Rock Section

Rock Music!  …on the violin?  You bet ya!  Every style is an option for us violinists now with the advent of pick-up technology.

It is true that there are not very many of us playing this powerful style on violins as of yet, but it is NOT unheard of.  Mark Wood bills himself as a heavy metal violinist.  Yellow Card is a Punk/Pop band with an electric violinist, and of course the super popular Dave Mathews Band has electric violinist Boyd Tinsley.  Papa John Creach played violin with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna in the 1970’s.

The main event in playing Rock violin will be the use of distortion.  Distortion, or the overdriving of an amplifier’s circuitry is done by either turning the amp up all the way (to 11! as they said in the iconic movie Spinal Tap), or by the use of an electronic effect pedal that colors your sound before the amp.

Playing musically with distortion is an artform in itself.  I’ve found that many students mistakenly think that simply purchasing and plugging into a distortion pedal will make them an instant Rock star.  The truth is that distortion, by its nature accentuates EVERYTHING!… including the bad stuff, the noisy stuff and sloppy stuff, etc… you may have to be creative with ways to keep unwanted strings from ringing (usually by being diligent in staying in contact with your strings with some of your left hand flesh somewhere), as when the distortion is turned on, strings may just start ringing all on their own!  Rock guitarists are experts at this string muting technique.  We can learn much from them as, in general, they are about 40 years ahead of us violinists!

Hint: I’ve found that the super heavy duty distortion pedals on the market for guitar create more problems for violin than they are worth.  We have an advantage over guitarists in that our bows create sustain without the need for any electronics!  So, I’ve found that you can get pleasing slightly fuzzy/gritty sounds from simpler overdrive pedals rather than the heavy metal types.  That should be all you need.  There are 100’s of different ones on the market.  Take your fiddle to your local music store and plug in to see/hear what works for your instrument and touch.  Don’t be afraid to try the cheap ones either!

Here is an auto generated list of any FJI lesson that has “Rock” associated with it:

Much more to come!


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