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CETVS - history

I began building electroacoustic violins in 1995 with the prototype of the CETVS violin equipped with a magnetic pickup made by myself. It was very diffcult (if not impossible) to find a ready made magnetic pickup for violins. I was however attracted by the idea of using a magnetic on a violin and was curious to know how it wuold sound... I wanted to experiment distorted sounds on a violin. The classical instrument could already give a kind of scratchy sound when played with heavy bow. In this way it produces a "distortion" that is similar to that of an electric guitar. Listen to "Apocapalyptica"! Five cellists from Finland who play songs from Metallica on classical cellos.
To get the sound I wanted the piezo transducer was not the best choice so I looked for a magnetic one.

The magnetic pickup:

As I couldn't find suppliers of magnetic pickups for violins I decided to build them on my own. During my research for adequate magnets I sent a fax to Schaller's in Germany among others. Within the same day I got a phone call from Mr. Schaller himself who tried to disuade me: "Magnetics must not be used on violins", he said. In the discussion that followed I managed to convince him that I wanted to try...
The very next day I recieved a little package by mail which contained two samples of magnets that formed the base of the first (and last!) two pickups I built.
I had the opprtunity to thank him personally at the subsequent "Musikmesse" in Frankfurt.

  pick-up prototype

a pick-up that I built in 1994

Unfortunately the major point in their favour was their esthetic beauty...! I've been told that it takes about 5 years minimum to learn how to wind a good pickup. It's not easy to handle a copper wire which is as thin as a human hair... so I thought that it would be better for me to stay with my planes and chisles working on wood!
After this experience I managed to get my pickups built in Germany and I made a series of violins equipped with both the magnetic and the piezo. But after a while this fountain dried out, too.
During an internet search I found "Bowtronics" so I got in contact but even before I could place my order this supplier disappeared. By then, I had got confirmation from more than one person that "Bowtronics" no longer exist.
You can find a new source for magnetic pickups on the links page.

The design

The shape of the instruments in the CETVS-line is widely dictated by functionality. But there are still parts of the instrument "ad libitum" that have been reserved for free artistic expression since ancient times. On the violin the scroll is that part without a strictly technical purpose so it's free to be designed as the artist likes.
On modern electric bowed instruments you have great liberty and because of this I had great satisfaction in realizing some very particular violins like the "cobra" and the "siren". The standard shape is the tail of a whale.

<< to the photogallery of the CETVS electric violins

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The EUB:

In 2003 a new member was added to the CETVS family: the electric upright bass (EUB).

Read more about the EUB >>

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