How to Tune The Violin
Violins should be tuned often.
Tune your instrument every time it comes out of the violin case. Every 30-45minutes with while playing.
Pegs vs. Mechanical Pegs
Most violins come with one or the other type of violin peg. Pegs are traditionally made by shaving the wood to fit into the pegbox of the violin. The friction holds the peg in place and prevents the violin from going out of tune. A traditional peg will go out of tune every few minutes to a few hours.
Mechanical Pegs look very similar to regular pegs but they are a plastic outside with a mechanical inside part. The mechanical piece of the peg holds the peg in place and keeps it in tune for a longer period of time.
Some violins will have what’s called fine tuners. They are small black screws located on the tail piece of the violin as you can see with this picture. These can be used to make small adjustments to the tuning. Not all violins have them and many only have one on the E-string.
Tuner Device or App
The easiest way to tune the violin is using a tuner. You can either download a tuner app on a cell phone/tablet or purchase a stand-alone chromatic tuner. Be sure to look for the right chromatic tuner because there are different kinds for different instruments.
A tuner is a device or an app on the cell phone that hears the sound the violin is making and then lets you know if the pitch or sound is too high or too low.
How to Tune
To tune, place your tuner or cell app next to the instrument and gently pluck or pull the violin string. Look at the tuner and it will tell you what you are plucking and if that note is sharp or flat.
Order of Notes
Remember the order of the notes is simple: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. These notes repeat over and over, getting higher or lower.
Order of the Strings
On the violin we have the E, A, D, G string so we need to tune the notes to each one of those. Musicians in groups always start by tuning the A note first.
Moving the Pegs
Start by gently pulling the A string and then look at the tuner or app to determine what note is currently sounding. It may not be the A note. Take the peg and push it in and gently turn the peg down about half of a turn. Pluck or pull the string and check to see if the note is in tune, if not make adjustments by turning the peg up or down until it reaches the A note. Be careful to only adjust one half turn of the peg each time to avoid any broken strings. Note: Mechanical pegs do not push in they just gently turn.
Checking the Note
Check the note on the tuner to see if it is the right note, if not make small adjustments. Be careful to not over tighten the string or it will snap. To prevent this, always turn the peg down a small amount and then up. If you are unsure of the direction to reach the right note, go down first then up.