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Letter: Electric Violins

Letter: Electric Violins

by Mike Zimmerman

Originally published in American Lutherie #92, 2007

Dear GAL:

Back when I was a full-time luthier, I was the chief designer for the Amazing Musical Instrument Co. of Toronto, Canada, from 1987 to 1989. I’ve been out of the business for many years now, although lutherie is a serious hobby. But memories came flooding back when a friend e-mailed me from New York to say he’d seen my name on an electric violin that was on display at — of all places — the Museum of Modern Art! I’d known the museum had acquired an Amazing Violin back in 1991 for their permanent industrial design collection, but to my knowledge it had never been publicly exhibited.

Here’s the story: Twenty years ago, the Amazing Violin was patented and promoted as the world’s most ergonomically correct violin. Guitar-style tuners are mounted on the body within easy right-hand reach, and the output jack throws the cable neatly over the player’s left shoulder. There is also a fully adjustable built-in shoulder support. A one-piece chambered mahogany body has a piezoelectric pickup in the chamber under the bridge. This allows the bridge to be adjusted like a standard violin bridge as there are no wires attached.

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