When you start taking violin lessons in Seattle, there’s much to look forward to! Learning the violin is a rewarding and enriching activity that will bring you challenges but also great joy. There’s so much to learn, and one of the most important things you’ll need to learn initially is how to tune your violin. You’ll need to tune your violin daily, and if you’re really playing your violin a lot outside of your violin lessons in Seattle, you may even need to tune it multiple times per day. Your Seattle violin teacher will probably tune the violin for you when you first start, but very soon, you’ll need to understand what you need to do in order to keep your violin in tune and sounding great. You should always tune your violin before every practice or performance.
Below, we’ll help you perfect your tuning skills with ten step-by-step instructions that are perfect for beginners taking violin lessons in Seattle.
The Basics of Tuning a Violin
You’ll undoubtedly learn in your violin lessons that the violin has 4 strings, G, D, A, and E. Your violin has two ways that you can adjust the pitch of your instrument: pegs at the top of the violin and fine tuners at the base of the bridge. The pegs are used to make larger tuning adjustments, and as their name suggests, the fine tuners make minor adjustments. You’ll be able to use both of these to tune your instrument, but you’ll likely only use the pegs at the start of your tuning training.
To begin to train your ear to your violin, you’ll need something to help you tune. This could be a piano (one of the best options, really!), or this could be an electric, or digital, chromatic tuner. Any of these options will listen to the note you’re plucking and give you feedback on how close you are to being in tune. You can then adjust your instrument accordingly.
10 Steps to Tuning Your Violin
- Start with the lowest string, G, and find that pitch on your piano or tuner.
- Hold the violin upright on your lap, with the base resting in your lap.
- Grip the lower, left-hand peg connected to the G string with your left hand (usually your thumb and index finger).
- Use your right hand to hold the violin firmly in place where the neck and the body of the violin connect.
- Loosen the tension of the G string by turning the peg clockwise about ¼ turn.
- With your right hand, pluck the string over and over. You should pluck the string several times per second so you can hear how in-tune you are. Plucking several times per second allows your tuner to read the sound and give you feedback to adjust.
- As you continue to pluck the string with your right-hand fingers, use your left hand to continue to adjust, turn the peg counter-clockwise while at the same time pushing the peg into the pegbox.
- Stop tuning when the pitch of the string you’re plucking matches the tuner.
- Push the peg tightly back into the pegbox to secure the string.
- If you think that the pitch of the string still sounds off after tuning with the peg, you can then use the fine tuners on your strings.
Repeat these steps with each of the remaining three strings. However, note that the pegs for the other strings need to be turned in the opposite direction of the G string.
Key Things to Remember about Tuning your Violin
As you begin to learn more about your violin through your violin lessons in Seattle, you’ll begin to train your ear until you can almost tune your violin by yourself with no help from a tuner. But until then, keep in mind these things:
New Strings Stretch
This means that if you have recently put new strings on your instrument, they will need time to settle into position. This can take a few days or even up to a week. Until the strings settle, make sure you have your tuner handy because you’ll need it more frequently.
Remember to Push the Pegs
When we talk about tuning your violin using the pegs, we can get lazy and refer to the tuning process as ‘turning’ the peg in one direction or another. But more specifically, you should be gently pushing the pegs in the direction you need to adjust the tuning. If you actually turn the peg, you can easily turn it too much or too hard, which can cause the peg to move suddenly and cause some problems. Your string can come loose, the peg could fall out, but most likely, you’ve just put yourself further away from the pitch you’d like to reach.
It sounds silly, but you need to tune your violin frequently. And by this, we mean any time you take your violin out of its case. When it’s been at rest, it has the possibility to lose its tune, even if you played it earlier in the day and tuned it then. Make sure you keep it tuned throughout your practice sessions, whether in your lessons or on your own. The more you play, the more opportunity it has to fall out of tune and need adjustment.
Learning to tune your violin can seem daunting, but you should use a tuner to help you train your ear and to reach the perfect pitch each time. You should invest in an electric or digital tuner to help you if you don’t have a piano or keyboard. Take care to gently tune each string one at a time, whether you use the pegs or the fine tuners on your violin. Take care not to over tighten strings as this could cause breakage of the strings. If you need help tuning your violin, make sure you consult your Lessons from Home teacher to help you figure out how you can improve your tuning skills.
If you are interested in learning more about the violin or if you want to sign up for lessons, contact us! Our teachers come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. Our online music lessons are taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your family!