Years back, when I was a Bookmans Mesa customer an unorthodox violin named Viper had caught my eye. Shaped like a contoured Flying V guitar with almost no resemblance to a normal violin, Viper was intriguing to say the least. Where traditional violins have four strings, Viper exceeded that number with a low fifth string.  Though I was awestruck at this interesting take on a classical instrument I’m no violinist and was content with admiring Viper from a far.

Unique Classical Instruments
A close-up of the Viper Violin showing its 5-string awesomeness.


Years later I’m living the dream as Events Liaison for Bookmans Flag. I wasn’t employed long before I encountered another Viper displayed in all her glory. A guitarist and bassist by trade, I really had no business trying this violin but felt like the rock n roll thing to do was to play outside the box. So I took viper home and devoted a few days to some musical experimentation.

Running Viper through my guitar effects pedal board and amp, I tried in vain to let her rip but the distorted caterwaul that came out resembled promiscuous ally cats. Slowly I started to get a feel for the instrument. Using my effects board I was able to use delay, reverb and keyboard sounds to really play around. Though I was having a blast, my girlfriend didn’t appreciate the chaotic art I was trying to manifest. But eh, that’s rock roll right? Right? After my shredding had overstayed its welcome I took to the net! Researching this one of a kind classical instrument.

Wood Violins have been making their non-traditional instruments for twenty-five years and Viper is one of many interesting re-imanginings of this traditionally classical instrument. Founder Mark Wood built his first custom violin at the age of 12 already a gifted violinist despite his young years. Wood Violins recently celebrated 25 years of creating unique electric violins for musicians of all levels. On the subject of Viper, Mark Wood had this to say “In the course of my experiments with different electric violin styles, I built over ten different models, now part of my private collection. Since I developed the Viper, it has become my instrument of choice and when I perform, it’s usually with my trusty 7-string fretted.”

Though I’m not ready to take the plunge into the classical metal violin world just yet, I found Viper to be a powerful little instrument. I like to create experimental sounds so even with my lack of violin talent, the Viper created some cool effects and unique ear candy. Through all my experimenting I kept thinking about how awesome it would be to hear a talented violinist play with this one of a kind classical instrument.

* Bookmans is your store to explore. If you are interested in an item or product mentioned here, give your local Bookmans a call.  One of the Bookmans family will be happy to check their shelves for you. Otherwise, we hope you’ll spend time browsing the vast selection of musical instruments we have in store. Don’t forget to ask about our Musical Instruments Repair Shop.