A wide-diaphragm condenser mic is a typical choice for miking violins or violas, though a ribbon mic can be also be a very good choice for certain styles of music. The cardioid pickup pattern is usually best for this application, but a bi-directional or omni pattern can be very effective when recording in a flattering room.
For classical music, a distance of 3–8′ above and away from the performer is generally used for a nice, smooth tone. For fiddle music, the same technique can also be used, or the mic can be placed closer (6–8″) for a more raw, folky tone. In both cases, the mic should be facing the top of the instrument (see Fig. 140).