OUR VIOLIN FAMILY
Many of you have asked us how many violins we own, and what are their brands. At the moment of this post we have seven violins: some are made our of wood, others in special materials like carbon fiber; acoustic, electric, 4 or 5 strings. I (Becky) will also tell you which one is my favorite, and what brand of bow / rosin / strings I use. As a disclaimer, I will only be stating my own opinion and share with you my experience with all these violins, and I’m in no way being sponsored by any brand. If you have any additional question or doubts don’t hesitate to leave us a comment here, or in the contact form!
THE LONDON 5 STRING VIOLIN
The London 5-string violin by Acoustic Electric Strings is my main violin. This is the one I use for recording almost all our violin audios. It has 5 strings (that C string sounds SO sweet!) and a pickup installed, which makes the instrument some sort of electro-acoustic hybrid. Although I have to admit I still haven’t used the pickup feature because we record the violin with a ribbon mic (more on this in another post), I have tried it and it sounds very good, unlike an electric violin pickup.
In case you are a violinist and you were wondering, the neck is pretty much as wide as a “conventional” 4 string violin, so you don’t really feel much difference in this aspect.
I called it Gary for 2 reasons: the name of its creator (luthier Gary Bartig), and because I’m a Spongebob fan! (you know, Gary the snail). The second it’s not really a reason why I picked the name, it’s more like the reason why I like the name 🙂
You can find more info on their website: https://acousticelectricstrings.com/aes-london-5/
The London 5-string Violin by Acoustic Electric Strings is my main violin. It’s sweet and very clear sounding, with the advantage of having an additional lower C (kinda like playing a violin and a viola at the same time).
THE QARBONIA VIOLIN
This violin is made out of carbon fiber. It is very resistant to bumps, temperature and humidity changes and severe weather conditions, without compromising too much the quality of sound. It’s true that it will never sound like a “normal” violin made out of wood, but it can sound very close to it (I recorded the audio of our cover of “The Greatest” with it, and couldn’t be more happy with the result). Also, you can’t deny carbon fiber looks cool!
Sadly they don’t make this violins anymore, so if you want to get your hands on one you will have to look for another brands that manufacture carbon fabric violins. You can still check their website for some other cool violins and accesories: https://qarbonia.com/
It’s name? Qarbi (short for Qarbonia).
Carbon fiber violins are very resistant to bumps and temperature / humidity changes, so they are ideal for performing abroad. Mine was made by Qarbonia.
YAMAHA SILENT VIOLIN SV-200
Yamaha makes really awesome electric violins (this is the third I own from them), and this Silent Violin models are perfect for silent practice and performing on stage.It’s my favorite for live performances for a lot of reasons: no feedback (you plug directly to it, no need for microphones), it sounds nice and powerful, it’s comfortable to play, and of course, it looks cool, doesn’t it? 🙂
The downside? This specific model uses a 9v battery (so if it dies on stage… oops!), and as with any other electric violin it will never sound like an acoustic violin (but maybe that’s not what you are after, is it?).
I like to call this one Yami (short for Yamaha). I think you can guess the rest of the names from here lol 🙂
The Yamaha Silent Violins come in a variety of colors, and have a nice “electric” sound. They are comfy and are very reliable instruments! I play a SV-200 for most of our live performance and in some of our videos.
AURORA ACRYLIC VIOLIN
The prettiest of them all, the Aurora is made in Brazil by Atelier Audio. It has a good sound when plugged, and its biggest feature for live performance has to be its built-in LEDs that can be set to red, blue or green (and a combination of these colors). The crystal-clear looking acrylic is simply beautiful, and we have used it in a lot of our videos.
Now for the things I don’t like: I owned in the past the 5-string version and I have to say it was very uncomfortable to play. I loved the violin but the neck was way too wide, the violin too heavy and I didn’t feel very comfy holding it. I ended up changing it for the 4-string version that I own now, and it feels way better.
The LED system is also a little too “primitive”. It doesn’t give you many options; it’s just 3 LEDs (blue, red, green). Also the coin cell battery that powers them lasts very little (and to change it you have to open the back of the violin with a screwdriver, being very careful with all the wiring inside).
This one is called Aurora, obviously 🙂 A very beautiful name!
The Aurora Atelier Violin’s main feature is its appearance. It’s like playing on a transparent glass violin that can change colors!
BRIDGE AQUILA VIOLIN
The Aquila violin is also a very beautiful sounding instrument, made by Bridge Violins. It has a hollow body molded from a Kevlar and carbon fiber composite making it strong but at the same time light weight. It comes in a variety of colors, and I chose the white one so I could adorn it with flowers.
I had this idea of having a unique looking violin, and already had a transparent crystal-looking violin, a shiny and sparkly violin, others with LEDs or rhinestones, and I just realized I hadn’t seen one with flowers, like a wedding violin (because we were about to release our Wedding Album). So I just had to find a nice looking white violin, that didn’t have that “electric violin look”, but something more classical looking. And I found the Aquila.
I use it mainly to play live in ceremonies and weddings, and of course on our videos. As a downside, It uses a coin cell battery to function, so there is again the risk of running out of battery on stage.
I like to call her Wendy (you didn’t see this one coming, eh?). It’s just because it sounds similar to “wedding”. Wendy – Wedding – Wendy – Wedding…. Is it just me? no? yes? oh, ok! 🙂
The Bridge Aquila has a nice ratio of “classy” and “coolness”, without compromising sound or being comfy to play. It comes in a lot of colors (I think it can be even customized) and it’s very affordable.
THE VIPER VIOLIN
This has to be the most original looking and expensive violin we own 🙂
The Viper is made by Wood Violins and it has a distinctive V shape (kinda like a cool guitar). I got the 5-string version, silver with sparkle finish, barbera pickup (it is very good, trust me!), and frets (there is non-fretted version too). It’s self supported on your chest thanks to a very unique system with a strap and sort of a tripod thingy that can be regulated. It is very comfortable to play with, and the sound is amazing (if you love the electric violin sound).
Now for what I don’t like: Although I said is comfy to play with, I regret of getting the fretted version. If I had tried it before buying it (and that wasn’t an option since they don’t sell it here in Spain), I would definitely get the version without frets. For me, it doesn’t feel natural and kinda feels like playing a different instrument than violin (again, it’s a matter of taste). Sort of playing a guitar with a bow? hehehe… Alas, it was very expensive (not just the violin but the taxes and customs) and I had to wait about a year for them to make it and ship it to me (because of the high demand they had, and because it’s a customized instrument after all). At the moment of this post I found out they are taking up to 2 years to deliver the instrument!
I call it Viper (because it’s a very cool name), but the internetz refers to it as the D7 Klingon Battle Cruiser (yeah!)
The Viper is made by Wood Violins and it has to be one of the most customizable violins out there. They have massive amounts of colors and finishes to pick, from 4 up to 7 strings, 2 different pickups, frets (normal or phantom), colors of the pegs, etc…
Last but not least, the seventh violin is an acoustic violin with octave strings. I use it for recording the lower register strings on our tracks, and it kinda sounds like a cello (without the trouble of having to learn how to play one hehehe).
I call him Bari, because of the baritone strings it has.
WHAT BOW, STRINGS & ROSIN I USE?
I use 2 main bows: Coda Diamond GX and NX. The GX I use it exclusively for recording at home (and sometimes for practicing), and the NX mainly for practicing, live performing and shooting videos. The reason why I do it like this is just because the GX is more pricey hehehe… Need to keep it at home and take good care of it 🙂
Even though I’m very careful with them, the Coda Diamond bows are made with a blend of Kevlar, carbon and natural fibers that make them stronger than conventional bows.
I own other bows as props that are not as good or a little more cheap than these main two, mostly used for when we have to shoot a video somewhere where it can fall on the ground, or there is rainy weather, etc. Also have some of them for live performances with lasers or LEDs.
The rosin I use (and love) at the moment is Cecilia (previously called Andrea) by Cremona in America. It really produces a strong and rich sound without being “grainy”. Once you try it you can’t go back to any other brand!
About the strings… I use plenty of brands on my electric violins: Thomastik Infeld Red, NS Electric Strings (specially for the Viper), Thomastik Dominant (Specially for the Aquila), and D’Addario Helicore OCTAVE strings (for Bari).
The ones I use for my main acoustic violin are Evah Pirazzi (Pirastro). Over the years I tried plenty for recording that weren’t too bad, and I could also recommend to anyone that asks D’Addario Kaplan Vivo and Thomastik Dominant (a very affordable option).
That’s all! I hope this was an enlightening and entertaining post for you to read!