Violin accessories

Here are some other violin accessories that you will come across during your violin career. As with all things, some accessories are more necessary than others.

Mutes: Mutes are devices placed upon the violin bridge to dampen or mute the sound of the violin. Violinists generally use two types of mutes:

  • Mutes for passages of music which call for a muted sound. Composers use these muted passages for special effects or a contrast of sound.
  • Practice mutes which significantly reduce the sound of the violin, so that violinists can practice and not bother others nearby.

Music stand: A music stand holds sheet music. Most music stands can be adjusted according to the height of the violinist. When the sheet music is placed on the stand, the stand should be at eye-level.

Fingerboard Tape: To assist beginning violinists, some violin teachers use thin strips of colored tape to mark where students should place their fingers on the violin fingerboard.

Violin Polish: To clean your violin, all that is generally needed is a dry, lint-free cloth to wipe rosin from your strings after each playing session. Although polish is rarely necessary, there may be times when you need to clean your violin. It is important to never use commercial furniture polish and/or water to clean your violin (doing so could damage the varnish and acoustics of the violin).

Extra violin strings: As you progress as a violinist, it is thoughtful to keep on hand some extra violin strings, particularly A- and E-strings, the ones that tend to break the most frequently. Having an extra string in your violin case will quickly solve the problem of an unforeseem string breakage. Nothing is worse than having a string pop before a performance or speical event!


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.