The new StringAmp™ system
StringAmp™ is dedicated to amplifying bowed string instruments with the greatest sound quality possible. As it turned out, it is not easy to do well. Alongside other work in several sound and music related fields, I have pursued this since 1975.
Violin was first, the first StringAmp™ system was built to satisfy my desire for a decent electric violin sound, as an amateur violin player. The few available commercial violin pickups all sounded truly awful then. Initial tests pointed the way to go: Electromagnetic. In a nearby field, Grammophone sound reproduction from vinyl had improved sound quality using magnetic pickups for retrieving sound from the vinyl groove. A “pickup” is a popular nickname for a more general device, termed, a transducer = a device used to transfer information into a different domain, ie from sound waves into electrical signal, is done by a microphone, the other direction could be an earphone or a loudspeaker. For a string instrument, turning the electromagnetic path inside out proved to be the solution: The string also became the “pickup”.
Since then I have provided steadily improving instruments and installations to StringAmp™ users in many places, and received enough orders and customer support to keep developing further for years.
StringAmp™ is ideal, used for making solidbody instruments for greater tonal range, but also with traditional acoustic instruments, the StringAmp™ system is very feedback resistent, and I enjoy the acoustic violin body resonances to enhance and ´warm up´ the amplified sound. My “complete” instruments are acoustic/electric 4 & 5 str. violins doing double duty and sounding fine both ways.
A StringAmp™ Cello system has a warm deep sound, both as a solidbody and an acoustic, but in the acoustic, the Cello body is enhancing the sound from the StringAmp lineout in a very pleasing way.
Latest news: a Double Bass StringAmp™ system is now ready to install – my first DB size is an Electric Upright Bass-(EUB) a hollow body wood construction, found unplayable as originally supplied, with useless strings, a bridge base piezo pickup and internal active preamp, all of modest build quality, but structurally stable. The built in Piezo is pitiful, useless. Clearly, even as brand new, it needed several days worth of Luthier repairs and setup to become playable, followed by new strings and a StringAmp installation. The main point of using this type of instrument for a StringAmp Double Bass evaluation is: It has no acoustic sound, only the StringAmp electric sound is audible, through a Bass combo amplifier.
I am very pleased to report: – the StringAmp™ EUB sound is very satisfying, a full, deep, fat, clean string sound, “quite close to an acoustic DB” (a spontaneous comment by a pro classical DB player), no further sound doctoring needed, like EQ ing etc. Notably, both Pizzicato AND bowed strings sound equally fine, even volume and tonality. And No noise, distortion or feedback is experienced. I am now inviting local DB players to test and evaluate, hoping some will want one for their own.
Installation in a acoustic DB: I also expect to have the pleasing effect of the DB body resonances enhance the electric sound.