When it comes to instruments, none are as wonderful to listen to than the violin.
However, when it comes to violin tuning, many people don’t know which violin tuners are the best violin tuners, or sometimes even how to tune a violin properly.
Due to there being no frets on a violin, it tends to make a violin rather difficult to tune accurately, without the aid of a violin tuner.
So when it comes to tuning a violin, how would you go about doing that?
Before we have a look at tuning the violin using a piano, tuner, or any other means, we need to have a look at the question of “how do you tune a violin?”.
To do that, we need to understand the violin, and a few terms that surround it.
- The Violin
- How Is a Violin Tuned?
- Types of Violin Tuning & How to Use Them?
- Best Violin Tuners: Types & Reviews
- In Conclusion
A violin is made up of three main parts, namely the fingerboard, the tuning pegs (attached to the pegboard), and the body.
Of course the violin strings are also a component, and we’ll get to them shortly.
When it comes to tuning, the pegboard is the main component used, however there are also some fine-tuners attached to the body of the violin, and these are generally used when tuning the violin to the level of accuracy required for precise, beautiful music.
Now we come to the strings.
The violin strings are named after music notes, and the notes are G, D, A, and E respectively (each string being higher than the previous one, going from left to right).
The strings are hooked into the fine-tuners in the lower-half of the violin body.
The strings then go over the bridge, and all the way to the other end of the violin, where they’re attached to the tuning pegs.
How Is a Violin Tuned?
Whether you’re using a piano, a violin tuner, or an app on your phone, there are a few basic principles that still apply when tuning a violin.
The basics that have to be followed, are the four violin notes mentioned earlier.
These are often called the “violin tuning notes”, and remembering which ones they are is vital when it comes to tuning a violin.
Standard Violin Tuning
The first thing when wanting to know how to tune a violin for the first time, is to choose the right string.
The orchestral violinists generally start with their “A” string, the “D” string, “G” string, and finally the high “E” string.
The reason for this has been speculated to be because the “A” and “D strings are closed to the middle of the fingerboard, and so less warping and damage to the violin will occur, but the results is that the tone of the violin generally sounds better.
However, when we look at the actual tuning of the violin, the best practice is as follows.
The violinist first gets each string to within a semi-tone of the required note, either by copying the notes on the piano, or by using a violin tuner.
Once each string is close enough, then they switch from tuning using violin pegs, to using the fine tuners at the base of the fingerboard.
The function of the violin fine-tuners is inherent in their names, as you use them to get the violin strings from “almost there” to pitch perfect.
Getting the pitches accurate using the tuners though, varies from tuner to tuner.
Types of Violin Tuning & How to Use Them?
Now that you know the basics of how to tune a violin with the pegs, it’s time to learn about the various methods that go along with tuning a violin.
The few main ones are tuning by ear, and using a violin tuner (the latter being the most accurate of the three methods).
How to Tune a Violin by Ear?
Tuning a violin by ear will require one of two methods, either using a piano, or doing what is called “relative violin tuning”, which is tuning the violin based on the pitches of the other strings.
Tuning the Violin Using the Piano
When tuning the violin using the piano, it’s best to start with the “A” key on the piano, and then play the “A” string on the violin at the same time, and compare whether the violin note sounds higher or lower than the piano note.
Then it’s a simple case of adjusting the violin’s tuning peg (if it’s a huge difference) or fine-tuner.
After which you simply repeat the same process for each string, and there you have it!
Relative tuning on the violin doesn’t require a tuning at all, and is pure “tuning by ear”.
How it works, is by starting on the low “G”, and moving up from there. What you need to do, is place your fingers on the violin’s fingerboard in the “whole-note, whole-note, half-note, whole-note” position (also known as the 1, 2, flat-3, 4 position).
Now, if the fourth finger is placed correctly, the pitch should be identical to the next string.
If the next string up is off, then all you do is adjust the fine-tuner accordingly, and move your hand one string higher in that same position and repeat.
In time, you’ll get to the stage where you will play two adjoining strings at the same time, listening for the “perfect fifth” note difference.
The more experienced you are, the easier it will be to hear and adjust, but in the initial stages, using the “fourth-finger” method of relative tuning should work for you.
How to Tune a Violin With a Tuner?
Tuning a violin with a tuner sounds pretty complicated, but it’s actually simpler than tuning using the conventional methods.
Again, it’s recommended to start from the “A” string, but other than that the process goes as follows.
- Start playing your violin string, and see which note registers on the violin tuner.
- Adjust higher or lower, depending on what the note is, until the tuner is showing the desired note, in this case “A4”. You can use the tuning pegs for this step.
- Once the correct note is showing on the screen, use the fine-tuners to adjust the note until it no longer shows # or b on the screen (which means sharp or flat).
- Repeat the process with the other three strings, making sure each is in tune.
- Go through each string once more, to make sure that it’s still in tune.
It’s that simple.
That’s the reason why violin tuners are recommended when it comes to standard violin tuning, as it takes less time and effort to tune the violin, than it would through conventional means.
Best Violin Tuners: Types & Reviews
Types of violin tuners
Now that you know that violin tuners exist, you might be wondering “which one is the best violin tuner?”.
Well, that depends on your budget, location, and accuracy requirements.
There are a score of violin tuners out there, some advanced in technology and nature, and others so simple a child could use them.
There are violin tuners for mobile phones, and even some that you can load onto your computer.
The clear solution would be to list our top choices for each medium then.
Standard Violin Tuners
A standard violin tuner is one that you can use anywhere, is often battery powered, and can hear and measure the pitch of your violin, in order to tell you if you’re sharp, flat, or on key.
The following list showcases a few of the best violin tuner options on the market, as well as their pros and cons.
They’re not listed here in any particular order, as it’s best for each person to test a violin tuner for themselves, to see how they feel after they’ve used it.
Mobile-based Violin Tuners
The next section is about violin tuners that you can get for your mobile phone.
Again, the best violin tuning apps listed here aren’t listed in any particular order, as each person needs to test a violin tuner for themselves to see which one works for them.
So whether you’re looking for the best violin tuner for android, or the best violin tuner for iPhone, experimentation is required.
What are the benefits to using a violin tuner app though? Well for starters, convenience.
In this day and age, everyone carries around a smartphone with them, and the processing power of the phone means that it’s easy to download and use a pretty powerful digital violin tuner.
Online Violin Tuners
Many people often wonder if there’s any stock to be put into using a web-based online violin tuner, and the answer is yes and no.
Although there is stock to be put into the functionality offered, or rather the idea of how useful it would be to have a web-based violin tuner, in actuality, it’s not as viable.
Why? Because if you can use a website on your phone or pc as a violin tuner, why not just download an app to do it?
However that being said, there might come a time when you’ll need a web-based violin tuner, and you won’t have access to the app store on your phone.
With that in mind, here is an online violin tuner for you.
This website is pretty well thought out and written. It shows the four notes of the violin, as well as a few extra notes.
If you allow access to your microphone, then it can tell you how close you are to the pitch.
Over and above that, it can play out the notes for you to match with, which can help you in ear training.
- Not flash-based, so it works on Mac or Windows
- Can use microphone, or play notes for you to match with.
- It’s an online tuner for violin
- No Metronome
- Design is simplistic
- Might not work on all phones
- Can’t be used in noisy area
In short, using this website as an online violin tuner can be useful, as it can show you the notes, as well as listen to your violin and tell you if your pitch is off or not.
As a last resort, definitely useful, but always best to stick to a standalone violin tuner, or a violin tuning app.
In conclusion, if you’re wondering how to tune a violin with a tuner, then this article should point you in the right direction.
If you’re wondering what the best tuner for a violin is, or you’re wanting violin tuner reviews, then this article should help with that too.
However, the thing that makes a violin tuner a good violin tuner is up to you.
You need to use it and see if it’s right for you, whether it’s easy to use, and how accurate it is.
Once you’ve found one you like, then that’s the violin tuner you should go for.