Hello all,

I haven't been active here in a long while, though I've become an experienced lurker. Anyway--in the past couple years I've gone from a sax/percussion player to learning keyboard to fill a need to learn guitar (which miraculously just clicked) to fill a need to worship leader roughly half the weeks.  I now have the opportunity to add a violin player and would like to ask how others who use this instrument in their worship do so.  My primary question is 'how do you amplify the sound'?  We use condensor mics for sax, clarinet and percussion (d'jembe) and can use one for violin as well, but the player would have to remain fairly motionless.  Any suggestions????

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Violins don't generally need as much reinforcement as other instruments. But I recommend a clip-on condensor if you do need it.

We have a player who just uses a standard mic and stands close. Quick research shows a lot of electric violins can be bought for not to much money.

We've used condensor mics too, although there are clip-on/bug style mics available (BG pickups have just started making bug types for acoustic instruments). Pitch seems to be the biggest problem with Violin, but with a good player then they're fine.

Thanks all.  It's been an adventure this year and looks to get even more so.  He won't be playing for a couple weeks, but I'll post how it goes at that time.

We use condenser mics on both the violin and flute.  It just takes a bit of practice to stay in the proper spot.

Our violin player bought an electric violin and it works great.  Dusty has been using it for several years and it is holding up very well. He didn't say how much it was, but he said it was less than a normal violin.  Dusty used to stand in front of a regular microphone, but it was too restrictive.  The tonal quality is very good also. 

I have a cheap violin and an even cheaper electric violin.

Now I don't do sound/PA stuff so I rely on our sound guys for that but they seem to have great difficulty picking anything up from the acoustic violin and suggested using their di box with the electric. That doesn't work either. The only solution that seemed to work was miceing up my practice amp. I've been told my violin's passive pick-up won't work with a passive di box. Any ideas?

As an experiment, do you  have a guitar FX box?  You might try plugging the violin into that and then see if the PA can get sufficient level from the outputs of the FX box.

Another thought, does your practice amp have an XLR out (or even a 1/4" line out on the back)?  Again, the PA might be able to get enough signal from there, and then you could just use your practice amp as your own monitor so you can hear what you're playing...


Thank you for your suggestions. I have been all acoustic for 30-40 years. I got the electric violin so that I could practice quietly. At the dead of night I don't even plug it in. So all the electric kit I have is one very cheap violin, a very cheap amplifier and a couple or leads. The amp has one input jack and one headphone socket. If I use the headphone socket for a line output it switches the speaker off so I can't use the amp as a monitor.

David B.

Well... since you described your acoustic violin as "cheap," I'll assume you're not a purist about your sound... go out and get a cheap guitar distortion pedal, play through with the distortion turned all the way down so that all you're using the pedal for is as a buffer amp.  If it adds a little distortion to the sound of your "even cheaper" electric violin, so it goes.  I just suggest a distortion box because they seem to be the least expensive way to go in this product family.

You could test out the idea by playing through somebody's pedalboard (if your band is big enough to have "sound guys" then somebody must have something) before you buy your own pedal.  if it works, then you could run the output of your pedal into a DI box (1/4" input), run the 1/4" output of the DI box to your practice amp and the XLR output of the DI box to the PA system.  Then you can use your amp as a monitor and send a separate feed to the PA.  If you have a gearhead guitarist in your group, they may even have an old FX pedal they don't use any more that would work.

It sounds like you're not going to be able to solve this without investing a little money (micing the acoustic violin probably adds to the feedback management woes of the PA crew, as well), but you're probably stuck coming up with something that will boost the signal level from your e-violin to something the PA can use.

It's great that you've been all-acoustic for 30-40 years, but that shouldn't prevent you from trying something new if the acoustic violin isn't loud enough for your current situation...


Thank you again!

I think the cheap pedal is probably the way forward, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to go about it but I'll endeavour to let you know how it goes.

David B.

Have the "sound guys" advise you, and keep your receipts (in case something doesn't do what you want and you have to return it).  Good luck!


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