The 2024 Electric Violin Buying Guide

The 2024 Electric Violin Buying Guide - Electric Violin Shop

Choosing an electric violin from the many available models can seem like a daunting decision-making process. There is a huge range of prices, shapes, colors and features that can be enough to make anyone’s head spin! Not to worry…Electric Violin Shop is here to radically simplify your choice by showing you how to narrow down your selection based these key considerations:


By addressing this handful of considerations one by one, you can quickly narrow the selection of electric violins to a small number of instruments that fit all of your requirements. We are always available to assist you along the way and can be contacted at 866-900-8400 or by email at

If none of the other considerations matter to you more than tone, you can listen to sound samples of (most) electric violin models we carry...




Knowing in which price range you are willing and able to spend to buy your electric violin goes a long way towards quickly narrowing your search and simplifying your selection process. The electric violin market doesn’t vary nearly is widely from a pricing standpoint as the acoustic market does, where cheap student fiddles can cost less than $100 while fine old European violins can cost in the $100’s of thousands or even millions! Electric violins range from around $100 for the cheapest models to about $5,000 at the top end.

Tip: When shopping for your first electric violin, don't forget to leave space in your budget for a good quality amplifier and maybe even a multi-effects processor!

You can look at the range of available electric violin models as grouped into price tiers:

Starting at $750

If your budget allows you to spend $750 or more, your electric violin options open up considerably. In this price range you can find instruments that are optimal for silent practice or that sound and function great as performance violins. This price tier doesn't boast any wild paint finishes, deep extended range or professional tone control features but you'll never be disappointed with tone or left stranded on stage with a failed component.

This tier includes:

  • Auro
  • Gewa Novita
  • Glasser AEX and AE (carbon fiber acoustic-electrics)
  • NS Design WAV
  • Wood Violins Stingray SVX
  • Yamaha YEV
>> Read our article on the best violins under $1000 [Video & Chart]
>> Shop violins priced $500-999

Starting at $1000

In this price range you begin to find even more attention given by makers to appearance, with interesting wood and painted finishes, as well as cool non-standard features, such as onboard preamps, frets, LED lights, and MIDI output. This price range also presents many of the best values in the electric violin market in terms of quality for price.

This tier includes:

  • Aurora – ‘Classic’ and ‘Silhouette’ acrylic violins with LEDs
  • Bridge Violins – ‘Aquila’ 4-string and ‘Lyra’ 5-string
  • Cantini Earphonic -- unique magnetic pickups and a MIDI output (other gear required to use MIDI function)
  • NS Design NXTa – patented Polar pickup can be played in passive or active mode with rechargeable super-capacitor (no batteries)
  • The Realist RVe – standard model acoustic-electric violins with integrated body pickups
  • 3Dvarius Line
  • Yamaha SV-200 Studio Solid Body violin with headphone output
>> Shop violins from $1000 - $1750

Starting at $1750

Over $1750 we begin to find models that serious professional recording and touring artists rely upon not only for their playing quality, but also for their tone and the quality of their signal. Some of these violins are hand crafted; many cases offer advanced features or design components; in all cases instruments in this range provide complex, full-frequency tonal output through their choice of pickup designs.

This tier includes:

  • Bridge ‘Dragon’ – a hi-spec version of the standard Bridge violins in unique custom finishes (availability varies)
  • Bridge Tasman acoustic-electric violins
  • The Realist RVPe Pro model acoustic-electric violins with active rechargeable electronics
  • 3DVarius Prism 3D printed LED-lit violin
  • Stratton ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Skull’semi-custom violins (availability varies)
  • Wood Violins Viper ‘Classic’ – a production model version of the famous Viper
  • Yamaha SV-250 (4-string) and SV-255 (5-string) Silent Violin Pro
  • ZETA Strados (solid-body with MIDI output) and Acoustic Pro acoustic-electric
>> Shop violins priced $1750 - $2500

Elite tier, starting at $2,500

This tier comprises the most famous, and sought-after electric violin models available today. It includes the flagship models from legendary designers Ned Steinberger Mark Wood and the iconic brand ZETA, as well as the most intricately hand crafted electric violins from master electro-luthiers John Jordan, Dan Maloney, Evan Fourness, and Jeff Stratton.

This tier includes:

  • Jordan violins – ergonomic 4, 5, 6 and 7 string violins hand carved from exotic tone woods
  • MSI ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Modern’ semi-hollow violins
  • NS Design CR
  • Stratton ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Skull’ custom hand carved violins – each violin is totally unique
  • 3Dvarius Equinox
  • Wood Violins Viper custom – by custom order only (build time typically exceeds 2 years)
  • ZETA Jazz Fusion and Jazz Classic
>> Shop violins over $2500


Budget under $750? Invest in a pickup & amp! Rather than recommend a $200 electric violin likely to leave you frustrated, we suggest you spend around $329 on a quality violin pickup and amplifier. You'll get to enjoy the fun of going electric on a reliable violin you already own and love - affordably!

For more information on why to avoid super-cheap electric violins, read this article.

>> Watch our electric violin price tier videos

Addressing Your Needs

After determining your budget, the most important question to ask yourself is, “What do I need from this violin?” In the case of an electric violin your answer might range from simply needing an instrument you can practice with through headphones in your apartment, to needing a violin that can lead a rock band on stage in front of 10,000 people! Some electric violin models can only effectively do one or the other, while others can do both and everything in between.

  • Headphone Practice violins

  • Any instrument that has a headphone jack on the violin itself can be used for direct headphone practice. Solid-body violins without headphone jacks can be used with headphones as well, but will require an additional piece of equipment such as a headphone amp, or a practice amplifier or effects processor that itself has a headphone jack in order to serve as a silent practice instrument. Hollow body and semi-hollow violins can be played through headphones as well, but they will produce much more sound and can be heard more easily unplugged, so they're not as a good an option for anyone looking for so-called silent practice.

    Violin models with headphone output include:

    • Yamaha YSV104 -- this violin is intended for headphone practice only. If a great headphone practice experience is all you want, the YSV104 is for you, however, if you also want to play amplified we recommend choosing another option, as the YSV104 connects only to its control box, which doesn't have studio audio outputs.
    • Gewa Novita 3.0
    • Yamaha SV-200
    • NS Design CR-series
    • Yamaha SV-250/255 -- the violin connects to the included preamp/DI box, which has a headphone output.

    >> Shop Headphone Practice Violins

  • Performance violins

  • If your need is to perform or record, any of the electric violins in our catalog will work. However, the more ambitious your performance or recording goals are, the more you will want to invest in an instrument designed to give a strong, even, full-frequency output signal. For serious recording projects or professional performance gigging, you’ll probably want a violin from at least $1,000 and up range, above. Our under-$1,000 are perfectly adequate for more casual recording and performance needs, and can be bolstered by pairing with a quality amplifier and made more versatile through use of external preamps and effects.

  • Acoustic-electric violins

  • A whole category apart from solid-body electric violins is acoustic-electric -- acoustic violins with permanently mounted pickups. If you are only playing acoustic styles and need amplification an acoustic-electric (or electro-acoustic) violin could suit your needs and provide the richness of an acoustic's tone. If you want to play in loud settings (e.g. in a band with drums and guitars) we recommend a solid-body electric as feedback can be an issue with acoustic-electrics. Effects can be used with an acoustic-electric, although distortion effects may cause feedback and, in general, a solid-body violin will provide a more predictable signal for processing at any volume. Acoustic-electrics vary in body and wood quality, pickups and other features such as integrated output jack and tone controls.

    We offer high quality acoustic-electric violins from the following instrument makers:

    • Barcus-Berry -- Vibrato AE and BB-100
    • Bridge Violins Tasman and Golden Tasman
    • Glasser AE and AEX carbon fiber violins
    • The Realist RVe and RVPe
    • ZETA Violins Acoustic Pro

    >> Shop Acoustic-Electric Violins

  • Fretted violins

  • Frets provide a visual aid on the fingerboard as well as absolute pitch, which can be very helpful to violinists playing in loud bands where it can be otherwise difficult to monitor your pitch and play perfectly in tune. Frets also allow the violinist to incorporate guitar techniques into their playing and simplify left hand chord shapes.

    Violin models with fret option (typically in-stock):

    • NS Design NXTa
    • Cantini Earphonic

    Violin models with fret option (occasionally in stock, or available by special order):

    • Fournes Fuse
    • Stratton Gypsy and Skull
    • Wood Violins Viper -- Custom Vipers (available by special order only) offer two fretting options: raised frets, which you finger on top of as finger position locaters; "Phantom frets" that are not raised but flush with the fingerboard and used as visual locators only.
    • ZETA Violins

    >> Shop Fretted Violins

  • MIDI & Notation

  • We now carry a large selection of violins that are MIDI-capable and can be used to control synthesizers, to trigger MIDI sounds in computers, to record MIDI tracks and even to transcribe in staff notation! Depending on their output type, the various models are only compatible with certain MIDI equipment. You can click here to learn more about MIDI compatibility.

    All of these violin models come equipped with MIDI output:

    • Cantini Earphonic
    • Fourness Fuse (available by special order)
    • ZETA 'Strados' and 'Jazz' violins

    >> Shop MIDI Violins


    Tone is subjective, yet some electric violin models are decidedly more "acoustic sounding" than others. Generally, as you go up in price, the tone of the violin becomes more complex and natural-sounding as a result of better, more advanced pickup technology.

    For most players we recommend selecting an electric violin with a tone that suits their same tastes in acoustic violin tone: brighter, darker, or somewhat neutral. Electric violin tone can easily be altered through equalization (EQ) and effects, but for greatest satisfaction it is best to have a baseline tone that pleases you as the player.

    For a forward, punchy, bright violin tone, choose an instrument with a Barbera Transducer pickup. Most Jordan, Wood Violins, and Stratton Skull violins feature a Barbera bridge (see individual item descriptions). The ZETA Strados pickup also provides a bright, edgy tone.

    Violins with rich, warm tones include Bridge Violins and Aurora.

    Yamaha, Fourness, MSI and NS Design all make excellent, ‘natural’-sounding electric violins that are more tone neutral—not overly bright or dark. NS Design’s CR-series violins are unique, however, in that a powerful onboard preamp and onboard knobs for treble and bass boost or cut put tremendous tone control at the player’s fingertips and allow a switch from neutral, to brighter to richer or darker with the turn of a knob. The ZETA Jazz pickup is renowned for its somewhat compressed, even, jazzy tone, made famous by Jean-Luc Ponty.

    Tone is the most difficult aspect of a violin purchase to nail down and so our staff is always happy to consult with you to make our best violin recommendation based on your preference for tone.

    Look and Feel


    Are you after an electric violin that will turn heads or make people ask, “What is that?!” Or are you more traditional-minded and want an electric violin that won’t look too outrageous? No matter your answer we have violins that will fit your taste.

    Some of the more radical shapes we offer include the Wood Violins Viper, Sabre and Stingray models, as well as NS Design violins. No matter how different their body style may appear, in all cases they conform to standard violin measurements and will play like your acoustic violin.

    Among the more conventional, more traditional looking designs offered are MSI, Bridge and Yamaha. There are any number of color and finish options available, so it is possible to select a more traditional-shaped violin in an outrageous color or finish.


    Last but certainly not least among considerations when choosing an electric violin are feel and ergonomics. Feel includes such factors as shape, as mentioned above, weight and shoulder rest system. Most electric violins we carry are designed to allow you to use your favored shoulder rest comfortably. Exceptions include the Yamaha SV-130, which requires use of an included adapted Kun shoulder rest, NS Design violins, which have their own highly adjustable and ergonomic shoulder rest system, and the Wood Viper and Keebler Warhorse, which employ a shoulder strap system that allows for hands free, neck free playing and mobility.

    Weight can be an important factor for many. Some models are just downright heavier than standard acoustic violin weight. These include Keebler and Stratton violins. Other violins, such as the Wood Violins Viper, NS Design CR and Jordan violins, may weigh in above average, but the weight is offset by excellent design principles that balance the load on the shoulder.

    Most electric violins check in perhaps a few ounces heavier than standard acoustic weight, but the difference is scarcely noticeable to most players as the feel and ergonomics mimic closely that of an acoustic fiddle. Among the lightest models available, for players for whom lightest possible weight is a must, Yamaha’s SV-250 and 255 are almost exactly at standard acoustic weight.

    Where to go from here...

    Having made key decisions regarding your budget, needs and preferences, you are now ready to shop our extensive online catalog of electric violins. If you need any advice or recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact us, or feel free to take the electric violin quiz, which will make am instrument recommendation to fit your needs and budget!

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