Ian Cooper’s Gear List
“A great tone starts with great strings and great rosin.”
Ian trusts Sensicore Strings &
Shortcut to Violins Amplifiers Equalizers Microphones
Epoch Strings VP4 electric violin Gold Coast, Australia, 2003 This is Ian’s favourite 4 string electric violin. The pickup has an acoustic tone across all strings and being not too big, is very easy to play. The well designed internal pre-amp & equalizer remove any harsh tones from the sound, and having the electronics built in means no extra gear to carry. Good for Jazz and Rock gigs and it sounds great plugged directly into a PA or a guitar amp.
Epoch Strings VP4 electric violin
Gold Coast, Australia, 2003
This is Ian’s favourite 4 string electric violin. The pickup has an acoustic tone across all strings and being not too big, is very easy to play. The well designed internal pre-amp & equalizer remove any harsh tones from the sound, and having the electronics built in means no extra gear to carry. Good for Jazz and Rock gigs and it sounds great plugged directly into a PA or a guitar amp.
Epoch Strings VP5 – 5 string carbon fibre electric violin
Gold Coast, Australia, 2004
This 5 string violin is really fun to play. It’s Epoch’s latest carbon fiber design with a low C string. As with the VP4, Epoch have built the preamp and equalizer inside. The neck has been widened to accommodate the extra string and it feels very comfortable to play.
Epoch Strings VM4 electric violin
Gold Coast, Australia, 2008
A 4 string carbon fibre fiddle with pickup and no electronics. It’s the stunt violin and is virtually indestructible. This is for the purist who likes to have complete external control of their electronic sound.
Ratajczyk Cream Reverb – 30 watt valve amp with 2 x vintage 8″ Celestion drivers. The twin speaker configuration disperses the sound better and removes the boxiness that’s inherent when playing violins through single speaker guitar amplifiers.
Fender Blues Junior – An old favourite. It’s only 15 watts, but it’s 15 FENDER watts. Some say that a small valve amp being driven hard has a warner tone than a large amplifier hardly working. This is one of those amps.
AER Compact Mobile 2 – A well engineered acoustic amplifier. Ideal for Classical and Gypsy music.
Mesa/Boogie Lonestar head + 2 x 12″ cab – This is a huge amp. Ridiculously loud and clean, and breaks up and crunches warmly when needed as well. 100 watts of pure, valve tone.
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When I am performing away from home and can’t take an amplifier, I plug straight into the PA via a custom equalizer. I created the EQ curve using a few multi effects units daisy-chained together and got Mark Hornybrook to build it into as tiny a box as possible.
The curve is a compromise between what works well in concert halls with large expensive European PA systems, and seedy club PAs with horn tweeters thrown into home made foldback wedges the sound guy built in his garage. Version 1 was designed for the Fishman pickup.
Ian Cooper’s RIG Ian Cooper’s RIG
Version 2 is for the L.R. Baggs violin pickup and has a few more refinements:
Ø Powered by 12vDC or internal 9v rechargable battery
Ø Internal battery is charged when powered externally
Ø Battery test LED
Ø Cannon XLR DI output plus phono jack output
Ø DI earth lift switch
Ø Volume, Bass & Treble trim pots for fine tuning
Ø Recessed trim pots won’t move during transit
Ø 3v output to power the AKG wireless receiver
Ø FX send/return
Ø 9v output for powering Boss FX pedals
Ø Tiny isn’t it!!
This is my pedal board I use for rock and country gigs. At the heart of it is a Boss GT3 multi effects unit. It gives me many different sounds, for example, a string section sound from just a single violin, Wah wah effects, and a hot, distorted lead guitar sound like the guitar solo (violin actually) I recorded on Tin Symphony. At the bottom left is a power point, top left is a battery charger for the wireless transmitter on the violin, centre is the GT3, top right – an AKG wireless receiver, bottom right – 2 Boss pedals: I usually take an equalizer and a line selector. Top centre is a Brook power supply which powers the wireless receiver and the Boss pedals
For recorded performances or radio broadcasts I love the sound of a Crown GLM200 condenser microphone. This tiny mic clips under the tail piece and is what I send to the sound guy. I use the pickup and amplifier for the stage sound only as I can turn this up louder without feedback that I can a mic signal.
I use the wind sock because the mic sits directly under my nose and picks up my breathing. I make sure never to yell abuse at drummers when using this mic as it comes out on the recording!
Here’s another mic I’ve had great live results with, the Sennheiser 441 – the best dynamic mic ever made, especially good for violin because of its directional characteristics and its ability to ignore other sounds on stage.