How to Build an Electric Violin

(MC.3100) by Barcus-Berry (catalog photo)

Building your own electric violin is an exciting activity and less difficult than you might think. You can make your violin simple or complex. Follow these guidelines and you'll be able to build the electric violin of your dreams.

A traditional violin
(MC.3100) by Barcus-Berry (catalog photo)

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden Blocks
  • Chin Rest
  • Wiolin Pickups
  • Violin Strings
  • Preamp
  • Drill
  • Audio Cable
  • Volume/Tone Controls
  • Transducer Bridge
  • Tuning Keys
  • Shoulder Rest
  • Wood Body
  • Finishing Varnish

Use an existing violin body--or design our own. It does not have to have a traditional shape. It merely needs to be able to hold the transducer bridge, pickups, strings and tuning pegs.

Use plastic, soft wood, or hard wood for the body of your violin. Hard materials will produce a sharper sound. Softer materials will diffuse the vibration of the strings. The body of your violin can be solid or hollow.

Do not attach the transducer bridge to the body. Take small blocks of wood and use them to determine where you will place your transducer bridge and violin pickups. When you have decided on the best arrangement, mark and drill the holes you will need to attach the bridge.

Understand that the material you chose for the body will determine the types of finishes you can apply. The finish on the body of your violin will affect the nature of the sound it will produce. Apply the finish before attaching the bridge, pickups and strings.

Use machine pegs and receivers for string tuning. Temporarily attach your transducer bridge and run the violin strings to your tuning pegs. Tighten the strings just enough to hold them in place. Plug your transducer bridge into your preamp and power source. Listen to each string to find the correct placement for your violin pickups. Mark the correct placement of the pieces on the body and disconnect the strings. Now attach the bridge and pickups according to the instructions that came with the individual pieces.

Hold your electric violin in playing position. Arrange the shoulder and chin rests so you can easily support support the violin while playing. Mark the locations and attach both pieces. Attach the strings. Plug in your violin, connecting the transducer output to the preamp before connecting to your amplifier. Tune the instrument.


  • Experiment with different body designs before purchasing expensive violin pickups and transducer bridges. To test your design, use small blocks of wood with strings set to nails and pulled taut enough to make sound.

    Do not choose a material for the body of your violin that is too heavy, or the instrument will be too heavy to support while playing.

    Find a transducer bridge that carries the amount of strings you want and is in your price range. There is a wide variety available on the Internet.

    Always turn on the preamp before the amplifier to avoid "pop" and feedback.


  • Make sure the transducer bridges, pickups and tone/volume controls you purchase are made within the current standards and will work with the current available.

    Do not modify the electrical components, as this will increase the potential for shock or fire.