Violin Strings and Tuning

The violin has four strings representing the four musical notes G, D, A and E.

Learning the basics on how to tune a violin will train your musical ear and help you be more in-tune with your own instrument!

Advice for violin tuning

  • I would recommend an electronic tuner for a beginner violinist. An electronic tuner will give an accurate reference for the pitch(es) you are trying to achieve. By giving an accurate reference of what musical notes sound like, you will develop a musical ear to determine pitch variances on your own.
  • First, make sure that the bridge is not leaning forward and is properly placed between the two small notches in the F-Holes on either side of the fingerboard.
  • Reference the wooden pegs at the top of the instrument to begin tuning for a general pitch.
  • After tuning the wooden pegs, reference the fine tuners located on the tailpiece next to the bridge. The fine tuners adjust the general pitch achieved from the wooden pegs to a finer, more accurate pitch. (Note: Some violins only have one fine tuner on the “E” string. This neither impairs nor benefits a violin in regards to tuning.  A violin can be accurately tuned just by the wooden pegs. However, fine tuners are helpful to beginners to achieve the right pitch.)
  • It does not matter which string you begin tuning first, although most violinists start with the “G” string, following with D, A and E.
  • Turn the fine tuner clockwise to go up in pitch and counterclockwise to go down in pitch. Follow this procedure with each string. If the fine tuner will not go up or down any further, relocate the fine tuner to the center position and tune again with the wooden peg.

This is a video of Fred Carpenter from The Violin Shop putting the above points into visual format:

Keeping a new violin in tune:
Here are a few common issues with keeping a new violin in tune. Over time, the violin will adjust itself.

  • Slippage of the wooden pegs: Sometimes after tuning and achieving that perfect pitch the pegs will slip out of tune.
  • New strings: New strings adjusting to being stretched out across the fingerboard can sometimes make vary the pitch at different times.
  • String windings around the pegs need to be settled in and adjusted.
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