Thursday, February 02, 2006

Amplifying the Silence

I've been reading Joel Glassman's Amplify Your Violin again - it's still the best and most comprehensive study of the subject on the Web, in my opinion. But it's useful to read it now in the light of Chris Howes' recent clinic at the IAJE conference, which was also most informative. I'm particularly interested in the topic of the best use of preamps with acoustic and electric instruments. Having for some time used a Beringer Ultra-DI with a Yamaha SV-200 (Silent Violin), I'm now considering purchasing a Fishman GII, which looks as though it must have more control features. Though the Yamaha has two built-in equalization modes, I'm convinced that it must be possible to improve the signal output by the use of the Fishman.

The whole field of violin amplification in a jazz setting is a thorny one, in my experience. Just plugging the instrument - whether electric or acoustic+piezo pickup - directly into an electric guitar amp is liable to produce a harsh, un-violinistic tone that's really cruel to others! On the other hand, the sound of an electric violin is palpably different from that of an acoustic instrument - the question in the end is probably one of taste.

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