Is there any kind of stompbox that can alter the timbre of the guitar to that of a violin? Similar to the Dan Electro Sitar pedal and the Boss acoustic simulator?

This has got me wondering about the differences between violin and guitar TIMBRE. Most of the TIMBRE must come from the Bow?

Both are stringed instruments, so what would make a violin sound much different from an electric guitar other than the bow.

Of course there is the e-bow, but I am wondering how close it will match the timbre of a violin.
MARTY FRIEDMAN--"It’s a lot easier to be technical than it is stylized; it really is... But I think it’s a lot more rare to have someone who’s really got their own sound because that’s something you can’t practice."
yeah its mostly the bow

and the way you strum
click on my link and listen to the end of the song "sad thoughts" around 6:30 its as close as i could get to a violin ish sound withught any effects
Last edited by supersac at Jun 21, 2011,
I don't know of any effect boxes, but here are some ways that I think would help getting the sound.

The timbre is going to be different, but if you're not going to actually use a bow on a guitar, doing volume swells is one of the easiest ways to imitate a violin sound. See things like the beginning of The Memory of Elizabeth Reed for a good example. You can do these with either your volume knob or a volume pedal.

If you're looking for a clean, acoustic violin sound, past that, anything that gives a more realistic sound than electronic pickups would help I imagine. For instance, a microphone or a piezo pickup or an acoustic amp. You have to manage some sort of balance between the smoothness that comes with a string instrument and the slight grittiness that comes with the fact that it's a completely acoustic instrument.

Then just play around with the eq. For violin, you have a good amount of the high end with some decent mids and very few low frequencies. For cello, boost the lows, a decent amount of mids and cut the high frequencies some. Viola would be some balance between the two.

Hope that helps some.
Last edited by Warrior47 at Jun 21, 2011,
if you are just looking for a violen, but with a EHX HOG or POG you can get some synth string orchestra sounds, by playing with the sliders. both of those pedals are pretty expensive though.
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You could always just... oh, I don't know... Pick up a violin and a bow? :P
While it may be just as expensive as a stompbox for an entry level one, it would be much more authentic sounding
Yea Roland Makes the RS-55 which reproduces all kinds of synth sounds.

I really am just trying to pull off country fiddle. Perhaps it will just be easier to learn the damn thing,...but being able to get that sound out of a regular guitar would be awesome.

Is it possible to buy a synth pedal that would only do the fiddle thing, so it might be cheaper>?
MARTY FRIEDMAN--"It’s a lot easier to be technical than it is stylized; it really is... But I think it’s a lot more rare to have someone who’s really got their own sound because that’s something you can’t practice."
E-bow and an EHX MicroPog, a little judicious eq'ing and you may get close.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.

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^ maybe a HOG and a volume pedal?
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
I got some very realistic violin tones with a plate reverb with the direct level all the way down. I don't know if you can do that with a stomp box since I do it on my gt-10
Violin tones are possible, as long as you've been hanging out on the gear page long enough to think a really smooth tone with no picking dynamics sounds like a violin.

Fiddle? Nope. Not happening. There's too much bow attack involved.
Cheap option - Behringer SM200 - based on the Boss Slow Gear. Basically swells each note, which kills the attack and makes it sound like it is being played with a bbow. Takes a bit of practive but for £20 it is worth a try. Doesn't affect the bypassed tone too much either for a cheapy.
You could use a volume pedal for those types of swells. Other than that, id suggest the e-bow
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The problem is that you want a fiddle sound. There are too many problems there for that. If you want a fiddle sound, the best you can do is use a bow, but using an actual bow for that type of note playing is almost impossible on a guitar since the bridge overall is fairly flat.

Fiddle music uses a really strong bow attack. This is fine cause it's like a guitar, but they also have the sustain of a bowed instrument and there are very few ways to make your guitar sustain like you would need it to and retain the attack and timbre.

If you really want to do this, I have a couple suggestions. The first would be to throw a sustainer on your guitar. Then use something that will dampen the attack slightly and find some way of gritting out the sound without actually overdriving or fuzzing it. Fiddle is a much less clean style than violin playing, so there is normally some grit in it.

Unless you make the sustainer yourself, you're looking at $250 here minimum.

The second would be to make a hand hold rotating bow. Like an ebow, but instead of using magnets to turn the string, put a wheel on it hooked up to a small motor and have some sort of variable spin mechanism. From there, just put something on the wheel that will grip the string. This way, you can use it to move a string like a bow, but only hit one string at once.

This could be done pretty cheap, like $20 or less depending on what electronics you can find around. It will require a decnet amount of work on your part and I have no guarentee that it will actually work well. It's just an idea I had.

The third idea would be to find a nice guitar synth with a fiddle sound in it.

Probably over $500.
Last edited by Warrior47 at Jun 21, 2011,
I don't think any of the above are reasonable, with the possible exception of the synth.
A sustainer won't help you sound like a fiddle. It will hold notes longer, but that's not really the point. The big difference between the guitar and the fiddle here is that with a fiddle you get immediate bite and consistent volume. Those things are nearly impossible to do on a guitar because the strings are so massy. Fiddle playing requires a lot of bow agility, and there's no mechanism I'm aware of that will ring a guitar string that precisely.

A sustainer is no good because it takes a little bit to ramp up the string vibrations, which is unacceptable for a fiddle tone. A rotating bow has the same problem. The lack of a significantly arched bridge on guitars means you can't use a cello bow properly on it.

The other reason a guitar wouldn't really work well is that fiddle players make use of the small distance between intervals and the tuning in fifths. Drones, grace notes, trills, and moving double-stops are things that make a fiddle sound like a fiddle, but are near impossible to do at speed on a guitar unless your hands are a foot wide.

I just don't see this happening. It's like trying to get a piano to sound like a violin. The mechanisms just don't work, and just because they both have strings doesn't mean it's similar enough to be feasible.

Ignore the dumb video on this one, but I don't hear any of the fiddle sounds on this and think a guitar has the ability to make those sounds. There's too much control over the ringing of the string required.
Thanks for all the input. Someone posted an interesting suggestion at DiyStompBoxes.com

The dynamics have been covered above and will give some degree of satisfaction, but the harmonic content is another issue. If you look at a guitar, when a string is plucked, you have a damped oscillation at frequencies corresponding to the string langth and the position at which the string is plucked. If the string is plucked halfway between the bridge and the fret, you have an isosceles triangle and the waveforms from that correspond to the fundamental plus all odd-order harmonics at amplitudes of the square of the harmonic order. For example, the fundamental plus 1/9 of the third , 1/25 of the fifth, 1/49 of the seventh and so on. If you pluck the string off centre, you get even-order harmonics as well and all the amplitudes change with the position at which the string is plucked. If you have a violin, the bow grabs the string and pulls it out to a position at which the force on the string exceeds the static coefficient of friction and the string snaps back, creating a sawtooth wave with a gradual rise in amplitude followed by a sudden return to rest. This is followed immediately by the bow grabbing the string again and the process repeats itself. Once again, when the string is attached to the bow by friction, you have two independent parts of the string on each side of the bow that combine sawtooth waves which have a harmonic content of fundamental plus all harmonics with the amplitude that is the recirocal of the order, fundamental plus 1/2 second , 1/3 third, 1/4 fourth etc.

What you have to do is get the guitar output to match the sawtooth waveform and time the sustain where you want it to imitate the bow stroke. This means use a sustain pedal followed by a harmonic reshaper that provides a sawtooth and you will get the guitar output to sound like a violin. This is shown at this site with the option to generate the associated sounds:


which has other examples of waveforms and their fourier components.

I asked if something like this could be built:

It would be a huge job to make an analog device that does this and if you notice, none of the major effects houses (Boss, Danelectro, Electro Harmonix etc.) have anything that will do the job. There have been some attempts to make a guitar into a transducer for this purpose, but they rely on six-output pickups and detection of the fundamental frequency and they don't always give a reliable output because the harmonics may be larger than the fundamental and the circuitry would not be able to follow, giving rise to sudden changes in output note.

Looks like I will be going MIDI depending on how authentic it sounds.
MARTY FRIEDMAN--"It’s a lot easier to be technical than it is stylized; it really is... But I think it’s a lot more rare to have someone who’s really got their own sound because that’s something you can’t practice."
I was thinking about getting the Sonuus G2M, what would be the cheapest MIDI Synthesizer Interface to use with that???
MARTY FRIEDMAN--"It’s a lot easier to be technical than it is stylized; it really is... But I think it’s a lot more rare to have someone who’s really got their own sound because that’s something you can’t practice."
This is kind of a tough one.
My solution might be - instead of using a bow - combining Paul Gilbert's drill picking and a hurdy-gurdy. Rosined disc or wheel on the end of a drill. But maybe that wouldn't provide the right amount of attack or maybe you might get the drill engine giving you noise that sounds all right like in that Van Halen song.