Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Realist Violin:
Electric/Acoustic playing at Its Finest!

Written by: Amy Tobin of Fein Violins

I am a violinist who is always looking for new and different things to do, both musically and technically. As a result, I have found myself in many situations where I needed to play amplified. I have used fully electric violins, acoustic-electric violins, and various pickups on my own violin, all for different reasons and to different effects. One of the reasons I have used so many different kinds of instruments is that I never really found one that satisfied my yearning for a rich, warm, full sound while playing plugged in. That is, until now.


The David Gage Realist RV4 Violin

Available in both 4-string and 5-string models, the Realist is the perfect choice for someone who needs (or wants) to plug in, but still wants to preserve the best qualities of an acoustic violin. Of all of the acoustic-electric possibilities I have found, this beats them all. Although I love the sound of my own violin, I have always been hesitant to put a pick up on it and take it into venues that might be a little more dangerous than your average concert hall. In fact, I once had a very drunk man come up on stage while I was playing, stand right behind me, and proceed to nearly knock me, and my violin, down because of his, well, shall we say, enthusiasm? One instance like that definitely makes you shy about bringing the "big guns" with you on a pub gig!

Still, I wanted something that would sound like my violin. The Realist has done that. It has a wonderful, deep sound that I am more than happy to perform with. Plus, if you play in churches or other places where a standard electric violin might look a little out of place, the Realist fits in nicely with its covered volume knob. In fact, if you wanted to use the Realist for gigs other than amplified ones, you could. Because David Gage and Ned Steinberger have put so much thought into creating this instrument, the electronic parts of it are nearly unnoticeable to the audience.

The other advantage of the covered volume pot (or knob) is that it keeps dust and dirt out of the working portion of it. That way, you won't have any difficulty with the static that can occur when the volume pots get dirty.

Volume Pot on the David Gage Realist Violin

The input jack, where you put the cable, is also very well thought out. It is placed on the back of the instrument, just to the left of where the chin rest is, so the cable very nicely lies off to the side of your shoulder. That way, you aren't tripping over it or trying to move it out of the way every time you want to change where you are on stage!

The pickup, which is a transducer that is built into the instrument, has a great sound! It is clear, consistent, and preserves the finest tones of the violin (instead of only amplifying the treble tones, like so many other options out there!).

Input Jack on Back of David Gage Realist Violin

The 5 string is very nicely made as well. The low C string, giving the instrument the range of both the violin and the viola, has a great viola tone. Plus, its always nice to be able to vamp with the band on the lower harmonies as well!

All in all, I have been very impressed with the Realist violin. Anne Marie Calhoun, GRAMMY nominated violinist, who has played with many GRAMMY winning artists (including Steve Vai, Damien Marley, and Jon Bon Jovi), plays the RV4PRO model.

The Realist is available in both standard and pro models. The pro model being made with a bit higher quality tone wood and also antiqued to have a different appearance.

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