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What tuning method do you use?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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DanielB
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July 25, 2012 - 2:47 am
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Violins can be tuned up by different means.  The ways I know of are tuning strictly by ear, tuning by comparing each string against reference notes like the tuner on the Fiddlerman.com site), tuning from an electronic tuner, tuning by playing 5ths (after tuning one string by a reference note or electronic tuner), and tuning by harmonics (again, after tuning one string from a reference or electronic tuner).

I use a combination.  I tune the A string from the electronic tuner, then I tune the other strings to it by the harmonics, and than I do  final check by playing a stroke on each of the 5ths (G+D, D+A, A+E) just to make sure.  My reasons are:

1.) I have a good ear, but not perfect, so I don't tune strictly by ear.

2.) I tune other stringed instruments by harmonics, so I'm used to it.

3.) Checking the 5ths, if the 5ths are right then you know for sure the instrument is in proper tune.  But I find it harder to hear which note is actually out when playing a 5th than when playing them in unison with harmonics.  Kind of pointless, since if the harmonics are in tune, then the 5ths always are, but it's just sort of the last check "finishing touch" sort of thing to me.

4.) Every electronic tuner I've ever used is usually a tiny bit "out" on some notes.  Theoretically they should be perfect, but they always have to be designed, programmed, made and calibrated by people who get an hourly rate and who usually just aren't musicians.  "Spec" for quality control in any factory is always based on how good it has to be for a fair number of units to sell every month, and allows some leeway because it would just take too long to make every unit "perfect".  So somebody in engineering or quality control decides what is "close enough".  It is just one of those unavoidable compromises that allow electronic tuners to be cheap enough for most folks to afford.  They're ok for rough and ready quick tuning, and nice when trying to tune when it is noisy, but I usually like to check the harmonics and 5ths and adjust for fine tuning.

I also tune from the bowed notes, since it seems to me that they are just a tiny smidgeon sharper than plucked notes. 

Anyway, it takes a lot longer to type about it or probably even read about it than it takes to actually do it unless the instrument gets badly out of tune.  That happens sometimes because pegs get bumped or sometimes get messed with by my autistic son who likes to see the pegs all turned neatly in exactly the same direction, or the bridge needed a little adjusting or etc.

I was just wondering how other people maybe tune differently, and why.  Always looking for better ways, if anyone knows some.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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July 25, 2012 - 7:11 am
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Online tuner for me.      crotchet-1218semiquaver-1214

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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July 25, 2012 - 9:41 am
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I (not an espert by anymeans) use a clip on chromatic tuner for tuning the strings. I dont have the finger placement discipline to trust my fifths to see if the open string is in tune. That being said, If I am playing double stops I do cross tune so it sounds right. FM vid on drone tuning helps me alot. I also use the chrom tuner to practice finger placement. I do listen alot when I play and am constantly aware of the sound and pitch and am able to auto correct when playing. Better now than I used to be at least.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Fifi La Fume
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July 25, 2012 - 12:48 pm
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Hi DanielB,

I use my ears to tune but I'm so new at reading music and playing that I double check with the chromatic tuner. The chromatic tuner is very helpful but not perfect.

When I gain more confidence I will put my chromatic tuner away, that is if I don't break it first. LOL.

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ftufc
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July 25, 2012 - 4:00 pm
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I'm kinda like Pickle, I use a tuner for each string, but I'm also playing more and more with double stops so my ear is becoming more accurate at hearing the right combination, and since I'm making a comparison between strings it's easier for me to tell if one or the other is off.serenade

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TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
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July 25, 2012 - 4:12 pm
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Good one Fred, I don't trust my pinkie position for open string equivalent.
My teacher on the other hand, is pitch perfect and can hear something that I miss when I'm droning on!

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 25, 2012 - 11:40 pm
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ROFL Barry.......

The fifths have a special sound when they are right that makes it very easy to tune if you can play two strings at the same time while tuning. After a long while of tuning you might be able to recognize the notes without a tuning aide too.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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myguitarnow
Laguna Beach
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July 26, 2012 - 12:08 am
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Wow, I just keep it simple. I use an electronic tuner and tune the G to a G, the D to a D, the A to a A and E to a E.

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Sofia Leo
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July 26, 2012 - 12:19 am
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myguitarnow said
Wow, I just keep it simple. I use an electronic tuner and tune the G to a G, the D to a D, the A to a A and E to a E.

Me, too, but sometimes I tune the A to a G and the E to a D for some OT tunes that prefer GDGD tuning...

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myguitarnow
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July 26, 2012 - 12:40 am
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Hear that Cat... Open tunings are fun. I haven't gone there yet on the fiddle but do it all the time on the guitar.

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Grofica
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July 26, 2012 - 12:08 pm
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i just use a chromatic tuner.

~Grofica 

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eoj02
mooresvill, in
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July 26, 2012 - 5:39 pm
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I use my phone tuner to tune the entire thing.  If it's loud due to other instruments, I have them play a G then go from there. 

Why do most people say, "Give me an A." 

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
July 26, 2012 - 8:51 pm
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I use this electronic tuner:

http://www.amazon.com/Intelli-.....olin+tuner

It works really well for both my violin and my guitar.

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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cdennyb
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July 26, 2012 - 9:15 pm
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Android App= "G" Strings

On my Galaxy Nexus phone... after all a $600 phone should work pretty good on a $600 violin right?dunno

...I just lay the violin down beside the phone... press the "TUNE AUTO" button and walk away... in a few minutes I return and it's all tuned up ready to play...duncecap

 

(after all... it worked great on the first gen Android phone as well.)

 

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"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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DanielB
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July 27, 2012 - 1:42 am
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Thanks for all the replies! 

I tune several different instruments every day, so I may be a bit overly picky about tuning.  LOL

@cdennyb: 600$ phone?  Can it make coffee too?  LOL

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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cdennyb
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July 27, 2012 - 2:21 am
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well, if I hookup my coffee maker to the bluetooth interface switch... pair it with my phone, download the timer app...

well I'm sure I could have it start the coffee brewing, but I don't think they are covered for water immersion. LOLroflol

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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springer
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July 27, 2012 - 11:17 pm
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I use an electronic tuner I got with my Violin.banana

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Mad_Wed
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Tuning fork works well enough dancing

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