Tuning the violin

1. First, make sure your bridge is properly placed between the two small notches in the F-Holes. See Lesson 3 for proper bridge placement. Additionally, make sure the bridge is not leaning forward; it should be leaning backward very slightly.

2. Upon assessing that the bridge is properly placed and standing with a slight backward tilt, we are going to start by tuning our wooden pegs up to relative pitch. You'll need some sort of reference to determine this...

a. Pitch Pipe for Violin (has the four notes: G D A E)

b. Electronic Tuner (either chromatic or guitar/bass) This is highly recommended since as a beginner, the most difficult hurdle is developing an ear to determine pitch variances. By investing in an electronic tuner, the tuning process becomes less frustrating while ear development is even better attuned...especially since there's an accurate electronic reference.

c. Piano (reference the "D" string above middle "C" on the piano—

If you have a problem with the wood pegs slipping, you'll need to either apply peg drops (available at most music stores) or rub a little rosin dust (from your rosin cake) on each peg where it inserts into the peghead.

3. After tuning your wooden pegs up to relative pitch, we will now fine tune the fiddle with the fine tuners located on the tailpiece (Note: some violins only have one fine tuner on the E string). Using any of the reference tools above, begin with the "G" string and tune the fine tuner clockwise to go up in pitch and counterclockwise to go down in pitch. Follow this procedure with each string. If your fine tuner will not go up, or down, any further, relocate the fine tuner to the center position and attempt to tune again with the wood pegs.

Additional Tips on Tuning a Violin

Common Issues in Keeping a New Violin in Tune:
1. Slippage on the Wooden Pegs
2. New strings will require some stretching before they settle in and hold pitch.
3. The string windings on the pegs themselves need to be settled in...

I recommend a few things to ensure that the violin does settle in properly and holds perfect pitch:
1. Use Peg Drops...peg drops will ensure that the wooden pegs do not slip whatsoever...using rosin is secondary to this...and will work if done properly...
2. Try pulling the strings slightly upwards after tuning to pitch...this can take some of the slack out of the strings and help accelerate the settling in process for new strings.
3. Be sure to be pushing the wooden pegs in as you tune the strings up to pitch...this ensures that the pegs hold tighter as the tension of the string goes up.