Need advice ref tuning violin

September 6, 2017, 4:43 AM · Hi guys, I am totally new to the violin world having played the piano for nearly 40 years.

I picked up an entry level electric violin and love it, however I am really struggling when it comes to tuning. Basically, I know how to tune the GDAE individually, but when I tune say G correctly, then move onto D, all the other strings go out of tune, I just can't get them all to tune at the same time. Each time I touch another string it puts the others out of tune.

I am sure I am doing something wrong, any advice?

Many thanks!

Replies (10)

September 6, 2017, 5:01 AM · Make sure the bridge isn't tilting toward the fingerboard, when you tighten other strings, if the bridge is tilted it will get pulled forward. also, make sure that when you tune the violin that you push inward slightly on the pegs. if you ONLY turn the pegs, and not apply inward pressure, they will likely slide back out of tune.
September 6, 2017, 5:06 AM · Hi there Christopher and thank you for your fast reply, very much appreciated!

That makes sense, I will give that a go and report back.

many thanks

September 6, 2017, 5:10 AM · Do the strings get higher or lower?
There are also possibilities like bad placed pegs or broken neck.
September 6, 2017, 5:36 AM · Hi there Marc,

They get lower.

September 6, 2017, 5:45 AM · There are videos on YouTube for how to tune your violin. Might make sense to watch a couple of them. It seems like something that should be trivial but there are definitely some dos-and-donts.
September 6, 2017, 5:51 AM · Hi there Paul, yes I've watched a few of them and managed to tune my non-electrical violin pretty quickly, so I agree, a trivial process. I have a good hearing for pitch, plus I am using an online violin tuner which is great because I can plug the electric violin into the PC and listen to both the violin and PC on the same headphones to get the pitch.

I have managed to get it tuned at last using Christopher's suggestions, I suspect the strings are cheap and I may need to purchase some better quality ones. Any suggestions of which ones to buy?

Many thanks

Edited: September 6, 2017, 7:12 AM · Rex, All new strings take a while to remain in tune.
Steel strings are the most stable and take less time to settle down.
Synthetic core strings less stable, take longer to stabilize but will fluctuate some with changing ambient conditions of temperature and humidity.
Gut and gut-core strings are the least stable and will need close attention to tuning multiple times during the same playing session. The amount of pitch variation of gut strings with humidity change will seem incredible to the initiated.

No matter what strings you use, it is important to check your tuning every time you play.

For your uses on an electric instrument there may be some recommended strings, but my guess would be that toward the lowish-end Helicore (steel strings) would likely be a pretty good bet. Also the higher end (more expensive) Pirastro Flexocor-Permanent (also steel core) might be an outstanding choice.

I have used both of these brands at times on acoustic violins only and have sets of Flexocor-Permanent on a couple of fiddles now in preference to any other strings. (These strings are the closest relation to the Pirastro Permanent brand of viola and cello strings.)

September 6, 2017, 6:05 PM · Assuming it isn't the strings just stretching - which has been covered, something else that can cause pegs to slip (the other option after stretching and your bridge falling) is how the string is wound around the peg.

Can you share a pic of your pegbox? - then we can tell you if they're wound in such a way as the tension pulls the peg into the box, instead of popping it out.

I had a nasty D string that just wouldn't stay tuned - this was the solution.

September 7, 2017, 1:17 AM · If your non-electric doesn't do this to the same degree, it may be that something in your electric is flexing more with changes in string load. This could either be a design or materials issue, or a problem like the neck coming loose.
September 15, 2017, 2:50 PM · Hi there, just wanted to say thanks to all those who contributed to my thread, I have taken on board all suggestions and can happily report back that my violin is now in tune. I think it needed a little time for the strings to stretch. Once again, many thanks!

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