Every instrument could stand to be amplified once in a while, or maybe even all the time - including orchestral strings. If you're looking for a versatile way to practice and play, then one of the electric violas in this section could be the answer. Not only do they give you the flexibility of an electronic instrument, including the ability to plug into effects pedals if you're so inclined; they also make it possible to rehearse in silence simply by connecting to your favorite pair of headphones. That makes these instruments well-suited to just about any playing situation. Take along an amp to perform live, or plug right into the sound system in a venue or studio... the choice is yours.
A great example to start your search for the perfect electric viola would be the Yamaha SVV-200 Series Silent Viola. Designed with a shape that pays tribute to its acoustic cousins while also looking totally unique, it delivers studio-quality sound from a pair of under-bridge piezo pickups. There's an onboard EQ system, making the SVV-200 ready to play right out of the box, and experienced players will definitely appreciate how much it feels like a traditional acoustic viola.
For an even more professional-oriented option, you might also want to check out the NS Design CR Series Electric Viola. As usual for NS Design, they're offering up a concert-ready instrument that can give any acoustic a run for its money. Their exclusive polar pickup system delivers fantastic results from bowing and pizzicato alike, taking full advantage of the rich, natural-sounding tone of the CR Series solid maple body. And then there's the finishing touch: the high-end electronics that allow this viola to sound as classical or as electric as you like.
With a sweet combination of traditional tone capability, the versatility of amplification and the option for silent practice, electric violas are incredibly well-rounded instruments. Join an electric orchestra, play your viola in a rock band, use an electric viola as a second instrument for training up your skills... the possibilities are virtually endless! And with an instrument designed from the ground up to be used electronically, you can set aside any worries about retrofitting pickups to an acoustic model - great news for any violist.