Donnie Reis

Donnie Reis, Violinist

Donnie Reis Goes To Work With New Barcus-Berry Violin

Donnie Reis is a workingman's musician, which is what made him the perfect fit to promote Barcus-Berry's new Vibrato AE (acoustic/electric) violins.

Both a dynamic performer and producer whose music is a balance of physical exertion and technical precision, Reis required an instrument that would help him with the heavy workload he carries on stage and in the studio.

"Because I really pour myself into my music, especially when I'm performing live, I needed a violin that allowed me to move," Reis explains. "When you just have an acoustic violin you have to be quiet because you're pinned down to one position."

That's where Barcus-Berry stepped in to help, offering him a chance to play their latest line of acoustic-electric fiddles that work hard for the hard-working performer like Reis.

"Rodney Washburn of Barcus-Berry called me and said that I could be the vehicle to bring their new pickup system onto the market," he says. "It was a great opportunity, since an acoustic-electric violin like the Vibrato frees me up to be a much more movement-based performer."

As someone whose live shows are full of high energy, Reis says the instrument has already helped him become a more mobile player on the stage.

"I can be more expressive in the way I play, I can turn and look at other musicians, both of which allow for better performances. It has really been great at letting me move around while I play."

Not only does the new violin give Reis a wider range of motion on the platform, it also helps him find the vibrant sounds that he has come to expect in a top-end violin, a fact due to the Vibrato AE's European hand-craftsmanship.

"Since the instrument is built in Romania, it means it has that European quality I look for in a great violin. It's far superior to any factory-made Chinese instrument on the market."

Asked what makes the caliber of the Vibrato AE so excellent, Reis is not hesitant to point out the obvious: its great sound.

"It projects more, it sounds richer, and it has better tones. Overall, it's able to achieve the sounds that I'm really looking for."

Reis first premiered the Vibrato AE earlier this year at Joe's Pub in New York City in a show that "brought the house down".

"What I like most about the violin is that has the built-in piezo pickup. Plug it in and it sounds phenomenal," he says. "It holds true to the pure craftsmanship of the standards of a true classical instrument, but achieves all of the goals of the modern performer."

Reis is happy for his relationship with Barcus-Berry, who have allowed him to keep working hard by making sure he has the first-rate tools needed to get the job done.

"My music, both on tour and in the studio must always be spot on. As a producer and performer, I have a lot of things going on, and the last thing I need are surprises. Barcus-Berry delivers the goods so I can focus on the music."

About Donnie Reis: A multi-instrumentalist and an accomplished composer, Donnie is the chief producer and publishing agent for twelve3south studio in Tipp City, OH. He has over a decade of experience as a professional studio and stage musician in styles ranging from classical orchestration to pop/rock and country. For more information, visit his websites at,,, and

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