Choosing between the electric violin vs acoustic violin? Read on as we break down the key differences and tips for making the right choice.
The violin is one of the most popular instruments in the world. An instrument with a long and rich history, it's evolved through the years to be suited to different genres and styles of music.
Today, there are many choices available for violinists—starting with acoustic and electric. Acoustic violins have always been the go-to choice for most. Timeless and rich in sound, it is truly an instrument like no other. But the electric violin has been gaining in popularity over recent years. Its dynamic and unique sound makes it perfect for jazz, rock or any genre that requires a fuller tone.
We bring you a quick comparison between the electric violin vs the acoustic violin, with some considerations to guide you.
The Main Differences Between Electric and Acoustic Violin
The electric violin isn't that much different from an acoustic violin. It features the same chin rest and shoulder rest, as well as the same wood and construction details. Both are played with a bow. The fingerboard is also designed in a similar way to an acoustic violin, to provide comfort for the player. This also makes it easier for acoustic violinists to move between instruments without losing touch.
And yet, there are distinct differences between the two that make some prefer one over the other.
The acoustic violin's hollow body and traditional style of craftsmanship give it the upper hand in the sound output. The sound depends on how your movement resonates through the wood it's made of.
In contrast, the electric violin is designed with a more modern take to the violin. It is completely solid with the wooden sound box removed. Instead of a hollow structure to amplify sound, it converts movement into electric signals through the pickup, which then plays out of an amplifier or a speaker. In a way, it can be said that electric violinists know how to manipulate the sounds of a violin.
This also means that the electric violin is much more dynamic. Similar to the electric guitar, you'd be able to add effects to enhance or modify sounds, allowing you to explore a range of genres.
How much of an experimentalist are you when it comes to sound? If you're more open to different sounds, the electric violin may just be right up your alley. But for those who are looking for a rich, full tone, the acoustic violin would still reign.
The violin is notorious for being one of the hardest instruments to master. It makes sense then, that beginners to the instrument consider turning to the electric violin, as it is easier to play.
And we agree. Electric violins are more easily adjustable, meaning that they offer a greater range of sound than acoustic violins. This makes them ideal for people who want to get the sound they want without spending a lot of time practising. The added benefit of needing an amplifier also makes the electric violin a lifesaver, since violinists can simply plug in headphones into the amplifier and continue their practice quietly. Acoustic violins, on the other hand, require a little more tinkering and adjustments, with sounds that are harder to tame.
On the other hand, this is precisely why acoustic violins might be better for those who are just stepping into playing the violin. The wide range of sounds might be more intimidating to a beginner who is unfamiliar with the usual feel and sound of the instrument.
How new are you to the violin? Take some time to master the basics of the regular acoustic violin first, before you jump ship!
The acoustic violin has to be maintained by a luthier regularly, due to its delicate constructions. Violin musicians often bring their instruments for checks every 6 to 12 months, for the luthier to repair and restore the condition of the violin.
In comparison, the electric violin does not require such frequent interventions. Rather, manufacturers employ more efficient methods that still result in a violin with a long lifespan. For example, electric violins are not typically polished, as this can lead to increased wear on the instrument and shortened service life. Instead, a durable varnish coating is applied to prolong the outer durability.
However, even though it may not require extensive servicing as the acoustic violin, the electric violin requires similar self-care techniques such as wiping the strings after use, and safe storage!
Regardless of acoustic or electric, violins are a lifelong investment and require plenty of care!
Electric Violin Vs Acoustic Violin: How Should You Decide?
Electric violins are designed more for amplification and dynamic sound. The experimental nature may not appeal particularly to traditionalists but for those wanting to play around and make more exciting sounds, this might just be the right instrument for you.
For beginners, the electric violin might also be an easier option to practice on. However, we recommend that you start by practising on an acoustic violin first before making the switch. This would allow you to get a correct feel of the instrument as you run through proper techniques and sound.