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Electric cello

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The electric cello is a type of cello that relies on electronic amplification (rather than acoustic resonance) to produce sound. Many electric cellos have bodies modeled after acoustic cellos, while others abandon the design completely, opting for a totally new body shape, or having little or no body at all. Most electric cellos feature a traditional endpin and knee supports, but some are supported in other ways, such as by a tripod stand or a strap system that allows mobility while playing the instrument.

Most electric cellos are driven by a piezo pickup system mounted in the bridge. Many also contain an on-board preamp, which allows the musician localized control over the sound. The number of piezo elements in use range from one to eight. The electric cello has several advantages over acoustic cellos. One of these advantages is its capacity for sound effects, such as distortion, wah, and chorus, which allows for the creation of a huge variety of sounds and possibilities matching that of the electric guitar, electric bass and electric violin. Also, five-string and six-string models (not generally available in acoustic cellos) allow for an extended range. An electric cello with no body can be played in the high positions more easily than an acoustic. Also, an electric cello lacks the "wolf tone" characteristic of acoustic cellos.

The electric cello has not yet achieved the status of the ubiquitous electric guitar, or even the widespread success of the electric violin, although rock groups such as Apocalyptica and Rasputina have helped to popularize the instrument. This is predominantly because the number of cellists who actually require an electric instrument is relatively small. The reason for this small demand is multi-fold. First, most cellists play only classical music, for which an electric cello is generally deemed unacceptable, as its tone is generally quite different from that of an acoustic cello. Second, for those cellists who play non-classical music, or for those who simply require amplification, many amplification options are available for the acoustic cello. While microphones remain the preferred method of amplification for acoustic cello, several removable and permanent transducer options are also available. One unusual acoustic/electric magnetic pickup system uses the string itself as the pickup, avoiding feedback, and has a consistent sound both bowing and plucking.[1]

For most musicians who only wish to amplify their sound, an acoustic cello with some form of amplification is a better choice than an electric cello. However, acoustic amplification in general has shortcomings. When performing with a loud ensemble, it is very difficult for a cello to be heard without causing feedback from a pickup or a microphone. For this reason, most cellists who routinely play with very loud ensembles (such as a heavy metal band) tend to prefer the electric cello.

Another reason why the electric cello is not as widely accepted as other electric instruments is its cost. Even the most inexpensive electric cellos are cost-prohibitive; even the most meager offerings in the electric cello world sell for over USD$400. For a decent electric cello, one may expect to pay well over USD$1000 (not including the amplifier).

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This article was started using a Wikipedia cello article
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