A lot of violinists hate electric violins.
They will tell you there is no such thing as the best electric violin, because they’re all bad.
And that is understandable, especially if they play classical music.
They notice the difference in sound and playability and deduce that the electric violin can’t compete with the acoustic violin.
And they’re right. But it’s not trying to.
The electric version of this instrument is not trying to replace the traditional version.
You have to look at it as a different instrument that performs a different, if very similar, function. Just like electric and acoustic guitars.
As such, the electric violin is a great instrument. And to make it easier for you to find the right one, we’ve reviewed and compared the top electric violins on the market. Let’s take a look.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top Electric Violin Comparison Table
- 2 Best Electric Violins Reviewed
- 2.1 Best Electric Violin Overall: Bunnel Edge
- 2.2 Best Electric Violin For Professionals: Yamaha SV-200
- 2.3 Best Beginner Electric Violin: Kennedy Violins Bunnel NEXT Clearance Outfit
- 2.4 Best Budget Electric Violin: Cecilio CEVN-2
- 2.5 Best 5-String Electric Violin: Yamaha YEV-105
- 2.6 Best For Virtuosic Performance: NS Design WAV5
- 2.7 Coolest Design: Kinglos DSZA
- 3 Electric Violin Buying Guide
- 4 Top Electric Violins: Final Thoughts
Top Electric Violin Comparison Table
Best Electric Violins Reviewed
The following are the best electric violins on the market. We’ve included models for all skill levels and in all price ranges. There are even two 5-string models.
Best Electric Violin Overall: Bunnel Edge
Looking at all the great electric violins on this list, it was hard to choose the best one. The Bunnel Edge won out in the end, primarily due to the incredible value.
It is not the highest quality model, or the coolest looking, but it does everything well and it sells for a very good price. Looking at other similarly priced models, there is no comparison. The Edge competes with instruments at a considerably higher price level.
The Bunnel Edge has a body made of solid maple, with ebony fittings. The design of the body is slick and innovative, featuring an eye-pleasing glossy finish. The instrument comes all set up and assembled, so you can start playing immediately.
It has a piezo ceramic pickup, but unlike the next violin below, this is an active setup with a built-in preamp. It comes down to personal choice, but an active setup means you don’t have to use phantom power when you plug into any device.
What’s more, the preamp has three sliders: one for volume and the other two for a 2-band EQ. The drawback is that it needs to be powered by a 9-volt battery.
The instrument comes with a Giuliani bow made from Brazilwood, rosin, a pack of D’Addario Prelude strings, headphones, an instrument cable, polishing cloth, and a sturdy Portland Oblong case. The package is a pretty great deal, considering the low cost and how well-made it is, on top of all these additional accessories.
Overall, this is out top choice specifically because of that value. The two Yamaha instruments mentioned below, as well as the WAV5, are all better violins, but they also cost much more.
For the price, the Edge sounds great, feels great and can be used in many different settings. You can even play it through an average guitar amp with no effects and it will still sound good.
Our Bunnel EDGE review has much more on this violin.
Best Electric Violin For Professionals: Yamaha SV-200
- Amazing build quality
- Great choice of materials
- Two piezo pickups
- Two EQ presets
- Active electronics
- Not the best choice for most beginners and intermediate players
We’ve come to expect great build quality from Yamaha’s products and instruments, but their SV-200 electric violin topped even our expectations. It encompasses all the important aspects that a great electric violin should have, making it one of the most luxurious instruments in this category.
Naturally, this comes with a higher price. This is definitely an instrument intended for professionals.
The instrument design combines simplicity and great-looking aesthetic features. The body is as simple as it gets, with the molded plastic frame serving its purpose and also adding to the overall looks.
The body is made from spruce, in combination with a maple neck. The combination adds to the instrument’s tone, providing players with a very defined resonant tone with a strong attack.
The instrument also has an ebony fingerboard and a maple bridge made by Aubert. But not to just throw random materials in your face, the way they fit together is what makes this instrument great. It’s the tone, the design, and especially the build quality that makes SV-200 so amazing.
On top of all this, we have two piezo pickups instead of just one. This feature helps in reproducing even the slightest nuances in your dynamics. At the same time, these pickups get the best out of the instrument, pronouncing all the tonal characteristics of said materials.
There is an EQ control on the instrument’s onboard preamp. It allows for some additional tone-shaping, making the Yamaha SV-200 very versatile. The instrument also has two outputs, one directly for headphones and another one for regular amplifiers or mixing boards.
Overall, this is a high-quality instrument that covers all the important aspects a good violin should have. If money is no object, it is easily our top recommendation. We did not rank it number one, because of the higher price. Given that we wouldn’t recommend this instrument to most beginners or even intermediate violinists.
Read our complete Yamaha SV-200 review for more.
Best Beginner Electric Violin: Kennedy Violins Bunnel NEXT Clearance Outfit
Our top choice holds the top spot because it represents great value. The same can be said for the Bunnel NEXT Clearance Outfit from Kennedy Violins. It is a clearance model. That means it has minor cosmetic imperfection and sells at a bargain price as a result.
The imperfections are only visual. They do not affect the performance at all. If having an instrument that is slightly discolored or may have a scratch or two does not bother you, this is a way to get a great deal on a quality violin. It is for that reason that we rated this model the best for beginning violinists.
It takes no more than one look to realize that this is a well-made instrument with a well-thought-out design. At the same time, it’s intended as a very simple instrument that’s easy to set up and play. But the most important part is that the violin has a great tone and manages to deliver both with an amplifier or a PA system.
The Bunnel NEXT features a ceramic piezo pickup. Whether you’re playing it with headphones or going straight into any other device, you’ll be met with rich tones that are slightly heavy on the higher end of the spectrum.
Although the violin is intended for beginners or intermediate players, we’re certain that it does a solid job even for some frequently gigging musicians. Sure, it’s not as luxurious as a $1000 model, but it’s an incredible deal for the price.
The instrument also comes with a few useful additions. You get a quality case, a Giuliani Brazilwood bow, quality Giuliani Rosin, headphones, a pack of D’Addario Prelude strings, and even a small amp. It’s basically an “all in one” deal.
Learn more in our Bunnel NEXT review.
Best Budget Electric Violin: Cecilio CEVN-2
- A great budget option
- Some of the components are above its price level
- Comes with a case, cable, bow, headphones, cable, and rosin cake
- It is primarily intended as a "silent" electric violin, intended for practice using headphones (so the tone might not be what you expect when plugged into an amp or a PA system)
The Cecilio CEVN-2 is on the opposite side of the spectrum. While some have unlimited funds and are looking for the best possible electric violin, many others are on a tight budget. This is the perfect option for them.
This is also a smart way to go, if you’re just trying out the electric violin and are not sure yet out whether it’s the right thing for you. After all, you don’t want to spend an insane amount on an instrument that you end up never using.
Overall, this is a simple, stripped-down electric violin with all the essentials. It’s a full-sized violin with a body and neck made of solid maple. It is fitted with an ebony fingerboard, which is a great deal in its price level.
The tailpiece (with a lovely looking pearl inlay) and the bridge are surprisingly good as well, though you obviously can’t expect anything top-tier for such a simple instrument.
The CEVN-2 also comes with a decent quality Brazilwood bow with genuine Mongolian horsehair, plus an aux cable, headphones, rosin cake, and a hard case.
But you need to bear in mind that this is a so-called “silent” violin.
Yes, it’s an electric instrument with a built-in preamp powered by a standard 9-volt battery. But there’s only one output, intended for headphones or an aux cable that you can connect to a home stereo or any other similar device.
It could also work with amplifiers and PA systems, although the tone isn’t perfect. The cable that comes with it has 1/8-inch connector on the one side and a 1/4-inch one on the other side, so it makes it easier to connect to an actual PA. But its main intention is for practice through headphones.
Read our Cecilio CEVN-2 review for more.
Best 5-String Electric Violin: Yamaha YEV-105
- Great tone, passive piezo pickup
- Amazing build quality
- Composite fingerboard
- Some may not be fond of 5-string violins
Even skeptics who generally have nothing good to say about electric violins can’t help but be impressed when they hear the Yamaha YEV-105.
The first thing you’ll notice is the 5th string, which does add even more “controversy” to the equation. Although unconventional, having 5 strings can be exciting and extends the instrument’s range.
But it is also harder to play, since the strings are all a bit closer together. Just like with any 5-string violin, the added string is below the G3. Here it is C3, which is one 5th interval below G3.
This is a very light instrument, which makes it comfortable to hold and play. The body features five layers of three tonewoods: mahogany, maple, and spruce. The frame is made of walnut and has a special oil-based finish.
Although the instrument gets its tone through a piezo pickup, a good deal of tone depends on the body materials and how well they resonate. The fingerboard is interesting, because it is made out of composite materials.
The neck is a maple one. The mahogany tuning pegs are well made, providing you with enough stability. There is a passive pickup on the bridge with a relatively high output.
Needless to say, this instrument has an amazing resonant tone, and even provides enough power and sustain for any type of performance. Yamaha’s YEV-105 finds use in almost any genre you can think of.
But aside from great tone and versatility, we also have a wonderful and slick design. Despite all these features, it’s still a reasonably priced instrument. But we’ve come to expect that from Yamaha. Even the most devoted acoustic violin fanatics will be impressed.
Our Yamaha YEV-105 review has more on this 5-string model.
Best For Virtuosic Performance: NS Design WAV5
If you’re into violins, you know that the instrument is known for many virtuosic pieces. No matter the genre, the violin always delivers mind-blowingly fast runs. If you’re looking for a suitable instrument that will help you play fast and express all the nuances in performance, we have one special electric violin on our mind – the NS Design WAV5.
The idea behind this violin comes from Ned Steinberger’s high-performance designs. Just like with his electric guitars and other instruments, this violin has a very minimalist design.
The very first thing you notice is the lack of a headstock. Instead, tuning machines are on the bridge, making this instrument smaller in size. Yes, this is pretty unconventional, but this violin stays in tune better than many conventional ones.
The WAV5 features a carved maple body of a somewhat unusual shape. The idea here was to keep the center of gravity closer to the player’s body, which provides more comfort during performance and more control over the instrument.
This is especially useful in combination with its adjustable shoulder rest. It also features a streamlined neck and fingerboard, something that the most virtuosic players will adore.
Of course, NS Design also cares about great tone. The violin is equipped with the company’s special Polar pickup system that provides many expressive qualities. The tone is sharp, yet it retains all the other great characteristics. These great traits can be heard on any amplifier or a PA system that you plug this violin into.
NS Design’s WAV5 is considered to be a more affordable version of some similar electric violins. However, it’s still not exactly cheap, but it’s definitely worth the money.
For much more on this instrument, read our complete NS Design WAV5 review.
Coolest Design: Kinglos DSZA
- Multiple designs to choose from
- Comes with additional equipment
- Not the best tone
- Lower quality than most other models on this list
For some violin players, aesthetic features mean a lot. While it comes down to some personal preferences and tastes, there are instruments that barely anyone can resist. And when it comes to cool-looking electric violins, we’d put Kinglos DSZA series as the best choice, primarily because of the many options.
Now, it’s pretty obvious that the aesthetic side was one of the main concerns for Kinglos here. The body design is, in some way pretty simple, although it relies on some stylish features.
But that all works hand in hand with the violin’s unusual color finishes. There are a several different color pattern variations to choose from, and they all fit the instrument’s design.
The body is made of hand-carved solid spruce, while the neck features an ebony fingerboard. We also have a carbon tailpiece that carries four detachable fine-tuning machines.
The violin has active electronics and a piezo pickup, all powered by a standard 9-volt battery. It performs well, looks amazing, and also comes with a bow, case, aux cable, rosin, and a fresh set of strings.
Electric Violin Buying Guide
If you’re buying your first electric violin, it’s important to be informed and know which features to look for and which to ignore. This is why we decided to add a brief buyer’s guide for electric violins. These are the important things you need to consider.
There are actually three types of electric violins. First, we have the standard type, which is what we saw with the most violins on this list. These have a basic body design and a piezo pickup. They usually come with a headphone output and a regular line output.
Then we have the “silent” violins. They’re intended for silent practicing and only come with a headphone output. Yes, these can also be plugged into amplifiers or mixing boards, but their tone works the best with headphones. They’re a great choice for those looking for instruments for home practice sessions.
And then there’s the acoustic-electric violin. These are essentially acoustic violins that can also be amplified without additional microphones. They come with their own piezo pickups and can be plugged into an amplifier or a PA system. The only issue with acoustic-electric violins is potential feedback. This is because they have regular violin bodies and resonate more.
Violins come in different sizes. There’s the full-sized violin, also known as the 4/4 violin. The smallest one is half the size, labeled as 1/2 violins. There are a few other options, like 3/4 or 7/8.
The smaller violins are generally meant for younger players. They are easier to hold. A 7/8 violin can also be good for adult players who feel more comfortable with a slightly smaller instrument. Learn how to measure which size violin you need.
Pickups And electronics
One of the most important components of an electric violin is its pickup. In some cases, they have two or more pickups.
Almost all electric violin have piezo pickups. These are the same kind that you find on some acoustic guitars and basses. There are also some examples of standard magnetic pickups, like the ones that are common on electric guitars.
Pickups use electronics, which can either be active or passive. Active ones require a power source, most commonly a 9-volt battery. Passive pickups have a different tone and require an amplifier or a mixer that has a built-in phantom power source.
The most important thing about pickups is that they shape your tone more than any other component. As their name suggests, they pick up the vibrations of the violin’s strings and “translate” them into an electrical signal. This signal is processed by a preamp and an amplifier and is then sent through speakers as sound.
Since this is a pretty unconventional instrument, electric violin players will want to consider a few different design features. But it’s not just about looks. Design can also make an impact on the overall performance.
A great example is the violin by NS Design that we mentioned above. A smaller and simpler body, headless design, and a specially designed comfortable neck make a world of difference.
Additionally, a certain body shape type might not fit everyone’s needs. Violinists are mostly used to conventional body shape and might be picky when choosing their first electric violin.
Number Of strings
In most cases, electric violins have the standard four strings. However, as we saw on this list, there are some examples of 5-string violins. Although you see this with acoustic violins as well, it’s more common with electric instruments. In almost all cases, the added fifth string is the lowest one, a perfect fifth interval below G3, which is C3.
Top Electric Violins: Final Thoughts
Even if you’re a classical violinist and you have decided you hate electric violins, we’d still encourage you to pick one up sometime and play around with it. Just don’t look at it as a violin.
If you view it as a different instrument altogether, we think you will have to admit that it’s pretty cool. The opportunity to practice in silence alone is often worth the cost. Just think how much more you could practice, if you didn’t have to worry about disturbing others.
Apart from that, they allow for so much creativity, when combined with a computer. You can do some really cool things. An electric violin might not be a great choice for classical music but it definitely brings a lot to the table in a whole bunch of other genres.