Tracy Silverman on Developing a Six-String Electric Violin

Strings Magazine asked electric violinist Tracy Silverman, "What was the initial lightbulb moment many years ago that led to you developing your six-string violins?"

By Tracy Silverman | From the May-June 2022 issue of Strings magazine

Strings Magazine asked electric violinist Tracy Silverman, “What was the initial lightbulb moment many years ago that led to you developing your six-string violins?”


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Well, it really came just simply from the fact that I wanted to sound like an electric guitar—I just wanted to sound like Jimi Hendrix. And so, I started building these solid-body instruments, initially with Mark Wood. I was playing pretty much exclusively distorted with those instruments, using a real crunchy amp sound for hard rock and metal and stuff like that. Over the years I expanded my range musically. 

Of course, I’m initially a classical guy—a Juilliard guy—but I kind of went pretty deep into rock ’n’ roll and playing rock clubs for years, pretty much exclusively. And then I started developing semi-hollow instruments that would sound better with a clean sound, a more acoustic kind of sound. So it’s kind of been a development process.

A version of this article first appeared in the February 2019 issue.