In a time where there are many electric tuners, applications, and software available nowadays to make tuning your instrument a breeze, it’s still important to tune your instrument by ear.
It’s a skill that any serious musician should learn if they want to improve their craft and become a good player. And the best thing is that tuning by ear is free and uses only your skill. Thank you and spread the word!
It is important that you should always tune from below the note, up when you are tuning any instrument. This avoids string breakages and systematizes the process of tuning. With this, you will eventually become more familiar with the sound of a perfect, in-tune string. When you tune your violin, you should use fine tuners if possible. In the case wherein a fine tuner has been wound right down to the end of the screw, loosen the fine tuner all the way to the end of the screw before carefully tightening the tuning peg. With this, you can avoid the string from being over-tightened.
When you are tuning a violin, you have to play the note continuously with the bow and listen carefully to the string as it tightens towards the desired pitch.
It is recommended to start by tuning the A string first, followed by the D, G then E strings. When you master the sound of the notes of the different strings eventually, you can try tuning the strings against each other. This is known as the relative tuning.
Relative tuning is the way of tuning the violin to itself and is a skill that requires a lot of practice and time. At an early stage, some people find it easier to hear the true pitch of the note by closing their eyes and tilting their left ear towards the F holes. Try this method while you tune your violin.
For beginners, you should start learning the violin with standard tuning as standardized tuning gives you a better feel for the instrument and is easier to learn.
Tuning the violin made simple.
- To prevent strings from breaking, always tune from below the note.
- It is advisable to use fine tuners to prevent string breakages. Don’t over tighten the string at the peg because you will not be able to tune down with the loose fine tuners.
- In tuning a violin, tune the A string first, followed by D, G then E strings. That is how orchestral violinists tune their violins.
- If you are using a tuner then try to hum the right note from the tuner first before you tune. This is for you to know exactly what note you are looking for. If you can’t reach the note with your voice, simply visualize humming it, this has the same effect.
Tuning with Electronic Violin Tuners
Many beginners in violin find it helpful to use a digital tuner to tune their violin. There are many different types of electronic violin tuners in the market. Some are affordable, but some are pretty expensive. Basically, there are two kinds of an electronic tuner. First, there are the tuners that produce a sound, and you tune your violin to match that sound. Also, there is this type where you pluck a string, and then it shows on a little screen what pitch you’re at, and then you tune it until it matches the correct note.
Here are some sample photos of electronic violin tuners:
First, you have to familiarize yourself with the notes of the strings. The thickest string of a violin is called the G string. While the thinnest is the E string. Pluck a string on the violin and tweak the pegs on it until the correct note on the electric tuner is reached. Do the same thing with the rest of the strings.
A reminder to make several passes with each of the strings. There might be a tendency wherein the strings that you first tuned will be off a little bit after tuning the rest of the strings. This happens because you are increasing or decreasing the tension on each of the strings as you tune it and the violin body might bend ever so slightly due to this difference in tension. This results for the other strings to slightly change in pitch. Make sure you keep on checking and tuning the strings until all are in perfect tune.