Electric violin strings

July 14, 2006 at 08:00 PM · Hi, My name is Neil, I have been lurking around the forums here quite a bit in the last weeks or so, this is my first post. I see many discussions about strings for acustic violins, but I don't see any for electric violins. so here are my two questions.

A) Do electric violins and acoustic violins use the same string types?

B) If they do not, does anyone have any recomendations for brand/type? I am new to violins. I just ordered my first violin (yes its electric, I know I'm beaking a rule, but I have roomates whom I do not wish to drive insane, as I drove my family insane when i practiced clarinet in my school days.) off of ebay, it is an electric and is missing some strings, so I am planning to replace all of them at once for even wear and tear. Any comments and or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Replies (5)

July 15, 2006 at 03:44 PM · My Zeta came from the factory here in Phoenix strung up with Dominants.

However, I'm going to try Eudoxas on it. I'll bet they'll work great in performance.

I also use only wooden bows on my Zeta. The better the bow, the better the sound.

July 17, 2006 at 02:57 AM · I think the the question on what strings to use is more of a accoustic violin issue rather than an electronic one. Accoustic violin respond quite differently with different strings in terms of tone colours. I don't think you can get much tone colours in electric violins irregardless of what strings you use.

I use Dominant strings for my electric violin because they do tend to last a bit.

July 17, 2006 at 08:44 PM · Unfortunately my violin is used and off of ebay, so the factory strings idea is somewhat nuked out of the question :P In response to the wooden bows part, any reccomendations for some cheap bows? Starving college student here.

Tone and color may be more of an issue for acustic instruments, but the the difference between good strings an bad strings will still exist, at least from what I have observed in electric guitars.

July 18, 2006 at 03:19 AM · I'm not an expert violinist, but have used Tonica, Dominant and Obligato strings. I rekon Tonica and Dominant should do for electric violins. They are reasonably good strings.

P/S: Gil Shaham uses Dominant strings for his Strad... if I remember correctly.

July 26, 2006 at 03:20 AM · Strings are very important on amplified violins for most of the same reasons as on acoustic. Though they make a different contribution to the final sound, in the amplified context strings remain crucial for all the usual issues such as bow response and left hand "feel", and they play a larger and more surprising role in EQ adjustment!-- I mean "EQ" like 'graphic EQ' as in getting a desired balance of volume across all strings and frequencies. Amplification always distorts the balance of frequencies we would otherwise hear from an acoustic instrument, and solid-body, extra-MASSIVE and/or extra-STIFF, made-to-be-electric instruments, while they usually will make less feedback, usually have some unusual big reverberation anywhere from ca. 200 to 2000 Hz, which you have to deal with somehow. Sometimes, strings can do the trick.

As one concrete example, two students of mine acquired the same model of Fender mostly-solid small-hollow-pocket (they call it "chambered")electric violins, model FEV 144, I think. White. G and D string any kind of string we tried were fine, but the A and E could hardly be touched without extreme, loud, squelching, brassy, yucky, nearly-feeding-back sound. With my pre-amp with all sorts of frequency control, we could drop around 800 Hz but especially my 1600 Hz slider down to almost nothing (maybe 3200 Hz way down also, but I'm not sure, because I usually have 3.2 and 6.4 kHz pretty low...), and then the A and E were playable with something like normal bow weight and speed &c.-- Still, though, sound was weird and not wholly satisfactory. And students didn't have and didn't want to have to mess with pre-amp. So we experimented and put Infeld Red on for A and E-- bingo!! Great solution!! Took out all the high overtones which had killed before-- no pre-amp necessary, good sound, natural-feeling balanced playing across all strings. As with acoustic violins, you have to play around with your own set-up. Overall sound depends on your strings, your bow, your particular model and where it reverberates, your technique, the sound you're aiming for, and your amp!, and the room you're in, that old frayed cord, the dying battery.... Actually more variables and more challenges sounding good amplified.

Make sure to have a good sul ponticello technique for all your thrashy-distortion solos-- saves you a foot pedal, batteries, cords, and complication, and people are very impressed.

Enjoy!

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