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How to tune violin (video guide)

Step-by-step guide:

Kindly check the following instructions how to tune your violin.

Kindly make sure that the strings on your violin are associated with the right pegs. For that just trace the string from the nut to the peg inside the pegbox. Each peg is responsible for a specific string, as on the following picture: 

Using pegs

To make a string sound higher you need to turn a peg outwards you: it will be clockwise if you look from the A and E pegs side, and counter-clockwise, if you look from G and D pegs side. Remember, you have to turn slowly and carefully. While turning the peg, push it slightly into the pegbox to make it firmly “locked” in the right position. The peg inside the box has a conic shape so pushing it in will fix it in desired position to keep the tune. Kindly check the picture below:

Bridge position awareness:

When you turn the pegs to make them sound higher, the strings move and the bridge bends towards the fingerboard. In this case, you have to hold it at the bottom, and carefully move a top back to a right position. See the picture below:You always have to control the bridge position – it must stand between the inner cuts of f-holes, and be a 90 degrees to the violin table surface.

Tuning the strings to the right pitch

So, how do you know when the string is tuned? Normally, musicians rely on piano, we play the note which we need and tune the string up to the pitch (I play the D-minor or B half-diminished chord to tune A-string, and then tune others by ear according to A). If you are a beginner, perhaps, you can’t rely on your ear that much. In this case a specific tool called “tuner” will be very of help.

You can download it as an app for your smartphone, though I would rather recommend to invest into the specific device. My tuner is Korg OT-120, which is designed specifically for the orchestral instruments. It has a built-in mic and works perfectly for both acoustic and electric instruments. Kindly check the documentation of your tuner to make sure that you are tuning a string to the note in the right octave. For instance, Korg OT-120 shows violin G-string pitch as G3, D-string as D4, A-string as A4, and E-string as E5.  

If you are going to use an app, I’d recommend to chose one that shows the exact frequency of the note you are playing. Just check the description of the application. 

Usually we start tuning our violin from A string, which frequency nowadays is 440 Hz. For G-string it will be 196 Hz, for D-string 293.66 Hz, and for E-string – 659.25 Hz. So, you switch on your tuner, and slowly turning your peg in right direction, until your tuner shows the right note. If your violin was very out of tune, you will find that when you tune string up, others become lower a little. That happens because the bridge angle is changing, so you need to do a few cycles of tuning and adjusting the bridge angle as mentioned above. When all the strings are very close to their right pitch, but you can’t match it with pegs, the fine tuners, which are normally located on a tailpiece, will be very of help (if you have them though). Turning a fine-tuner clockwise makes a string higher, counter-clockwise – lower.

Fine-tuners

Watch from the bottom of the tailpiece if there is still a space between the fine-tuner and the violin’s body, otherwise you can damage your instrument. Sometimes you need to turn your fine-tuners all the way counter-clockwise, and tune higher with the pegs, in order to free that space for future adjustments. Remember – for the basic, “large” adjustments we use pegs. Fine-tuners are used for small adjustments, when the violin strings are basically tuned and need just little adjustments to get in tune perfectly. 

DISCLAIMER: By using any service offered on this website you confirm that you are not current resident of United Arab Emirates. If so, you are strongly advised to leave the website and to approach me offline at House of Arts Institute, Al Ain, UAE
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