D. Rickert FX-2 Venetian Series Flat Top Deluxe Electric Violin
D. Rickert FX-2 Venetian Series Flat Top Deluxe Electric Violin
Basic Characteristics of FX-2 Series Electric Violins by D. Rickert Musical Instruments
Like their pricier cousins of the FX-1 Venetian Series, the FX-2 Flat Top Series Electric Violins by D. Rickert Musical Instruments are engineered from the ground up for playability, outstanding sound and to function flawlessly with effect signal processors. See the article, Your Amplified Violin Not Working with Effects Processors?: The Problem is With Your Pickup!
The FX-2 Flat Top Series Electric Violins are nothing like the plethora of electric violins in the $100 to $250 price range you will find on eBay and elsewhere. These cheap mass-produced violins come in many body styles, many of which are inspired by a actual high-quality instruments, which serves to confuse the marketplace.
They use the cheapest materials, hardware and electronic components possible.
See the photo album on our Facebook page entitled Wall of Shame, which features the very WORST electric violins being made today.
Like our FX-1 Venetian Series Electric Violins, the FX-2 Flat Top Series Electric Violins are professional level luthier-built instruments, expertly crafted entirely in the U.S. from the finest materials and components.
Our instruments are quite expensive compared to what one often finds, either online or in music stores. This
is because electric violins (actually violins in general) have become commodities. In this context, a commodity is:
…a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price.
For example, toilet paper is a commodity!
Our electric violins are NOT commodities! They are fitted with the finest accessories and electronics available. Just the cost (our actual cost) of the pickups we use alone is often several times the cost of the cheap commoditized electric violins on the market today!
This is all as it should be. We did not get into this business to sell a lot of junk at low profit margins.
Our FX-2 Flat Top Series Electric Violins Are Considerably Less Expensive Than the FX-1 Venetian Series Instruments.
The sell price for our FX-2 Flat Top violins averages about $1,000 less than our FX-1 Venetian Series instruments (almost 1/3 less cost to you), while maintaining really cool "Venetian" form factor of the FX-1s.
There are several reasons for the more affordable price:
- There is a great deal more highly experienced hand lutherie and very expensive figured tone woods involved in making the FX-1 Venetians. For example:
- The FX-1 Venetians have flamed maple carved arch tops.
- The FX-1 Venetians have traditional mortise set necks (like the best acoustic violins).
- The FX-1 Venetians have expensive side and back heavy veneers, bound with epoxy resin.
- The FX-1s have elaborate decorative binding and purfling
- The FX-1 Venetians are hand-varnished in the same manner as high-end acoustic violins.
- This is a very labor intensive process requiring 10-12 hours of actual expert labor
- The varnishing process is much longer than 10-12 hours, as the instruments much cure in a UV chamber for 10 hours, plus and additional 12 hours of air curing, between each coat of varnish.
The FX-2 Flat Top Violins
They are, like the FX-1 Venetian Violins, professional performance level instruments. Even though FX-2 Flat Tops cost a lot less than the FX-1 Venetians, they are hardly inexpensive (start at $1,750 for a 4-string). The reasons for their lower cost are described below.
Whereas the the FX-1 Venetian Series Violins are hand-made in the manner fine acoustic instruments, the FX-2 Flat Tops are a bit more like small electric guitars.
- Chambered solid tempered basswood
- Flat rather than carved arch tops
- Tempered basswood is much easier to varnish. Simply applying clear nitrocellulose lacquer or oil varnish (we use oil) results in a beautiful mahogany-like medium golden brown.
- Bolt-on maple neck rather than a mortised set neck
- The nature of the flat top chambered body, as well as the bolt-on neck, allows us to benefit from CNC machining to a greater degree than the arch-top design of the FX-1 violins.
About Tempered Basswood
Basswood has been used as a tonewood and for bracing for hundreds of years. According to legend, Stradivari made as least one entire violin completely from basswood.
What is the new tempered basswood? Basswood boards are literally baked in a kiln. Maple and several other woods are amenable to the process as well. Both tempered basswood and tempered maple are the new new thing in electric guitar lutherie.
Tempered Basswood: LIGHT • STIFF • FAST • STABLE
Instruments using Tempered Tonewoods resonate louder, with a broader harmonic footprint that includes stronger fundamentals and richer harmonics and a significantly longer natural sustain than comparable contemporary instruments.
In the case of basswood, tempering creates a new wood that has been described as a completely new species that is stable, lighter weight and stiffer than the already pretty good plain old basswood. Further, rather plain and featureless basswood becomes darker, with dramatic grain definition (in other words…beautiful to the eye!).
Tempered basswood is a renewable resource that comes from managed tree farms in the United States. It is extremely easy to machine, sand, glue and finish.
The Body Shape of the FX-2 Flat Top Electric Violins
We have gone to great lengths to develop a form factor that is beautiful and ergonomically optimal body shape that looks absolutely nothing like the cheap instruments flooding the market. We have made a similar effort to differentiate the “brand” embodied in our instruments’ form factor from the other high-quality electric violins being made today. These include: Wood Violins, Jordan, Jensen, Vector, EVL Violins, Stratton, NS Design, Bridge, Yamaha and Fuse.
See the photo album on our Facebook page entitled Some of the Best Electric Violins.
- Seriously Committed Advanced Amateurs and Part-Time Performers
- Live performance, ranging from living rooms to coliseums, where a focused, yet rich acoustic sound (only louder; in some cases, much louder!) is required
- Flawlessly driving special effects, particularly octave splitters, harmonizers, “anti-chorus” (unison doubling where the duplicate note is detuned by several cents…a very small amount…simulates the sound of two instruments playing), is required
The Body and Neck
The body core is tempered Northern Basswood. The body core is “chambered” (i.e. material removed) to meet the following goals:
- Keep weight to a minimum
- Make room for internal electronics and wire routing (installed as well as potential options)
- Control the way in which the bridge pickup interacts with the instrument such that the body is optimized for generating an output signal that is both rich AND intelligible to effect signal processors.
The bolt-on neck is moderately figured hard maple. In many ways, the neck, and its 4-screw attachment method, is very similar to that of Fender guitars, which as been proven in use for more than half a century.
Back: Tempered basswood. There are two access panels, composed of ABS, located on the lower bout.
Sides: Tempered basswood
Binding and Purfling:
- FX-2 Flat Top Standard Model: No binding or purfling
- FX-2 Flat Top Deluxe Model: Both top and back have black binding. The top has black binding as well as the model's signature alternating black and white stripe purfling. The back is not bound.
Varnishing: Clear oil varnish. On tempered basswood, the result is a medium mahogany-like brown.
Pickup Choices (No additional charge for either)
Either pickup below works equally well with effect signal processors. Both pickups have two dual transducers (4 piezo elements) per string. They sense a stereoscopic image of each strings vibrational dynamic output. By sensing each strings vibrational information from two different points and then combining the signals, a more complete, detailed image is formed. The two dual element transducers per string provide an extra degree of refined tonal warmth and clarity, smoothness of sound and balance of output from low to high registers.
- 4 (or 5) dual transducers (one per string)
- Darker, focused sound (a sound favored by many musicians)
Barbera Hybrid Model (4 or 5 String)
4 (or 5) dual transducers (one per string)
The heart and wing structure allows for the natural mechanical motions of a traditional violin bridge to occur. These bridge motions facilitate a wider overtone spectrum and an open sounding low end. This combination of bridge structure and multi transducers system yields a rich, open and full range sound quality. Bottom line: a more “natural” acoustic sound than the Solid Twin Model
- There is a single gain control, which would normally be dialed to a neutral setting. Since the instrument is designed with professional performance in mind, all sound shaping is assumed to occur externally. Installing an on-board EQ unit would defeat the purpose of compatibility with effect signal processors, many of which must be “first in the chain” (before any EQ).
- There are two ¼ inch jacks located on the back of the lower bout.
- We do offer an on-board stereo headphone mini-amp as an option.
- Wittner Finetune™ internally geared violin pegs
- Dov Schmidt Harp Tailpiece (ebony)
- Guarnerius over-the-tailpiece type or Customer preference
- Wittner “Isny” tail-mounted shoulder rest
Internal stereo headphone amplifier
- Volume knob mounted adjacent to the instrument gain knob
- 1/8” stereo jack mounted on instrument back adjacent to the two main instrument output jacks
Adaptor for using normal shoulder rest instead of the Wittner Isny
- The instrument does not have the overhang of an acoustic violin; therefore an adaptor is necessary for use of a normal shoulder rest.