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Everything You'll Ever Need To Know About Booking An Electric Violinist

Everything You'll Ever Need To Know About Booking An Electric Violinist

Whether you want to tug at heartstrings or fill the dance floor, an electric violinist is a glamorous, contemporary and exciting act that will thrill your guests.

What is an Electric Violinist?

Violins come in two formats, the iconic wooden instruments you see played in orchestras, and the electric versions, which range from a 'skeleton' look of bare ribs and string to highly decorated, crystal covered instruments, both of which are played through an amplifier / PA system. It's just like the difference between a classical guitar and an electric guitar, but with the potential to really push the boundaries.

Electric violinists are usually highly trained classical violinists who then glam it up to the max, playing astounding melodic violin lines to backing tracks on their electric instruments. An electric violinist's show is upbeat, vibrant, and exciting, perfect for corporate events, parties and product launches. They can also play romantic, intimate and soulful music for wedding ceremonies and receptions.

For weddings, an electric violinists adds a modern twist to a traditional favourite:

My electric violin performance is a little bit different from a string quartet, but still has that traditional and glamorous feel to it. A solo violin is also great for smaller rooms or ceremonies as it takes up a lot less space. It is also cheaper than a group if you have a smaller budget!

- Soloise, electric and classical violinist

It's a fact that most electric violinists are extremely glamorous ladies who invest in gorgeous dresses and outstanding bespoke instruments, to give their electric violin act star quality. (If you'd prefer a handsome chap, check out Thomas, Damian and Ben of The Swarovski Violinists!)

Examples of Electric Violinists available to hire from Alive Network

What to look for in quality electric violin acts

Most electric violinists originally trained in classical violin at one of the top music conservatoires in the UK or Europe. In order to even get into one of these music colleges, they've probably had to have been playing violin from early childhood. Some play in symphony orchestras, or play on tour with major names in both the classical and pop worlds. Which means, they are seriously good, highly skilled players with a passion for their instrument that's totally infectious.

  • If you want an electric violinist to entertain at a wedding ceremony and then a reception, look for a classically trained violinist who offers both an acoustic and an electric set.
  • If you are looking for an outstanding electric violinist as a stand-alone act, look for performers who have their own stage show, and experience performing it at corporate events and for live audiences, such as cruise ships. Also check what they bring in terms of their own lighting, sound equipment and staging, so you choose the right show for your event.

All the details of what each electric violin act offers are on their Profile pages, where you can also listen to demo tracks and check out their videos. Look at their repertoire (song list) too, and you'll soon see who plays your favourite pop tracks, The song list should also include great crossover tracks by artists such as Vanessa May, Escala, and movie music such as the Bond theme and "Pirates of the Caribbean".

Look too for artists who have performed with some of the top names in the music industry: electric and classical violinists Soloise has worked with Emeli Sandé, Andrea Bocelli, Kayne West and Jamie Cullen!!

What format will an electric violinist offer?

Most electric violinists offer a range of formats, from a solo, unaccompanied violin for wedding ceremonies to a full-blown stage extravaganza with backing tracks. The Northern Violinist, for example, offers no less than five formats; an electric upbeat show, ambient sets, electric violin with DJ, classical performances and bespoke wedding performance.

One of the great features of an electric violin is that it can go places an acoustic instrument can’t. Traditional violins are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, and playing outside can pose a lot of challenges. An electric violin played via a sound system has less problems, and with a wireless transmitter, an electric violinist can move amongst an audience in a way that a traditional player can. However, do bear in mind that no player wants to get wet or cold, so always check what each artist needs in order to perform outside.

Most performers tailor-make their performances to suit the occasion, so if you wanted five classical items followed by a Queen medley and polished off with a blast of Adele, your electric violinists can probably oblige! It’s usually best to let your violinists create the playlist to suit your time slots, as they know what goes down well at what occasion. They may even surprise you and your guests with a track you'd never even thought of - and which goes down and absolute storm!

What equipment will my electric violin act require?

Electric violin acts will always need a sound system to amplify the instrument, but rarely need microphones, as these are either built into the instrument or attached. A typical sound set-up also includes their backing tracks. For solo performances on smaller spaces, they are usually self-contained. Like all amplified acts, they will require access to a 13 amp power source near where they are playing, and be well lit.

I bring a Bose LS1 Model 2 PA system, which is included in price. This high quality system can amplify for audiences up to 500 people.

- The Northern Violinist 

Requirements for a stage act vary from artist to artist, but most will require a raised stage with professional sound and lighting systems. Some artists may prefer to bring their own sound equipment for small venues. Always check at time of booking with your Alive Network event coordinator.

What space will my electric violinist require?

One of the great features of an electric violin is that it is extremely portable, and the new generation of electric violinists exploit this to the max with choreographed shows and dramatic moves. So, don’t give your electric violinist a small corner to play in. Instead give them space to express themselves and really entertain your guests.

Small Spaces: If space is limited, such as in a registry office or historic venue, just ensure your violinist has plenty of elbow room at shoulder height (if you see what we mean!). Be careful not to place them next to flowers on stands, for example.

Stage Shows: For fully choreographed shows or stage acts, each artist will have their own requirements. The same applies to electric string duos, trios and quartets, with more players requiring more space.

Outside Performances: Not every electric violinist is happy to perform outside for obvious reasons - water and electrics just don’t mix! If you do wish your act to perform outside, check before booking. Always provide a weatherproof tent with sufficient space for electric violinist, sound equipment and some lighting. The same applies to traditional violins, which are delicate and extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity.

If playing outside I always need to be under some sort of cover as the instruments are valuable and can't be exposed to rain or sun. Also being cold means I can't perform to the best of my ability!

- Solouise 

What performance length will my electric violin act offer?

Most electric violin acts are flexible, offering a variety of set length to suit all occasions. Most violinists will play for at least 20 minutes, and sets last up to 45 minutes total. Many violinists offer 2 x 45mins sets, and can also play as background music for receptions.

I always tailor my performances to your requirements. A popular format is to begin with up to 1 hour of elegant classical cello music as background to a drinks reception or during dinner. This is followed by a dramatic change in both costume and tempo for a high energy performance typically lasting 20-30 minutes.

- Lizzy May, electric cellist 

What options do electric violinists offer?

Unlike many solo instrumentalists, electric violinists offer an exciting range of options to suit all sorts of occasions, from private parties and wedding to major corporate events and product launches.

Perhaps it’s because many of our electric violinists have played on major stages and at famous events across the world. You will have probably seen them on TV on shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, on tour with pop acts from Take That to Olly Murs, Cheryl Cole and Muse, and heard them at major sporting events. Forget violinists seated behind music stands, these acts love to perform their strings off!

Whether you want entertainment throughout a wedding day or a show-stopping performance to excite your award ceremony guests, electric violinists will fit the bill.

  • Violinist Naomi offers a upbeat show of up to 40 mins, 2 background chill set of 45 mins each, and a stunning electric violin and DJ set, again as 2 sets of 45 mins.
  • The Northern Violinist offers an electric upbeat show, electric violin with DJ, ambient sets and classical set, all up to 2 x 45 minutes in duration.
  • International electric violinist Sarah can perform as a solo artist or with a 4-piece string section, five piece live band and dancers, for a truly electrifying performance on any stage.
We offer a high impact choreographed show, popular for product launches, corporate events, weddings and private parties. Combining virtuosic electric violin playing, with smooth saxophone and compelling dance choreography, this show brings another element to your event with something for everyone to enjoy.

- Electric Strings London

What do electric violin acts cost?

Costs vary according to the lineup, performance style and profile of the performers.

  • Solo violin performers with less visual acts start from as little at £200.
  • Newly emerging performers and compact shows charge up to £500.
  • More experienced performers with fully choreographed shows and/or DJ options start from around £650 (DJ option will cost extra).
  • Electric violin duos charge from £700 upwards, and trios start at around £1000.
  • International violinists with world-class acts and reputations are £POA. They often have limited availability due to touring schedules, so book well in advance!

What are the differences between electric violin acts?

As already described, most electric violinists offer a variety of formats, and many offer highly visual shows for that glamorous wow factor.

Electric violinists also pride themselves on the look and sound of their instruments, some made by world-leading makers such as Ted Brewer. These exclusive, and extremely expensive instruments glitter and gleam under lights, making them look as stunning as they sound.

Check out their Profile images to admire The Manchester Violinist’s sparkling black electric violin, Lauren’s gorgeous blue and green instrument, The Northern Violinist’s distinctive one-of-a-kind see-through perspex electric violin, or Lizzie May’s amazing ‘outline’ cello that seems to defy all the laws of physics…

However, it’s hard to top The Swarovski Violinists who play the most expensive electric violins ever made! The duo started with two Swarovski Crystal Signature electric violins, each with over 50,000 individually applied crystals. They then collaborated with British jewellery designer Theo Fennell and bespoke violin manufacturer Bridge, to create the world’s first ever 24-carat gold-plated violins, adorned with ruby, sapphire and diamond encrusted skulls. Both instruments are worth over $2M each! (They sound great too.)

Anything else I need to know?

Most electric violinist are highly professional artists and have worked at some of the world’s finest venues, so there are a few things they will expect to happen or be provided.

Meet and greet your artists: All performers will feel welcome if there is someone to meet them when they arrive, show them to their room, and introduce them to the venue staff or event coordinator.

Changing room: Every violinist will require somewhere to change from day clothes to glam frocks/outfits, and somewhere secure to store their instrument cases. Please don’t insult the performers by asking them to change in a chair store, staff room, or worst of all, a toilet!

Food and drinks: All electric string players will welcome a proper meal to sustain them during an engagement of two hours or more. Do check if they have any particular dietary requirements in advance. Most artists will also welcome a supply of bottled water, and tea or coffee on arrival and perhaps again before driving home. All performers will appreciate the offer of an alcoholic drink or glass of wine after their show, but most will probably decline as they have to drive home.

If we as performers are provided with food, soft drinks/tea or coffee, it is always very much appreciated.

- Soloise

Parking space: Most solo artists will arrive at UK performances by car and therefore will require a reserved parking space.

13 amp power supply: Your electric violinist will require access to at least one 13 amp socket near where they are to perform. Remember that marquees and historic venues may have limited power availability.

Sound limiters: Many UK venues have installed sound limiters, electronic units which detect the volume (decibels) artists perform at. If the levels exceed those laid down by the local council, the system cuts out the power supply. It is highly unlikely a solo electric violinist would trigger these devices, but their full stage show might. Always ask at time of booking if your venue has any sound limiting equipment installed, and let Alive Network know ASAP.

How to book an electric violin act

1. Browse through the Profiles of solo violinists, duos, trio and groups here at Alive Network.

2. Listen to their demo tracks, watch their videos and admire their photos, to check the style of the performers matches the style of your event.

3. Add your favourites to your Wish List, get an instant online quote, and make an online availability check for your chosen date.

4. When you’ve found the right artist for you at the right price, and who is available on your chosen date, book ‘em fast!

5. Once your booking reaches us, one of the Alive Network team will contact you to get full details.

6. When your booking is confirmed, you pay a small deposit by credit card, and we'll email you a legally binding contract to sign.

7. Sign your contract, return it, and you’re all done! Relax and plan the rest of your event.