Both instruments have their place, but you need to understand the real differences to be able to choose the right instrument for your needs. If you already have one type of instrument, should you change? Here are the facts to help you decide.
To start your decision process understand that even though the tone of any violin is subjective and can not be measured and quantified scientifically. (If that could be done, there would be a computer program that could “listen” to a song and determine whether it was going to be a hit or not.)
So even though the tone (and music quality) of a violin is subjective and given the fact that the music from an electric violin can go through all kinds of electronic tweaks and adjustments, there is one thing that can’t be changed.
No amount of electronic tweaking can make even the most expensive electric violin have the sound quality of an acoustic violin.
With an acoustic violin, what you play is what you get, but with an electric violin you can add reverb, tone control and more to get some great sounding (even though, non-traditional) music.
With an acoustic violin you can amplify the music with a microphone, but the slightest movement of the violin can change what the audience hears. In orchestras where no one moves, this works fine, but in live (and lively) performances, there’s a lot to be said for the flexibility of the electric violin.
One thing you don’t have to worry about is that if you’re not sure which type of violin you want, it’s good to know that you’re not locked in because it’s pretty easy to change the type of violin you play.
Bottom line: A traditional acoustic violin is used in classical music. Electric violins are frequently used (and often preferred) in pop, heavy metal, rock and other less traditional uses of the violin. The type of music you plan to play is the biggest factor to consider when choosing your violin.