Introduction: Simple Electric Violin
I did this project to see how cheaply I could build a usable violin using the tools I had in my garage. I don't play violin, but from those who have played it, it's a little different but they could adjust to it and play it almost like normal.
The tools I used for this project were:
Sander (Could be replaced with hand and sand paper)
Planer (Not necessary, but helpful, you can hand sand it as well)
Jigsaw (Hand saw also works)
Things I would suggest buying instead would be pegs, the neck piece, the bridge, chin rest, and the metal bits and bobs found in normal violins, they are fairly cheap and will probably be better quality bought than made. That said if you want to try to make them feel free to do so!
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Step 1: Blueprinting and Basic Shaping
Start with deciding the style of violin to want to base it off of, mine is a 4/4 violin which is the standard size for adults playing. Once you decide how large you want it to be, keep track of length, width, and thickness, aside from that you can design basically anything you want so long as there is a strong middle piece going the length of the body of the instrument for structural support. Take 2 pieces of paper and tape them end to end to make an 8.5x22 inch piece, draw on this with the measurements in mind. I personally like to write some of the important measurements in the top corner. This will be your blueprint!
Then decide on your wood, mine is a mix of pine, maple, and chestnut. Pine for the main body, Maple for the fingerboard, and Chestnut for the flare pieces. As a suggestion, DON'T TRY TO MAKE YOUR OWN NECK AND FINGER BOARD... It's probably the most difficult part of this project because of the shape and the peg box at the end by the scroll. There are also replacement neck pieces that go for quite cheap on amazon
That said IF you want to make your own, have fun sanding
Once you have your blueprint cut out in to sections, line them up with the wood pieces and mark them. Then go ahead and take your time when cutting out the wood pieces so you get some clean cuts.
Step 2: Painting As Assembly
Once they are all cut out if the cuts aren't clean try to hand sand it flat or close to it. Over the next couple days wood glue the pieces together, firmly hold the pieces together with clamps while the glue dries. Then for the neck piece, at the base drill a hole into it the size of a small wooden peg, then the same size hole into the connecting end of the body piece of the violin. Use a bit of wood glue on each end of the wood peg and insert it into the holes. While the glue was drying I used a couple large rubber bands to hold it together.
You can do the paint job before or after assembly, I chose to do it before connecting the body and neck piece together. If you choose to paint before assembly, just be careful to not get paint in the connecting spots that are going to be glued.
Step 3: Electrify!
This is actually a really easy step, I used a simple contact microphone. It has an adhesive to connect it to the violin. How it works is that it takes any vibration that happens in the instrument. That being said that does mean that even slight taps against the wood get amplified.
As a note, the plug at the end of the contact mic is a musical standard 1/4 inch jack and not a 3.5 mm jack (like in headphones), so if you want to plug it into a normal speaker you will need a converter
Step 4: Final Assembly and Completion
Finally with your strings of choice and other metal bits and bobs, plug it into your nearest speaker or amp and play some classical rock!
My total cost of this project (wood, strings, pegs, bow, chin rest, bridge, tale piece, and electrical bits) came to around $60~$65
These are currently the best amazon prices that I could find for the things that I bought
Tale piece, pegs, and chin rest
I had some spare wood and some was donated from friends
My conclusion on this project, it was my first time building an instrument ever and I'd say it turned out better than the acoustic violin that I purchased. I had a lot of fun with this and it jump started my further wood working.
Best of luck, and craft on!
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to answer.
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