Getting your SOUND

 What do you know about getting a sound out of your instrument?

If you’re a classically trained string player like I was, then you know how to make a beautiful acoustic sound come out of your violin or cello. It’s about your left hand, right hand, posture, etc…  You probably don’t have a clue about getting a sound when you’re playing on stage with a drummer….

It’s a different ball of wax when you’re amplified. It’s all about using the amps, pickups and processing gear as extensions of your instrument. This is such a game- changing thing that most of us never get around to getting a good amplified sound. I’m still frustrated from time to time about my sound, but I know I’ve made lot’s of improvements over the years just from  trying things.

One of the cool things about my Creative Strings Workshop is that you’ll get to perform in amplified contexts every night and try out all sorts of gear (you can use my fiddle through my gear if you want- just don’t spill anything on it).

My choices of gear include the Yamaha electric violin, viola, and cello/bass. I also LOVE the Yamaha VNP1 acoustic violin pickup.

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RADIAL makes an awesome acoustic instrument preamp, and D’Addario makes great strings for electric violins.
My favorie amplifiers are Acoustic Image and AER , but it really depends on what you’re going for. And my layman’s effects pedal of choie is the BOSS ME-50, accompanied by the Digitech JAMMAN loop pedal.

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But whatever, don’t listen to me. Probably the best resource you can go to to deal with sound and gear questions in this industry today is the Electric Violin Shop. When they emerged a few years ago I was skeptical. But I will say, they have impressed me. They know their stuff. Check them out:

Electric Violin Shop (EVS) specialists Blaise Kielar and Duncan Monserud featured a couple of interesting articles in the EVS March 2010 Newsletter.

At last month’s ASTA Conference in Santa Clara, EVS was asked to provide a sound system for several big performances. We partnered with a regional rep from Bose Corporation who graciously donated his time and a couple of the L1 Model II® linear array systems. They were used two ways.

-Blaise Kielar, Amplification vs. Sound Reinforcement

Growing up studying classical music and the violin, I often found myself jealous of the training that jazz students were receiving. It seemed they were taught to be working musicians, capable of picking up their instrument and adding a meaningful part to any musical performance without guidance from a part or score. Meanwhile, classical string pedagogy binds students to the notes written on the page and teaches only the historical common-practice styles of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods.

-Duncan Monserud, The Turning Tide in Strings Education

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