Visit our Videos page and you’ll find even MORE answers to these frequently asked questions!

What is the difference between frets, phantom frets, and fretless?

Frets allow violinists to play precisely in tune every time. With frets, the clarity of pitch and intonation is greatly improved, and you can explore chordal concepts with ease, broadening your musical vision. By helping you to visualize the “framework” of the “musical fingerboard” frets help to support improvisational techniques. Our low profile frets will allow you to utilize traditional playing techniques without compromizing the beautiful subtleties of a fretless violin. You can now play faster, more precise notes and chords with consistent accuracy.

Phantom Frets are simply visual lines inlayed in the fingerboard which show each interval. Essentially they are frets that you can’t feel, but give you visual reference so the instrument plays just like a fretless traditional violin.

Fretless is the traditional acoustic style fingerboard.

The Viper design is really cool but how do I hold it under my chin?

We agree – the Viper design IS really cool but get this – you don’t need a shoulder pad and chin rest! That’s why we invented our patented Chest Support System, which is a self-supporting mechanism that allows you the freedom to perform and play on your own terms.

What’s the difference between a Barbera pickup and a Wood Tru-Tone pickup?

We have two different pickup options available for you to choose from, depending on your needs:

Wood Tru-Tone Pickup: This is our infamous patented bridge designed by Mark Wood. It has high output, and a very precise/clear tonal range without that shrill tone that’s common on many other electric violins. Our Tru-Tone pickup is also completely passive and simple, meaning it does not require any batteries or complex pre-amps like many other companies require. What you get is an articulate pickup with smooth high frequencies, distinct mid frequencies and warm, welcoming low frequencies which all combine to give an inviting sound. It’s simple, affordable, and has quite a beautiful tonal balance.
*Available on 4 and 5 string violins and cellos.

Barbera Pickup: These pickups are the best available in the industry. They use a multi piezo system (each string has its own pickup element) which captures the sonic complexities of each string. They also use a simple passive circuit (no batteries or pre-amps required). Simply put, these pickups have incredible tone.
*Available on all 4, 5, 6, and 7 string instruments.


I’m a guitarist – can the 6-string fretted Viper be tuned like a guitar and is it hard to learn to play these things?

The 6-string fretted Viper can be tuned either like a violin (in fifths) or using standard guitar tuning. Many of our customers who purchase the 6-string fretted Viper are guitarists who are interested in exploring the wide dynamic range offered by an electric violin (not to mention how absolutely cool it looks on stage!). Although, as with anything new, there is a slight learning curve as you get used to the feel of the violin and playing with a bow, all of our guitarist clients have reported tremendous success with the instrument.

Okay. So how do I tune a 6-string Viper like a guitar?

This is not an exact science, but here are some suggestions to get you started. For the high E string, take a violin D string and tune it up a whole step. For the B string, tune up a violin A string a whole step. For the G, you can use a regular violin G. For the D, use a viola C and tune it up a step. For the A, take a viola C and tune it down a minor 3rd to A. And finally for the low E, use a violin F and tune it down a half step to E.

The gauges for the violin strings are as follows (from high to low): E-9g, A-15g, D-25g, G-27g, C-38g, F-49g

Using regular violin strings, just tune your Viper to the chart above and you can play a guitar tuned Viper!

I have neck and/or back issues and I’m having problems playing an acoustic violin with a chin rest. What should I do?

Several of our Viper clients have issues with neck problems of all types and they have gotten the relief they’ve been looking for with our unique patented design. We are proud that the instrument design addresses not only the needs of the average violinist who finds the chin rest/shoulder pad combination uncomfortable and compromising, but also those of
players who are unable to enjoy and play a standard violin because of accidents or damage done to their necks and backs. In fact, a well-known neurologist and orthopedic surgeon by the name of Dr. Albert Casabona uses our instruments in demonstrations and lectures pertaining to solutions for musicians who suffer from neurological problems.

Eileen Riechard Drew shares her compelling story about how her neck issues prevented her from playing until she discovered the Viper. We dare you not to shed a tear…

Can I buy these custom strings only with you or can I find them in other music stores?

All strings (except the low F-string and B-flat string) can be purchased at any music store. The 5th string is a viola C string. The F and B-flat strings are custom-made for us and can only be purchased through us. CLICK HERE to order.

Do you make any violas?

Yes, on a custom basis.

Why do you make 4, 5, 6 and 7 string models?

To offer the modern violinist and guitarist as many options as possible. The 6 and 7-string especially allow the player access to the range of bass, cello, viola and violin all in one instrument. Guitarists especially love the 6 and 7-string Vipers in that the tuning can be altered to standard guitar tuning. Guitarists can experiment with the concept of the violin bow and explore the beauty of the sound of the violin while playing an instrument that has enough similarities with the guitar to make them feel comfortable.

How many different finishes do you offer?

We offer the standard color selection plus custom colors. If you’ve seen a guitar finish that you like, we can do it on a violin!

What is your lowest-price model?

Our lowest-priced model is a 4-string fretless Stingray SVX – “street” price is around $749.

So how much do these things weigh, anyway?

All of our instruments are very light in weight and extremely comfortable to play! Below are the approximate weights of our most popular models. Keep in mind with the Viper that weight is not a factor since the instrument “floats” on your body! (weight shown in both grams and pounds)

4 or 5-string fretless Viper 851g (1.876 lb.)
6-string fretted Viper 1,000g (2.204 lb.)
7-string fretted Viper 1,050g (2.314 lb.)
4 or 5-string fretless Sabre 675g (1.488 lb.)
4 or 5-string fretless Stingray 612g (1.349 lb.)

Help! I lost the instructions that came with my Viper or Cobra. Where can I get ’em?

That’s an easy one!

Option-click or right-click (save target as) to download Wood Violins instruction manuals for the following products (please note: these are pdf files – you will need Adobe Acrobat to read):

Viper instructions

Cobra Cello Instructions

Do your products come with a warranty?

Yes! If you already own any of our products, please be sure to register it with us. You can do so online by clicking HERE.