We often get asked whether an electric violin is a good option for practicing quietly at home (for instance, if you have neighbours or other people in your home who you don't want to disturb!). Our answer is generally no; it's much better to invest in a practice mute (see the practice mute and mute module for more information on this!).
The feel of an electric violin is substantially different to an acoustic one, because the lack of a hollow body means that it doesn't resonate in the same way an acoustic instrument wood. This does have an impact on the 'feel' or 'playability' of the instrument, which means that if you practice only on an electric instrument, you won't have such good control of sound production and resonance when you transfer back to an acoustic instrument, because you won't be so familiar to the subtleties of bow control.
Electric violins are a great choice if you are actually thinking of playing genres and styles of music where electric violin is important, such as rock, pop, or some forms of jazz. Electric violins are great for working with non-classical ensembles and genres.
They're also useful if you need more volume than a violin is able to deliver acoustically. For example, if you're going to play in a large performance arena with a band, it can be more helpful to have an electric violin than an acoustic one, although another option is to invest in a 'pick up' which is an amplifier that which is a microphone that is designed specifically for an acoustic violin.
Audio effects are also possible with electric violins - just as they are with electric guitars - in a way which is not so easy to achieve with acoustic instruments.
A negative aspects of electric violins include the expense; many cheap electric violins are simply not very good, and to get a high quality one you usually need to spend several hundred dollars. You also need a lot of gear and to know how to work it; amps, leads and other bits and pieces are all important parts of the electric violinist's toolkit.
Pickups for acoustic violins are a good option if you prefer to stay with an acoustic instrument. and then amplify it when necessary. This can be a really good compromise and it's a lot cheaper than buying an electric instrument. It does mean it's not so useful for practising quietly at home but it will save you hundreds of dollars on an electric instrument.
Check out our partner Christianhowes.com for further guidance about electric violins, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.