One of the most important areas for a violin player to be knowledgeable about is the strings. To be a great violin player, you should know how to tune and change your strings, and also understand their construction and history. This will help you not only take better care for your instrument, but also know how to get the best sound possible.
Modern violins were first seen in Italy in the 16th century. Violin strings were originally made out of catgut, which is not actually cat gut but sheep gut. The sheep gut was stretched, dried, and twisted into strings. In the beginning of the 1900s strings were also being made from silk, aluminum, and steel. Now, violin strings are made out of many different things; some still use catgut, while others are made from solid steel, stranded steel, or synthetic materials wound with a metal. Some strings are even plated with silver to enhance the sound.
Most beginner violinists use synthetic strings. Catgut strings are often used by professional musicians specializing in Baroque or Renaissance-era
Tuning the Strings
Violin strings are stretched over the bridge and held at the neck by the pegboard and at the bottom by the tailpiece. The pegboard holds tuning pegs; turning the pegs will tune the strings but should only be used for ‘ballpark’ tuning. Once the notes are close to being in tune, the violinist should use the fine tuners that are at the base of the instrument. This will help keep the strings from breaking.
Always start with the A string (the lowest) and then move up to the D, G, and then E (the highest). Even young players should learn how to tune their instrument. Not only will this process give you more insight into your instrument, but it will also help to develop your ear. Strings don’t always stay in tune, so a good violinist needs to be aware of their sound, and know how to fix tuning issues even in the middle of practice sessions! It may take a while to master the tuning process and develop your ear, but it will definitely help your playing. Check out more violin tuning tips here.
When Do You Change Your Strings?
The answer to this will depend on how much you play your violin, and the type of strings you use. Playing often will wear the strings eventually, and you’ll notice that the sound is not the same and that intonation has become more difficult. When the tone changes, it is time to change your strings. Here’s a great guide to changing your violin strings.
Check with your violin teacher to learn about proper tuning and how to change your violin strings. The violin is a beautiful instrument. and the hard work and patience you put it in will be worth it!
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