How to Tune at Home

Violins and violas need lots of tuning! Every day, or at least every other day, and DEFINITELY right before your lesson! It is much more fun to play on an instrument that is in tune, plus it is important for aural development, and maintaining the condition of your instrument too.

How to Tune at Home:

  1. Download a chromatic tuner app. The best are Cleartune or TonalEnergy. Both are available on iOS and Android, for around $5. Gstrings Tuner on Android is free and also good.
  2. Turn on your tuner. Start with one string. Pluck it several times. The tuner should show the note name (eg. “A”), and whether the note is too high, too low, or in tune.
  3. Adjust the tuning using the fine tuner screws on the tailpiece (not the big tuning pegs by the scroll). If the note is too high, loosen the fine tuner (lefty-loosey, counterclockwise). If the note is too low, tighten the fine tuner (tighty-righty, clockwise).
  4. If the string is very out of tune, you might need to use the big tuning peg. This is if your A string is showing up as a G or another note on your tuner! This is a job for an adult, and this takes more skill so the string doesn’t break or unwind completely. To tune with a tuning peg: 1. follow the string down to the peg to make sure you’re using the correct peg for that string. 2. Start by slowly loosening the peg just a bit. Do this by turning the peg TOWARD you. 3. Slowly and carefully tighten the peg by turning it away from you, while also pushing the peg sideways into the hole. 4. Pluck and check with the tuner until you are seeing the right note name (eg. “A” for A string). Then stop, and finish tuning using the fine tuner, as instructed above.

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