(Audio on step 6)

This electric skeleton violin uses a piezoelectric pickup. The body and neck are solid maple and the darker wood is mahogany.

I eventually finished it in November of last year after a two year build. It could have probably been done a lot quicker but exams and school got in the way. The body is made from a solid piece of maple. It was cut out using a band saw and a scroll saw, (I went through a fair few scroll saw blades!). The body was then shaped using a variety of hand tools. I aimed to try to use as few power tools as possible. The neck, fingerboard and pegs are explained further on.
The main book I used to make this was the Fiddlemaker's Worksheets by William K. Robertson. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to make a violin, be it acoustic or electric. It has all the dimensions needed, the techniques for getting the correct finish and much more. The basic plan for this one came from tracing around a friends violin, (a very simple way to get started!).

Update: I have recently done a basic model of this in CAD. It is dimensionally accurate and is available to be downloaded in the following location https://gallery.autodesk.com/fusion360/projects/sk...

Step 1: Initial drawings

As mentioned earlier. A simple way to get started is to trace around another violin. This, in combination with dimensions measured from the violin and from the worksheet book, can produce a simple starting template. Squared paper is extremely useful at this point!
The length of the body of the violin is 35cm and its width is about 21cm.
<p>Would this work</p><p>http://www.ebay.com/itm/Electric-Violin-Pickup-4-4-Bausch-Bridge-Preamp-Tone-Volume-Knob-Endpin-Jack-Set/391495817339?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&amp;_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D39836%26meid%3Da15d33a5c9ff484e81fd35ae43352f00%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D220838924337</p>
<p>Yep, that should do the job fine. The only thing you will need to do is work out where the electronics will fit. Other than that you'll be ready to rock :)</p>
<p>Looks Awesome! You can definitely tell you put a lot of time into this. Have you considered using an electromagnetic pickup though? it sounds like you're getting a bit of background noise with that piezoelectric pickup.</p>
<p>What do you think about buying this fingerboard,</p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-4-Size-Violin-Fingerboard-Fingerboard-Fine-musical-Parts-Accessories-/252126128525?hash=item3ab3e3698d:g:onIAAOSwwbdWKJkp">http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-4-Size-Violin-Fingerboar...</a></p><p>,this neck</p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/1pcs-hand-carved-Student-Maple-White-Violin-Neck-4-4-size-Violin-Parts-/272100331423?hash=item3f5a718f9f:g:HykAAOSw5ZBWQpij">http://www.ebay.com/itm/1pcs-hand-carved-Student-M...</a></p><p>,and those</p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-set-new-rosewood-Violin-parts-4-4-tailpiece-chinrest-pegs-endpin-/281643625273?hash=item419344ab39:g:zvYAAOSwl9BWNgYu">http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-set-new-rosewood-Violin-...</a></p><p>Could it be, that for $5 you can get true ebony? Would a violin with those parts be worth making?</p>
Hey bud,<br>All look ok and should be fine for use on your project. I'm not 100% on the fingerboard, it seems like a cheap price! You will be fine with the board as long as it is hard enough to withstand the pressing of the strings. To be fair you could make one fairly easily, it is one of the easier parts to make and quite good fun. I have the drawings for the board which I think are in this ible, if not I can add them this weekend when I'm back in the UK. <br><br>The neck, chin rest and pegs look fine (I generally look at the % rating of the seller too to see how reliable they are). Again the chin rest is also quite good fun to have a go at ? <br><br>I'll have a better look this weekend but for the prices on there it seems pretty good (even if you use them as templates for making your own)
<p>Thank you very much for your reply. I will think about either buying a more expensive fingerboard, or ordering this one, checking if it's real thing, and if not, using it as a template. Let's just hope the photos of other stuff aren't fake, as they look really nice (e.g. the scroll <em>apparently<strong> </strong></em>having all the proportions, and angles correct). Again, thanks for help.</p>
<p>Is the body 1 piece of maple (minus the mahogany of course). I am drawing this up now. I sort of cheated though and bought the neck, chin rest, fingerboard from ebay. Thanks!</p>
<p>Correct :) I got it from a coffin maker. it makes the whole body very strong, however it could be just as easily done with multiple parts glued together. You could get some pretty funky patterns going like that :) </p><p></p>
<p>do you have any plans that i can use ?</p>
<p>Hey man,</p><p>I've had a look, the particular ones I found on eBay don't seem to be available but here are some links to get you started:</p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-Pure-Tone-Violin-Bridge-Pickup-/310358091580?hash=item4842c8a73c:m:mBOdRJO7RBupejpkno9syZg" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-Pure-Tone-Violin-Bridg...</a></p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/JACK-PLATE-SOCKET-for-STRAT-STRATOCASTER-Style-Guitars-Chrome-Black-or-Gold-/200985906236?var=&hash=item2ecbb18c3c:m:msZmPioa_63-JLXnII5PwKQ" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/JACK-PLATE-SOCKET-for-ST...</a></p><p>I'm afraid that I don't have any plans for the violin. I am in the process of making some new ones for my latest one, however I will get round to producing some for this one. I kinda just went with the flow on this one. The measurements above show all the basic ones you need. I'll see if I can grab some more for you next time I'm home :)</p>
<p>Hi what pick up did u use and where did you get the crome platecould you tell me the link thanks</p>
<p>It's Amazing. </p><p>Where did you find the book ? </p>
<p>Thanks very much. I borrowed it from a violin repairer friend but I have seen them come up on eBay every now and again, they're like gold-dust though :( I was hoping that a company might sell a digital copy but I haven't managed to find one. If you have any luck can you give me a shout, I'd really appreciate it. </p>
<p>Yeah ... it's really expensive, but however I'll try to get a copy. </p><p>No problem, I'll keep you in touch :) </p>
And i burnt words onto the side
<p>Hey,</p><p>Really sorry for not replying to everyone. Things have been very hectic this year for me and I haven't been keeping up with Instructables as much as I'd have liked, sorry.</p><p>Awesome! How did it come out? Any photos? I'd love to see your work :)</p>
Looks awesome got one built
<p>been trying to get my son to make this,,, he has always been interested in a violin and we have never had the money to buy one... even if he doesnt learn how to play, he would at least be able to learn how to build one,,, maybe even selling them cheaper for other kids wanting to learn now that he is older... but, Id at least want him to learn enough to at least put it in tune... lol... thanks for the instructable... if he doesnt make one, I will... there are plenty of kids that want to learn, that cant afford nice ones,, all electric or not... Id like to also make some cello's... specially after I watched a couple young men called 2cellos on youtube... my style of music, with a classical instrument.... keep up the good work,, my first thing is to start building my own equipment.. thinking on a small bandsaw first... maybe table saw,,, who knows... have to sit down and really figure it out first to see what will be the most needed at first to make the other woodworking equipment I need... not to many people that do things like the old days,, you needed something, you build it or made it... old school,, thats what I love... in the 1930's, you need a tractor, you used a model A ford,,,lol.. you need a table, you made it,, you need equipment to make other things, you made it... I love it when people make tools like table saws, band saws, jig saws from scratch,,, thats why I like vintageprojects.com some plans there for old school doit-selfers...wish I could find more though...thanks again, sorry so long,, enjoy</p>
Hi ! so like some others, i have been thinking about making an electric violin. I searched for hours and got not that much information. So i want to hear your opinion. <br>here are the pickups i could find (in the link) and i could see the link that you recommended. But would like to know how to get all the electronics like in the 5th tip. <br>in the link where i send you, i have to connect the pickup to the bridge myself, and i'm scared that i could break it or it wouldn't work. So maybe you could send me a link where you got everything or the the bridge and pickup connected already. <br> <br>http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fishman-V-200-Violin-Pickup-Wing-Slot-Bridge-Sensor-w-Side-Mount-Carpenter-Jack-/360728267128 <br> <br>Sorry for the long comment, but i would be really grateful if you would answer.
Hey man, <br> <br>Thanks for the comment, sorry for my late reply. <br> <br>Just to begin with, in you comment you say pickups, are there any more you've found? Also, have you bought the pickup in the link? <br>In the one I did, as in step five, I removed the jack from the end of the pickup wire (pic 1) and trimmed the wire protector back to show the inner wires. I then connected the two wires directly to the jack socket on the jack plate in this link <br>(http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/JACK-PLATE-SOCKET-for-STRAT-STRATOCASTER-Style-Guitars-Chrome-Black-or-Gold-/190883805807?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&amp;var=&amp;hash=item2c718fba6f) <br> <br>HOWEVER, if you have bought the pickup in the link you sent me I would definitely not recommend doing what I did as the pickup I used was a cheap on that cost about &pound;5 and unless you're really confident it's risky cutting up expensive kit :) <br> <br>Connecting the pickup to the bridge shouldn't be an issue, the pickup itself is fairly robust. Normally it can simply be glued to the bridge. <br> <br>I have found a couple of reasonably priced pickups with the bridge attached, <br>http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Barcus-Berry-1320-B-Violin-Bridge-with-Embedded-Piezo-Pickup-Jack-Not-Included-/141046222294?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&amp;hash=item20d7028dd6 <br>http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Shadow-SH940-Violin-Pickup-/360726904788?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Preamps&amp;hash=item53fcffbfd4 <br> <br>You could also look at the following link. In this one the bridge simply sits on top of the pickup. <br>http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Quality-NEW-Electric-Pickup-Bridge-Preamp-Set-for-Violin-Musical-Accessories-/400327729525?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Sting_Instruments&amp;hash=item5d35646175 <br> <br>With all of these pickups you would have to drill a large enough hole through the body to accommodate the jack on the pickup wire (marked in the picture). Unless you want to remove it and attach it directly to the jack socket. <br> <br>Let me know what you think. If you have and more questions feel free to ask :)
That looks so awesome! but i don't think i've got the skills to make something like that.
Hey the violin looks great but could I use your technique to make a cello?
Thanks! Yeh, I was actually planning to do a Cello at some point for a friend. It'll look awesome, let me know how it goes :)
It is a lovely piece of work. It reminds me of Sam Maloof with it's soft edges. <br>clokdoc <br>
Cheers man! His stuff looks pretty funky ;)
I already have a violin, a old one. I can disassemble and do this?
Sure! If you want you can just buy the pickup and electrify the violin as it is. Or, you could use parts of the old violin (neck, shoulder rest, fingerboard etc...) and make your own. Here's a link to the pickup: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-4-Electric-Violin-Maple-Pickup-Bridge-Piezo-Pickup-253mm-Lead-w-2-5mm-Jack-/251078556290?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Sting_Instruments&hash=item3a7572ba82" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-4-Electric-Violin-Maple-Pickup-Bridge-Piezo-Pickup-253mm-Lead-w-2-5mm-Jack-/251078556290?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Sting_Instruments&amp;hash=item3a7572ba82</a>
Is this modeled after a 4/4 full size? I wouldn't mind knowing how you trimmed the bridge either. How much you trimmed off it as well.
Hi. Yeh, it's based on a full size violin. The bridge was trimmed down using a knife and then tidied up using fine sand paper. When you get a bridge it will be oversized. The amount you take off will very much depend on the style of violin you are building and the angle of the neck. The easiest thing to do is put a ruler along the fingerboard until it touches the edge of the bridge. Draw a line where the ruler touches the bridge so you produce the profile of the fingerboard on the bridge. Then you can draw the profile below above the line you produced with the ruler. the maximum height should be about 7(ish) mm. The best thing to do is compare against another violin before doing the final cut. <br>
I really suck at playing violin but wow....this is just a beautiful instrument. <br>Something like that would make me want to practice.
Too true!
everything fine... but WHERE ARE THE ELECTRONICS BUILDING STEP? and where you put it? would have been very useful..
Hey man. Good point! Taken some more photos and added a little electronics section. Hope it helps :)
Wow is all I can say. I play the violin and that is an exceptionally good design. I love it and have one question; how much did it cost to make (build)?
It cost under &Acirc;&pound;100. The mahogany came from an old cupboard that we had in our shed and the maple I got from a couple of local businesses. The best thing to do is go to a joinery company (or something similar) and see if they have any offcuts. If you tell them what your planning to do more often than not you can come away with a fair amount of wood in exchange for them to see the final product (and perhaps a bottle or two of beer!) Also, looking on eBay, auctions or the tip you can often find old furniture that is damaged/unwanted but perfect for other projects. So the only bits that cost me were the electronics, strings, tailgut, metal attachments and a few extra tools. The main thing is time really! :)
Okey doke!
Add blue lights and you too can be epic violin guy.
That's the next one I'm working on :)
Do you think that one could modify the dimensions and materials to make a wooden electric viola?
Hey, Can't see why not. I was hoping to do this kind of thing to a cello so as long as you have the dimensions a viola should be fine.
The shoulder rest is solid wood permanently attached? <br> <br>What jack did you use for the pickup? Is there a preamp?
Hey. <br> Yes, the shoulder rest is permanently attached. It is glued to the body and conceals the electronics. I used a standard mono 1/4&quot; jack in the wiring. I didn't use a preamp as there was not quite enough room in the body. I was looking to maybe get a pocket preamp for it at some point.
Something like this would probably work well: http://www.till.com/articles/PreampCable/
Awesome. That looks like it could work perfectly. I'll have to give that one a go when exams are out of the way!
A beautiful piece of artwork. And it sounds really nice.
i love the violin. also the music is amazing what is the piece called? <br>
Um, I'm afraid I don't know. I should have written it down when we did it. She did tell me but I'm useless at remembering things. If I find out I'll add it to the video :)
This is very beautiful <br>just love it!
I'm envious of anyone with decent woodworking skills. <br> <br>The photos I have up of a wood PC case that I'd like to say I did on my own, I had some major help with. My projects tend to warp uncontrollably, regardless of how dry the wood is at the moment. If I built something like that, with the tight strings, It would probably just roll up, or at least not stay tuned for more than seven minutes. <br> <br>Kudos, looks &amp; sounds great!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a Mechanical Engineer who loves making random things!
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