How to tune a Violin for beginners

February 12, 2020, 8:45 AM ·

Before we can start to tune our violin, we need to know the correct names of the open strings. In this graphic you can see the notes and their names in order from the lowest to the highest string:


Names of the open strings on the Violin from lowest to highest: G, D, A and E

How to compare the open strings

The next step is to find a source to compare our open strings to. Professionals and advanced students usually only relate the open A-string to an outside source and tune the other strings by ear from there. But as a beginner this method is not useful, since you will have to learn how a perfect fifth sounds first.

When you first start to tune your instrument as a beginner you need a device or instrument, which can give you the correct pitches of the open strings or recognize them and show you visually. There are 3 main options available:

  1. A tuning device or app (visual pitch recognition)
  2. A metronome which can create sounds to compare with
  3. An instrument that has all the notes we need to compare our open strings to like a piano for example

Now we need to make sure that we don't break a string :) Let me explain to you how:

There are two different options to change the tension and therefore the pitch of the violin strings. One is the pegs at the scroll and the other is the finetuners at the tailpiece. For beginners the finetuners are the way to go! You should at this point not touch the pegs at the peg box if possible. If the string is terribly out of tune, so that the finetuners can't do the job, you should go to someone, who can help you tune the violin with the pegs. Only if you feel safe enough, you should try it yourself. But at least watch this video before you do so:



Keep in mind that not every violin has a tailpiece with 4 finetuners. As a beginner make sure you have a tailpiece with 4 finetuners, so that you can tune every string without the pegs.


How the finetuners work

To tune the violin with the fine tuners you basically just need to know in which direction the pitch of the string gets higher and in which direction lower. Here you go:

Clockwise = higher pitch

Counterclockwise = lower pitch

Now we need to learn how play an open string on the violin with the left hand at the fine tuner, as shown in the video "How To Tune A Violin - For Beginners - Easy!" at the 6-minute-mark. Next we compare the pitch of the string to the source of our choice and adjust the pitch until the open string matches the pitch of the source we compare it with, or the tuning device shows us the correct pitch visually.

I hope that I could help you with tuning the violin. Watch the whole video to get more detailed information. You can also leave a comment, if you have any further question or get in touch with me at violin-education.com :)


Have fun practicing!


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