Cecilio’s CEVN-2 is a sleek and attractive electric violin. It’s available in either three-quarters or full sizes. And there’s also a choice of five different colors – black, mahogany, blue, yellow and white. Whether you want to stand out from the crowd or prefer a classic look, there’s an option to suit.
The design takes advantage of the fact that there’s no need for a hollow body to amplify the sound. Instead, a solid outline reproduces the shape of an acoustic violin with the top left-hand quarter removed. The result is a very stylish silhouette.
The materials also echo traditional acoustic violins. The body is made of hand-carved maple, while the fingerboard is ebony. The pegs, chinrest and tailpiece are ebony too. The latter has integrated adjusters and is inlaid with a beautiful mother-of-pearl disc.
It’s powered by a 9-volt battery, included as standard.
You’ll be able to connect to most amplifiers or PA systems easily. The violin features a 1/8 output jack and it comes with an aux cable suitable for either ¼ or 1/8 outputs. You can adjust the volume to your required level, and a set of headphones are included.
If you’d like to practice accompanied, that’s possible too. An in-line jack enables you to play alongside the backing music of your choice.
It comes with a bow, made of traditional Brazilwood and unbleached Mongolian horsehair. Also included are a decent cake of rosin, a bridge, and a lightweight hard-shelled case with weatherproof canvas cover.
The case features a zippered exterior pocket, but it’s not the biggest. That means that, annoyingly, standard sheet music won’t fit unless folded.
The whole outfit comes at a very competitive price. Alongside the Cecilio CVNAE, this is the cheapest electric violin on our list.
So are there any compromises?
Well, the accessories aren’t the highest quality. The headphones are very basic, and they’re not the most comfortable. You may want to upgrade if you plan to use headphones regularly.
And the finish on the body of the violin isn’t very evenly applied. Look closely, and you may spot the occasional drip or other imperfection.
But these are minor niggles for a good violin at a great price point.
Includes headphones and aux cable, plus a bow, case, bridge and rosin
1/8 output jack for easy connection to PA systems or amplifiers
In-line jack enables you to play alongside the backing track of your choice
The headphones that are included aren’t the best quality
The finish on the body of the violin isn’t perfectly even.
The second outfit from Cecilio to make our list, the CVNAE is the same price as the CEVN-2. The appearance, however, is quite different.
If you prefer your electric violin to look like an acoustic, you’ll love this one. It’s something of an acoustic-electric hybrid, with the appearance of a traditional hollow-bodied fiddle.
The white finish gives away that this is something a little different. And look closely and you’ll see control sliders on one side, and an output jack on the other.
It has the same spruce top you’d find in an acoustic violin, together with the traditional maple back and sides. The pegs, fingerboard and chinrest are made of ebony, as is the tailpiece. The latter also comes with integrated adjusters for fine tuning, and an attractive mother-of-pearl inlay.
There’s no choice of colors or sizes with this one. If you don’t like the pearl white finish, you’ll need to choose a different violin. And it’s available in full size only.
You will, however, be able to change both the volume and the tone. Two sliding switches on the top left-hand side of the violin allow you to make adjustments. The position is well designed to allow you to reach them without removing the violin from beneath your chin.
You’ll also get plenty of extras. There’s an attractive hard-shell case with blue velour lining, holders for two bows, and a storage compartment. One bow is included, with a classic Brazilwood and Mongolian horsehair construction. You’ll also get an adjustable shoulder rest, rosin, bridge and aux cable.
There are no headphones with this set, though. If you want to use some, you’ll need to buy them separately. And you’ll also need an amp to headphone jack converter. Unlike many fully electric violins, others will still be able to hear you playing.
The limitations here are similar to those with the other Cecilio on our list. The finish on the body of the violin isn’t perfectly even. And you may prefer to upgrade the bow and strings, which aren’t premium quality.
That’s hardly, surprising, however, for an outfit at such an economical price. The sound quality here is great – no hums or feedback – and it’s a classy looking instrument too.
Classical appearance, great for playing at formal occasions
Ebony tailpiece with four adjusters and mother-of-pearl inlay
Comes with bow, rosin, shoulder rest, case and aux cable
There are some minor imperfections in the finish on the body of the violin
You won’t be able to play silently, even with headphones.
If you want to cut a dash with your electric violin, check out this stylish model from Kinglos. The DSZB0015 has a funky flame design running from the base of the violin up to the fingerboard. The main body of the violin is black, and you can choose between either a blue or red flame.
The distinctive silhouette is effectively three quarters of a traditional acoustic. The top left-hand shoulder is missing, and the rest is outlined with an open middle to reduce the weight.
It’s available in full size only. That means you’ll need to have a wrist to neck measurement of at least 23 inches.
The body is made of spruce and the tailpiece is carbon fiber, again reducing weight. The tailpiece comes with four integrated adjusters for fine tuning. These are finished in black to complement the rest of the design.
The fingerboard, chin rest and pegs are made of the traditional ebony.
It’s powered by a 9-volt battery, and you’ll need to buy this yourself. There’s an active DV-9 pick-up, with dials to adjust the tone and volume of your music. These sit on the back of the violin, together with sockets for a microphone, headphones and aux cable.
The position of the volume and tone dials isn’t ideal. You’ll be able to feel for them with your bowing hand, but you won’t be able to see what you’re doing.
An aux cable is included alongside the violin. You’ll also get a case, bow, rosin and shoulder rest, as well as a spare bridge and set of strings. There’s even a manual to help you get the most out of your new instrument.
This is more expensive than the Cecilio outfits. The price difference is, however, marginal – about the same as four cups of artisan coffee. And if you’re looking for a violin to stand out from the crowd, this could be a perfect choice.
Stylish design with choice of red or blue flame embellishment
Comes with case, bow, rosin, shoulder rest and spare bridge and strings
Four integrated adjusters
The position of the volume and tone dials may be awkward for some
The DGS1201 from Kinglos has another striking design, this time with a more feminine feel. It features pale blue flowers on a white background, almost like porcelain.
The rest of the DSG range has similarly eye-catching finishes. Choose from flowers in different shades, through to zebra print, or plain bright colors. There’s a huge selection to suit all tastes.
This is another case where the finish isn’t perfect, however. If you look closely, you may find the color is deeper in some places than others. And it’s not always completely smooth. To be frank, we doubt anyone other than you will ever notice. They’ll be too busy staring at the gorgeous patterns.
Set aside the aesthetic differences, and the design here is very similar to Kinglos’s DSZ range. There’s the same solid central panel, above which sit the strings and tailpiece. On the back are the tone and volume dials and a range of sockets.
The outer edge is suggestive of a traditional violin with the left-hand shoulder gone. Other than the solid central panel, the inside is open.
The body is hand carved from spruce, while the fingerboard, chinrest and pegs are ebony. The tailpiece is made of carbon fiber for extra strength. Four integrated adjusters with a silver finish are included to fine tune the strings.
You’ll get the same set of accessories as with the DSZ range. An aux cable, case, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, an extra set of strings and a spare bridge are included. You will, though, need to buy your own 9-volt battery.
It’s whisper-quiet when not plugged into an amplifier. If you want to practice without disturbing family or housemates, it’s a great option. Just plug in your own headphones to hear the rich sound.
To avoid damage in transit, the violin comes without the bridge installed. Installing it isn’t difficult, but you’ll need to loosen the strings first and re-tune them afterwards.
One thing to note with this one is that the volume through headphones isn’t particularly high. If you’re worried about damaging your hearing, that may be a positive. But if you want to lose yourself in louder music, you may prefer another option.
Striking floral design
Whisper-quiet when not plugged into an amp
Comes with an aux cable, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, extra strings and spare bridge
The paint job is gorgeous, but the finish isn’t perfect
The volume tops out at a fairly low level when played with headphones.
If you’re prepared to pay more for your electric violin, you may be interested in the Bunnel NEXT outfit. This one is supplied by Kennedy Violins, who will do all the set-up for you. If you don’t like the idea of installing your own bridge, this may be a good option.
The price point here is mid-range. You could buy two of the Cecilio outfits for the same cost – but there’s a big jump from this to the Yamaha models. So what do you get for your money?
Well, the appearance here is quite different to many other electric violins. There’s a solid, stylized body that’s shaped somewhere between an acoustic violin and an apple core. It comes in a choice of two plain finishes, natural flame and marigold, a brighter option.
It produces a rich, clear sound. The tone can be adjusted using sliding switches on the back of the violin. Volume can be adjusted in the same way, or using the mini amp included in the package.
You’ll need a 9-volt battery to power it. A Piezo ceramic pick-up is included, and there are ¼ and 1/8-inch output jacks for amp and headphones respectively.
The accessories included here are a cut above those you’ll get with less expensive outfits.
The case is a hard shell lined with plush midnight blue, pale blue or amber velour. It includes holders for two bows and separate compartments for a shoulder rest and smaller accessories. There’s even a hygrometer inside the lid to monitor humidity levels.
The bow is made by Guiliani and has a Brazilwood stick and Mongolian horsehair. Power cables, rosin, and even a cleaning cloth for your strings are included too. And you’ll get a decent set of over-ear headphones for silent practice.
The solid body does mean that this is heavier than other electric violins. A good shoulder rest will help you stay comfortable. But if you’ve lost strength in your shoulders, it won’t be the best choice.
And while the mini amp is fine, if you want a bigger sound, you’ll need to upgrade.
Rich, clear tone
Choice of marigold and natural flame finishes
High quality accessories, including a case with hygrometer and shoulder rest compartment
Heavier than some
You’ll need to upgrade from the mini amp if you want bigger sound.
The YEV-104 is one of the least expensive of Yamaha’s electric violins. But at almost twice the price of the Bunnel outfit, it still represents a significant investment. So is it worth it?
Well, it’s certainly comfortable to hold. The central panel is surrounded by a thin body of maple, mahogany and spruce. The five-layer construction produces a rich, full sound. The middle is open, so it stays light.
It’s available in natural or black finishes, the shade referring to the central panel sitting below the fingerboard. The surrounding wood is a warm shade of brown with an attractive grain.
The bridge is made of maple and has a built-in piezo electric pick-up. The pegs and chin rest are made of ebony. And the tailpiece is made of synthetic resin, so it’s strong yet light.
There are no accessories included here. If you’re looking for a full outfit, you’ll need to buy your bow, shoulder rest and so on separately. That may not be the most convenient – but it does mean you can choose exactly what you want.
You won’t need any battery with this one, either. Just plug it into an amplifier and you’re ready to go. If you want to use it with headphones you can, but you’ll need an amp with a headphone jack.
If you’re looking for a violin for silent practice, this is a great choice. You’ll get no noise at all except when the amp is plugged in. And when it is plugged in, the sound quality really is excellent.
Excellent sound quality
Attractive and comfortable to play
No battery required
No extras included here – you’ll need to buy your bow and accessories separately
You’ll need an amp with a headphone jack if you want to use headphones.
If you’re looking for a performance-grade electric violin, and have more serious cash to splash, consider Yamaha’s SV-200. It costs roughly twice as much as the YEV-104.
It’s available with a central panel in four different shades – black, blue, brown or red. The other components of the violin are black.
The maple neck is oval in cross-section, just like an acoustic violin. It’s even finished with a thin layer of lacquer designed to replicate the feel of an acoustic instrument. The bridge is made of maple too.
The body is made of spruce and the fingerboard, pegs, chin rest and tailpiece are all made of ebony. Only one adjuster is pre-installed here – on the E string – although you can of course add others yourself. The headphone and line outputs are powered by a DC 9-volt battery.
All you get here is the violin itself and some rosin – no case or shoulder rest. Not even a bow. So why is it so expensive?
What you’re paying for is the sound quality and tone. This is a violin that can be played confidently either in a studio or on stage.
There’s a built-in preamp. And two built-in EQ modes enable a dry signal or enhanced acoustic tone. The dual piezo pick-ups under the bridge allow greater dynamic range, and hence expression.
It’s whisper-quiet when played without headphones, so you won’t disturb anyone. You will still, however, be able to hear your music yourself.
One minor issue is that the quality of the construction isn’t, perhaps, all you’d expect for such an expensive violin. The ebony fingerboard is rather thin, and the decorative sides are made of plastic.
But if you’re looking for an electric violin that will hold its own in a concert hall, it’s a great option.
Two built-in EQ modes for dry signal or enhanced acoustic tone
Dual piezo pick-ups offer excellent dynamic range
Maple neck with specially formulated finish replicates the feel of an acoustic violin
Expensive – and the only accessory included is a cake of rosin
The thin fingerboard and plastic sides are slightly disappointing.
Still wondering which is the right electric violin for you? Read on for some help in making your final decision.
Start by checking what size violin you need. Electric violins use the same size scale as acoustic versions. But because they’re usually used by experienced violinists, many are available only in full size.
In order to be able to play a full-size violin comfortably, you’ll need a long enough arm. The measurement is taken by standing upright with your left arm extended from your body. If the distance between your wrist and the base of your neck is at least 23 inches, a full-size violin will be fine.
If the distance is 22 inches, a three-quarters violin will be a better fit. The Cecilio CEVN-2 on our list is offered in both three-quarters and full-size.
Where will you be playing?
Next, think about where you’re going to play.
One of the major advantages of electric violins is that they can be played quietly through headphones. But if you want to be quiet without having to plug in headphones, different models will vary.
Some will make a reasonable amount of noise – about the same as a muted acoustic violin. Others will be completely silent. So if you want to hear what you’re playing, you’ll need either headphones or an amp.
At the other end of the scale, not all violins are created equal when it comes to stage performances. If you need big enough sound to fill a concert hall, you’re likely to need to spend more money.
And if you want a violin you can play in your bedroom or on the stage, look for one with dual piezo pick-ups. Yamaha’s SV-200 is a great option.
What accessories do you need?
Finally, check what accessories are offered as part of the package. Don’t assume that spending more money means you’ll get more bits and pieces! Both the most expensive violins on our list, the Yamahas, are violin-only models.
If you already have a bow, shoulder rest and so on, that could be perfect. But if you’re looking for a full outfit, there are some great value deals out there. Save yourself the hassle of an extended shopping trip and opt for a bundle. The one from Bunnell offers a good balance between cost and quality.
Ready for electric sound?
That brings us to the end of our round-up of the seven best electric violins. We hope it’s helped you to narrow down your search.
Our favorite is also one of the least expensive – the Cecilio CEVN-2. It’s a good performer with a range of extra accessories that offer unbeatable value. And we love the inline jack, which allows you to play along to your choice of backing music.
But however much or little you want to spend, there’s a great electric violin out there for you. Enjoy finding it – and happy playing!