The Search for Sound

If you didn’t know, I play violin. I’ve heard plenty of people far better than me, but if you need a strings guy, I’ll do in a pinch. After a long dry spell, I started playing again as of… last year. Next thing I knew, I loaned out my only violin. It came back, but not being able to play while it was gone was intolerable. So I picked up an electric violin as soon as I possibly could. It’s an entry level NS Design  Wav 4 violin. It’s electric. So of course I want to do something different. Heck. I want to do something I wouldn’t even imagine doing with an acoustic.

Figuring out this electric violin thing is already quite a journey. I’m still at the “what-do-I-need-to-make-this-work?” phase. Any week now (before fall, please?), I’ll be plugging my violin into my computer to figure out how I can mangle, stretch, and otherwise distort the sound.

Tonight, I took a brief look at the electric violin world through the eye of YouTube. First up, Vanessa Mae:

How can I put this? It’s a violin that happens to be electric that’s played by a (skilled) chick. Next up, Linzi Stoppard.

Another hot chick violin. I’m I being harsh? Hell yes. Both of these women are fantastic musicians. I could easily play their music for hours. But right now, it’s not what I’m looking for. And it really drove home that there’s this “hot chick playing violin” thing. I’m a guy. I don’t get to play that game.

Here we go. A little bit of distortion in the sound.

(There’s that hot chick thing again. As a performer, it makes me go oh well.) I like the distortion. Definitely playing with that.

Next up, another rock cover.

I like the sound of this. I could do something with that. But what else can I do. Where the last one said, “BTW. I really am a violin.”, this one screams VIOLIN!

Have you heard of live looping? No? What rock have you been under? Here’s an example.

He’s playing a WAV! And I’ve been looking at both of those pedals! And yes, about 3 minutes in, the guy really starts mixing it up acoustically. Not sure if it’s what I’m looking for. But I definitely need an effects pedal and a looping pedal.

Here’s another looper, Peter Lee Johnson.

That’s a six string violin he’s playing. He mixes it up with precussions, plucking (I’m a horrible plucker. Must fix.), and the fact that he’s playing a six string violin. I like the sounds coming out of it.

Jumping back, now it’s Linzi Stoppard and Ben Lee.

On the one hand, kashmir with two violins. On the other hand, very violin.

So far, I’m not getting an electric violin vibe. I get the “violin that happens to be electric”  vibe. I get the “violin that kind of sounds like a guitar” vibe. I get the “live looping is awesome” vibe. I also get the “why haven’t you started plucking your strings” vibe. None of this gives me that electric violin vibe. I want that electric violin sound.

Am I crazy for wanting to take the sound of my violin through a meat grinder? Probably. Will I succeed? Probably not. But a guy needs goals. No?

About D. J. Carmen

Software developer, fire spinner, musician, occasional artist, and wandering soul. Depending on the day, you may find me working on my latest project, walking about the park, or skipping stones by the river.
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