Get Started with Electric Violin Effects for FREE!

Get Started with Electric Violin Effects for FREE!

Many of you just wanted a quieter violin, but it is equally tempting to unleash the real potential of an electric instrument, which is to get whatever sound out, like an electric guitar!

We acknowledge that most classical-trained violinists know very little about effects, and we'd like to offer a way that doesn't cost you money to get started. You don't need to buy a pedal yet!

Hear Effects with Free Audio Software - On Your Own Violin Audio

The audio software has made a lot of progress in the past 10 years. Today, you can find plenty of free software with free effects. You can conveniently drag your own audio into it, add whatever effect(s), and listen to how it sounds - yes, you had access to all the fancy stuff all the time!

So there are 2 utilities:

  1. You instantly hear how your own performance would sound with any effect(s).
  2. You can render the audio and publish it.

The best part is that you no longer need much knowledge to enjoy compared with 10 years ago. (But please be aware that it may not be ideal for live performances due to possible sound delays.)

For this article, we did the research for you and recommend BandLab as the go-to software. Well, maybe we should call it a platform because it works in your browser, too. Just sign up and start listening without installation.

For your reference, you may watch this video to find more free alternatives. 

Kinglos Neo Classical Handmade Electric Violins

Add Effects to Your Violin Performance in BandLab - 5 Easy Steps

You don't need to know much to try effects, and any software is quite similar in this regard. Let's go through how it's done in BandLab (in the browser). It takes only 5 easy steps:

1. Start a new project

Log in to BandLab. On the top right of the page, click "+Create", and then "New Project".


2. Add a track

We recommend clicking "Import Audio/MIDI" at the bottom left and then selecting your own audio file.

(You can also click "Voice/Audio" if you are comfortable with recording to your computer. We shall cover recording in a separate blog though.)

3. Add effects to your track

See there is a "+FX" under the name of track, click on it. And it will be apparent what to do now.

You can never go wrong with Reverb and Delay, while depending on your style, you may find some other effect types appealing. You can try one after another, or add multiple effects together.

To listen, just hit the play button on the top of page.

Each effect may come with several parameters, but you don't need to know exactly what they do yet. Just tweak around and have some fun. You can come back to learn once you end up liking a particular effect.

4. Hear effects in context

It won't be a surprise if you find more "awful" effects than "good" effects. On the one hand, not all effects are made for violin. On the other hand, the effects are quite contextual. You may find certain effects great for one song, but irrelevant for another.

Apart from trying different songs, you can also add your backing track. Just drag the audio file onto the page, and drag your violin track to the correct spot.

5. Download the sample

Although BandLab encourages you to publish the song, it is made possible to just download a copy for yourself. Go to "三 - Project - Download - Mixdown As", and select an audio quality to download.

MP3 is good enough, but you can go with the highest WAV quality, too.

It is worth mentioning that BandLab has a mobile App, which means you can do this experiment wherever! If you wish to learn more about BandLab, this video is a great tutorial.

Go Live with Your Favorite Effects - Pedals

If you plan to use any effects in a live performance, we recommend using an effect pedal anyway. There won't be any latency with pedals. Because you have done enough tests, now you have a much better idea of what effects you need.

You can confidently walk into a store with your new knowledge, let the store staff listen to your sample, and let them recommend a pedal.

We believe our approach gives you a great foundation:

  1. You knew how each effect sounds on your violin.
  2. You knew what effect you want, and what you don't want.
  3. You may have learned the parameters that you frequently need, which helps you pick the pedal in real life.

Okay, any limitations to our method? Well, although BandLab offers many great effects, they won't sound 100% the same as effects from elsewhere. The same applies to all software and all pedals. If you are willing to spend $1K+ on a single effect pedal, it is most likely to sound better than any software.

However, there is no reason to refuse this convenient opportunity. We understand it could be embarrassing and stressful to go to a store when you know nothing about effects. We believe we helped!


As an electric strings designer workshop, we offer insights from a different perspective. When writing such content, we always put ourselves in the shoes of violinists. If you like what you saw, you may also check our electric violin lineup. They are built for violinists, and chosen by violinists!

Electric violins from $359

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