Tuning Your Violin

If you’re new to learning violin, you might be intimidated at the thought of tuning your instrument for the first time. Don’t worry if tuning seems complicated at first. Trala teachers have taught thousands of beginner violinists to tune their instrument. With a good electronic tuner and a little bit of practice, you can be confident in your ability to tune your violin.

If you’re already a Trala student, you have access to an in-app violin tuner that lets you quickly tune your violin at the start of every practice session. To get started, watch the video below to learn how to safely tune your instrument. Then, open the app and look for the violin tuner icon at the bottom of your Trala homepage. Trala will listen to you bow or pluck open strings and tell you how to adjust the fine tuners of your violin (or tuning pegs, if you’re really out of tune) to achieve the right note.

If you aren’t able to download Trala or tuning app, consider purchasing a clip-on chromatic tuner. Remember, even professional musicians rely on tuners. Unless you have perfect-pitch, a good tuner is a must-have for any student violinist.

Need help tuning? Watch this video to learn how to tune your violin as a beginner.

Pegs slipping? Watch this video to troubleshoot common violin tuning problems.

Violin tuning cheat sheet

How to tune a violin

1) Take out your clip-on tuner or use Trala’s in-app violin tuner. Many orchestral violinists start by tuning the A string. At Trala, we break with tradition and encourage beginner violinists to tune their E string (the thinnest string) before moving on to the rest of the violin strings.

2) Pluck or bow the string. If your tuner indicates that your string is slightly too sharp, turn the fine tuner on that string to the left (counterclockwise) to loosen it slightly.

3) Play or pluck your string and continue to adjust until your violin tuner indicates that you are in tune.

4) If your tuner indicates that your string is slightly too flat, tighten it by turning your fine tuner to the right until you have reached the correct pitch.

5) If your string is loose and needs a bigger adjustment than the fine tuner allows for, use the peg box.

6) If you’re standing, sit down. With the F holes facing you, place your violin on one leg. Anchor your violin to your hip and securely hold the shoulder of your violin with your left hand.

7) If your string is too low, it will need to be tightened. Slowly turn the peg away from you (clockwise), pushing the peg into the scroll of your violin as you turn. This is a slow, incremental motion. Remember, never crank the pegs of your violin, or you’ll break your string.

8) Stop to play or pluck the string. When your violin tuner indicates that your string is nearly in tune, stop turning the peg and firmly push it into the scroll of your violin to secure the string. Finish tuning by using the fine tuner until you've reached the desired pitch.

9) Repeat the tuning process with the rest of your strings in this order: A and E string, D string, G string.

If you tune your violin every time you practice and stick to a regular practice schedule, you’ll notice that your strings will stay in tune for longer periods of time. If you stick with your practice routine and keep your violin away from excessive cold, heat, and humidity, you’ll find your violin only needs minor adjustment to get in tune. When in doubt, use your fine tuners (not the pegs)!

Trala Teachers
If you want to take a deep dive into Bluegrass fiddle technique, create a shimmering, silvery tone when playing Elgar, or learn to read sheet music for the first time, your Trala teacher will give you the support and mentorship you need to learn (and love!) violin.

Learn violin at any age, from anywhere.

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Photography by Orel Chollette
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