A few beginner violin tips!

October 3, 2016 at 02:25 PM ·

Hello there. This post will cover a few tips for violins. Whether you already have one and your new to the violin... Or you do not have one but your interested in mastering the violin... Its better to know these tips before trying to master it.

1. FIRST OF ALL. You must find a good violin tutor around your place. While its possible to master the violin without formal training, It will be one hell path learning it by yourself.

2. While there are many many brands out there... You want to buy a violin and your very confused, REMEMBER. There are some brands you want to avoid even buying... But I will not name them here because it might offend someone who already owns one.

And you might want to play the violin yourself before buying it. Just ask for a rosined bow and play the open strings. If you feel you like it... Its up to you. REMEMBER again... There are some brands... If not, MANY brands of violins that you want to avoid buying. Some of these brands will even sell their violins at $100-300. These are BAD ones. Often Chinese too, or called VSO: Violin-Shaped-Objects. While not entirely just a Violin shaped objects... A lot of second hand shops will sell violins made out of plywood. YES plywood. This is your worst nightmare.

3. Violins are made of Spruce, Maple, Ebony and Rosewood. If its made of plywood... Then your money is a waste. Disaster.

I have seen a shop that sells a Plywood-Made VSO. I seen myself. First play of the strings and it sounded like a dying elephant... Or even better, Nails being scratched on the chalkboard. I really did laughed at it, but the store owner dosnt know any difference between good violins and bad violins so he let me out of the shop.

Plywood. Seriously? Yep.

4. The second thing you should k ow that begginers must really do on the violin is to learn how to Change and Tune your own Violin strings. Just like the violin... THERE WILL BE some brands you might want to avoid. Those included are Chinese string brand. I know, I knoooow. Violins are an expensive investment... But it is worth it in the long run.

So, in the first week of learning the violin, Learn how to change and tune your strings.

Notes to remember: The tuning of the 4 open strings will be: G-D-A-E.

The G string will have a Black color code.

The D string will be Green

The A string is Blue or Light Blue.

E string will always be Red.

Many string brands will have drastic varying of color codes and even the designs. (mine having the G string on a Purple color code). The professional strings will have no color at all. If your a begginer... Do not buy it. You will likely confuse the D and A string resulting in snapping the strings due to over tightening it. Hence, you wasted your money.

5. Another thing you should remember. There is a light Rosin cake that will come with your new violin, THROW IT IN THE TRASH. Just buy a new rosin that will always last longer. The rosin that comes with your violin will only last for a few weeks and it will deteriorate.

-Note- same as the strings that come with your new violin. Throw it and buy new strings. (If you do not k ow yet how to replace strings, tell your coach/tutor/teacher to change it to you. This is why learning how to change the strings yourself will always come in handy.)

6. A few Do's and Do not's


1) Clean your violin every 2 months. It can be very dirty. Always.

2) Rosin Your bow every 1-2 days depending on your length of daily practice. (As an orchestra conductor and first chair in another orchestra, I rosin my bow every 2 hours. You get the idea of my intense practice.

3) Change your strings every 2-3 months.

The quality of your strings will reduce a LOT. From when you first buy it... To when your about to replace the strings. After 5 months, they will sound dull... Even if the strings had cost 1 million dollars (Which is only an example. No string set ever cost $1M).

4) Tighten the bow when playing, and loosen it when putting in the case and resting after practice. IF IT STAYS TIGHT, the bow hairs (Which are made of horse hair) will become loose, therefore, needing to rehair your bow after a short time.

5) Play any random songs in the violin if your bored and want to kill time... Its worth it than going on your phone/laptop playing addictive games. It will also help your improvement without knowing


6) Do play with a clip chromatic tuner on your first months of playing. It will help your intonation.

(There are world debates about playing with Fingerboard tapes or learning without. Your teacher might not recommend playing with tapes, then its FINE. Play with a Chromatic Tuner instead. Most new violin players will be pitch blind.

If your teacher recommends playing with tapes... Then its up to you. There are not firm studies whether you play with tapes or not will help you improve your intonation.)


1) Do NOT over tighten the strings, by obvious reasons, it WILL snap. Your first string that you will snap in your history will probably be an E string. It is the thinnest string and always a steel core string. Over tightening it by 1 to 1+Half Step will S*N*A*P the string. If you want to tune your strings, Practice on the strings that came with your new violin. Its OK to snap those. Bad quality sounding strings. Not worth keeping.

Well, this post had been long, and that's why that's what I will only cover for now. There will be a part two, maybe tomorrow or in the next days.

(PS. This whole post, I wrote purely in my phone *Insert Smiley Emoticon here* [?][?])

Replies (29)

October 3, 2016 at 12:06 PM · I hope this helps for begginers. I am open for tutorial rating by professionals out there.

October 3, 2016 at 02:34 PM · Confusing and some of the *advice* rather poor. Finger tapes should be avoided at all costs. This is a bit like the blind leading the blind.

October 3, 2016 at 02:40 PM · I'm going to be kind, because you're 13.

In addition to being, as Peter said, confusing and the advice isn't good, your post is riddled with errors. The bit about the string colors is so entirely wrong that I'm not even sure where you came up with it.

Also, this is a discussion forum.

October 3, 2016 at 05:27 PM · What Lydia said.

October 3, 2016 at 07:53 PM · I think she is sixteen according to her profile.

But for a sixteen year old she is extremely confident. But unfortunately this confidence is misplaced.

She should start to learn and listen to others, and understand that musically she knows very little.

It's a tough world, and too much misplaced confidence is bad, and will not get you very far.

October 3, 2016 at 09:10 PM · Her site bio says, "I am an amateur pianist and composer(13 years old) who now is learning violin". I wonder what profile you're seeing that's different from what I'm seeing.

October 4, 2016 at 12:38 AM · The OP's profile is confusing. There are two persons in it: Edlix aged 13, and Martha aged 16. On the evidence, Edlix is apparently Martha's younger brother. In this, and other discussions, is it Edlix or Martha writing - or both?

October 4, 2016 at 01:57 AM · The worst kind of vice is advise.....just saying...



October 4, 2016 at 02:53 AM · I've never seen such a 'shut-down' from posters, since my last post about my issues with security company at my building(for those who care, and/or remember, my building changed security company, and the guard who gave me trouble ended up being laid off, because she wasn't even supposed to be at the location I was in. I did not get an apology afterall, but, they won't bother me anymore.).

October 4, 2016 at 03:09 AM · I'm so confused about what you are talking about with the color codes. Don't buy strings that have the same silk color schemes? What. They are fairly clearly labeled in the package, and are each different sizes and made of definite metals. Also they usually will have different color silks at the nut for each string if not at the bridge... But either way it isn't that difficult to tell apart one strings from another... Especially if they're on your violin... Like they should be...

October 4, 2016 at 04:24 AM · Just in case anyone is still reading:

1. Always try out violins before buying one. If you're a beginner, please enlist the advice of your teacher before making a purchase. If you don't have a teacher and are embarking on this by yourself (not recommended), at least go to a local shop and ask their advice.

2. You don't need to learn to change your strings right away. The strings on a rental or new purchase should be fine. If you're borrowing someone else's violin with strings of an indeterminate age, take the violin to your local shop and ask for their assistance. The shop near me will change strings as a courtesy upon purchase. The colors of the string windings depend on the brand; there are web pages devoted to string identification for the curious. I have never seen a string without color.

3. The rosin that comes with a rental or purchase, if you have acquired your violin from a reputable shop, should be fine for awhile. That's exactly the kind of rosin I keep in my "picnic" violin (used for outdoor weddings) case. If you really don't want to use that cake, please don't throw it away--donate it to a local school program instead.

4. You should "clean" (wipe off with a soft dry cloth) your violin every time you put it away. If by "cleaning" anything more intrusive is intended, please leave that to the experts.

5. Bows do not need to be rosined every two hours unless you want your violin to look as if it has been in a snowstorm. I might rosin my bow twice a week, and I'm a professional. Yehudi Menuhin had a lot to say about rosin (he didn't like it and used as little as possible).

6. Personally I am not a fan of the clip-on chromatic tuner, or any other kind of electronic tuner except as an aid to tuning your A string. Tuners don't actually know what pitch you should be on. Here's a simple demonstration: Play the first finger "B" on the A string together with the open E, to make a perfect fourth. Adjust your finger until the B is perfectly in tune with the E. Now, without moving your finger, play that exact same B together with the open D string. It will sound terrible. Adjust the B until it sounds in tune with the open D string. Now try that B against the open E. Again, disaster! How does an electronic tuner know which B you should be playing? Answer: it doesn't.

7. Properly tuned violin strings should not snap, although occasionally a defective E string will do so. The strings that come with a new violin are most likely fine.

October 4, 2016 at 05:49 AM · Dare I say it, but that is very good advice! (From M E)

P S I do not find you in the least bit boring. (From another thread)

October 4, 2016 at 06:54 AM · Aww, thank you!

October 4, 2016 at 08:43 AM · Edlix & martha, at least you have given a profile, unlike the majority of V.Commers. As you know, young people and (supposed) adults are biologically programmed to misunderstand each other. Keep posting, you bring us a breath of fresh air!

October 4, 2016 at 02:29 PM · I think I made my post too much confusion.

Just to clarify that color codes...

In the end of the string (Likely a ball end as always), there is a cloth-like material usually 1.5-2 Inches long that has a color, and at the other end of the string where you put it in the peg, the same cloth like material.

For the G string, it is a common color that it is Black.

For the D, Again, commonly Green or Lime green.

For the A, it is commonly colored Blue.

And the E will always be red.

I am not talking about the color of the string itself. That will make the string unplayable for if the string is painted, it will produce a screetch. Or no sound at all, just the sound of the bow sliding on the string.

The type of string will be up to the players to suit their comfort. Gut Strings, Syntethic Core, Steel core... Its up to the players.

(part two of the tips, will be below.)


a). The bridge must not be too high or it will be very hard to press down on the strings therefore, adding double effort in playing.

As a result in a high bridge, the sound produced will be louder. But as again, Not virtually unplayable, but very hard to.

b). The bridge must not also be too much low, or the strings will likely touch the fingerboard (The front of the fingerboard, closest to the bridge) resulting in either Unwanted harmonic sounds or unwanted muteing of the strings.

-If the bridge is too high, take it your luthier and let him trim the bridge (if trim is the right word... I guess?) To the correct height.

If it is too low, buy a new one that is higher. A luthier can NOT fix a low bridge that need to be made higher. Doing that is plain stupid, just like saying that you can eat something backwards. (By backwards I mean, the food is from the stomach going out to your mouth and into the plate. That's vomiting. Not eating. Stupid right?)

October 4, 2016 at 04:17 PM · Edlix, no one thought the string itself was coloured!

But the colour scheme for the silk windings varies totally from one brand to another. Within a given brand, there will be different colours of silk on part of the string according to string tension (soft, medium, loud).

BTW I raised a bridge (without vomiting!) by glueing layers of visiting card under the feet (sufficiently stiff to still transmit the vibrations.)

October 4, 2016 at 10:01 PM · The silk winding on either end of the e string will most certainly not always be red. The Pirastro gold E is a dark green at the peg end and yellow ("gold") at the bridge end. That is only one of the numerous examples of strings that do not have a certain color of silk winding.

And, about the too low of a bridge thing, What Adrian said; I've heard of that before as well. In terms of bridge height in general... I don't see the relevance to as beginner. A competent teacher/friend that plays will be able to say immediately if the strings feel too high. I've never heard of those that complained a bridge was too low/open string brushes up against fingerboard. Though, of course, I guess it's possible... But, most importantly, never recommend to a beginner to "buy a new bridge". He/she is more than likely to buy a "fitted" bridge from amazon that ends up being complete rubbish and doesn't actually fit his/her violin

October 10, 2016 at 09:50 PM · I've seen beginner violins with tapes on them, and I don't see why they can't be used. Also, I once tried cutting bridges down with a file or sandpaper.

October 11, 2016 at 12:25 AM · I cannot agree with the OP's advice to change violin strings every 2-3 months. That is unnecessary and can get very expensive!!! Change when the string tone is false. With good strings, that should never happen to beginners in 2 months.

October 11, 2016 at 01:25 AM · I agree there is no need for beginners to change their strings frequently. I find that Tonicas are good strings and they are not expensive. They hold their tone very well as they age unlike some other well known brands ! I have no problem getting 12 months use from them (1 hour per day).

October 11, 2016 at 02:49 AM · How often you change your strings depends on how much you play and the tolerance you have for tonal degradation as the string ages. Many modern strings take forever to go false, but degrade tonally rather significantly in a much smaller amount of time.

I think you're better off buying cheaper strings, like Tonicas, and changing them more often, than buying high-priced strings, like Evah Pirazzis, and changing them less frequently, if budget is an issue.

October 11, 2016 at 02:56 AM · Ms. Leong, I am not sure what the difference is between degrading tonally and going false? Do you mean the character or quality of the string tone will diminish without the pitch going false?

October 11, 2016 at 04:02 AM · When strings go false, they cease to resonate stably -- the pitch wavers.

But when they degrade, they produce less power, resonance, and overtones. They're not obviously off, but they are definitely not sounding their best, and you can really hear the difference when you change the strings again.

October 11, 2016 at 10:36 AM · Elia, "tapes" is like shounder rests, or finger vibrato: a red rag to a bull, turning decent folk who love-their-neighbours-as-themselves into arrogant tyrants. Great fun, though.

October 11, 2016 at 06:01 PM · Lydia, how many playing hours do you go before changing strings? I've heard 100 up to 150 hours is about right. So, in my case, that means I change them every ~2.5 months, up to a max of 3 if I'm being lazy about it (and in the latter case I'm pushing 180-200 hours, which is probably too long).

October 11, 2016 at 06:44 PM · Jason, in my experience it's more about time elapsed than playing hours, but they often amount to the same thing. Most months I play between 100 and 150 hours and I certainly don't change every month. Every 3 perhaps.

October 11, 2016 at 08:07 PM · I change about every 6 months but probably really should change every 3. I used to change every 3, often trying out new strings, but strings have gotten really expensive and that's made me less inclined to the great string experiment.

October 11, 2016 at 11:42 PM · My stand partner hasn't changed his strings since he rented his instrument... He's been renting it for 5 years now... It's a half size... He's almost 6 feet tall now...

I'm not exactly sure what is up with him...

October 15, 2016 at 11:49 PM · Regarding the advice "6) Do play with a clip chromatic tuner on your first months of playing. It will help your intonation." - I have written a tuner for Android that helps me exactly this way:


Please try it, hopefully you'll find it useful :-)

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