5 Best Yamaha Electric Violin – Which One Should I Get? [Buying Guide]
Yamaha electric violins are widely regarded as some of the best in the world in terms of design, technology and sound. That comes from many years of hard work designing and experimenting and coming up with a range of new ideas. Some based on Yamaha’s long legacy of instrument production and some based on more contemporary influences.
Yamaha isn’t all about electric violins. There is quite a back story to the company that goes all the way back to the 19th century. Despite being well known for motorcycles and engines, Yamaha began making pianos back in 1887. They made instruments until the end of World War Two when manufacturing was switched to motorcycles to help Japan recover from the war. It wasn’t until 1954 that Yamaha refocused on instruments again.
Yamaha kept its mechanical divisions running separately but went back to making instruments. Now, Yamaha is the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in the world.
Yamaha YEV series electric violins
The current Yamaha electric violin range is made up of the YEV Series. The YEV104 and YEV105.
Yamaha’s marketing quote for these two instruments sums them up nicely. ‘Inspired by the organic beauty of wood, the simplicity of clean lines and the comfort of lightweight. Featuring innovative Yamaha sound, these four and five-string models are gorgeous live-performance instruments.’
For once, we think, marketing has not overstated the product!
The Yamaha YEV104 is the four string electric violin. Comprised of a flowing design made of real wood with minimal volume in the body, an elegant neck and stylish natural or black finish, this is a beautiful instrument to behold.
The Yamaha YEV105 is a five string violin that echoes the style and substance of the YEV104. It shares the same DNA, design, composition, wood character and colour options, just with an extra string. The YEV105 is slightly larger and 30g heavier than the YEV104 as a result but is otherwise identical.
YEV series features
Yamaha electric violins are like nothing else around. They have all the qualities of a traditional instrument but are right on trend. A modern interpretation of a well-established instrument with hundreds of years of history done in a way that appeals to modern violinists and the modern audience. All without taking anything away from the original.
The design has been purposely created to mimic the essential shape and touchpoints of a traditional violin to make transition as easy as possible. Other areas have been completely revolutionized to deliver a modern yet attractive instrument. The form may be different but the neck, strings and action are identical to a traditional violin.
Lightweight minimal construction
The Yamaha YEV series’ unique design uses minimal body volume for a stunning modern aesthetic. That minimal construction also lends itself to lightweight and offers the opportunity to use higher quality wood without impacting the warmth of the tone it produces.
The design uses maple, mahogany, and spruce in the body with a walnut frame made up of five layers to maximise strength and resonance that delivers the signature sound.
4-string and 5-string
No matter what your preference, Yamaha has you covered. The YEV104 has four strings while the YEV105 has five. In every way that matters, the two are almost identical in every way, just with an extra string and tuning peg.
The YEV105 is slightly larger, 307mm x 204xx x 120mm over 592mm x 204mm x 111mm for the YEV104. It is slightly heavier too but just 30g at 580g.
Yamaha YEV electric violins are made from a range of high-quality materials. The body is a mix of spruce, mahogany, and maple with a walnut frame and maple neck. The fingerboard is rosewood and the tuning pegs and chin rest is ebony. It’s a warm and comfortable mix that extracts the very best out of each wood to create something much better than the sum of its parts.
These two Yamaha electric violins have a passive output that can be connected to pre-amps, amplifiers, mixers and powered speakers or played directly through the amp. Yamaha sells all the equipment you could need but the violin uses standard connectors so you can plug it into whatever equipment you have already.
Prices vary depending on where in the world you are and what option you go for. Yamaha electric violins are premium products so you should expect to pay mid-range prices and up for both the YEV104 and YEV105. They are roughly the same price regardless of whether you go for the natural or black finish, four or five-string.
|Colours||Black and Natural||Black and Natural|
|Tuning pegs/Chin Rest||Ebony||Ebony|
|Strings||D’Addario Zyex||D’Addario Zyex with Helicor 5th string|
|Bridge and Pickup||Maple with built-in Piezo-electric pickup||Maple with built-in Piezo-electric pickup|
|Tailpiece||Synthetic resin with fine tuners||Synthetic resin with fine tuners|
|Controls||Volume control, selector switch||Volume control, selector switch|
|Output||Passive output||Passive output|
|Dimensions||592mm x 204mm x 111mm||307mm x 204xx x 120mm|
|Weight||Approx 550g||Approx 580g|
Yamaha silent violin
Yamaha silent violins were originally designed for the Japanese market. In a country where much of the population lives so close together, playing instruments can be regarded as something of an unsociable hobby. Yamaha decided to design a violin that could be played while listening through headphones to address that.
According to Ken Dattmore, Yamaha’s strings marketing manager, “The whole idea was that in Japan everybody lives 10 feet from someone else. That’s a challenge when a high-pitched violin can pierce through a thin wall.”
The design went down exceptionally well and once released in the west, was quickly connected to amplifiers instead of headphones and the rest is history. The SV-100 was the first Yamaha silent violin to hit the west and it went down better than anyone could have imagined.
Dattmore continues; “And Americans, being Americans, said, ‘Cool—a silent violin! Let’s plug it into an amp and see how loud we can make it.’”
The current Yamaha silent violin lineup is made up of:
The YSV104 has the aesthetics we instantly recognise as Yamaha. The flowing lines, solid wood body, elegant neck and form that shouts modernity with the finish that is all class. The YSV104 is the first Yamaha silent violin to use the company’s SRT (Studio Response Technology). This technology mimics the rich tone expected of an acoustic violin within the solid body of a modern instrument.
Like the YEV104 and YEV105 the proportions of the YSV104 are identical to an acoustic violin to make switching simple.
The YSV104 is manufactured using a spruce body with maple neck and bridge, ebony tuning pegs, a synthetic tailpiece and chin rest, resonated wood fingerboard and D’Addario Zyex strings. It also features Piezo pickups and has a volume control, sound type control with the control box, Aux in and a mini stereo jack.
|Bridge||Maple (with built-in pickup)|
|Chin rest/tailpiece||Synthetic Resin (equipped with fine tuners)|
|Tuning adjuster||Wittner™ Ultra|
|Sensor||Piezo Pickup (Bridge)|
|Electronic controls||Volume, Sound type switch (Room/Hall)|
|Connections||Headphone Out, Line Out|
|Body colour options||Brown, Black, Red|
The Yamaha SV200 silent violin is an evolution of that first model to appear in the west. It’s regarded as a performance violin and has the looks and sound to match. It has similar proportions to the YSV104 with the flowing lines, wood neck, and quality construction but has an edgier design suitable for modern violinists.
The SV200 has a special equalizer that can adjust harmonics to suit different performances, rooms, and acoustics.
The SV200 is made up of a mixture of woods with a spruce body, maple neck and bridge, ebony tuning pegs, fingerboard, and tailpiece. The violin uses 2 Piezo electric pickups and has a line out and headphone out jacks for connectivity.
|Tuning adjuster||Wittner™ Ultra|
|Sensor||2 Piezo pickups|
|Electronic controls||Volume, EQ Mode Switch, EQ Control|
|Connections||Headphone Out, Line Out|
|Body colour options||Natural maple finish|
The Yamaha SV250 silent violin is a high-end instrument designed for talented amateurs or professional musicians. It has a very similar design and aesthetics as the SV200 but steps it up in terms of finish and construction. It uses a new bridge pickup design that enhances the sound delivery and delivers a lovely tone during play.
Like the SV200, the SV250 also comes with a control box for volume adjustment and sound correction.
The SV250 uses Yamaha’s Acoustic Hollow Body Design that has been specifically designed to mimic an acoustic violin as much as possible. The design produces a deep resonance and rich tone that is initially unexpected in an electric violin but soon becomes second nature.
The SV250 has a spruce body, maple neck and bridge, ebony fingerboard and pegs and plastic chin rest and tailpiece. It uses D’Addario Zyex strings, Wittner Ultra tuning adjusters and a VNP1 pickup.
The SV255 is the five-string variant of the SV250. It shares the same design, fit and finish and delivers a very similar rich sound. It echoes the same quality of materials and feel too, which offers premium feel from the moment you pick it up. Despite having an extra string, it looks and feels the same as a four-string just with slightly larger proportions.
The SV255 comes with the same control box with the same controls and inputs too.
The SV255 has Yamaha’s Acoustic Hollow Body Design too and uses it to best advantage during play. Hollow does not mean lightweight or shortcuts either. The violin has a reassuring feel that only quality materials can give with the rich tone you would expect from a traditional violin and not a silent one.
The SV255 has the same spruce body, maple neck and bridge, ebony fingerboard and pegs and plastic chin rest and tailpiece as the SV250. It also uses five D’Addario Zyex strings with a low C string, Wittner Ultra tuning adjusters and a VNP1 pickup.
|Body||Spruce top, Maple back||Spruce top, Maple back|
|Bridge||Maple (Aubert™), with VNP1 pickup||Maple (Aubert™), with VNP1 pickup|
|Chin rest/tailpiece||Moulded plastic||Moulded plastic|
|Tuning adjuster||Wittner™ Ultra||Wittner™ Ultra|
|Strings||D’Addario™ Zyex||D’Addario™ Zyex|
|Sensor||Bridge Pickup: Yamaha, Body Pickup: Piezo||Bridge Pickup: Yamaha, Body Pickup: Piezo|
|Electronic controls||Treble & Bass control||Treble & Bass control|
|Connections||1/4″ jack, 1/8″ headphone jack, XLR balance jack||1/4″ jack, 1/8″ headphone jack, XLR balance jack|
|Body colour options||Natural maple finish||Natural maple finish|
The current range of Yamaha electric violins shows the world why the company is regarded as one of the best instrument makers in the world. Whether you’re looking for an electric violin or a silent violin, Yamaha delivers. Both types are manufactured to the highest quality with amazing attention to detail, excellent wood choices, quality resins, and composites and quality D’Addario strings.
With that signature flowing design and lightweight and very similar dimensions to a traditional acoustic violin, Yamaha has also ensured comfort.
The transition from acoustic has also been considered with the same dimensions as a traditional violin with a similar weight and feel.
Yamaha electric violins are by no means cheap but they are the epitome of the saying ‘you get what you pay for’. You pay for quality with a Yamaha electric violin and that’s exactly what you get here!