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Electric Viola

Not as well-known as violins and cellos, their smaller and larger siblings, violas have a rich, haunting tone that can work extremely well in an electric format. These instruments come in three varieties.

Acoustic-Electric Violas

Simply a traditional viola equipped with added electronics, an acoustic-electric viola can have pickups mounted on the body with soft clamps or a special adhesive putty, or on the bridge.

Pros: Use your existing viola, and in many cases, easily mount or remove the pickups. This format provides the most natural “standard” tone compared to an unamplified viola.

Cons: The pickup system will have to be installed, and you will likely experience some feedback issues due to the resonating chamber of the acoustic instruments.

Solid-body Electric Viola

Though they sound the least like a traditional instrument, these futuristic models offer onboard electronics with enhanced tonal configurations and a solution to the feedback challenge. While they may sound and look unusual, they are set up to feel and play like a standard viola.

The Yamaha silent viola

Bridging the gap between the two styles above, Yamaha’s unique silent viola includes a body suggested by an outline made from wood, as well as the traditional scroll and pegs. Dual pickups offer a rich, resonant tone that capture the player’s every nuance.

For more information, read our full article on Electric Violas.


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Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

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