Electric fiddle – modified

Posted by jerry on April 25th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music, Woodwork

Many of you will know that when we were in China I bought an electric violin – a fine piece of Guangzhou engineering – great sound for recording, but tiring to play for any length of time because it’s quite a bit heavier than a normal violin.

Electric violin

That set me wondering about how I might reduce the weight – I thought about putting in some tasteful holes in the side to give it that ‘industrial’ look, but after liberal application of the forstner bits it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing. So I had a re-think. I would need a stub wing on the right for position work and I would need enough belly to hold a shoulder rest – but was the rest of the superstructure really necessary?

Electric violin

The whole thing is made from a fairly dense craftwood so I set to work with the bandsaw and removed segments of the skeletal violin shape – that was a bit better on the weight. And so to the main strut to which the neck was attached. There is a fairly crudely routed box section for the electronics, but the rest seemed to be a solid plank.

Electric violin

I tested with a couple of discreet drill holes and found it was indeed solid MDF – no wonder thing thing weighed so much! I took to the main strut with a couple of sizes of forstner bit in the drill press and took a series of impressions. Then I joined them to make a cavity – not all the way through, but about two-thirds so there would still be plenty of strength. I still need to do a lot of finishing work on the back, but you’ll get the idea.

Electric violin

A LOT of shavings later and the fiddle is now substantially lighter – not quite as light as the kevlar Guscott ones, but certainly light enough to use in performance without putting my neck out 🙂

I agree that it has lost some of the aesthetic quality, but it will work well as a good workhorse electric fiddle


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