A violin pickup can come in handy for many occasions; weddings, bands, outdoor performances, and other times when you simply need a little more from your little violin! 

Basically there are two options for violins looking to add volume to their playing. The first is called a violin pickup, the second is simply to mic your violin.

Mic versus pickup what's the difference?

The plus side to using a mic is that it will keep more closely to the natural sound of your violin. Another pro to the mic, is that it is usually more affordable than a pickup. The downside is that a mic will also pick up vibrations and loud noises, possibly giving you a lot of unwanted feedback (you know...the noise where everyone covers their ears because it hurts).

The pro's to using a violin pickup is that feedback is generally lower and better then with a mic. The con is that it will change the sound of your violin, however in some instances this could be more desirable such as in jazz groups or rock bands. Additionally it is possible to change the sound even more with the use of a preamp or other sound effect processors.

Best Violin Pickups

When choosing a pickup, the biggest thing you need to decide is whether or not you want the pickup permanently installed on your violin. If you are using a cheap violin as your 'electric' violin than this is a great option. It will eliminate time spent in set up and usually has a better sound than temporary pickups.

We recommend the LR Baggs. A tip when purchasing the Baggs; have a professional luthier install it. The LR Baggs pickup is built right into the bridge.The Baggs has a warm sound and complex tone and can produce more dynamic ranges than an actual electric violin...for a quarter of a price. When using the L.R. Baggs pickup, it is recommended to also use the LR Baggs Para for optimal sound. It does not require a preamp, but may possibly benefit from one.

LR Baggs Violin Pickup
LR Baggs
If you are using your nice classical instrument as a temporary 'electric' stand in here and there, than you will most likely want to go with a temporary violin pickup that can attach to your violin without any modifications to the instrument itself.

The Band Violin Pickup System is a fairly affordable violin pickup that is soft on your violin and wraps right around the body of the instrument. It is easy to put on and take off. As with all violin pickups, you will have to play around a bit and find the spot on the violin that works the best. The Band has the option of plugging right into an amplifier, or using a preamp. If you are worried about damaging your violin at by attaching a pickup, you may want to consider The Band.

When looking for something on a budget the Schatten Dualie-Outside'R External Pickup w/Jack might just fit the bill. It will plug right into your amp with no need for preamp and works decently well. The best part...you can usually find them for around $50.00. A quick and affordable solution, or atleast something to have on hand as backup in an emergency.

Best Violin Microphones

Many violinist actually prefer a good mic over pickups for a couple of reasons. It allows your natural 'acoustic' sound to carry through but at alouder volume for larger performances, recordings, and outdoor events. When choosing a mic make sure that you select a 'condenser' mic versus a 'dynamic' mic. Many violinists have learned to be creative in buying small or 'mini' clip on mics and finding ways to attach them to their instruments. Mic's are also often more affordable than pickups. Most mics also work well with just plugging right into a PA system or an amp, cutting out the need to buy a preamp (another reason why mics are often more affordable). A preamp of course can still be used to condition the sound and add warmth or effects.

Here are our favorite mics as well as a few setup techniques that have been created by musicians like you to work specifically with the violin!

ATM350 Instrument Condenser
Audio-Technica PRO-35

Both of these mini mics get great reviews, are clear sounding, generally have low feedback, and give your instrument it's deep natural sound. They are both created by the same reliable company Audio-Technica. Audio-Technica just added a new violin mount to the ATM 350. Good move Audio-Technica, they must have known how popular it was with violinist!

Violinists have needed to get pretty creative when wearing these mics. Try removing the clips and (using foam or thick cloth to protect the violin) wedging the mic right down into the f hole of the violin. Be so very careful when doing this not to damage the wood surrounding the F hole, and do not attempt to push it all the way into the violin. It should still be setting on the top/outside surface of the violin. Violinist have also found that they can attach the mic to the tailpiece of the instrument. Play around, be creative, and find ways that work for you. When buying a mic, it is often handy to buy a wireless pack so you don't have to worry about people tripping over your cord and ruining your violin!

A transducer (mic) that is in a class of it's own.
If your looking for an option that allows for the natural beautiful sound of a mic but gives you more sound options and less feedback like a pickup then look no further than the Schertler DYN-V. "These transducers are designed to be used in a variety of applications, from home recording to live performances, encompassing all types of music and musical playing styles where the utmost in accurate acoustic reproduction is required". The Schertler is easy to install. It attaches right to top or back or back of the violin using a safe and gentle putty. Because it connects right to the instruments body you get an overall sound from the instrument that is beautiful, warm, and accurate.

Many violinist who use the Schertler refer to themselves as the "Schertler Snob's"; partly because of the cost (this fancy piece of equipment will set you back about $600.00 - $700.00), and because they swear by it and vow to never buy anything else. People who by the Schertler DYN only wonder why they didn't buy it sooner!