Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for best electric violins

If you’re in the market for an electric violin, you’re likely looking for something lightweight, versatile, and modern. The electric violin is a lot like the acoustic violin, but it also shares characteristics with the electric guitar. These instruments are fun and somewhat novel; to make the best purchase, it pays to do your research before you go shopping.

If you're new to the world of electric instruments, read through this extensive guide so you have a firm understanding of what you need in an electric violin.

If you've been itching to power up for a while and already have an idea what you want, consider purchasing one of the options we present in this article.

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The essential elements of the violin and the electric violin are the same. You do not need to purchase a special bow or rosin, and in most cases, the strings will be the same, too.


When choosing an electric violin, there are many factors you will need to consider. Following is a list of items to weigh before making that final decision.


If you're ready for an electric violin, chances are you're looking for a full-size instrument. If you're not, you'll have to do some research because most (but not all) electric violins are of full size.


Electric violins are solid and can weigh more than acoustic violins, especially in the lower price bracket. If an electric violin is too heavy for you or the balance is not right — there's too much weight near the scroll — not only will you be unable to support the instrument for an appreciable amount of time, but it may cause back pain, as well.

Sturdy chin and shoulder rest

Some people don’t play electric violin the same way they play acoustic violin: they play it while moving or even dancing. To make sure vigorous movements are possible without missing a beat, you will need a sturdy, ergonomic chin and shoulder rest that provide support.

Knob location

Do you want the tone and volume controls to be easily accessible? Or, would you prefer they are tucked behind the instrument so you don't accidentally bump a knob and change your sound? Either way, choose an electric violin with controls that won't inhibit the instrument’s playability.

Output jack location

Unless you are purchasing a wireless system, you will need to plug a cable into your electric violin. If the cable interferes with your playing technique, then it is not the right electric violin for you.

Tuning pegs

For your convenience, you will undoubtedly want an electric violin that is easy to tune. Traditional tuning pegs take longer to adjust and aren't as stable as other designs. An electric violin that is strung upside-down (so all tuning is done in the tailpiece region of the instrument) is the better option in this situation.


If the instrument does not feel good in your hands, you will not be comfortable playing it, and you will not be able to wring art from its strings.

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Did you know?
A “silent violin” is the name some manufacturers give their electric violin. This violin is designed for quiet practicing and generally features a separate headphone jack.

Additional considerations

The previous section outlined the major elements that, if lacking, could make a specific electric violin unsuitable for you. This section focuses on the features that could make your instrument even more enjoyable to play.


An acoustic violin with pickups that allow you to plug it in and crank it up can be the perfect choice for the violinist who wants to play it all ... but only use one instrument.

Tone controls

The more sophisticated the tone controls are on your instrument, the more flexibility you will enjoy — and the higher the price tag will likely be.

Built-in preamp

If you will be using your electric violin with headphones, a built-in preamp will boost the signal so you can just plug in your headphones and play. You can easily tell that your instrument has this capability if the headphone jack is separate from the output jack.

Built-in effects

Some models have a limited number of effects built into the instrument. If you want to sound like you're playing in a vast concert hall while you practice, look for an electric violin with reverb. Don't fret if your desired instrument doesn't have this capability because, alternatively, you can purchase effect pedals and add them to your setup to get the exact sound you want.


Nothing makes performing more fun than having an instrument that visually expresses your unique personal style. Whether you want traditional or metallic blue, there's an electric violin out there that's just right for you.

Electric violin prices

If you are searching for an instrument that fits your budget, use this general guide, but realize there are always outliers. Basically, anything under $500 is going to put you in the entry-level range. These violins might be heavier and may not be acceptable if you're an intermediate or advanced player who is looking for an electric option.

Between $500 and $1,999, you can strike gold and find a wonderful instrument at an exceptional value. You could also run into a higher-priced beginner instrument, so be careful at the lower end of this price range.

Once you hit $2,000, you will be able to find an instrument that is acceptable for even the most advanced players. These electric violins will be lighter in weight, precisely crafted, and brimming with the highest-quality options when it comes to tuning, pickups, and sound control.

"You may wish to purchase an electric violin with frets; even a seasoned player can appreciate a fretted electric violin in a rock setting. The competing noise on stage can make it impossible to fine-tune individual notes like an artist would in a more traditional performance setting, and frets can help with this."

Other equipment you may need

Unlike an acoustic violin, an electric violin does not make an audible sound right out of the box. You will need several other pieces of gear in your arsenal before you are able to fully enjoy all that an electric violin has to offer. Following is a list of some of the most essential items.

Case: This needs to be included with your violin. If you are buying secondhand and one is not included, be wary.

Amplifier: You won't be able to adequately hear an electric violin without an amplifier.

Headphones: These are used for practice, not performance. They serve as an alternative to an amplifier.

Cable/s: This is what connects your electric violin to the amplifier. Without a cable, you will have no sound (unless you use a wireless system).

Volume pedal: This item is handy in a live performance situation because you can raise or lower the volume without taking a finger off of the instrument.

Mixer: If you have multiple sound sources, like a microphone for your voice and the output from your electric violin, you may need a mixer to get the balance right.

Instrument stand: You will need a secure place to set your violin when you are not using it. An instrument stand can provide that security.

Tuner: This device allows you to monitor and adjust the tuning of your instrument so you always sound your best.

Effects: This may be why you purchased the electric violin in the first place: so you can add all those cool effects that electric guitar players use.

MIDI gear: If the electric violin you purchased is MIDI compatible, you will need to purchase specific devices that allow you to take advantage of that feature.

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It is possible to add a pickup to your acoustic violin, but many players prefer purchasing an electric violin over modifying their existing instrument.


Q. Is it okay to start with an electric violin, or should I play an acoustic violin first?

A. Most violin teachers would recommend learning the fundamentals on an acoustic instrument. If the electric violin is for a child, not having an acoustic instrument will likely exclude him or her from playing in group situations like the school orchestra. If the electric violin is for an adult, the choice is more of a preference, as both instruments are played the same way. Some electric violins may feature frets, which will make them easier to learn, while others may be lacking a left-hand support (and frets), which could make it difficult for some beginning violinists to locate the higher notes.

Q. How can an electric violin enrich my child's appreciation for music?

A. Classical music is not the prevalent sound of today, but by playing an acoustic violin, a child can still discover and come to love the world of classical music. The fun thing about the electric violin is, it can augment your child’s musical experience to include unlimited tonal capabilities. In today’s world, this could be the key that unlocks the wonder of discovery and a genuine passion for the instrument.

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