Instructables
(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!). 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

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.
1-40 of 53Next »
reiangel17 days ago

It's Amazing.

Where did you find the book ?

Toms Workshop (author)  reiangel14 days ago

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.

Yeah ... it's really expensive, but however I'll try to get a copy.

No problem, I'll keep you in touch :)

creativity4u3 months ago
And i burnt words onto the side
Toms Workshop (author)  creativity4u14 days ago

Hey,

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.

Awesome! How did it come out? Any photos? I'd love to see your work :)

creativity4u3 months ago
Looks awesome got one built

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

wtlake1 year ago
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.
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.
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.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fishman-V-200-Violin-Pickup-Wing-Slot-Bridge-Sensor-w-Side-Mount-Carpenter-Jack-/360728267128

Sorry for the long comment, but i would be really grateful if you would answer.
Toms Workshop (author)  wtlake1 year ago
Hey man,

Thanks for the comment, sorry for my late reply.

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?
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
(http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/JACK-PLATE-SOCKET-for-STRAT-STRATOCASTER-Style-Guitars-Chrome-Black-or-Gold-/190883805807?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&var=&hash=item2c718fba6f)

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 £5 and unless you're really confident it's risky cutting up expensive kit :)

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.

I have found a couple of reasonably priced pickups with the bridge attached,
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Barcus-Berry-1320-B-Violin-Bridge-with-Embedded-Piezo-Pickup-Jack-Not-Included-/141046222294?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20d7028dd6
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Shadow-SH940-Violin-Pickup-/360726904788?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Preamps&hash=item53fcffbfd4

You could also look at the following link. In this one the bridge simply sits on top of the pickup.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Quality-NEW-Electric-Pickup-Bridge-Preamp-Set-for-Violin-Musical-Accessories-/400327729525?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Sting_Instruments&hash=item5d35646175

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.

Let me know what you think. If you have and more questions feel free to ask :)
Cut pickup.jpg
btiu1 year ago
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?
Toms Workshop (author)  the Big Cheese1 year ago
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 :)
clokdoc2 years ago
It is a lovely piece of work. It reminds me of Sam Maloof with it's soft edges.
clokdoc
Toms Workshop (author)  clokdoc2 years ago
Cheers man! His stuff looks pretty funky ;)
dinhoconrad2 years ago
I already have a violin, a old one. I can disassemble and do this?
Toms Workshop (author)  dinhoconrad2 years ago
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:  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
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.
Toms Workshop (author)  stevegossett2 years ago
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.
brid.gif
gasp2 years ago
I really suck at playing violin but wow....this is just a beautiful instrument.
Something like that would make me want to practice.
Too true!
chakra2 years ago
everything fine... but WHERE ARE THE ELECTRONICS BUILDING STEP? and where you put it? would have been very useful..
Toms Workshop (author)  chakra2 years ago
Hey man. Good point! Taken some more photos and added a little electronics section. Hope it helps :)
jediwhiz32 years ago
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)?
Toms Workshop (author)  jediwhiz32 years ago
It cost under £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!
urtlesquirt2 years ago
Add blue lights and you too can be epic violin guy.
Toms Workshop (author)  urtlesquirt2 years ago
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?
Toms Workshop (author)  RocKiN Ranen2 years ago
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.
endolith2 years ago
The shoulder rest is solid wood permanently attached?

What jack did you use for the pickup? Is there a preamp?
Toms Workshop (author)  endolith2 years ago
Hey.
Yes, the shoulder rest is permanently attached. It is glued to the body and conceals the electronics. I used a standard mono 1/4" 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/
Toms Workshop (author)  endolith2 years ago
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.
cyprian9162 years ago
i love the violin. also the music is amazing what is the piece called?
Toms Workshop (author)  cyprian9162 years ago
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 :)
jbzy30002 years ago
This is very beautiful
just love it!
I'm envious of anyone with decent woodworking skills.

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.

Kudos, looks & sounds great!
bobble2932 years ago
What an absolutely beautiful piece of work, it's delicate, yet has enough substance to be reasonably robust. I had FE students who couldn't maintain concentration for an hour, or complete work to the remarkably low standards set, yet this project was carried out over a two year period, and completed successfully. It's stunning, and incorporates several disciplines, woodworking, electronics and metalworking, including making a peghole reamer from scissors! I used to make special reamers for aircraft work (with appropriate equipment) but for someone so young to carry this off with basic equipment is totally amazing.
synnamin2 years ago
Awesome! Fantastic work! I would love to hear the sound.
1-40 of 53Next »