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Where are all the (reasonably priced) electric violas??
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Pigeonherd
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May 19, 2014 - 10:59 pm
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When I was a kid I played the violin for a few years, and then switched to the cello for a few years, but lacked the patience and gave up strings for voice. Now that I'm a full-sized adult living in BFN, California, I'd like to try again and have re-familiarized myself with the sounds of strings, and have decided I would like to try a viola. Living in an apartment as I do, however, keeps me from jumping into a full-sized, hollow-bodied instrument.

I know it has been about fifteen years since I've held a bow (except for about two years ago when I picked up my sister's pricey HS-grad-gift bow to try to play her violin and dropped it on its tip and broke it... I feel horrible, and I'd love to replace it once I know better what to look for), and I fully expect that I will start somewhere close to square 1 (especially with a new instrument), and like any introvert I would like to avoid having people hear me play. At least for now.

With violins this doesn't seem to be a problem, but for some reason the only electric (silent) violas in the world seem to be over a thousand USD, and appear to have come straight from the '80s.

What The Frack???

Wouldn't you think that people would WANT violas to be quieter????
Also, there is a Fiddlerman YouTube review of this instrument:
http://fiddlershop.com/instrum.....evn-2.html that describes a Tone control knob.... Would it be possible to purchase a full-sized electric violin, string it with viola strings (CGDA vs GDAE), and turn the tone control all the way down and just make it sound like a viola??

Or would it be a better idea to try to find a 5-string?

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Violaman
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May 20, 2014 - 2:09 am
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Pigeonherd said

Wouldn't you think that people would WANT violas to be quieter????
Also, there is a Fiddlerman YouTube review of this instrument:
http://fiddlershop.com/instrum.....evn-2.html that describes a Tone control knob.... Would it be possible to purchase a full-sized electric violin, string it with viola strings (CGDA vs GDAE), and turn the tone control all the way down and just make it sound like a viola??

Or would it be a better idea to try to find a 5-string?

ROFL, that's funny. Yes people do want viola's to be more quiet, especially when they are trying to get some sleep.. :-)

It's possible to restring these electric violins as violas though you won't have more than a 14" viola. :( I'll be on the lookout for an affordable electric viola. The only one I know of now are the Yamaha SE violas.

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Pigeonherd
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May 20, 2014 - 5:48 pm
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Violaman said
I'll be on the lookout for an affordable electric viola. The only one I know of now are the Yamaha SE violas.

There is also a Chinese company called Song Chung that makes all manner of affordable instruments, including an electric viola, but I would hesitate to buy without knowing the quality...

http://stores.ebay.com/SONG-MU.....34.c0.m322

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Pigeonherd
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May 20, 2014 - 8:26 pm
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Violaman said
It's possible to restring these electric violins as violas though you won't have more than a 14" viola.

I'm not sure how much this would bother me... I measure out at a 15" anyway. I don't mind size much, I'm only gonna be picky about the richer lower tones.
And if it's electric and/or solid body anyway, would size affect the resonance at all, or would it not even matter?

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Violaman
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May 21, 2014 - 3:31 am
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Wouldn't matter as much on a solid body viola. You do know that 15" is usually for smaller adults. An average adult usually gets 15.5 - 16"
That ebay viola seems like a great deal but I definitely understand you. I don't know if I would take a chance either.

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Pigeonherd
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May 21, 2014 - 8:01 pm
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I know it would be smaller than normal, but if it's playable the idea is that I only spend $150 (plus strings) to be able to see if it's right for me. Then if I love it I can justify the higher price tag that comes with a better/more suitable instrument (like the CVA-600, I get shivers from how rich and dark that sounds, though it might've been the song you chose for the demo ;P ). Following the instructions under the "Beginners" tab, my arm measures to just a hair under 24", so it might not be super uncomfortable... (I will visit a music store and hold real instruments before buying anything.)

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Violaman
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June 4, 2014 - 12:21 pm
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There are some members that have purchased violins to string up as violas on our fiddlerman.com/forum
If you are thinking on those lines you may be able to get satisfied that way. There will not be the same powerful deep dark normal viola sound but it might be appealing to you regardless. Also, a 5 stringed instrument might be a perfect solution for you. :)

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Barry Nelson
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June 15, 2014 - 1:48 pm
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Have you considered getting an acoustic and using a practice mute. The full bridge mutes really quiet them down. I have a hard rubber one that works very well. I tried one of the metal ones at the music store once and they REALLY quiet it down. Whatever you decide, hope you keep coming back here and welcome to the forum

Bach : As the greatest expert and judge of harmony, he liked best to play the viola, with appropriate loudness and softness

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Justinvs
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February 20, 2015 - 7:58 pm
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Hi, I'm late to the party, but I just wanted to mention I have an electric viola made by a company in China called Yinfente. It seems to be a copy of the solid body Cecilio violins, and so far I really like it. Bear in mind it's the only viola I have ever played, so I don't have a lot of reference points to compare it to, but it seems well made and the sound through the headphones is surprisingly good, as is when it's played through an amp with a touch of delay or reverb added. It is heavy, though, but not uncomfortably. The set-up was easy, though I had to shave nearly a 1/4 inch from the bridge to make it playable, and it seems to hold tune fairly well. Much better quality than my el cheapo acoustic fiddle. Best part, I can sit on the couch and play it without driving my family to murder!

 

My wife gave it to me for Christmas, but I think the cost with shipping and import dues was just under $200.00

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Violaman
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February 24, 2015 - 10:19 am
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Sounds like a good deal. I am not that fond of Yinfente but you can make a few changes making it a fine inexpensive instrument. One of the problems with that instrument is the tailpiece. In my experience the fine tuners break down quickly and the screws, or the screw holes strip or get hard to turn. A new tailpiece is not that expensive though. Another problem is the bridge height, nut height and spacing. Hopefully yours is fine. Lastly, we had to put a lot of work into the pegs on that instrument to make it ok to tune.
Do you recognize any of these issues?

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Justinvs
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February 24, 2015 - 3:18 pm
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Yep, especially with the bridge and the fine tuners. I had to trim about 3/8 off it and set the grooves. (I used the cleaner tips from my acetylene torch for files!) The fine tuners really don't do a lot, and are on my list to replace. What should I look for in a new tailpiece?

 

_So far_ the tuning pegs have been all right, at least they don't seem to slip once I finally get it in tune. One of these days when I get a few dollars ahead, I'm seriously thinking about getting some planetary tuners. What can I say, I'm a guitar player. I'm spoiled by easy tuning!

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Violaman
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February 28, 2015 - 3:34 am
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Justinvs said
.........What should I look for in a new tailpiece?
 

I would just get a regular wooden (Ebony) tailpiece with removable fine tuners for now.  That would allow you to remove or replace them should it become necessary.
If you want another tailpiece with built-in fine-tuners, the Wittner tailpieces seem to work better than generic.

_So far_ the tuning pegs have been all right, at least they don't seem to slip once I finally get it in tune. One of these days when I get a few dollars ahead, I'm seriously thinking about getting some planetary tuners. What can I say, I'm a guitar player. I'm spoiled by easy tuning!

This would be a good reason to remove the fine tuners. ;)
Planetary and Fine Tune pegs are great. We stock them all. Problem is that they cost as much as your instrument. LOL

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Justinvs
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February 28, 2015 - 3:25 pm
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Yeah, that would be a consideration! laugh

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