Mark Wood - Electric Viper Violins
Welcome to the 21st century of violin playing. This instrument will permanently change the way you think about playing a violin or viola.
There are few instruments that require the unusual and physically demanding playing position of violins and violas. And with frequent upper position playing, the upper bout of the acoustic instrument presents a substantial challenge in moving up and down the neck. Enter the Viper violin. With no upper bout to overcome the violinist and violist can fly up and down the fingerboard with incredible ease.
Set yourself free to move around almost any way you like. No raising your shoulder to grip your instrument. Look over your right shoulder and still play easily. The shoulder pad and chin rest are no longer needed with the Viper violin, allowing the player to perform for longer periods of time without experiencing the neck and back fatigue that a traditional violin can create. Watch Mark Wood in the video below to see this in action. The Chest Support System is the most comfortable way to play the violin that we have ever experienced.
Unique fret system
The Viper violin is available with frets or fretless. While a fretted violin may seem unusual, the system developed by Wood Violins is unique in several aspects. The frets are flatter under the higher strings, allowing slides, vibrato and expressiveness similar to a fretless instrument.
One advantage of a fretted Viper is how quickly it makes multi-note chords easier to produce. If you've ever spent hours working to get perfect intonation on some arpeggios or multi-note chords you will appreciate the benefits of frets (easy quadruple stops, anyone?). Unlike a guitar, the finger is actually placed on top of the fret rather than in between frets, which gives you the familiar feel of the distance from the nut, but also allowing you a tiny bit of leeway with the accuracy of your finger placement, improving speed and intonation.
We recommend frets or fretless based on your playing style, and frequently the familiar feel of the fretless fingerboard under your string can be desirable. Contact us for advice on choosing frets or fretless.
Expand beyond single line melodies and only higher notes with a 5, 6 or 7 string Viper. With the ability to get into the viola range (5 string), cello range (6 string) and even the bass range (7 string), you will literally have an entirely new palette of notes and chord combinations that will transform the way you play and what you listen for.
If there was ever a bowed instrument for improvisation and composition, the Viper is it. Starting with a 4 string model with standard violin strings, 5 string models include a C below the violin G, 6 string models add an F, and 7 string models a low B flat, 1 step below the cello's lowest string. The F and B flat strings are made specifically for the Viper.
Notice the additional lower strings are still tuned in fifths, insuring that fingerings are logical and instinctive, though the pitches may be radically new!
The Pickup - soul of the electric instrument
Vipers are outfitted with either a Wood Violins pickup or the powerful Barbera pickup (pictured). Neither pickup requires a preamp. The Barbera is higher priced and provides a professional level sound that is full, rich and perfect for adding distortion and other effects.
The standard Wood Violins pickup is closer to the natural sound of a violin or viola and can be used with effects as well. We can help you choose based on your playing style and budget.
Customize and Personalize
Choose your number of strings, color and finish style, frets or not, and anything you can think of to develop your own custom Viper. Or get really wild with inlaid fingerboards or custom artist paint schemes. In addition to real frets, Vipers can be purchased with "phantom frets" which are completely flat markings that show the notation without any raised areas.
With so many possible combinations of strings, colors and fingerboards and pickups, we welcome your inquiry about the ever changing list of available Vipers. Please see below for the most current list or e-mail us to create your custom order.
Hand made in the USA
Hand crafted in New York state, featuring exotic burls, quilts and figured poplar woods, The Viper is an expertly crafted instrument with excellent attention to detail. Finishes are flawless and durable. The Viper is also lightweight and with the included gig bag easy to take on a plane or across campus. Choose the sturdy hard shell case option for best protection.