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.
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.