Favorite 5-String


This was the last violin I made. It played well enough that I figured I couldn't top it, so I stopped trying. (With all the electronics training I've had recently, however, this may change... I have a few ideas which would require a new violin body, and I do have a new tiny woodshop...)

Although I typically use my acoustic violin on recordings, the 5th string comes in handy sometimes. This violin pops up here and there on my CDs, most notably on "Rainsong" and "Improvisation in Red" from Two Little Awakenings. This is also the violin I play during live gigs. (It will be featured on the upcoming CD and DVD(?) by Psynapsis.)

The body is poplar. The neck is maple. The fingerboard, pegs, tailpiece, and chinrest are zebra wood (one of my favorite hardwoods). The pickup is a standard Fishman transducer. The nut is, like most of my violins, made out of rubber. (The idea being that the rubber mimics the density of a finger, causing less tonal difference between an open string and a note held by a finger.) The electronic rig I use for it includes a 2-stage tunable lowpass filter designed by Mark Martens, a Roland Loopstation, and as much reverb as I can get from wherever I can get it.

The tuning is C-G-D-A-E (a combination violin and viola) - although I think I tuned it down a half-step or two for a couple of recordings. The writing on the back is the signature of David Ragsdale (who was the violinist for progressive rock group Kansas for a while), along with the words "This is cool."