As those close to me know, I have a serious violin problem. By which I mean I cannot stop acquiring them and I need a warehouse for the cases. I recently ordered both a very strange electric and an old Calgano that was, to my pleasant surprise, in mint condition. We’ll talk about that girl another day, her nuances and the struggle of building a relationship with a new (old) violin who possesses many quirks and is rather temperamental.
Today we will discuss the above pictured, an electric skull violin made by the good folks at kinglos who also created my white, acoustic fiddle with the pretty blue scrollwork. Kinglos are a fairly new company who are working to create beautiful, affordable instruments that are both show-stopping and functional.
I should specify that I am in no way sponsored or endorsed by kinglos, and have not been compensated in any way for this review/ramble.
First to the shipping. The violins are each posted from China but surprise by arriving well before the estimated date. The packaging is second to none for something as precious and fragile; while it is an utter pain for open it could keep anything safe!
The acoustics and lower priced electrics generally come with a case and plethora of accessories, including a nice lightweight black bow that’s good for practice. I wouldn’t recommend it for performance myself as it’s a little rigid for my tastes and I still prefer bows such as those offered by hidersine, which are very flexible and have excellent hair quality.
Lutie Loo arrived with a simple case, which was a slight surprise. I had imagined that for the price I could at least expect an extra set of strings but the quality of the instrument more than makes up for the lack of extras. I will note a couple of downsides: the shape of the instrument requires you to purchase a shoulder rest with longer and more flexible grips, due to the rounded back. It can be difficult to support at first due to the weight and slender width compared to acoustic and some electric violins, but only strengthens the muscles over time!
To my mind the shape is far from insurmountable and adds to the effect of the violin; it’s carved with incredible beauty and detail. The colour is vibrant and the shading complements the design with perfection. The neck is straight, and the bridge is well secured. I filed it down a little to suit my own tastes and sound, but a full setup is something I would suggest every violinist learn to manage.
The pegs each turn in a nice fashion, without too much difficulty or jerky motions that could lead to a snapped string while still maintaining a firm position and not slipping out of tune. The strings you will want to replace with your own brand of choice, as they are of unknown origin and while they are serviceable, everyone has a preference and certain sound they wish to create.
The playability is wonderful when you have adjusted to the weight and adapted to the angle of the shoulder rest. I tend to put the right side higher to balance the violin out a little, again due to the width but I could argue that a certain amount of creativity is required when engaged with any musical discipline.
I haven’t paid much attention to the electrics so far beyond tuning, but I will provide an update when I have the chance to plug her into an obscenely large amplifier equipped with every pedal I can beg, borrow or steal. The original intent for this violin is, for the moment, quiet practice and in that it excels. There is enough volume to distinguish tone to the player, while family members in the next room remain oblivious.
This makes the kinglos skull electric a good choice for anyone who’s on the road a lot, or who lives with room-mates/family. It could even be ideal for quiet moments during work, if there is a spare room available. It’s versatile so far and handles a wide range of styles and exercises. While I filed the bridge to lower the action a touch I didn’t change the original shape. The strings are well balanced and easy to intonate individually.
So far I’m enjoying this little gem and grateful for the freedom she offers: now insomnia becomes productive and somewhat therapeutic as opposed to a tide of frustration and the sense of wasting time. I believe the kinglos skull electric violin is perfect for those who want to spend a lot of time practising but lack the space to do so, or find themselves constrained by other occupants.
Kinglos also offer a range of more traditional electric violins which come at a price point that is lower and while I cannot speak to them as I have not played one, I have experienced nothing but pleasant surprise so far with the company and would purchase another in the future, whether acoustic or electric. I chose this model as I wanted something a bit different, and it definitely ticks those boxes! I was apprehensive while waiting for her to arrive but it’s safe to say she’s made a fantastic upgrade from my old electric and I definitely prefer the look to that of most, minimalistic electrics!