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Tuning a violin
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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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May 17, 2019 - 1:27 pm
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I still have difficulty tuning the open strings, and I find it more convenient to tune by harmonics - i.e. play the D harmonic on the G string and compare it with the first harmonic on the D string, and so on up to the E string. I realise this will only work at home and not in an orchestra, where I probably wouldn't be able to hear myself. Is this a stupid habit, or does it have support among better violinists? @AndrewH or @Fiddlerman . Apologies to other experienced violinists I have left out, but I don't know who you are, lol!

Andrew

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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May 17, 2019 - 2:48 pm
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I don't tune by harmonics per se, but in a noisy room I often find it easier to check my tuning by playing a second harmonic against an open string to produce an octave.

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Gordon Shumway
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May 18, 2019 - 3:48 am
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Thanks, Andrew. I started this thread here because I didn't think the v.com discussion would go as well as it has done!

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 20, 2019 - 6:24 pm
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It definitely has merit and I have done it, more in the past than now, but yes.
I like to tune to fifths and can hear them very well. It takes time but they become very recognizable and easy to adjust. Perhaps use your method then play fifths. Double check. 😁
Sometimes I'll play octave harmonics together, which is also a fifth.

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

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pchoppin
Utah
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July 2, 2019 - 6:34 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
 Is this a stupid habit, or does it have support among better violinists? 

I agree with @Fiddlerman

No, this is not stupid.  What you are trying to achieve is a tuned instrument, correct?

My ear is still not quite where I need it to be as far as hearing the perfect tone.  So many times I need to resort to using a tuner and I do use fifths to tune from the A string, like traditional tuning.  I find this to be not only easy and fast, but what my ear is used to.  

I end up with a tuned instrument that sounds beautiful.  If this is what you can achieve using harmonics, I say go for it!  I have not ever tuned that way before, and I think your ear is very good if you can hear the tones that well.

Also, @Fiddlerman 

I do not have a specific or defined sound when I know I am in tune.  When I hear the correct fifth in tune, it just feels right.  I just know it.  I wish there was something I could put my proverbial finger on, but I do not know what it is exactly.  When I hear it, it is right.  Is there anything you specifically listen for?

- Pete -

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