Depending on your taste, the electric violin either looks insanely cool or absolutely terrible. But you have to admit. They’re incredibly useful instruments.
For a start, they make practicing a lot easier as you can ‘play silently’ via headphones. As you have to run them through an amp, you have the option of adding effects too such as reverb or delay, opening up a whole array of different sounds (which is perfect for experimentation).
They’re also perfect for recording. Sure, you can play an acoustic violin through a microphone, but nothing beats the ease of just plugging one into your recording gear.
Here’s our pick of the best available today.
Best Electric Violins: Product Guide
You can of course just add a violin pickup to your acoustic violin, but when you see the Realist you see what all the fuss is about with electric violins.
Maple body with a solid spruce top for a powerful sound with plenty of body.
When you plug it into an amp is where the magic happens. The superb David Gage pickup system captures all the subtleties of the violin’s true organic sound.
The RV4E has been designed for maximum comfort. No messing about with pickups, it’s all built in.
The input jack is strategically placed so the cable goes over your shoulder (so it doesn’t interrupt your performance). That’s a nice touch. As is the volume knob, that is integrated into the treble-side rib
If you want one of the best electric violins money can buy, this is the one.
What we like:
- Unparalleled tone from premium European tonewoods
- Realist transducer delivers an organic and true sound
- Can be played either electric or acoustic
Yamaha are a superb maker of music instruments, especially when it comes to electronic instruments, so you’d expect them to make some decent electric violins.
This YSV104 uses their SRT Powered system used in Yamaha’s popular range of silent guitars.
The violin has no resonant chamber, but the tech simulates the body resonance, natural response and sound you’d get from an acoustic violin.
It being electronic means of course you can just plug into it via earphones and play till your hearts content at any hour of the day. The most that will be heard may be a couple of squeaky floorboards as you recite one of your favorite violin concertos.
It also has an Aux In jack, so you can connect to an external audio player for play-along practice.
All the parts of the violin that affect playing posture and feel – bridge, chin rest, tailpiece, neck, etc. – are in the same position as on an acoustic violin so you can attach standard bridge type shoulder rests.
What we like:
- Superb high-end offering
- Uses Yamaha’s innovative SRT Powered system
- Aux In jack for connecting to an external sources for play-along practice
The CEVN-2BL by Cecilio is a full size silent violin in metallic black varnish.
As well as the standard amp and headphone ports, there’s also a line-in jack so you can practice playing along with a backing track.
You get a well-padded hard case, 9v battery, bow, auxiliary cable, rosin block, and pair of headphones. The whole package comes with a year’s warranty, so you can be sure the manufacturers are confident with their design.
The bow that comes with this set is also high-quality, made from Mongolian horsehair and Brazilwood, for an authentic playing experience.
- Line in jack – So you can practice along to any tracks you need to learn.
- Looks good – For the price this thing looks quite edgy with its unique body shape.
The Merano’s MVE10BK is another affordable option. For your money, you get a carry case, bow, amplifier cable, 9v battery, earphones, and an extra set of strings, which is pretty generous considering!
We think that the best aspect regarding the instrument itself has to be the hand-carved, solid maple body, and the quality ebony fingerboard.
Merano has used maple because it is tough, durable and allows the instrument to produce some well-sustaining bright tones. The ebony fingerboard further strengthens the MVE10BK’s upper midrange by adding some extra high-end bite.
The bundle is decent value for money, so would be a perfect choice for a novice violinist who wants to avoid having to shop for everything separately.
What we like:
- Amount of equipment you get here is excellent value for money
- The maple and ebony used produce a bright tone
This kit includes a case, bow, rosin, aux cable and an extra set of strings/ bridge, which is pretty much the same as both packs we mentioned above, except for the battery, which isn’t included.
But two things set this instrument apart from the other low-cost versions: its aesthetic and its pickups.
It looks beautiful, with its striking reverse S shape body and floral blue and white print, so it’ll suit anyone looking for a design with a touch of elegance.
The pickups are a set of active DV-9s, for heightened sensitivity and a richer sound – these help enhance the natural tone that comes from the solid spruce body and an ebony fingerboard.
A 3-band EQ controls all this output, so you can fine-tune the bass, treble, and volume coming through your mix to just how you like it.
- Active DV-9 pickups enhances the natural tone of the body and fingerboard wood
- Nicest design
Stagg EVN 4/4
The EVN MRD by Stagg is a mid-range option.
It’s made from high-quality maple, which means you get an authentic, bright tone, similar to that you’d expect to hear from a classical version.
Then there’s the option of controlling all this sound with three-band EQ, which includes volume, treble and bass definers. So yes, this instrument would be great for anyone that needs the option of altering their tonal dynamics during a set.
The EVN MRD also features a handy 1/8” input jack for MP3 or CD input, which is great if you need to be able to practice along to backing tracks.
Of course, there are additional headphone and amplifier slots too, so you can play loud or as close to silent as possible.
Aesthetically, Stagg’s design looks pretty classy with the metallic red lacquer across the S-shaped body, although perhaps not quite as eye-catching as Kinglos design we mentioned above. To us, this is more designed for those that prefer a subtle, yet sophisticated look.
What we like:
- The solid maple body
- Nice bright tone
Bunnel’s EDGE Outfit is the priciest of the mid-range packs we mention during this article, but for your extra dollar, you get an amp included as well as similar items we mentioned earlier.
It’s a combination of the solid carved maple body, ebony fingerboard, and the ceramic Piezo pickups, all of which complement each other nicely and enable the EDGE to produce it’s pleasing bright tone.
There’s also a three-band EQ to control all this sound easily during a set. For example, you may want to increase the high end if you’re playing amongst lots of bassy instruments, this way you can ensure you’ll be heard through the ensemble’s mix.
Some of the extra items that come with this instrument are also pretty cool. In particular, the bow is high-quality. The shaft is made from super responsive Brazilwood, with stylish mother of pearl accents, and Bunnel has also included Mongolian horse hair for a smooth, rich tone.
The amp itself is also capable of getting pretty loud considering its small size, and the case has a built-in hydrometer, so you can rest assured the violin’s wood will not warp in extreme conditions.
Overall, the EDGE kit is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a full set of decent quality equipment. We think for the price, Bunnel have tried to make this package as convenient and innovative as possible.
What we like:
- Comes with amp
D Z Strad
The D Z Strad E203 is a high end model.
Premium quality ebony fingerboard. When it comes to tone, ebony is crystal clear and bright and will feel smooth on your fingers.
There’s also a strong, but lightweight carbon fiber tailpiece and four fine tuners, which allow you to adjust your strings to the perfect pitch. Carbon fiber as a material is extra light, so you’ll not tire out as quickly while playing.
The case is also really well-padded, and the bow has a tasteful pearl inlays and a responsive Brazilwood frame.
Overall, the E203 is designed for ultimate playability and pulls it off well. The ebony fingerboard is super smooth, and the carbon fiber tailpiece is exceptionally lightweight, so you’ll have no problem creating music for hours.
What we like:
- Carbon fiber and ebony materials used to craft this are extremely tough and will withstand plenty of use
- Bright and clear tone
The Stingray is another great electric violin option.
The Wood Tru-Tone pickup is a great choice, as it closely mimics an authentic classical violin tone, but also brings increased clarity and precision. This means there is zero noise interference when you plug into your amplifier.
The design is great too. Only the bottom half of the body is preserved, which creates a unique ax type shape, all covered in a sparkling black lacquer.
So, yes, this thing would suit violinists that play in metal or heavy metal bands or could look edgy in other genres of music too.
The Stingray is also very lightweight, thanks to its advanced, composite tailpiece – so your arms won’t be aching after playing for long periods. The tailpiece itself also includes a set of four fine tuners, which are incredibly precise and will keep your instrument in tune for hours.
You don’t need a battery to play this model, either – plug it in and go. Overall, we think the Stingray is excellent for those looking for something with lots of style and bite, to work in a metal band.
What we like:
- Looks pretty gnarly and will turn some heads
- Tru-Tone pickups capture the authentic acoustic sound
Why Use an Electric Violin?
Traditional acoustic violins are hollow bodied and made from wood. Their sound is amplified via the f-holes located on either side of the instrument, so there is no output jack for plugging into an amplifier.
Undoubtedly, acoustic models produce the truest tone, but it has to be said, some good quality electric ones still come close.
For example, electric violins are often crafted from spruce and maple for their authentic tone. Maple itself gives out a bright, sustaining sound, whereas spruce is well balanced and vibrant.
Other models can also be made from artificial material such as acrylic or carbon fiber, but with the help of decent pickups, they still sound acoustic and wooden.
Though sizes work the same, solid-body electric violins don’t follow traditional shapes and are often minimalistic and lightweight for convenience and playability.
Some shapes get pretty abstract, so make sure you try out the type you’re interested in before you buy.
Semi-hollow electric models, on the other hand, are the same shape as classical versions but have sealed F-holes which create a hollow center for more realistic resonation and tone.
Equalization and Effects
Electric violins usually come with a built-in volume dial, but if you’re lucky and get extra, there may be a treble, middle and bass control too. These alter the level of each cutting through your sound.
With that in mind, the amp itself can also have several similar EQ settings and additional effects like reverb, delay, flange, or chorus built-in, so don’t worry too much if yours doesn’t have everything included.
You can even buy extra effects pedals and add them into a circuit if you fancy getting creative, just remember, the more pedals you have, the more complicated playing live will get.
So, Which Should I Buy?
If you want one an acoustic violin with a built-in pickup, go with the Realist. It’s a great acoustic and electric violin.
If you want a purely electric violin with all the benefits that brings (i.e. you can plug it in and use if for late night practice) then the Yamaha is a great silent option.
If you’re looking for a beginner violin or shopping on a budget, then you can’t go wrong with the Cecilio’s CEVN-2BL bundle.
Thanks for reading and good luck.