Violin Tuners
If you're going to play well, it is essential to play in tune.  And if you are going to play with a group, you have to make sure that you are in tune with one another.  A tuner is a way to make sure that your strings are actually set at the right pitch.  Whether you are using a tuner simply as a reference against which you can tune your strings, and you will determine by listening whether or not you are at the right pitch, or you are using an electronic tuner which will measure the vibrations and determine that for you, using a good tuner is a wonderful way to start your practices, your rehearsals, and your performances right!
violin for tuning
-----   E
----    A
D     -----
G    -----
Some Tuners simply give you a reference to which you can tune.  You listen to a note, and tune your string to match the note you hear.  That's what I have set up for you here.  You can click on the peg of the string you want to tune and you'll hear that note.  If you need more complete violin tuning instructions, click here.
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Tuning Forks (Make sure you are using an A-440) and Pitch Pipes allow you to tune your violin using a reference note and your ear. 

The great things about them?
1.  You can carry them with you wherever you go!
2.  They are a great reference which allows you to train your ear...hearing and duplicating the note you used, then using what you hear to tune the other strings.

The drawbacks?
1.  You must be able to determine whether the note you are playing is correct.
2.  You must have a good idea of the interval between the reference note and the other notes on the instrument.
Did You Know...
That there is no universal standard about what is an "A" or a "D" or any other note. Different orchestras use different tones. Notes are measured in "hertz," which is vibrations per second. Most orchestras determine that an "A" is the note where the string vibrates 440 times per second.  That is what you will find for most tuning forks, pitch pipes, and tuners. But some orchestras prefer a slightly sharper tone, deciding that "A" is 442 or 444 hertz.  They use that as a standard, and tune from there!
Electronic Tuners are great aids in tuning your instrument.  The earliest simply produced a tone, much the same as a pitch pipe or tuning fork.  Later the technology allowed the tuner to "hear" the sound produced by your string.  The tuner would then tell you whether the string was flat or sharp, so you could easily adjust the peg or the fine tuner, then check again.  The problem with that was that you had to be in a relatively quiet place so that the tuner did not pick up extra sounds from folks other than you playing their instruments.  Now, with tuners like the Intellitouch line (I use the "bare bones" version of the Intellitouch.), the tuner actually attaches temporarily to your instrument so that the tuner "feels" the vibrations through the instrument.  This permits you to tune in the presence of others using the accuracy of the electronic device.  Tuning just keeps getting easier and easier!!!
One of the problems associated with playing a wood instrument is that it easily goes out of tune due to changes in temperature and humidity.  And since the pegs of the violin are actually held in place by friction, they sometimes stick and sometimes slip.  So playing the violin turns into an exercise in playing for a little while, stopping to tune, then playing again...until the peg slips again.  One solution is peg compound, which comes in a tube much like ladies' lipstick.  Rub some of this on the pegs and it provides the "right" amount of friction to hold the peg in place, while still allowing you to easily turn the peg while tuning.  It's inexpensive and it lasts for years and years.  (I've been playing for 43 years and I'm on my second stick!)  Good investment if you have a pegs problem!
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