Friday, October 16, 2009


Yesterday I took Felicity into the shop, where the luthier fixed her up and also told me that it's important to tune with the pegs every day.

So this morning I tried that, and broke a string. Aaaaargh!

Back to the shop we go. I'm finding tuning more difficult than playing, even with my nifty electronic tuner. Is that normal?


  1. Absolutely. When I taught beginners, I would tune for them for months before they started to get comfortable doing it themselves. And if their instrument went out of tune during the week, they'd often drop by my studio for a quick tune-up between my lessons. It will take some time for you to get used to the amount of pressure to use, and to hear the finite differences that are required (for example, if you tune a violin to a piano, it will be out of tune with itself; piano tuning and violin tuning are slightly different...but that's a distinction to be explored later). And sometimes a violin, especially a new instrument, takes a while to get used to being tuned, and it takes a while to get the pegs used to turning and then holding. And when you put a new string in, it will often (depending on what kind of string it is) stretch for the first few days, requiring more tuning than normal.

    Keep persevering. You'll look back at these posts in six months and wonder what you were worried about.

  2. At first, Susan. But you'll get much better as you continue to do that. I've never used an electronic tuner. I do my strings by ear, or with a pitch pipe when I can find it. When you play with other fiddlers you'll learn tricks to hear if the strings are in tune. With the guitar, my instrument of choice, the neck is so long that you aren't supposed to leave it tuned over night because it can warp the neck. So you loosen the strings and retune every day. New strings go out of tune faster because they are stretching as you play the instrument or even while they rest, so you retune in the midst of a playing session. Don't worry, as you learn to play Felicity you'll become used to her individual quirks and settle into the friendship you two are building with one another. Remember the lovely melody that is the sound of an orchestra tuning up? You are learning to play your part of that piece too.



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