Want to learn more about the electric violin for beginners? You’ve come to the right place!
Electric violin for beginners isn’t always recommended – this is something that Many violin instructors recommend you wait for until you’ve mastered the basics of regular acoustic violin.
However, there are lots of benefits to learning both.
I have studied, performed, and taught classical violin for the past forty years. I feel an intense thrill and sense of pride when I engage with great composers’ music such as Tchaikowsky, Beethoven, Brahms, and Copland. But, I have been in musical environments with my violin where I had the opportunity to improvise over the melody whether it was playing simple Christmas carols for Christmas Eve mass or improvising on Pachelbel’s Canon for a wedding gig.
You can only play these pieces as they are written just so many times. I believe violinists should be trained in strong technique with a solid foundation in classical music. But, violinists are not meant to ONLY play classical music. Music continues to be composed leading to more opportunities for violinists to perform in various styles of music including rock, country, bluegrass, jazz, R&B, folk, and hip-hop.
Let’s learn more about the electric violin for beginners!
How Can I Learn Electric Violin?
The best tips to learn electric violin for beginners are:
- Make sure you know how to hold the bow and violin properly
- Work on playing the right notes and chords before you move on to electric violin techniques
- Learn how to tune your instrument
- Practice slowly so you can catch and correct your mistakes
- Commit to a regular practice schedule and try to play for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
- Consider playing with a group of fellow violinists to learn more about how to cultivate your craft
Of course, one of the best ways to learn is to get electric violin lessons for beginners. You’ll learn all the essentials, like what you’ll see in the video below, plus all the specialized skills you need to play electric violin in particular:
Electric Violin vs. Acoustic Violin for Beginners
There are lots of benefits to playing the acoustic violin – you know, the old fashioned kind of violin that we’re all familiar with. In fact, learning how to play the acoustic violin first is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for playing the electric violin, too.
The question, then, shouldn’t be a matter of electric or acoustic violin for beginners, but instead, all about everything that can be offered by the electric violin for beginners. Why not learn and play both types of violin?
I love hearing from my students when they have been inspired by an innovative violinist playing on their favorite song or in their favorite band.
Likewise, two of my sons are jazz musicians making music with instrumentalists of all backgrounds, including violinists. The opportunities are open and limitless! The idea is to create music that you love and enjoy. Playing violin in different genres can inspire people to keep playing. It is very exciting!
Exploring the electric violin can be a fun way to experience and play in various genres.
Are Electric Violins Good for Beginners? Basic Tips
If you want to learn how to play the electric violin, follow these simple tips.
Learn How to Improvise
Take lessons in improvisation. You do not have to go out and find a ‘jazz violin’ teacher. You can take improvisation lessons from any creative musician. It can be a guitarist, pianist, trombonist, etc. As long as he/she is a good teacher and a creative improviser, you will be in good hands. Learn the pentatonic scale and the blues scale. The blues is the foundation in most jazz, bluegrass, rock, and popular western music.
Go to Jam Sessions
Go to jam sessions. You may not sound great right away but the more you put yourself out there, taking chances and risks, you will gain confidence and learn how to converse with other musicians.
Buy an Electric Violin or Simply Play Electric
You have a couple of different options for electric violin for beginners. First, you can simply play electric – all you need to do is have your regular violin and then buy a transducer or pickup.
You can also buy an electric violin, and choose a solid body electric violin if you want to play amplified! These violins come in many different shapes and designs. The shape does not affect the sound. There is no resonant chamber like there is on an acoustic wood violin. They look futuristic! There are 4, 5, 6, and 7 string electric violins so the range is vast.
Get an Amp
Buy an amp. A good amp is of the utmost importance. Try as many amps as you can to decide what your personal preference is.
Check out Effects Pedals
Multi-effects processors have hundreds of different sounds programmed in. You can try out many different sounds such as distortion, delay, and wah. Guitar players have used these sounds for years but they are also available to violinists.
Find a Local Band to Play With
Find a local band that may want to use an electric violinist. This is becoming more common. Get out there and have fun!
Listen to Electric Violin Music Often
Listen to different bands and genres using electric violinists. Note the different styles, the role the electric violinist plays in the band, the effects he/she is using, and the improvisation technique. Check out Mark Wood, Jean Luc-Ponty in his group D-Stringz with bassist Stanley Clarke and guitarist Bereli Lagrene and anyone else that might catch your interest! Enjoy!
What is the Best Electric Violin for Beginners? Buying Guide
Here is some gear You’ll need to invest in as you are learning electric violin for beginners.
Best Electric Violin for Beginners
You can buy a new beginner electric violin for $100-$500.
If you can, or want to spend more money, you can get cooler shapes and better electronics integrated into the violin. Some good electric violin for beginner brands to check out are Yamaha, Wood, Jordan Electric Violins, NS, Skyinbow, and Zeta. Most music stores do not carry electric violins. They may be able to order for you. You can also check out: electricviolinshop.com.
Transducer or Pickup
As an alternative to buying an electric violin for beginners, you can always go out and buy a transducer or pickup to amplify your sound. The Realist (realistacoustic.com) attaches easily to the bridge without having to replace the bridge. Richard Barbera (barberatransducers.com) makes great transducers used by electric violin makers. You can also use a Piezo pickup on an acoustic violin.
The Roland AC60 and 120 are nice for a warm acoustic tone. The Roland Jazz Chorus is used by string players. Rock players use amps made by Bugera, Tech 21, Mesa Boogie, Kustom, and Fender.
Multi-Effect Processor to add sound effects. Some to check out include TC Electronic Nova, Boss GT-10 or GT-100 series, DigiTech RP series, Zoom G3, and Line 6 PocketPod.
You may need a pre amp. You can plug directly into a guitar/bass/combo amp. If you plug into a mixing board or a keyboard amp, you must have a pre amp. A pre amp gives you the maximum tonal potential. It protects your sound from losing its quality when using the effects pedals.
You can use all types of strings on an electric violin. This includes classical violin strings. Just make sure you check the type of end of the string needed: ball-end or loop-end.
Electric Violin vs. Acoustic Violin for Beginners
There are a few key differences when you are playing electric violin. You may not expect or anticipate these if you’re only used to playing acoustic violin.
The sound of the electric violin, for example, is somewhat different.
When you play it, you will hear very low volume sounds. This can be good when you are practicing. When you plug into an amp, you can turn the volume all the way up! When plugging an electric violin into an amp, you will need a ¼ inch cable, also called a TS cable (Tip-Sleeve) or an unbalanced cable.
Keep the amp unplugged to start. Plug the unbalanced cable into the input jack on the electric violin. Listen for it to snap in fully. Plug the other end of the cable into the Input on your amp. Check the volume knob on your violin. It should be turned all the way up. Now, turn on your amp.
Be careful to do each step in this order to prevent pops, hisses, and to avoid blowing your speaker. On the amp, start with the volume at zero. Now, start playing your electric violin and pull up the volume on the amp. Adjust the EQ (Equalization) knobs (Low, Medium, High) to the sound you like. Try lowering the High knob for a less shrill sound. Bring the low knob up if you are playing a lot of low range chords. When you are done playing, turn off your amp first. Pull the cable out of the amp. Hold the cable by the jack to prevent damage. Electric violins are a personal choice. Try everything you can!
Is Electric Violin Good for Beginners?
Electric violin can be somewhat challenging to learn – you may want to learn acoustic violin and the fundamentals before you progress to these more difficult, more challenging instruments.
However, once you’ve mastered the basics, there’s no reason why you can’t go on to learn electric violin, too. In fact, learning how to play the electric violin can add more depth, interest, and variety to your playing – it’s sure to keep you playing for the long term.
Consider these electric violin tips for beginners – and pick one up today!