6 & 7-String Violins: What They Are and Why You Might Want One

6 & 7-String Violins: What They Are and Why You Might Want One - Electric Violin Shop

In this video post we are talking about extended range violins that go below the viola's C string. Questions addressed in this video include:

  • What is a 6th and/or 7th string for?
  • What are their pitches?
  • Who would need one?
  • Who makes these?
  • What pickups do they use?
  • What strings do they use?
  • Who are some players who use them?


(*Sensicore strings are no longer in production. See info on available string below.)

What is a 6th and/or 7th string for?

These extra strings allow a violinist instant access to cello, guitar, and even bass range right on their instrument without the use of pitch shifters and octave pedals. This is useful in covering rhythm parts (think low range, open 5th power chords) and higher soloing. It's also great for live looping, since you can lay down a bass line, then cover rhythm parts, and finally dub in solos and harmonies on top without swapping instruments!

What are their pitches?

Violin strings are tuned in 5ths, so going down from the low G string, a 5th string adds [viola] C, then the 6th string is low F, and the 7th string is a B-flat, which is a whole step below the cello's open C string!

Who makes these?

There are many violin makers large and small who make extended range instruments, perhaps too many to list. We mostly carry solid-body electric 6-string and 7-string violins by John Jordan, as well as the famous Wood Violins Viper. Eric Aceto of Ithaca Stringed Instruments is a well-known maker of fantastic sounding 6-sting acoustic-electric violins. Other solid-body violins you may have seen or heard of include those by Eric Jensen, Violectra, and Electric Violin Lutherie.

What strings do they use?

More and more companies are starting to make strings for extended range violins. We carry 6-string Volta Nylocore sets, as well as 6th (F) and 7th (B-flat) strings by Prim and Thomastik.

We offer special 6-string and 7-string Viper sets that are best suited the unique string lengths of Vipers, as well as optimized for longevity with frets.

What pickups do they use?

Nearly all of the 6-string and 7-string Jordan violins we sell utilize either a Barbera Transducer Systems Hybrid or Twin Hybrid pickup bridge, or a Starfish Designs pickup bridge. Wood Violins 6- and 7-string Vipers all use Barbera Hybrid bridges.

Click here to hear a tonal comparison of the Starfish and Barbera bridge.

Who are some players who use them?

As with naming makers, there are probably too many to count, but a short list includes:

  • Mark Wood
  • Joe Deninzon
  • Tracy Silverman
  • Val Vigoda
  • Jesus Florido
  • David Wallace
  • Earl Maneein
  • Chuck Bontrager
  • ...and many, many more!

Do you still have questions about 6-string and 7-string violins, and whether one might be the right tool for you? Don't hesitate to call us at 919-806-3311 or write to info@electricviolinshop.com for personalized advice.

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