When I started learning the violin in the late 1960’s, you were expected to play the more traditional instrument. If you wanted to buy an electric violin you had difficulties in finding one on the market, and when you did, they were extremely expensive. The next best thing was to buy a pickup, stuff the inside of the violin with cotton wool to avoid feedback and find a suitable amplifier. Inevitable you had to buy a pre-amp, and as all the amplifiers were designed for guitars, you never really managed to produce a sound that was even close to what a violin should sound like.
In the 21st Century, all this has changed, and we are now spoilt for choice when it comes to electric violins. Technology has advanced so much in this area, that you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds to get a violin of reasonable quality. The Harley Benson electric violin will cost you no more than about £130, 00, but is it worth the money? Here are some salient points to give you an idea.
The Harley Benton uses an Active Shadow Nanoflex bridge pickup system, and has line out facilities for headphones as well as for an amplifier. There is bass,treble and volume controls, and included in the price is the bow, rosin, and battery for the active system. The violin weighs about 700 grams. Colours include black, white, blue and Ferrari red.
The sound that you get out of the violin will very much depend on what you put it through and what effect pedal (if any) that you intend to use. Because the Harley Benton can be played using headphones, if you live in a house with other people, it is quiet enough to play at any time without disturbing anybody. I suggest that you invest in a really good acoustic amplifier such as a Roland Cube, which will really enhance the sound. For an effects pedal, you can’t go wrong with the Zoom GX1.
There are some negatives to this violin, such as the weight, and the slight hiss that you get from the pickup. The weight problem can be solved by using a chin rest, and the hiss can be greatly reduced by messing around with the tone and volume controls.
I like the Harley Benton, and for the price I think, that it is well worth taking a look at.