Learn everything you need to know to the question: Do Guitar Amps Work For Electric Violin including History, Materials, Expert Advice, FAQ and Much More!
If you are into music and musical instruments, it is natural to experiment with the music equipment.
As a musical instrument player, I had a question in mind: do guitar amps work for electric violin? So, I decided to do a little research to find out.
Guitar amps work fine for electric violin. However, it is important to use an amp that won’t cause distortion.
You need to know a few more things if you are considering using guitar amps for electric violin. And, if you are as curious as I am, I urge you to read the entire article to find out more.
History of Electric Violin
The electric violin is now a favorite instrument of many musicians, especially the violinists. The history of this instrument is almost as old as time. No kidding!
The history of the electric violin started more than a hundred years ago. The first person to come up with the idea of electric violins was an American inventor named Elisha Gray. In 1874, he got the idea of electrifying the violin without requiring a soundbox.
But, there is no illustration of that violin concept. However, in 1920, the electric violin was first brought to the stage by an American jazz violinist named Stuff Smith.
After that, some companies, such as Electro Stringed Instrument Corporation, Vega Company, and National String Instrument Corporation had begun manufacturing electric violins during the 1930s and the 1940s. Later more companies joined in, and electric violins started to reach everywhere.
Electric violins started to be commercially successful around the 1990s. And now, these violins are being used for all genres of music.
Materials of An Electric Violin: What’s The Deal?
Your playing tune depends mostly on the materials of the electric violin. Violins of different materials can give you different sounds.
If the violin’s body is made of plastic or metal, it will only sound when you turn it on. So, for anyone looking for a silent and less audible violin, this can work perfectly.
On the other hand, violins made with solid wood work differently. It allows you to play without being plugged in. Also, the type of material you get depends on your budget.
Do Guitar Amps Work For Electric Violin?
During my research, I came across a few people who are more experienced with amps. Gathering information from them led to more ideas. Solid-body electric violins have electronics as built-in; that’s why you need an amp for the purpose of amplification.
Otherwise, the sound will be hard to hear, just like electric guitar sounds without an amp. But the question is: do guitar amps work for electric violin?
The simplest answer is “yes.” However, there are “buts.” That’s because specific instruments come with certain accessories. Or, they are meant to be used with certain accessories. For example, different kinds of amps are available in the market for different kinds of instruments, including keyboards, bass guitars, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, etc.
But, there isn’t really any amp that is made especially for violins. Any guitar amp is suitable for them. But if the guitar and the violin range are not the same, it will cause distortion.
You will often see this in case of using electric guitar amps, which are usually built for magnetic pickups. As electric violins use piezo pickup systems, you can definitely expect a clash there!
Some amps users suggested using keyboard amps or bass amps for electric violins.
What Type Of Amp Should I Get For My Electric Violin?
Some people tend to be terrified when it comes to choosing an amp. All the lights, switches, and knobs, etc., often seem too complicated to understand. Honestly, I was terrified too. But they are not exactly as complicated as they seem.
The type of amp you need to get depends on several factors. For your better understanding, I’m going to describe them here.
Should it be big, or should it be small? Is it going to be enough or way too much? The endless questions need answers.
Bigger does not always means it will be better. Violin manufacturers are now trying to manufacture the best amps within a small size. But, the size often depends on where you will be playing your electric violin.
If you plan to play in a small space or area, a travel-size desktop amp will do the job nicely. On the other hand, if you are expecting a bigger crowd or open area, you will need a larger amp with a built-in speaker.
Analog vs. Modeling amps
The manufacturing process of modern instruments has been changing all the time. Analog amps are more of a traditional choice. But you can always pick a modern one.
There was a time when modeling amps were way more expensive than analog ones. However, modeling amps are becoming more and more affordable now.
Which one should you get? Well, if you are going to play in one genre, you can work with analog amps. On the other hand, if you are going to work on multiple genres, modeling amps should be a better choice.
Type of Sound You Want
The sound medium depends on where you are going to play. If you are playing at home, you don’t need an amp that will end up shaking the entire house. An amp with 20-30 watts of power will be enough.
If you want sound generated with a multi-effect pedal, an acoustic guitar amp is more suitable. But, if you are playing for an audience, you will need an amp to provide more output volume.
What Is The Best Amp For Electric Violin?
Choosing the best amps for electric violin can lead you to go through another long article. The reason is that there are so many amps to choose from. But, I’ve tried to find a few names that seem to be many violinists’ choices.
The Fender company is well known for manufacturing electric violin friendly amps. The Fender Mustang GT40 is a modeling amp with a Bluetooth connection. With this amp, you can play music of any genre without the sound being harsh. It is also the world’s first amp to be equipped with Wi-Fi.
If you want a small-sized amp with powerful channels, the AER Compact 60/4 Acoustic amp can help you with that. This powerful 60-watt amp will allow a large audience to enjoy the sound clearly. But if you’re on a tight budget, the Fender Frontman 10G can be an alternative worth considering.
For playing at home, you can try the Blues Junior IV amp. It is a 15-watt amp by Fender. The preamp circularity of it does not ruin the tune even if you push it more. The lightweight and smaller size make it more appealing to the users.
For playing in bookstores, coffee shops, or restaurants, you will need an amp that is louder. And if you get a package of both, including a small acoustic instrument practice amp with a loudness, that would be awesome, right?
The THR5a: a powerful amp from one of the industry giants Yamaha, can be a great choice for this. This amp is not too heavy and features enough equalization options, including reverb. We all know that sometimes, reverb can turn out very handy and useful for musicians like electric violinists.
Here, I want to mention that during my research time, violinists amp users suggest using transistor-based amps rather than using tube amps as they offer a brighter, sharper, and clean sound.
An electric violin sounds better with keyboard and bass guitar amps. Acoustic guitar amps will give you a clear sound. However, these amps tend to be quite heavy.
Another thing to remember is the strings: in case of using amps, five-string instruments are the best choice for violinists as they are more superior in terms of sound quality.
The last yet the most important thing is to remember to buy a good bow for your electric instrument. The ones that are included with the violins are not always the best of quality.
Our Top 3 Picks For Electric Violin
- Includes FREE Cubase AI music production software from Steinberg
- Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
- 13.23 x 8.31 x 9.65 inches
- 4.4 Pounds
- Faithfully reproduce the sound of acoustic instruments and a diverse assortment of vocal or recorded accompaniments
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity
- 120 watts of ultra-clean, bi-amplified acoustic power
- Tone and feedback-fighting controls, a dual-effects section, phantom power, and balanced XLR outputs
- The Acoustasonic 15’s convenient dual front-panel inputs include a standard ¼” jack for an instrument and an XLR input for a microphone.
- 15 watts of volume through a 6” Fender speaker specially designed for an enhanced high-frequency response.
- Very portable and lightweight, has a headphone output for silent practice.
- Fender’s 5 Year Transferable Warranty.
Do Acoustic and Electric (Amplified Acoustic) Violins Sound The Same?
No, they do not sound the same. Both the acoustic and electric violins are different. Acoustic violins are traditional or classical, while electric ones are more modern.
When a violinist plays an acoustic violin, he or she hears the sound directly through the strings. The sound is then heard through a speaker. On the other hand, an electric violinist barely hears the sound directly. It has to be heard through an amp or speaker.
Are Preamps Necessary With Vector Electric Violin?
Preamps are not always necessary. However, Vector Electric Violins come with an EMG system. It is usually mounted inside the violin. If not, there is an L. R. Baggs Para Acoustic, which is mounted between the instrument and the amp.
Using a preamp for this electric violin will enhance its tune. So, it is necessary to use a preamp for the Vector Electric Violins. But, if you buy an amp that is designed for this violin, that’s another story.
Can I Play An Electric Violin With Headphones?
Yes, you can. You can play any electric violin with headphones. But you also need to remember that not all violins will connect the same way with headphones.
Sometimes they need to be connected to the stereo effect’s processor. Besides, musical instruments tend to have high impedance. On the other hand, headphones have low impedance.
As a result, the tune can sound harsh, or the headphone will lose control over the violin. The best way to avoid this problem is to preinstall an electronic circuit in the electric violin.
Do I Need To Buy Special Strings And A Violin Bow?
No, it is not necessary to buy a special string or bow. The ones that come with the violins are suitable enough. However, experts often suggest purchasing a better quality bow separately.
As for the strings, any string will suit electric violins. You can use regular strings or classical strings as you please.
Now, do guitar amps work for electric violin? I’m sure you have got the answer to that already. But do remember that music instrument taste varies from person to person. One violinist may not like what another one prefers.
Whenever I get confused while trying to make a decision, I try demos. So, don’t hesitate to take your violin to the store to check which amp you need. And don’t limit your options and try different guitar amps to find out which one sounds better.
Rochelle K. Cortina was born and raised in the beautiful city of Alhambra, CA. At the age of 28, she is an expert on ukuleles and other string instruments. Rochelle has a great understanding of ukuleles, gears, and materials used in their build quality. She also knows about their playability and versatility. Additionally, Rochelle has an in-depth knowledge of the history and origins of various ukulele and string instrument brands.
Cornell K. Benson is from Mansfield, OH. He is 30 years old and has expertise in electric guitars and gears. Cornell has a great understanding of electric guitars and their materials, build quality, playability, and versatility. He also has an in-depth knowledge of the history and origins of various electric guitar brands.