything vibrating at a rate of a violin string is going to make audiable noise.

July 17, 2005 at 11:11 AM · I have no clue, but can't you somehow put earphones into those electric/silent violins, so only you can hear it? Now that I think about it, it seems pretty stupid...sorry.

July 18, 2005 at 04:59 AM · hmm I think we need to clear something here, even though they're called "silent violin" or whatever names they wanna call it, it still project out sound from the strings' vibration, and I would say about 25-35% the sound of acoustic violin, so if you wanna know how loud a silent violin is, it's like playing an acoustic with a metal mute, so it's almost impossible to play in a room with sleeping ppl...but of course if you wanna listen to the "true" sound of the e-violin, you can always plug it in into an amp or use a headphone. =)

July 18, 2005 at 02:04 PM · Have a look at the at the European Yamaha website, http://www.yamaha-europe.com. In the download/movies section there is a video named "Violine / Stefan Pintev". In that movie you can hear the silent violin without any amplification.

Being an owner of a Yamaha SV120 Silent Violin, I have found that if you are not in a closed room, other people in close proximity outside that room can hear everything you are doing. The SV120 is a great instrument for practice & I am very pleased with it. The sound quality through headphones is not as good as my acoustic but though a decent monitor/amp it is pretty impressive. On the down side it is a little heaver than an acoustic & uses a modified 3/4 Kun shoulder rest which is not that comfortable with the extra weight.

July 28, 2005 at 08:20 PM · In regards to electric instruments in general, does anyone know what brand is good to use for performing? I had wanted to buy an electric viola, but they're definitely not just lying around. I am not interested in an instrument that sounds the same as an acoustic. I also did not want to buy one without trying it out first, so if anyone knows somewhere that would send me one to try before buying or a violin dealer around the Philadelphia/south-eastern PA area that sells electric instruments, please let me know!

July 28, 2005 at 11:38 PM · I was at NAMM a few years ago and tried a whole variety of electric violins. Of those, I thought the best were Zeta or Jordan (www.jordanmusic.com). All the violins had tone that basically depended on their pickup, but these two were built the best. They were also the lightest too, trying to match the weight of a real analog violin. I ended up getting a Jordan violin, and love it.


August 12, 2005 at 05:26 AM · Lauren,

Sam Ash is listed as a ZETA dealer in PA. There is store #49 in Philly, and store #34 in King of Prussia. I can't say for sure if they'd have a viola in stock, but they may have a violin you can try, and then just special order a viola if you like it well enough. I know for a fact Chuck Levins-Washington Music in D.C. has ZETA violins in stock, and they are listed as a dealer as well. That's where I ordered both of mine from. I'm actually closer to Philly but have never visited those Sam Ash stores to say for sure if they have electric violins/violas in stock.

Otherwise, you might be able to find someone on this forum or another string forum who owns one, lives close, and would be willing to let you try it out.

August 15, 2011 at 01:26 AM ·

Well, I just recieved my bellafina sse violin outfit (4 string) and i live in a townhouse it is quiet enough that you cant hear it within 15-20 feet away (pizz)

I wouln't reccoment playing in a room of sleeping people but its quiet.

August 15, 2011 at 04:54 AM ·

I never tried the Yamaha series (although I wouldn't mind trying them at some point) but I have the Ned Steinberger Wav 4 and I think it sounds great for what you want. By comparison I also have a metal mute and the NS is quieter than that.

August 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM ·

 Ever tried the electric violin with the metal mute? any difference?

August 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM ·

 "something you can play in room full of sleeping people"  – the Brahms Lullaby.

August 16, 2011 at 10:33 PM ·

I'm a beginner and thought an electric would be the way to go since it's silent.  So I went to a store that had one and tried it out.  The one I tried was a Yamaha 120.  Silent it isn't - but it is quiet.  It will be heard - vaguely - thru thin walls.  I also tried it with a rubber mute and headphones.  That made it almost completely silent, but the sound in the headphones wasn't pleasant - kinda muddy sounding.  Course, that could have been me. ;)

Anyone with actual playing experience try a mute on their electric?

August 16, 2012 at 08:51 PM · Don't be fooled by the word "Silent." It's just a marketing term. The Yamaha is far from silent. I'm sure there are a lot of quieter electric violins out there. I'm not sure which one's because there are many I haven't tried, but my Rave solid body electrics, for example, are a lot quieter than the Yamaha.

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