A person who makes or repairs violins is called a luthier, or simply a violin maker. The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood (although electric violins may not be made of wood at all, since their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic characteristics of the instrument's construction), and it is usually strung with gut, nylon or other synthetic, or steel strings.
The when and what for of violin vibrato are artistic matters of style and taste. For example if you overdo the variation of the note's tone it may become very distracting and overwhelm the piece. In acoustic terms, the interest that vibrato adds to the sound has to do with the way that the overtone mix (or tone color, or timbre) and the directional pattern of sound projection change with changes in pitch. By pointing the sound at different parts of the room in a rhythmic way, vibrato adds a shimmer or liveliness to the sound of a well-made violin. Vibrato is, in a large part, left to the discretion of the violinist. Different types of vibrato will bring different moods to the piece, and the varying degrees and styles of vibrato are often characteristics that stand out in well-known violinists.
The popularity of crossover music beginning in the last years of the 20th century has brought the violin back into the popular music arena, with both electric and acoustic violins being used by popular bands. Vanessa Mae uses classical music with her electric violin. Dave Matthews Band features violinist Boyd Tinsley. The Flock featured violinist Jerry Goodman who later joined the jazz-rock fusion band, The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Yellowcard featured the instrument with a role equal to the guitar in many of their songs. Blue October are well-known for their violin-based Music with Master violinist Ryan Delahoussaye. James' Saul Davies, who is also a guitarist, was enlisted by the band as a violinist. For their first three albums and related singles, the British group No-Man made extensive use of electric and acoustic solo violin as played by band member Ben Coleman (who played violin exclusively).
An electric violin with a resonating body that produces listening-level sound independently of the electric elements can be called an electro-acoustic violin. To be effective as an acoustic violin, electro-acoustic violins retain much of the resonating body of the violin, often looking very much like, sometimes even identical to, an acoustic violin or fiddle. They may be finished in bright colours and made from alternative materials to wood. The first specially built electric violins date back to 1928 and were made by Victor Pfeil, Oskar Vierling, George Eisenberg, Benjamin Miessner, George Beauchamp, Hugo Benioff and Fredray Kislingbury. These violins can be played through many effects much like a guitar, such as distortion and delay.