How to Tune Your Violin using an Electronic Tuner

Learn How to Tune Your Violin, Part 3 of 3

Having an electronic violin tuner simplifies the process a lot! However, some teachers believe that using a tuner deprives a student from being able to hear if a note is out of tune. My experiencd opinion is that you will hear yourself playing many in- and out-of-tune notes, and that you will benefit from playing on a well-tuned instrument from the beginning...regardless of how it was tuned. You will need to eventually learn to tune your instrument from a reference pitch (as described above), especially if you intend to play with other instrumentalists or an orchestra. You can also choose to go through ear training, which isn't as hard as it sounds!

Here is the process of tuning with an electronic tuner:

  • Place the tuner near where you'll be playing. If your environment is quiet, you can usually be within a couple of feet of the tuner. Some tuners actually clip onto the instrument!
  • Turn on the tuner. You may need to select what pitch (note) you need to tune to. Usually, for violin, you start with A. Then, D, G, and finally the highest string, E.You may be able to simply play a pitch and the violin tuner will tell you what note you're playing. Usually, this is called "Auto-tune" mode, or something similar.
  • Play only the string you're tuning. Try to play specifically only that string and make sure there isn't a lot of background noise.
  • Pay attention to the information on the tuner. Sometimes, you will see a set of lights that indicate if the string you're playing is high or low. Other tuners have a needle that swings on a dial.
  • Adjust the string(s) you are tuning using your fine tuners for small adjustments and your pegs for larger adjustments. The fine tuners can only adjust within about one note of the string's correct pitch. (So, for example, if you are tuning the A string and it is actually making the note G, you will probably want to use the fine tuners.)

The tuner that I recommend for my students is typically something like this Korg tuner, below. It's generally less than $20 and works on more instruments than just the violin. I have included a link below where you can buy this tuner if you wish (I would earn a small commission from your purchase).

Korg CA-1 Chromatic Tuner

This tuner is "chromatic" which means it will tune any instrument to whatever note you set the tuner to. It tells you if your violin is too high or too low.

Korg CA-1 Chromatic Tuner - Buy Now!

Korg CA-1 Chromatic Tuner

Korg (the company who made the tuner above) made an excellent information video about using this tuner to tune a violin:

Part 1 - Beginning Instructions - Learn to Tune Your Violin - You are here!

Part 2 - Tuning Your Violin Manually (Without an Electronic Tuner)

Part 3 - Tune Your Violin with an Electronic Tuner Device

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