Tune the violin

Before you can start to play, you have to tune your instrument. The names of the strings are (from low to high; from left to right in your play position) G – D – A – E.

The violin is tuned after the pitch A. Precisely a1 in the frequency of 440Hz. The pitch of A can be different sometimes: meanwhile in the “Classical Music” 443Hz is usual, because it sounds more brilliant than 440Hz; in the “Old Music” you will often meet piches under 440Hz (like 438Hz). So in the last centuries the pitch has raised.
But in the Rock and Pop Music 440Hz is still consistant.

A String (440Hz):

Play to this mp3 and try to reach its tone height through moving the fine tuner.
Move it in the right direction: the strings tension raises and the tone goes higher.
Move it to the left: the string loses tension and the tone goes lower.
If the fine tuner does not have enough opportunities, you need to use the vortex. Use it that way: First screw it down and loosen it, then search for the right tone height and screw it into the violin for a fixed position. Maybe you have to repeat this process.
(Hint: While turning the vortex upwards again you could screw it a little bit too high – but not higher than a half tone over the target! – and then to go upwards to the perfect match. This helps the string to find and to hold its position.)

The running order, in which the strings will be tunes now, follow the need, that the A string has to be tuned as the first one.

Play the A and D String together and bring the D string into the right tuning to the A string:

Now D and G String follow, the G string goes into the right tuning regarding the D string:

Eventually the E String follows the tuning of the A String:

In all tuning processes the A string is the main. She has always to be in the right tuning, because also your bands and mates use this tone as reference.

If you face obstacles with hearing two strings together at one time, here are all strings once again for your comparison. They are listed in the “tuning-running-order”:

A String

D String

G String

E String

Maybe this little hint can help you too:

It may sound like that, if your D string is too high in comparison to the A string:

(The D string sounds much “brighter” than the A string.)

So like this, if it is too low:

(Now the D strings sounds “darker”.)


If it is difficult to hear, how far away the strings are in their tunings, you could

  1. play the strings one after the other and compare them (as in the mp3-example for “too high” and “too low”) and
  2. screw the wrong tuned string lower to find into the right tone “from down”. Obviously it is easier for your ear to follow the tone height while you “screw the tone up” into its right position.

Tuning the violin is for sure not even easy in the beginning. So you need to stay patient, until your ear learns to notice tone heights and subtleties. If you have any questions or need more tipps, don’t hesitate to ask me:


The violin is tuned in an “absolut tuning” while other instruments, like the piano or the guitar* are tuned “temperamented“.

(* To be precise, the guitar could also be played in an absolut tuning, if it would not use its wrets.)