The Top 4 Things To Consider When Beginning An Electric String Instrument

The Top 4 Things To Consider When Beginning An Electric String Instrument - Electric Violin Shop

Avoid beginner frustrations by keeping these things in mind as you dive in...

These are suggestions from nationally renowned strings educator (and local friend of our shop) Scott Laird, who helps teachers introduce electric bowed string instruments into their classrooms and studios. Scott outlines four great precepts for teachers looking to incorporate electric strings into their school programs.  We think these principles are right on the money and apply equally well to anyone taking up an electric stringed instrument for the first time!

#1 - Think small

You don’t need a Marshall stack and twenty effects pedals the first time you take an electric violin out of the case. Just the violin, a small amplifier and maybe a simple multi-effects pedal will do wonderfully as you are getting accustomed to playing electric.

#2 - Introduce one variable at a time

So, you want to play a heavy metal arrangement of the Bach Chaconne on a 7-string fretted violin with distortion and wah-wah effects? Of course you do but, hey, not so fast! There are many small adjustments a player must get used to when first transitioning from an acoustic instrument to electric. For starters, you must become accustomed to hearing your sound emanating from a speaker several feet away, rather than from your instrument. Bow attack can be different on electric, since not as much pressure is required to produce sound. Effects are yet more variables to take on. Instead of going all in all at once and getting frustrated, start with an easy piece of music and one variable--the first one--getting used to a different sound source. Then work from there, slowly adding one variable at a time.

#3 - Go with what you know

Often players want to get into electric strings because they also want to explore non-classical and improvisational styles (rock, blues, jazz, etc.). This kind of plays off the above precept about limiting variables, in that you shouldn’t try to learn a whole new instrument and a whole new style all at once. Grow comfortable with playing what you already know how to play on the new electric instrument before learning how to improvise in a new style. Getting used to the electric stringed instrument won’t take long and then, once you feel at home with the instrument, incorporating the new style won't seem so daunting.

#4 - Tone quality rules

If you don’t like the way your electric violin sounds, you’re not going to play it. Invest in a quality instrument that is capable of producing a good tone (click here to read why we recommend against cheap bargain electric string instruments) and then take time to “design the sound”; learn the tone control options on your instrument and amplifier, consider adding a preamp for better tone and/or EQ control, etc. Electric Violin Shop can help you with this before you even make an instrument purchase, and it doesn’t have to be expensive, we promise!

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