Beginner cello students don’t always get taught how to tune a cello right away. So what happens when they get home to practice and the cello is out of tune? Here’s how it works:
Using A Tuner:
Tuning with a tuner is the easiest and most accurate way to tune your cello. Make sure it’s set to 440 htz and then listen to A and tune A, listen to D and tune D, etc. Some tuners also have the ability to hear your note and tell you how sharp or flat you are, taking the listening part out of it. That’s especially good for a beginner or someone who doesn’t trust their ear.
With Fine Tuners:
Fine tuners will tune a little at a time so they are good to use when you don’t have far to go and are easy for beginners to use. Turning it to the right will make the pitch higher and to the left will lower the pitch.
How To Tune A Cello With Pegs:
Tune with pegs when your strings are really flat or sharp. Push in the peg the entire time you’re moving it to avoid it slipping and completely unraveling. Push and turn it very slowly and carefully. A common string player injury for beginners is an overly eager student trying to tune with the pegs and twisting too far, resulting in a broken string and a hurt face.
For situations where there isn’t a tuner nearby, it’s always good to be able tune with harmonics. This is a more advanced way to tune but a great skill to learn early. Start with an in tune A string. Then to tune the D string play the A harmonic which is 3rd finger extended from 4th position and placed gently on the middle of the string (thumb in the nook where the neck meets the body). That harmonic should match the harmonic that is 1st finger in 4th position on the D string. If it doesn’t match, adjust the D string with the fine tuners until it does. After D is in tune, follow the same procedure to tune G and C string.
Help From Your Cello Teacher
Tuning a stringed instrument can be tricky and even dangerous if not done correctly. Beginners should get help from a teacher to tune with the pegs until they are confident to do it alone because the last thing you want is a snapped string in your eye. Be careful!