"You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could that you didn't stop to think if you should."

That is the 2x4 electric violin in a nutshell. An affront to both 2x4s and violins alike, but not without its charm.

This project actually turned out better than I had expected - I'm fairly pleased with how it looks, feels, and plays. Is it the best violin I've ever played? Not by a long shot. But it was very fun to put this thing together from a piece of scrap lumber in my garage.

I'm so proud to be the Grand Prize Winner of the Instructables 2x4 contest! Thank you all who viewed and voted! I encourage anyone with the interest and the tools to try their hand at making an electric violin - it's surprisingly easy. I've also just listed it on etsy if anyone would like to purchase one: https://www.etsy.com/listing/266861772/electric-violin


Step 1: Materials

Tools used:

  • Band saw
  • Belt sander
  • Wood carving knife (I used a pocket knife)
  • Coping saw
  • File + rasp
  • Power drill
  • Clamps
  • Sand paper (60 grit and up)


  • One 2x4
  • Violin fingerboard (with nut attached)
  • Violin Chinrest
  • Violin bridge w/ pickup
  • Violin strings
  • Violin shoulder rest
  • Wood glue
  • Paint, clear finish

To play it, you will also need a bow, which is beyond the scope of this instructable. You will also need an amplifier and a pre-amp (because the signal from the pickup is too weak for a normal amp), although if you play this violin in a quiet room you will still be able to hear it - just like an electric guitar without an amp.

How did you attached the strings at the top of the neck?
<p>Congratulations on your win!</p><p>I didn't have any size or material constraints, but I copied your design because it is practical, and has elegant simplicity - Bravo! </p>
<p>It's beautiful.</p><p>You really deserve the Top 2x4!</p>
<p>Congrats on your win!! I was rooting for you. Now we just need to get a cello. :)</p>
<p>Thanks! When I get some more time, I think I would like to try a cello and viola.</p>
<p>afryklund, great job on the 2x4 electric violin. Your instructions and pictures will make it easy for anyone to build an electric violin. Any tips on maintenance of the electric violin? Good luck in the contest.</p>
Thanks! I think it was pretty easy to put together. Aside from tuning the strings and cleaning the rosin off, it pretty much takes care of itself.
<p>I've always wanted to learn to play a violin. And this seems like I might be able to afford to build one of my own.</p>
<p>Learner violins are pretty cheap. I wouldn't rule those out.</p>
<p>Go for it! It's a pretty easy project!</p>
<p>I would love to have one of these, brilliant! I am unable to do all that work, being female and having no woodworking skills what-so-ever. Would you or do you know anyone who would build one for me? The cost might be a concern though.</p>
<p>Look for woodshop classes at trade schools and junior colleges (community colleges).<br>You might be able to volunteer as a teacher's aide at a high school woodshop class - just tell the teacher you would be happy to help in exchange for learning new skills.<br><br>In my area, we have the Center for Wooden Boats, which is a working maritime museum, and they offer woodworking skills classes.<br><br>You might even find some sort of woodworkers club in your area - most skilled craftsmen love to share their knowledge.</p>
<p>The only reason being female makes it more difficult is because females generally are not guided in the direction of industrial arts so are not as likely to have experience with woodworking. Also, if your peers are doing certain things while you are growing up, you're more likely to be interested in the same things they are.</p><p>So it's not an issue of whether a woman could do it, it's mare an issue of whether a woman is likely to have any experience with woodworking. <br><br>I always tried to encourage my daughter (and my son) to take interest in electronics, woodworking, mechanical systems (erector set!) etc.<br><br>My daughter has the knack for it, but isn't very interested.<br>But I keep trying!</p>
<p>Thank you Mark42 for your reply. I am able to do anything that I set my mind to, and presently, I have no real interest in woodworking. I've done my share of that sort of work while my husband and I were remodeling our house. I did nearly everything he could do. I helped gut the walls, put up insulation, did the spackle work and then the decorating, I didn't do the plumbing. After my husband passed away, I had a power surge and I, personally, had to replace the ballasts in all the florescent light fixtures throughtout the house, I even had to replace the power switch and relay for one of my ceiling fans. I did that myself. I knew what to do from watching my husband and knew I could do it. So, not doing woodworking has nothing to do with me being female, it has to do with the fact that I'm really all that interested in it. A few years ago, before computerized cars, I rebuilt the carborator and installed an alternator on my car. While I am patting myself on the back (lol) I also carry 40 lb. bags of pellets 2 daily, for my pellet stove. I have moved a full ton into my storage area. I'm 64 and can do it. So, I can do anything I want to and my gender has nothing to do with it.</p>
<p>Dear lady have you heard about 3D printing machine please get one .What you need to know is to learn using the CAD (computer aided design) or you can download available free file electric violin.I have printed one turn out awesome just buy the amp, string, bridge and the others if not just get second hand violin.Hope this will enlighten you.Good Luck and all the best!!!! Join the maker group</p>
<p>That sounds wonderful I'll have to check it out! Hopefully they won't cost very much.</p>
<p>Hi tcup it doesn't cost much you can get below $500 USD to $2000 USD.This technology is called Additive so no power tool required and even kids are able to use it.For the CAD software you can download the free version type.You can join the Maker group for free drawing file you can go to Thingiverse.com.Lastly apologise for the late reply as i'm in Singapore.Hope this will enlighten you also check out about 3D printing you will love it.</p>
<p>Wow, MansorN, there is no way that I can afford that much! I'll just do without that particular technology. Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your input.</p>
<p>That sounds wonderful I'll have to check it out! Hopefully they won't cost very much.</p>
<p>Hi tcup the CAD software download free version or student version from Autocad so just need to buy the machine and most Maker Movement are not profit making movement.</p><p>Cheers</p>
<p>Excuse me for saying this but being a female holds zero relevance when it comes to making things. As for no skills, this is remedied by several methods. A local 'tech' school may have carpentry classes which usually include cabinet making, which this is, technically. Or, you may ask a carpenter friend to teach you some of the methods of woodworking. Or you might try and hire on with a remodeling firm and learn on the job. Where there is a will, there is a way...</p>
<p>Yes I also had to do a double take on the &quot;female&quot; point.. thinking there's still people that think like this? But then I saw our commenter has 15 grandkids so indeed she's from a generation that belittled the female sex... I don't think it's too late though, to learn this skill,either. Go show em yer stuff..Granny! .. Regards.. &quot;Grampa&quot;</p><p>On the subject of the violin.. the most famous guitar model ever made started out as a 2x4 also. That's the &quot;Les Paul&quot;. So our instructables contributer is in good company indeed!</p>
<p>lol, thank you for your reply. I must say that my generation was the &quot;Women's Lib&quot; generation. I also helped to remodel my house with my husband, we worked side by side throughout. I just don't like to work with certain power tools, alone (hubby is deceased), they make me nervous. I am mentally not in the right &quot;space&quot; to do the work for the electric violin if I'm not determined enough to do the job, I won't get it done. </p>
<p>Check! Message received and understood! I'm glad you had a supportive and balanced household.I don't want to stray too far from the main theme of instructables here, but, the reasons there were protests at all during the Women's lib era was because these thought patterns were atill deeply ingrained in the population.On more than one occasion I had to explain to my female friends that *asking* me for permission to attend a so-called &quot;bra burning&quot; rally was genuinelly missing the point! ;-) I'm glad we've moved on.. being asked for permission to do anything from a female partner, unless simply done out of mutual respect, gave me the creeps...</p><p> <em> Back to instructables here.. </em>I certainly understand the need to be in the right &quot;space&quot;. Despite spending some years in my retirement doing renovations on multimillion dollar condos and beach houses, i never really got over my uncomfortability factor with power tools :sigh:</p>
<p>Thank you for your encouragement. However, I really have no interest in learning this particular skill, it more complicated than I care to deal with. I helped to remodel my entire house so I'm no stranger to carpentry, electrical, dry wall, and plumbing work. I don't like certain power tools. So this particular skill is beyond what I will do. </p>
<p>I'm considering possibly setting up a way to make these available for purchase. I'll let you know when I get something figured out. Thanks!</p>
<p>I would love to own one of these! The only drawback I see is that I'd need an amplifier. I'd need suggestions for that.</p>
<p>What you've made, sir, is a backpacking violin! You want a little side business? Make these....and when you do, put me at the top of the list! There are many music stores out there that would love to have this. I buy backpacking instruments and look for them all over (currently having a little dulcimer built for that purpose). Please consider this. This is a lovely little instrument that you made! </p>
<p>Cool idea! Considering it's pretty quiet on its own and would need an amp, would it still be feasible as a backpacking instrument?</p>
I've been thinking about your little violin and I wanted to make a further suggestion to the whole &quot;traveling violin&quot; idea. Would it be possible to make a hollow in a possibly longer base, where the bow could be secured and protected? Just a thought.
10 Set Belcat Headphone Plug In Guitar Amplifier Distortion Clean Sound Black<br><br><br>Just checked this out on ebay.
Absolutely. You can get small, plug in amps that run on small batteries. Check this out: VOX acoustic mini amp I picked one up on ebay for about $15....I think it was $15. I use it for other backpacking instruments and it works well with headphones. That's all I use for this, but I'm sure there are small amps that could be used without headphones...or, as you say, it can be played without...just quietly, which would probably be fine out in the wilderness. Check ebay, from whence all good things come. LOL<br>
Where did you get your bridge with pickup?
<p>Either ebay or Amazon, I can't remember. It was only ~$10. The one drawback is that the audio jack is a 2.5mm, which is smaller than the standard 1/8&quot; audio jack. I had to go buy an adapter.</p>
<p>Don't degrade yourself. this is a fine sounding electric violin. Have you PLAYED other electric violins? Yours has a very nice tone, and looks minimalistic in size and design. I was linked to this by a fellow elementary orchestra teacher. I was disappointed when I realized that this is a one-off unique instrument - I was hoping there would be information on where I can buy one for myself. I own a Yamaha &quot;Silent&quot; violin I bought in the 1990's. It's nice, but a little on the &quot;shrill&quot; side. I REALLY like the way yours sounds. </p>
<p>Well, thanks! I don't know why it sounds better than the old Yamahas, but I'm glad you like it.</p>
<p>Nice bit of work with this!</p>
<p>Very lovely work!</p>
<p>Hey, Ive kind of wanted to make a violin myself and learn it for fun. or have it around as a 'toy'. Is it possible to make it louder without the amp? What makes this one quieter than acustic violins?</p>
<p>Acoustic violins have a body . That body is a resonating chamber which amplifies the sound . This violin has no chamber at all , and therefore no resonance .</p>
<p><strong>1-January-2016</strong> Having &quot;no resonance&quot; is both good and bad. Without resonance peaks there is not the real violin sound of a bodied instrument, but with no resonance there is also no unwanted resonance peaks to produce excessive loudness at certain frequencies. An amplifier with tone controls can give some tone adjustment to this instrument and speaker box resonances can restore much of the characteristic violin sound. </p>
<p>thanks, that makes sense. </p>
<p>Wonderful! How about a cello version?</p>
<p>I'd like to second that request</p>
<p>Me Too!!</p>
<p>what a great instrument for busking........stop people in their tracks.,and make them give</p>
Wanna form a band? :) https://youtu.be/s638pezSC4o
<p>As a violin player that is very cool</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Composer, conductor, teacher and total geek.
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