Like Turkey? Try “The Chicken”! (Electric Violin Cover Video)

This new electric violin cover of “The Chicken”, popularized by Jaco Pastorius, was recorded live with loops played in real time.

Happy Thanksgiving! (I couldn’t resist!)



The bass line and strumming loops were played live (two loops total), and edited later for your listening convenience.

(Let me know via the comments below if you prefer to hear/see the entire loop intros or you like them shortened this way. You can find other examples of electric violin live looping videos here, or Subscribe to my Youtube channel to be notified when new videos are posted monthly.)

You might notice in the beginning when the loops are shown that I use a “two finger” electric-bass style technique to play the bass line. Be careful when employing this technique because of the angle of the wrist and potential injury.

Improvisation: I anticipate some questions about this and some pushback as well, and that’s ok 🙂 As you’ve probably heard me say before, creating stuff takes being willing to be boldly yourself. Sometimes it comes out smooth, sometimes rough. I’d rather “be me” and have 5% of listeners “get it”, than worry about trying to sound like someone else. If this performance is too “outside” for you, that’s cool. If your question is, “How/why do you use all those really weird notes?”, my answer is something along these lines:

My solo in this performance was intended to be more “risky”. Sometimes I improvise from a “safe” place; sometimes I go out on a limb. When I do take risks where note choice/harmony is concerned, I try to mitigate those risks by keeping something else more or less “stable”. In this case, I focused on generating stability within rhythm, groove, melodic shapes, and phrasing, for example. By generating recurring or consistent rhythmic patterns (continuous eighth note, for example), and melodic motifs (melodic shapes), this can create stability/constancy/cohesion that compensates for the instability of more dissonant note choices. For that matter, simply staying in the groove (and playing something like you mean it) can help with a lot with this. At least, that’s how I think of it.


Everyone wants to know about the jazz violinist’s gear, so here goes:

While I always welcome questions (in the comments below) I recommend the Electric Violin Shop to any bowed string players seeking help with amplification and gear. They are amazingly helpful and will answer your questions by phone. Simply get their phone number here and call them to ask any question related to electric string playing:


My gear in this video:

Yamaha Silent Electric Violin (250 model) –
Helicore strings by D’Addario –
The Boss ME-70 multi-effects pedal (Regarding settings: I set to bypass. I used the wah-wah pedal and the 8vb setting for the intro and otherwise I just have a simple clean sound, with a bit of reverb)
Same with the loop pedal (two loops total- less is more!)

Fishman Loudbox Amplifier

Feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below and feel free to share with anyone wacky enough to be into this kind of thing!

Support for this video comes from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the city of Columbus.