No really! Who else has an electric violin with goldfish on it?

Back a couple of years ago needed to replace my crappy Yamaha electric violin. Seriously don’t buy their violins.  Things were cracking and breaking that should never crack/break on an instrument. I went through I don’t know how many jacks, they all would start cutting out after a few months of use, and the plastic tail piece slowly cracked all the way behind the fine tuners eventually breaking in half, which I now understand is a VERY common problem with that violin. Good job Yamaha!

I spent a few months  looking into my next electric and came across located in NY. These guys have been absolutely amazing to work with. I decided I wanted to paint the body myself. They sent me the unfinished instrument and walked me through step by step (and let me tell you it was a lot of work on their end answering all of my questions over the following months) the finishing process. Being that I used an acrylic paint I needed to finish it in Polyurethane. They normally use nitrocellulose on their finishes but it wasn’t compatible with my paint. The finishing turned out to be FAR more work than the painting itself.  Never in my life did I expect to spend so much time researching or practicing using Polyurethane.  I can now add sanding and buffing pro to my resume, I know you’re jealous right?

Here are some photos step by step in the process:

primered electric violin

Primered and ready to paint

The base coat is on. At this point I realized how much sanding was going to be involved to keep everything completely smooth.  Excitement is not the expression on my face.

base coat on electric violin

Base coat is now on

The text

The text

Its a good thing I went with scripture for my text, It helped with my thoughts of suicide as I covered the entire freaking thing in tiny tiny writing. This process included typing out the text in the  font and size I wanted, then using tracing paper and transfer paper to get the font onto the violin, then actually painting the text. Everything was essentially written out 4 times total. I swore I would never ever do something so tedious again…I have  however done the same thing again. I clearly don’t learn.

Shaded text

Shading the text

Next I went around each section of text and did a bit of shading, it seemed to go SO fast after all that tiny text I just spent two days on.

shading and toning down

Shading and toning down

The text was supposed to be part of the background, not stand out so much. At this point I sanded areas down to give it a bit of an aged look then airbrushed over it all with both white then brown paint to mute everything.

more toning down on the electric violin

More toning down

I then airbrushed an  iridescent gold paint over everything. You can only really notice it from the side, looking straight on it only tinted the paint. From the side it is very shiney.

Fish on an electric violin


No instrument is complete without goldfish. This is a fact everyone knows. You can see the shine from the gold paint where the flash hit.

Cherry blossoms and water bubbles electric violin

Cherry blossoms and water bubbles

The design makes total sense now. You cant have goldfish without tree branches.

front of electric violin

The front before the polyurethane

back of electric violin

The back of the violin pre polyurethane

I do not have photos of the months in frustration in working with the Polyurethane. There may have been angry words involved.  Fast forward 3 months to when the poly was finished and the maker had everything put together…

These photos were taken by the maker once the piece was finished.

base front electric violin

front base

back of electric violin


back base electric violin

back base

finished electric violin with fish

I absolutely love this violin!

playing violin

Playing at the Christian Music Hall of Fame Awards show, November 2010

You can hear this violin in action on my band’s current website

I will be completely overhauling that site in the next month or two. I will post updates of the site’s new look here as I get the artwork done 😀