By the mid 1980's, the establishment of piezo bridge transducer technology opened the potential for innovative electric violin design. By 1990, I was established with 15 years of making and restoration of acoustic violin, guitar, mandolin and lute, and was receptive to player's demands for a better electric violin design.



5 String Vio-Cittern 

Commissioned for Pete Hartley, 1987, Presently owned by Nirmaala Rajendran, SANGITAM



In particular I was pushed by the enthusiasm of local jazz player and busker, Pete Hartley. I was impressed by his results of amplifying a Victorian mute practising frame fiddle and explored why it had a fuller and more balanced sound to using similar piezo bridges available on acoustic instruments.    SCROLL DETAIL~Mother of pearl and silver inlays~5 String Pegbox






(Customised to 5 String~1987 Copy made as back -up~1988)



By employing my design and musician skills, I adopted a modern tuning system using mini machine head tuners behind the bridge, and a streamlined body shape to achieve an instrument more robust and suited to the gigging musician. The result of 5 years research and development was Violectra, which I registered as a UK Trade Mark, and Patent, and began trading in April, 1992.


*1992-1993 - Violectra has kept me busy from the start. The family of instruments grew with orders for 4, 5, and 6 string violins, 4 and 5 string violas and a 5 string cellos model in the first year. Orders taken were from players of diverse backgrounds touring worldwide: Nigel Kennedy (European Heroes and Villans Tour 93), Moira Gutteridge/ Dampiers Round, Dave Swarbrick(UK), Icebreaker(London Festival Hall), The Wonder Stuff (world tour including America & Japan) Miranda Sex Garden(UK), and The Pogues (Europe), and from many others from students to professionals.    




Customised Pearlescent White Finish with Gold Star~Gary Lovini~1992


Dave Swarbrick,1992




        PETE HARTLEY 1992

Performances and venues were also equally diverse from ceilidh halls, to pubs & clubs, larger indoor and outdoor concerts, to unique venues such as Pete Hartley street busking on a unicycle; Cathy Heslop of Vie'electrique entertaining on Brittany Ferries and Gary Lovini on the HMS Oriano & QE2.



Piezo Bridge System



Dave Coulter The POGUES 1994    




CATHY STEVENS;Europa String Choir

1994-1995 - The move to the Custard Factory Arts and Media Centre offered better workshop facilities, including a showroom for players to visit and try out different models. Violectra broadened in sales, locally and nationally, and established outlets in London and Northern Ireland as well as sales further a field to The Ryes/ Northeast UK, Kat Evans/ Dave Stewart Band, Davida Rossi/ Mau Mau/ Italy, Alfredo de la Fe/Colombia, and also Israel, Brunei and Dubai. Enter the new 6 string viola model with Cathy Stevens of Europa String Choir.

Alfredo de la Fe



7th-Bb Violin String   




1996-1997 - Developing bridge technology with Ashworth Electronics resulted in a new Violectra-Ashworth bridge system. Violectra welcomes Jean-Luc Ponty using a six string violin Violectra/American Tour, the first Violectra quartet for the band, Oasis/UK Tour, Jean-Luc Ponty world tour in Europe, Brazil, & Hawaii, Colin Drummond /Beatles Anthology Band, and Soraya, MTV Latino Best New Artist, from Colombia.










1998-1999 -The past two years saw the development of new models; the first 7 string violin for Pete Hartley, a left handed model violin (no. 100) and a longer 16 1/8" viola .1999 sees orders for the first 100 Violectras over the first 7 years ! Sales include the Oasis Violectra quartet to the Italian artist Zucchero/European Tour and a 6 string violin for Didier Lockwood from Paris, a No. 1 Country hit with The Ryes, and the completion of a 3 year customised project using south Indian design features and fingerboard inlays.

Storme  Watson 


Inlay of gold and silver by 


Rainbow Violectra 1997-2000




Pete Hartley ~

7 String

Violectra No 100Left handed model !




1/2  size Cello

2000-2001 - Sales continue through the internet with players from Europe, America, and Africa,  Violectra dealers continue in London as well as a Violectra quartet now available for trial /hire direct. Violectra welcomes the Violectra quartet with Craig Owen of Neon/ Manchester, The Duffy Family/ UK, Liz Liew of CHI2/ London touring with Anastacia ,& Moby, and world tours including Daniel Tetlow with Spirit of the Dance/ America, Brazil & SE Asia, and Davida Rossi's 7 string violin with Goldfrapp. 



Davide Rossi ~Goldfrapp



2002-2003-Deveolpments with string technology lead to the first viola -bass. A new  model coping an old Italian violin by Ceruti, 1801 for Monica Germino, Amsterdam.for new band, WILD in Silver Metallic finish.

It has been a pleasure to work with players from around the world in Europe, America,  New Zealand, and Malaysia and Singapore. 

Many thanks and watch this space!




QUARTET for WILD , 2002

Metallic sunburst for 


7 string violin made for Bingen Mendizabal, Spain, 2002

Poplar wood body~ satin finish


        "AFRICAN SUNSET" for Julia Kim, 2001


         3 String


for Mike Johnson , 2001

Copy Ceruti Violin 1801 for Monica Germino


Violectra 2012 - All rights reserved. Violectra is a trading name for UNISON STRINGS LTD

 Incorporated  in England No 4710290 , Vat Reg No. 812 5835 35