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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Series 4 Electric Violin by Don Rickert Design


Series 4 Electric Violin by Don Rickert Design

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Product Description

ATTENTION!: You most likely got to this page via a search engine rather than visiting the Adventurous Muse Storefront. This is a custom-made instrument, available ONLY at our new store, Don Rickert Musical Instruments (

Click on the image or link below to see a slide show of the cool new electric violin.
Series 4 Electric Violin by Don Rickert

Note: The price is that for the base instrument ONLY. You select components and options. The final price will be higher...sort of like buying a Dell Computer


NOTE: This is one of several instruments designed by Dr. Don Rickert (a custom version, of course) that are being used for the Active Acoustics (a new kind of synthesizer) project directed by Dr. Dan Overholt (inventor of the Overtone Violin) at Auberg University at Copenhagen and Stanford University.

The Series 4 Electric Violin by Don Rickert Design is a "chambered" or semi-hollow body instrument that is designed to accommodate with one or two pickups, with separate volume control for each pickup, allowing you to get just the right balance. The Series features a Fender guitar-style bolt-in neck with angle adjustment to easily vary the string action to suit your playing style (with shim washers, just like an electric guitar). It has an optional variable internal damping mechanism as well, which allows you to actually change the acoustic properties of the instrument.

In short, this is the instrument that many other solid-body and semi-solid (chambered) electric violins could be, but fall short…usually to keep the price low in a very competitive market. With electric violins, it is pay now or pay later. It is common for the electric violinist or fiddler to spend as much or more on aftermarket corrective work on his or her instrument than the cost of the instrument itself!

The Internal Damper

Contrary to popular belief, acoustic properties matter a lot with electric violins. Why do you think that there is such a variety of materials and body shapes for electric violins? With the damper in the Series 4 Electric Violin, one can achieve a timbre ranging from "electrified" acoustic violin to a solid body instrument, or something in-between, such as the Fender chambered-body electric violins. Trust us, we have been working on damper designs for over 5 years and we are happy with the result, as will you be!

Typical Pickup Configuration and Pre-Amp

A typical pickup configuration would use a bridge transducer (either attached to the bridge or the entire bridge itself with some multi-transducer pickups) in conjunction with an under the bridge or soundboard transducer. Both pickups are wired to a dual-input “onboard” (i.e. inside the instrument) pre-amp. The pre-amp not only allows you to balance the effect of each pickup, but also strengthens the signal from each pickup. The right pre-amp makes all the difference between a thin cheap electric violin sound and an output with beautiful timbre and power.

The Series 4 Electric Violin Has NO accessories until you specify them

Electric Violins by Don Rickert Design are sold in a manner analogous to buying a Dell Computer. You buy the basic unit and then specify the options necessary to make it a functional computer that meets your needs.

There are a number of options and accessories requiring specification, but it is NOT that difficult. Dr. Don Rickert, who has owned over a dozen electric instruments by other makers and has designed and built about 40 instruments will walk you through the process personally.

Final Cost of the Complete Instrument

The cost will typically be about twice the base price. The cost, of course, is much more than that if you decide on pickups costing the same as the basic instrument, for instance. For example, a Barbera pickup with a Schertler preamp is about $1,000…but you do not need these unless you have very unusual professional performance requirements.

Options and Accessory Menu

If you purchase this instrument, you will be asked to answer Yes or No to the following options. The additional cost of each option (the installed price…you are paying for the option as well as building into the instrument!)

Internal Damper or No Damper
4-String or 5-String
Standard Tuning or Baritone (Octave Lower with special strings) Tuning


All accessories are sold as separate items. Generally, you will have consulted with us first. If you do not choose any accessories or you choose accessories that do not make sense to us, we will contact you to discuss your choices. In all cases we will send you an invoice that includes the cost of all accessories before authorizing a charge on your credit card.

The accessories you will need are:

Tuning Pegs:
Unless otherwise requested, we will install Wittner Fine-tune planetary pegs
Pickup(s): At least one pickup, but probably two
Pre-amp: An internal active dual-source pre-amp with thumbwheel controls on the outside of the instrument
Chin Rest: Because the Series 4 is more or less shaped like a violin, you can use any chin rest you wish. We recommend the New International Violin Adjustable Height Chin Rest or a Wittner polycarbonate side or center-mounted rest.
Shoulder Rest: As with chin rests, you can use any shoulder rest that clips onto the “overhang” that you want. Specialty shoulder rests, such as foam and inflatable do not work so well, as the back of the instrument is flat rather than arched.
Tailpiece: For electric violins we ONLY recommend either a Wittner polycarbonate (a VERY hard plastic) or a Thomastik-Infeld metal tailpiece. Both come in 4 and 5 string versions. Unless specified otherwise, we will install a Wittner stainless steel tail hanger…the stainless steel gives more sustain than the nylon type.
Strings: Unless you are using a magnetic pickup (like an electric guitar), you can use any kind of high quality string, including genuine gut if you want to spend the money (see string recommendation table)
External Pre-amp: Required for on-stage live performance or recording

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