Recommended accessories for YSV 104

Edited: May 5, 2020, 3:38 AM · Good day everyone.
I am planning to get a YSV104 next month for practice purposes. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments about it but it seems to be the best choice for me since I live in a paper thin wall apartment and a country where the rules are strict when it comes to noise.

Anyways, I am planning to include a shoulder rest and mute as well.
I have a shoulder rest on my acoustic violin but it is very uncomfortable.
Any recommendation for a shoulder rest and mute will be very much appreciated.

Also, does the mute affect the sound of the violin when plugging an earphones?

Thank you.

Replies (20)

May 5, 2020, 3:16 AM · Hi Airi,

If you haven't already, you should have a look at my post.

You cannot change the chin rest on YSV104 and mute is kind of pointless but I recommend Artino practice mute if you really want a mute, but it won't do a whole lot for YSV104, and yes, it does affect the sound of the violin when plugged in, but it doesn't affect the sound of the real sound that the violin makes a lot.

Edited: May 5, 2020, 3:53 AM · Hi Steve,

Thank you very much for the reply. Will read your post later.
And I’ve made a mistake on my post, it’s not chin rest but shoulder rest.
Do you have any recommendations for a shoulder rest?

According to some people on the internet, the YEV is as loud as YSV. I’ve tried playing YEV before and it’s still too loud for my apartment that’s why I think I need a mute for YSV.

Edit: I’ve just read your post. Very informative. Can’t wait wait to have mine.

Edited: May 5, 2020, 4:57 AM · For shoulder rest, it's really your taste and what you like. I had the luxury to try a lot of them and sell the ones that I didn't like. Many of which I really cannot find online anymore. Some of the memorable ones:
Kun Original, very plain and simple "standard" shoulder rest you probably have tried before. I didn't find it very comfortable. Too stiff.

Bonmusica, I saw James Ehnes using it, and it was in my shopping cart the next day. This is almost like a "large comfortable couch" of a shoulder rest. Big and comfortable but also way too big to fit in any case. Good and the bad feature is the hook shape that goes around your shoulder a little bit. It helps me feel more secure but also it gets stuck from time to time and I almost dropped my violin a few times as a result. Here's a picture of it on my violin during trial.

 photo IMG_0010_zpsuqyd0uns.jpg

Viva la musica professional is my compromise and also my current one (in a different colour). It is the shoulder rest that hit above 4/5 in everything that I was looking for in a shoulder rest. It fits in the case, it is reasonably soft, it is reasonably grippy, it is reasonably shaped. I didn't like the idea of letting the shoulder rest just move around in my case so I glued on some velcro tape to secure it in my shaped case.

 photo IMG_6730_zpssnk8uxin.jpg

 photo IMG_6728_zpst1cqtuvd.jpg

After 5 years of use, the foam pad that that touches my shoulder came off and I bought a second one and I will be buying a third one as a backup/dedicated for my YSV104.

These are my opinions and like I said and many will tell you, the shoulder rest is more of your personal taste rather than what's "good" and "bad".

Edited: May 5, 2020, 5:24 AM · I know the people who have previously posted here are giving you the best advice they can, but having owned a YSV104 in the past, I've a couple of points of caution.

First off, the artino mute will not fit the YSV104. I know that as a certainty because I own an artino and it won't fit onto the YSV104 bridge because it is not a standard bridge. It is quite a bit thicker as the pickup is integrated into it.

That doesn't mean that all mutes are incompatible. The rubber practice ones work (as they stretch), and so will the Catrpilr practice mutes by Wiessmeyer - I like this latter mute a lot.

As far as shoulder rests go, again the bottom of the instrument is not like a standard violin. There's a metal plate onto which the shoulder rest fits. I *think* most rests are ok, but I seem to remember that it's not the same size as the lower bout on a normal acoustic instrument (in the plane of the back). What I'm trying to say is if you have your rest at an odd angle to the centre line which runs from the scroll to the tailpiece, then you may run out of metal. I suspect that 99.9% of players will be fine, but just be aware. At the time I was using a bonmusica and struggling to make it work for me and I kept moving it and moving it and eventually had nowhere to go.

These days I play my acoustic violin with a Korfker rest in a very conventional position.

May 5, 2020, 6:20 AM · I just checked my Artino mute on YSV104, Tony is right, it does not fit properly (it does go on the bridge of my YSV104 but not all the way as it does on my main violin, but it doesn't actually do anything to mute the sound). I also just tried a rubber practice mute, it fits but it doesn't mute anything.

I heard a lot of good things about Korfker rests but since playing violin isn't my profession and the price of the rest scares me, I haven't tried them.

May 5, 2020, 6:21 AM · Off topic question for Tony, how does Catrpilr compare to Artino in terms of how well it mutes an acoustic violin?
May 5, 2020, 3:14 PM · I respectfully recommend the Boss ME-80 multi-effects device. Great fun.
May 5, 2020, 3:44 PM · Paul have you used that combination? FWIW the YSV-104 is not intended to plug into an amp.
May 5, 2020, 4:39 PM · Hi Steven. For me, the Catrplr mute is hands down way better than the Artino in several ways.

First off, it's much lighter, which means the instrument handles the same way it does without the mute. It is magnetic and that is how it stays in place so it is simultaneously much more secure but does no damage to the bridge. I could literally swing my violin around in any direction and the Catrplr would stay right where I put it.

It sounds better - a subjective thing I know but the tone of the instrument is closer to unmuted (that's not to say unaffected, just less affected). On the basis of some not very scientific tests with a db meter app I downloaded for my iPhone, the Catrplr mutes one or two db/m more than the artino.

And lastly, and for me this is a big thing, I can see over the mute when I'm playing and see the bow on the string. With the Artino, I lost that line of sight. In place, the Catrplr adds at most 2mm to the height of the bridge (and that's only where it goes over the strings - between the strings it's closer to 1 mm). Shocking admission coming up: sometimes I don't even bother taking the Catrplr off when I put the violin back in its case. It fits so closely to the bridge, there are no consequences of it being in place when the lid is shut.

May 5, 2020, 8:46 PM · Andres -- oh sorry I didn't know that. I thought it was a regular electric violin. You can only listen to it through earbuds then? Seems rather limited in scope.
May 5, 2020, 9:25 PM · I’m pretty sure you can connect the YSV to an amp, you don’t have to tho
Edited: May 5, 2020, 9:41 PM · "my Artino mute on YSV104, Tony is right, it does not fit properly (it does go on the bridge of my YSV104 but not all the way as it does on my main violin, but it doesn't actually do anything to mute the sound). I also just tried a rubber practice mute, it fits but it doesn't mute anything."

It doesn't have to go all the way down in order to mute - having the mass on the bridge should do something. I don't have a YSV, but on my YEV, mutes do make a significant difference. A plain metal mute doesn't go very far down the bridge, but it makes the greatest difference (and adds the greatest weight). I'd characterize the difference in sound more tonally - "taking the edge off" and not "wow I can hardly hear it". Whether or not you judge the difference to be significant or sufficient would be subjective, which would also depend on your initial expectations.

But all violins are acoustic in that they have a vibrating bridge, so if you damp the vibration, you damp the volume. The YSV seems to have a thicker bridge than the YEV - they might have tried to maximize the "silence" - so it's possible that mutes will have less of an audible impact on a YSV than an YEV, but it should not be none at all.

The YSV electronics also change the sound. I couldn't say how that would behave with muting, but it shouldn't be some sort of auto-leveler or entirely synthetic tone generator, so muting / volume changes in playing should also make a difference to the sound via the electronics. The YEV only has a passive circuit which I never use because it can't be better than the acoustic sound, and I don't want the hassle of using additional gear.

Airi, if you have any air gaps between your room and neighbours, you might be able to reduce the sound reaching them by closing the gaps. Apartments sometimes have a large gap at the entrance door for airflow; closing this would reduce the sound going to the hall.

Also note that these are still devices with sample and setup variations and are not necessarily ideal coming out of the factory. The first YEV I got had action which was far too high, so I exchanged it for one with action that was just too high, not far too high (I might get the nut reduced someday..). And one of the fine tuners on the cheap Wittner-copy tailpiece broke before long, which I was happy to replace with a real one.

May 5, 2020, 10:30 PM · Paul and Rosemary: The YSV-104 is not designed for amplification, although the instructions include an illustration of running a cable from the 3.5 mm earphone out on the SRT control box to an amp. My understanding, based on comments from The Electric Violin Shop (they have a Youtube video on the topic) and someone even closer to the horse's mouth, is that there is a power/impedance mismatch and you won't get a great sound unless you go through a pre-amp (or the previously mentioned onboard power modification).
May 5, 2020, 10:55 PM · Andres, I tried to delete my post after going to the website and seeing that there is no mention of amplification possibilities on the YSV 104 in particular. I wish I knew which model I had been loaned, I didn’t realise there were choices until I gave it back, when I tried to research buying one. I suspect it’s an older version that isn’t made any more.
I ended up getting the YEV, with which I’m very happy. I’m not good enough yet to use it for anything but silent practice for which it works well. (Separate houses, but close together).
I’d hate to live anywhere that required it to be muted.
May 6, 2020, 3:02 AM · J Ray, neither Artino nor the flexible practice rubber mute do anything for muting YSV104 at all. It does help with YEV104 (when I tried at a local music store a whiel ago) but not for YSV. The tailpiece for YSV is also built-in and cannot be changed.
May 6, 2020, 3:09 AM · Tony, to me the low profile for the mute is very important for me too because especially during practice, I want to see where my bow is touching on my violin. Do you know if there is a European distributor for Catrpilr practice mutes by Wiessmeyer?
Edited: May 6, 2020, 10:41 AM · About the YSV tailpiece. FWIW, although the disassembly involved may void the warranty, the tailpiece is replaceable. Removing the sticky screw covers and unscrewing everything is pretty straightforward (the pad under the shoulder rest frame mount is the most tricky to preserve and replace). The only real challenges are preserving the screw covers and reinstalling them, and the tailgut, which would probably have to be replaced. Possibly some creativity may be required to get a new tailgut to the required length.

The assembly includes some vibration damping pads at 1 or 2 strategic locations, don't experiment with leaving those out.

Edited: May 6, 2020, 11:04 AM · I wonder what would happen if you stuffed the violin with fiberglass.

"My understanding... is that there is a power/impedance mismatch and you won't get a great sound unless you go through a pre-amp ..."

Yeah but that's true if you're using a regular Fishman type pickup too. Probably what has happened is that Yamaha has optimized this for the "silent violin" purpose and it just doesn't sound good as an electric violin. Or they want you to buy both. Running the 1/8" jack out to a preamp and then to an amplifier sounds like an obvious thing to try.

May 6, 2020, 11:20 AM · Hi Steven, I'm in the UK and I just ordered mine from their website. I seem to recall it took a little while to arrive (10-14 days, something like that), but a trouble-free process otherwise.
May 6, 2020, 11:56 AM · Paul, it's easy enough to get a YEV + [accessory of your choice as earphone driver] if you want both at around the same price, or one of the more expensive dual function units. I agree Yamaha optimized the YSV for practice, and maybe keeping the weight down and cost down led to the configuration we are finding so discussable. :-)

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