Introduction: Electric Violin Project

Picture of Electric Violin Project

I'm currently in the process of building my first instrument. I planned off and on for a month and im now just starting the real steps. I plan to post images of my progress and in the end possibly an instructable on it. I'm using Walnut for the body. The design is a original but I will give credit to bluestem for the plans of standardized parts.

--Hardware i plan to use (feel free to respond with advice)
fingerboard
preamp/pickup

 *** Build day 1
cut top profile
*** Build day 2
cut side profile (with exception of wings and head stock) and began gluing "Wings"
***Day 3
Cut the wings to shape as well as the head stock. A lot of fine tuned sanding on different sections. Still have alot of sanding and a little cutting to do cause of a new nick i gave the wood :(

Comments

Half-Life (author)2011-11-02

Violin is looking good...
Here's a tip: at the point where you're holding the violin with your chin/shoulder, make sure the wood isn't too thick (by comparing it to a standard violin). In the one I made, it was 2cm too thick and gave me cramps.

Also, when you're attaching the fingerboard, think about whether you're going to sand or glue first. By gluing first and then sanding, you can avoid over-sanding (and having to add resin to compensate like i did).
Lastly, when gluing the fingerboard, be very careful about positioning the fingerboard and make sure it doesn't "drift" while clamping. Since your neck and body are in one piece, you have no room for adjustment if this happens. You may want to make use of a "centre line" on both the neck+body and the fingerboard to line them up at all times.
Sorry for the really long comment btw. ;-)

zigzagchris (author)Half-Life2011-11-06

I dont actually have an acoustic violin to compare too but its about then 4 cm thick at the base of the fiddle. Is that too large? Its a bit uncomfortable at the moment but is resolved when i use something padded on my shoulder.
Iv taped the fingerboard in place and plan to sand it like that because I want to add some stain to it later. Its actually very close to perfect already at the most 1/2 a cm thick and never overdone.
Thank you so much for your knowledge half life, and i do enjoy your name

Half-Life (author)2011-09-21

Below are some good links to watch/read beforehand. I hope it helps.
Building videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKxZfGmR3vE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QuxAa4QNks

Plans and instructions:
http://www.bluestemstrings.com/pageEV1.html

zigzagchris (author)Half-Life2011-09-22

Thanks my plans are based upon those above too. Would you recommend i go out a buy hardmaple? or another type?

Half-Life (author)zigzagchris2011-09-22

Maple and mahogany are common woods used in instrument building.
Since the guy at bluestemstrings.com uses hard maple, you might want to buy that.
If you know anyone with more experience with woodworking, please consult them as well.

Regarding ebony fittings: looks like you're getting traditional pegs as well, so you should consider the possibility of using traditional friction pegs, with a simple headstock like the mark wood stringray.

zigzagchris (author)Half-Life2011-09-23

Thank you very much. Iv watched the videos too many times before hand. Going out to buy maple tomorrow hopefully, depending on schoolwork.

caitlinsdad (author)2011-09-21

It looks like you're working with a piece of not the highest grade pine. I don't know if you should use a harder species of wood like maple considering the strings will bow the violin.

zigzagchris (author)caitlinsdad2011-09-21

Im using spruce i bought because i new it was a tonal wood and it was cheap. Im quite aware it is not the nicest wood. Do you think i should find another material?

caitlinsdad (author)zigzagchris2011-09-21

It wasn't a dig at all at your wood, just saw it was knotty and wouldn't be the first choice for a fine instrument. A tip to clamp up those odd pieces is to use the scrap that it was cut out from so you can square up an edge for the clamp. Just piece the cutoff piece back onto the one being glued and see if that helps. This should be a fun project. Good luck.

Half-Life (author)zigzagchris2011-09-21

Chris you're right about the tonal quality of spruce since it is is used for parts of an acoustic violin, but if you make your entire instrument out of spruce, it might be structurally weak or prone to wear and tear.
However, if you're working with power-tools, it might be useful to construct a "draft" out of the spruce to make sure you haven't overlooked anything (whether you've left enough room to route out the preamp cavity, whether you're comfortable with the fingerboard angle, space for tuning pegs etc.)
Also, kudos on choosing this rewarding and awesome project.

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