Jeremy's build - 2018

I popped over to a Yamaha outlet in London where they have some really nice violins ready to go with what look like purpose-built amps. The violins start at 250 GBP , amp is another 200GBP, and they had a wireless unit from violin to amp that frees you from the cord, another 50GBP or so .
The pickups generally are built into the bridge for those; some violins had one in-bridge and one under-bridge pickup.
There are a bunch of music shops (wind-specialty, ancient-music specialty, etc) at one of which I found a headway amp, in this case its a piezo element looking a bit like a ‘V’ that folds into one of the notches in the bridge. That would set you back ~200GBP.

In keeping with the cutrate opensource vibe here, I decided to get some regular bridges and see how attaching a flat piezo element to it will do .

As detailed below I also have a contact pickup on the way from violectra (a uk electric violin shop) and so I should be able to carry out some comparisons.

While looking at some carbon bows I came across these fine-tune pegs which would be nice for an electric violin. Perhaps as an alternate one could simply dispense with pegs and use only a set of fine tuners at the bottom end of the violin?

ok so fine tuners alone wont do as they have a limited travel - they depress a lever which pulls the string a varying amount. However the screw mechanism itself might serve to wind the string as long as the friction overcomes the pulling force (so it wont unwind) which is I suppose why a worm gear is used for guitars - so perhaps this worm gear on a smaller scale would be good - it seems to me like guitr tuners on a violin would be kind of unwieldy.

As for pickups it looks like diy pickups have a lot of history and instructions about eg thisone

I must correct myself, at this point I see no reason not to use the guitar tuners everyone else seems to be using, esp. if they can be found in smaller sizes. The store-bought electrics have traditional peg tuners but I don’t see any reason to retain those.

I ordered a cheap ($30) pickup from to compare to.

1 Like
  1. The bridge you posted looks similar to this. Its pre-fitted. I am not sure how pre-fitted bridges are (never tried). They should be fitted by a luthier. And my intuition says there is a reason for that.
  2. The Wittner fine-tune violin peg look great but also expensive - I wonder how much weight this adds to the instrument. If they are lighter than a guitar peg, then its a significant weight reduction.
  3. The thing with guitar pickups is that its a lot of winding, and you don’t know what you will get in the end without trying.
  4. You might want to know you can edit messages :wink:
  5. What model of pickup did you order from violectra? I am courius if you can record how it sounds, so we can add it to Guitar pickup tests , perhaps start a wiki page of pickup comparisons.

Ok they are called "planetary gear pegs or “geared pegs”
Here is another make by perfection. Which is only slightly cheaper.
Here is a review. and here are mixed opinions.

Managed to order from amazon fine tuners:

Looks like it works (also 6 string in progress):

do you actually need the fine tuner in addition to a regular guitar tuner? The fine tuner on a regular violin compensates for the clunky turn-a-wooden-dowel system on regular violins, i’d think a guitar tuner alone would take care of the issue

Gutar tuners are totally fine, they have a screw to let you set sensitivity. The ones you see in the photo are from the link given by hovalin in their shoping list.