First of all, please note: This is a fairly old thread, but I thought it still worth a revisit.
The first thing that needs to happen before tuning a violin is to learn the fingering for the strings. That is a very, very important process. I’m going to discuss the standard fingering for each string in the thread.
Once you have completed that, I suggest you start tuning a violin. Once you get the soundboard tuned and you hear the strings, begin tuning your violin. The first thing is to know how you will be playing this string. How does it sound? How does it vibrate? Do you like the sound? This is the very first thing you should learn.
Do you think of the violin as a string instrument?
Most of the time you are playing violin with the strings touching your face or arm. This is the perfect opportunity to use finger and wrist mobility that is essential for the performance of the instrument.
One of the first things to look at is the width and length of the violin – specifically, “how wide is the bow?” This will determine if the violin is too wide, too short, or too short. Too wide will result in a bow which is too wide across the chest, making for a sloppy bow that is easy to manipulate. Too short will leave much of your arm out of the loop as well. Too short will leave most, if not all, of the bow at a small point.
Once you have determined for yourself which side of the bow you prefer, start playing along with it before tuning it all the way to the lowest note. Try to play it softly but steadily so that when it is tuned you are still able to feel it in your fingers and wrist. You will want to use only as much friction as you feel comfortable for the length of the bow – either a short or medium amount.
In the future I would also suggest that you start practicing with the strings at the lower notes first. The most common mistake I see at a young age about using the wrong string is using the highest note as the beginning of the bow – this creates a bow that is too broad across the chest. In my opinion, this is the one of the most common problems with young violinists.
As you begin to play these strings, you should tune them to a very moderate pitch, which will help prevent a loose, sloppy bow.
So, with that knowledge… how do I tune
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