Acoustic Vs. Electric Violin
Traditional violins are often called acoustic violins because the word acoustic is associated with instruments that do not have electrical amplification. Acoustic violins have been around since the 1500’s. And although they are not exactly identical to violins as we know them today, they have more or less maintained the same shape and form as they did centuries ago.
It was in the 17th Century that the violin made its mark in the world of music when Archangelo Corelli serenaded everyone with his wonderful playing of his own compositions. Later on, famous violin makers such as Antonio Stradivari and Jean-Baptiste Vauillaume put the violin on an even higher level with their innovative and artistic designs.
Acoustic violins are constructed out of mainly two kinds of wood. These are maple and spruce. Spruce is used for the top of the violin because of its lightness, giving the violin that wonderful resonance. The best acoustic violins are those that are made from wood cut from two hundred year old trees specifically from Bavaria. After they are cut, the wood has to be aged for around five years, or even twenty-five years for an even better sound.
Meanwhile, for its back and sides, acoustic violins are made from ample wood, because it has just the right density. The maple wood also gives the violin the durability it needs. The importance of choosing the right type of wood for its construction is essential for acoustic violins because this will determine the quality of the sound that the instrument will produce. Different types, thicknesses and cuts of wood will produce different vibrations which translates to a certain kind of sound.
Meanwhile, electric violins rely on a built-in electrical pick up to give the violin a more modern or “electronic” sound. Electric violins are not all that new, and in fact have been in existence since the Jazz Age in the early twenties. Today, the electric violin is preferred by musicians who want to create a more pop or rock and roll sound.
The construction of an electric violin is different from that of an acoustic violin, because today, electric violins have solid bodies, as opposed to the hollow body form that is used for acoustic violins. Solid body electric violins are made from glass, carbon or Kevlar. However, there are still some electric violins that have hollow bodies, where pickups or piezoelectric bridges are attached to the fingerboards so that there will be no feedback or interference with the amplifiers, despite its hollow form.
There are also electric violins that are made from semi-hollow designs, where the chamber remains hollow but is sealed. This combination makes it possible for the electric violin to have the sound of a traditional or acoustic violin, while removing the feedback that the hollowness of the body often produces.
Some electric violins have the ability to sound like acoustic violins when they are not plugged in, and transform to a totally different-sounding instrument when plugged and used as an electric violin. These violins are known as electro-acoustic violins and are quite popular as well.