When it comes to choosing a violin (or any string instrument), you have two main options: acoustic and electric. While both instruments look similar, they have distinct differences that impact the way they sound and the way they're played. Let's take a look at what those differences truly are in regards to playability, sound, and purpose.
An acoustic violin is a traditional instrument that's made of wood and either gut or steel strings. It produces sound through the vibration of these strings, which are amplified by the body of the violin. Acoustic violins are ideal for classical music, folk music, and other traditional styles. They're also great for playing in small ensemble settings, such as chamber music and solo performances.
One of the biggest benefits of acoustic violins is that they don't require any external power source. You can take them anywhere, and you don't have to worry about cables or power outlets. At the student level they are also typically more affordable than electric violins, making them a good choice for beginner and intermediate players. However, once you reach a professional level, the base rate for a quality instrument is much more expensive than an electric model.
If you are playing outside or in a space that has not been built for acoustics like a concert hall, then acoustic violins can be difficult to amplify. If you're playing in a large venue or with a loud band, you might have trouble being heard. This can be a major drawback for some musicians, especially those who perform in larger settings. You can solve this with a microphone or a pick-up for your instrument so there are options if you enjoy the playability and sound of your acoustic.
An electric violin is a modern instrument that produces sound through the use of pickups. The pickups capture the vibration of the strings, translates them into a digital signal and sends it to an amplifier, which amplifies the sound. Electric violins are ideal for a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, rock, and pop. They're also great for playing in louder settings, such as with a band with drums and guitars or with a DJ.
One of the biggest benefits of electric violins is that they're easy to amplify. You can plug them into an amp, and you'll be able to hear yourself clearly no matter where you're playing. They're also great for recording, as you can control the sound and volume directly from the amp.
However, for beginners, electric violins can be more expensive than acoustic violins, and they require an external power source. You'll need to have an amp and a power outlet nearby, which can limit the places where you can play. Additionally, some musicians feel that electric violins don't have the same warmth and natural sound as acoustic violins.
In conclusion, the choice between an acoustic and electric violin will depend on your musical style and performance needs. If you're looking for a traditional instrument that's ideal for classical and folk music, an acoustic violin might be the right choice for you. If you're looking for a versatile instrument that's ideal for a wide range of musical styles, an electric violin might be a better option. Whichever you choose, make sure to try out several instruments before making a decision, and consider your budget, musical goals, and personal preferences.