Electric Violins
Questions? 866.742.7898
Electric Violins at Shar
Selecting an electric instrument is a daunting process with many different designs to choose from. To make the right choice, first consider what you intend to do with it.

For example, a beginning violinist who would like to experiment with their friends in a band setting might want to dip their toe in with the Plug 'n Play or one of the Fender violins as they offer a quality instrument at an affordable price. An intermediate student violinist, who is attending a music camp or is on their way to a college dorm, will be very interested in instruments like the Plug 'n Play, Yamaha Concert Select, or Zeta Ensemble Series for their silent practice features (like headphone jack and CD/auxiliary input) since they will need to spend longer hours honing their craft.

Traditional players who are "gigging" in Churches, weddings and festivals will prefer the warm mellow tone of the SHAR Electric-Acoustic, the Plug 'n Play, and the Yamaha Silent models for their attempts to faithfully reproduce the acoustic tone of a violin in an electric setting.

On the other hand, experimental players who are playing in rock and jazz bands may find some crossover appeal in the Fender, Yamaha Electric, or Zeta Jazz and Strados models (call for more details on the Jazz and Strados: 800.742.7898).

Musicians interested in electronic music, MIDI, and in interfacing with synthesizers and computers will most certainly want to look into the Zeta Educator or Jazz Fusion instruments (call for more details on the Jazz Fusion: 866.742.7898).

Professional performers who are very active and experienced will want to narrow it down to an instrument by NS Design or Zeta.

Consider how you will most likely be using your electric instrument and then browse our selection online. Our Electric Instrument Specialists are available to help as well, just call us at 866.742.7898.
Getting Started
Stepping into the amplified arena of music performance can be as easy as installing a pickup on your current instrument. A piezo transducer responds to pressure on the instrument's bridge (either in the wing slot, under the bridge feet, or from within the bridge itself). This makes piezo pickups the optimal choice for bowed string instruments.

The standard pickups offered by Kremona and Fishman attach to the wing slot of the instrument's bridge and usually require no alteration to the instrument. The Kremona Pickup is a budget piezo model with low output gain, but the piezo is encased in a small soft piece of wood that seems to take some of the edge off of bow "attack" noise. The Fishman V100 has more output gain and is popular with more professional players.

For the more active performer who is willing to invest in a more ambitious setup which will involve alteration of the instrument, the LR Baggs bridge pickup offers a design that has the piezo carved inside an Aubert #7 Mirecourt bridge. This provides more balance, greater output, and less attack noise, but the bridge requires installation by a qualified technician. Another professional pickup is the Realist pickup designed by David Gage in collaboration with NS Design. The Realist is a transducer in a vinyl sleeve and rests between the bridge feet and the violin top, which puts it exactly where the sound is transferred from the strings to the sound board. It's mounting hardware is extremely compact and with such a high output gain it requires no external preamp. Though installation is relatively easy and can be done by the customer, the transducer raises the bridge height by about 1mm and some players may want to have their bridge height lowered by a qualified technician.

All piezo pickups require the use of a preamp to match the impedance of the pickup with the amplifier being used as well as to boost the pickup's signal. Features that tend to vary the most include the number of EQ controls and the existence of notch filters, compression, XLR outputs, and even 2-channel mixing capabilities and phantom power. Fishman preamps tend to have a smoother, more ambient sound while the LR Baggs preamp leans toward a tighter, more focused quality.

The small but powerful SHAR amps are included in our own outfits. They are portable, and are perfect for practicing in the home or studio at low volumes. Bowed string instruments have such a wide range of frequencies and dynamics that we recommend an "acoustic" instrument amplifier for live performances. Violins and violas enjoy the best results with amps that have a tweeter to accommodate the higher frequencies, while cellos and basses should use bass amplifiers.

Compare Electric Violins
Use our handy chart to compare the features of Electric violins at Shar.
Shar Item # PPV14/PPV15 SAEV4 FEV1 FEV3 YV1
Model Plug 'n Play SHAR Acoustic Fender FV1 Fender FV3 Yamaha SV-120 Concert Select
Selling Points Silent Practice; Accompaniment Input; Price Traditional Instrument w/built-in pickup system; No need to deal with installation Price; Brighter sound more suitable for crossover styles Price; Brighter sound more suitable for crossover styles; attractive finish Silent Practice; Accompaniment Input; price

Body / Soundboard Spruce Spruce Top; Maple back/sides Spruce top, Laminated Maple back/ sides Solid Flame Maple Spruce
Neck / Scroll Maple (lacquered) Maple Maple Flame Maple Maple (lacquered)
Fingerboard Ebony Ebony Ebony Ebony Ebony
Tailpiece Custom Metal Metal w/4 Tuners Metal w/4 Tuners Metal w/4 Tuners Custom Metal
Chin Rest Ebony Dresden Ebony Ebony Ebony Custom Molded Plastic
Tuning Pegs Ebony Ebony Ebony Ebony Ebony
Shape / Bouts Molded Plastic Traditional 4/4 violin Hourglass Hourglass Molded Plastic

Pickup System Piezo (single) Piezo Ebony Bridge Piezo Ebony Bridge Piezo Ebony Bridge Piezo (single)
Tone Enhancement Reverb (1 pre-set) N/A N/A N/A Reverb (3 pre-sets)
Pre-amp Intermediate N/A N/A N/A Intermediate
Outputs Mini Line-Out; Mini Headphone-Out 1/4" Line-Out 1/4" Line-Out 1/4" Line-Out 1/4" Adapter; Mini Line-Out; Mini Headphone-Out
Input Auxiliary Input N/A N/A N/A Auxiliary Input
Player Controls Volume Volume; Tone Volume; Tone Volume; Tone Master Volume; Auxiliary Volume

Standard Strings Generic Steel D'Addario Helicore D'Addario Helicore D'Addario Helicore Yamaha
Color Choices Black; Blue; Red; White; Purple; Amber Black; White; Natural Varnish Black; White Sunburst Medium Brown; Black; Candy Apple Red
Sold As Outfit w/case; bow Outfit w/case; bow Outfit w/case; bow Outfit w/case; bow Instrument Only
5-string Available? Yes No No No No
Country of Origin China Romania Korea Korea Japan
MSRP $749 $664.99 $799.99 $795
Shar Retail $399 / $449 $499 $559.99 $699.99 $661.50
Shar Item # YSV4 YEV4/YEV5 NSV4/NSV5
Model Yamaha SV-200 Silent Yamaha EV-204/5 NS Design
Selling Points Acoustic Feel & Tone; Professional Pre- Amp; EQ, Silent Practice; Price Revolutionary Pickup; Player Output Control; Pro Pre-Amp; Gear Tuning Heads; Silent Practice Lightweight Ergonomic Feel; Polar Pickup System; Active Preamp

Body / Soundboard Spruce Maple Maple
Neck / Scroll Maple (unfinished) Maple (unfinished) Maple
Fingerboard Ebony Ebony Ebony
Tailpiece Ebony Custom Ebony Precision Tuning
Chin Rest Ebony (standard) Ebony (standard) Ebony
Tuning Pegs Ebony Aluminum Gears N/A
Shape / Bouts Molded Plastic Solid, Carved Maple Molded Plastic

Pickup System Piezo (dual) Individual Sensors Piezo
Tone Enhancement EQ Modes (2 pre-sets) Separate Level Controls 3-Way Polarity Switch
Pre-amp Professional Professional NS Design Preamp
Outputs 1/4" Line-Out; Mini Headphone-Out 1/4" Line-Out; Mini Headphone-Out 1/4" Line-Out; Mini Headphone-Out
Input N/A N/A N/A
Player Controls Master Volume Master Volume; Headphone Volume Volume; 2 Tone Controls (Hi-Lo)

Standard Strings D'Addario Zyex Custom EV Yamaha D'Addario Helicore
Color Choices Medium Brown; Black; Cardinal Red; Ocean Blue Amber Brown; Pearl Red; Cosmic Blue Amber
Sold As Instrument Only Instrument Only Instrument in custom case
5-string Available? No Yes Yes
Country of Origin Japan Japan Czech Republic
MSRP $1,295 $1,495 / $1,595 $2,500 / $2,700
Shar Retail $1,151.50 $1,277.50 / $1,347.50 $2,219 / $2,279

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Have Questions? Call our Electric Instrument Specialists at 866.742.7898