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Guitarists Shouldn’t Have All The Fun:
The Best Effects for Violin
There is a plethora of accessories guitarists have to choose from. The most iconic of them being stop boxes. Little boxes of circuits and electricity that give depth, texture or transform the instrument sound to something else entirely. The effects come in a myriad of different flavors.
Delay and reverb simulate the audio reflection of a music studio room, concert hall or pushing the effects to uplift the sound as if you are playing in a mountain valley. There are octave pedals that filter and add frequencies to simulate a lower pitch like that of a bass guitar or in a violinist's application, a double bass or cello.
Other modulation effects can filter the sound like phasers and flangers, transforming the sound with pink-floydian textures. The Wah pedal is one of the most iconic and also oldest effect pedal. Necessary listening : “Voodoo Child” Jimi Hendrix
All were made famous by guitarists and keyboard players but are perfectly suited to acoustic/electric violins as well. In fact, electric violin players such as Jerry Goodman was tapping into guitar pedals including the phaser and wah since the 1970s.
The key is really to experiment, identifying what components you have or still need and try out the effects for yourself.
The first part of the signal chain is the piezo pickup which is a device that converts vibrations into a low electric signal and finally into an audible signal with the amplifier and speaker. The challenge with piezo pickups lies with the type of signal as it is not as robust as the magnetic pickups from that of a guitar.
The overall sound of the violin will be shaped by not only the effects you add but also the amplifier you are plugging into. Some violin players use tube guitar amps to acquire a warmer tone from the effects especially if using an overdrive pedal that pushes the violin tone into Hendrix/Le Zep territory. A regular electric guitar amp is a fine alternative. Acoustic amps can tend to thin out the sound of the violin with overdrives and certain effects so it's a matter of a little experimentation to get a good tone.
A multi-effects unit is a great way to get introduced into all the popular effects in one box without breaking the bank or being overwhelmed with what effect to start out with.
Line 6 M5 StompBox Modeler--- $129.99
Line 6 Firehawk FX Guitar Multi-Effects --- $449.00
There is an intriguing element to these effects when you start to combine them and experiment with the routing options as well so get out there and find your sound!