DBCV: The Thomas Jenkins’ Signature Series Hollow Body Electric Violin

This “Thomas Jenkins’ Signature Series” instrument design featured here is available in a wide variety of wood species, and in 4, 5, 6 or 7-string versions.

A player’s unique design is available by calling David Burham at: (541) 343 – 0771. To commission either the “Thomas Jenkins’ Signature Series” – style instrument, or your own unique design, contact me at the phone number listed above or email dbcv@efn.org.

DBCV Electric Bubinga Wood Six String Violin Dolphin F Holes The top and back plates of this Thomas Jenkins’ Signature Series instrument are made of highly-figured Bubinga wood from Africa. The neck is made from American Holly, a very strong, light-colored wood, and a species in which wood anomalies – color differences, small knots, etc. – are simply a part of the wood. To find a find a piece with no “flaws” is rare. For this instrument, I used three pieces and laminated them to form what would be the neck and peg box. The tailpiece is also of the same Bubinga wood, though with a 1/4″ piece of Ebony in the middle, added both for strength and to accent the fingerboard and the ribs. The ribs are made from Maple, and I steam-bent them to the shape of the somewhat “cut-away” design of the instrument’s body. In its original conception, the ribs were to be black, and so they are: approximately 20 thin layers of high-gloss black lacquer were used to achieve the color and light reflection in the ribs. The lower section of the back of the instrument has been branded with my DBCV company logo.

DBCV Electric Bubinga Wood Six String Violin BackDBCV Electric Bubinga Wood Six String Violin FullThis instrument is a hollow-body instrument. There are 28 individually-carved pieces that make up the instrument’s body. There is also a sound post in the instrument, placed a goodly distance (7 millimeters) from the feet at the lower end of the bridge. The thickness of the top plate – graduated intentionally to clearly bring out the notes on the C and F strings, in combination with the placement of the sound post – is intended to provide both a warm and clear tone for all 6 strings. There is a 1/4″ output jack on the left-lower rib, however the output jack may be placed the player wishes.

The two pieces of this instrument that are not hand-made are the top and back plates. After doing the initial pen and ink drawings and considering the “working qualities” of Bubinga wood, for the first time, I employed the use of a very intelligent C.A.D. master (Thank you, Joe V.!) and a computerized router. While mapping the x, y and z coordinates was challenging – especially in that the angles in my hand drawing were not perfect – once the plates had been realized in 3-D, having the computerized router cut them out didn’t take a great amount of time at all. There was still a good deal of work that needed to be done by hand once the plates had been cut out, though for this instrument, the use of modern technology was a time, hand and carving tool saver. The fingerboard is made from African Ebony. The “f-holes”, which I had great freedom with as far as design, are two symmetrical “dolphins”; a couple, if you like. As you may be able to see in the photos, the top plate is quite thick by acoustic violin standards (i.e., 5 – 7 millimeters at the thickest points). True to form for an “acoustic” touch, I did make a label with my company name and the year of completion of the instrument (2015).

DBCV Electric Bubinga Wood Six String Violin with Perfection Pegs The bridge used for the picture here is a Barbera Twin-Hybrid piezo bridge. This means that there are 2 piezo pick-ups for each string, making a total of 12 piezo pickups on the violin. One other brand of bridge that I would recommend for its tonal quality is the Eric Aceto custom bridge which can be found by going to Ithacastringedinstruments.com The peg box uses 6 “Perfection Pegs”. For those who are not familiar with them, these pegs are made of hard, black plastic synthetic with internal gearing. What this results in is nearly effortless tuning, with a very slight push of the peg toward the peg box to retain the its position. “Perfection Pegs” are are resistant to temperature and humidity changes as it is possible for a tuning peg to be. They are accurate to the point where no fine tuners are needed. Lastly, in the picture of the chin rest and tailpiece assembly, you can see that I have employed rope-core steel as an end gut material ensuring no stretching, and that the tailpiece will remain secure.

DBCV Electric Bubinga Wood Six String Violin BackingDBCV Custom Electric Six String ViolinAs with all my instruments, this instrument uses a standard violin scale length of 328 millimeters. Alternative scale lengths can be used. The string separation at the nut is approximately 5.25 millimeters – very slightly more than the string separation at the nut on a full-size acoustic instrument. The string “action” is what most people would consider low, making playing in the upper positions easier without any buzzing of the strings when played as open strings. The chin rest is a Hill model with gold hardware. The model shown is a 6 string, tuned in fifths. The pitches are, from the highest string to the lowest: E, A, D, G, C and F.

If the owner wishes, I will personalize the instrument with a thin bronze plaque listing the owner’s name, my company name, and the year of the instrument’s completion.

The video below was made prior to the purchase of the instrument. Thomas Jenkins will release a professional video demonstration soon.