At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Tuning my Violin at 440 Hz : I was not happy with !

I decided to go down by 3 Hz, for example 437 Hz, 434 Hz , 431 Hz etc. I found I got the best sound at about 430 Hz or 432 Hz.

My Question is : Is the Violin Quality that makes it necessary to fine tune differently than 440 Hz ?

Maybe an expensive Violin that is very good, offers the best sound at the official 440 Hz !

What is your opinion ?

I wish to learn the Irish Folk Songs. Please recommend me to a shop. Thank you.

Cheers from Mauritius.
Judex (Learner Violinist).

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Judex,

I’m by no means an expert on violins although I play the fiddle but here’s a few points to consider….

It might be worth while getting it checked out by somebody more experienced, e.g. a luthier, your local music shop, or a good player. Various aspects of the set up, bridge position etc, type of strings etc can affect the tone.

Also, if you are using an electronic tuner(Many people here would argue against them) make sure it’s accurate. It’s also better to actually bow the strings than pluck them when checking against a tuner as the resulting note will be different.
I personally find that the older style tuners with a microphone rather than clip on variety are better for tuning the violin.
Although I do user a tuner myself, I still find that I have to “fine tune” by ear especially when playing with other people or in a session. It is essential to be in tune with other players as well as yourself.

Having a good bow and being able to use one properly (and well) can also make a great difference to the tone. Again, if you are a beginner, seek advice on this.

There may well be times when you wish or need to play at a different pitch from standard tuning, sometimes with other musicians as I mentioned, but the soundor tone should still be OK at 440Hz .

I’m sure you’ll get other advice here and there are many books and websites too. However, at your stage, I’d advise you get it checked over by a real person who knows what they are doing.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

It’s an interesting question Judex. What pitch was the violin originally designed for? There were no standard pitches around Europe at the relevant time. There has been a tendency for the standard pitch used by “classical” musicians to steadily rise over time, as raising the pitch tends to make the sound “brighter” and more “penetrating”, and some Irish musicians are known to tune their fiddles higher than 440 for similar reasons, but certainly when played solo or in an intimate setting, many people think the fiddle sounds more “mellow” and “richer” when it is tuned a little lower than 440.

Not only expensive fiddles are very good, and many expensive fiddles are not very good.

A fiddle which doesn’t sound very good at concert pitch often sounds better tuned flat. People selling fiddles on EBay with a sample recording sometimes tune the fiddle flat for that reason.

The kind of violin (sound) a virtuoso classical soloist wants may not be the kind of sound a traditional musician is looking for.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

By the way, you’ll upset a few people here if you talk about “songs” but really mean “tunes”.
Songs are those things with words.

There are any number of good tune books and tutors but most people here will recommend that you learn tunes “by ear” and, preferably, at your local session. However, this isn’t really an option for many people.

I’d say this book is very good

http://www.mattcranitch.com/fiddle-teaching/

but there are many others.
You could also try to find a local teacher but these aren’t always readily found either.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I don’t know if you guys are aware but there is a whole “thing” about 432 hz vs. 440 hz, A conspiracy replete with Nazis, aliens, DNA and chakras. You can search it on youtube if you care to go down that particular rabbit hole.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Cheeky Elf, I have read on YouTube that there are things THE GOVERNMENT DON’T WANT US TO KNOW about 432 Hz, so you need to be very careful.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

There are so many variables it is difficult to isolate one of them and say, OK if I do this, this happens.
In the case of tuning down, for instance, you are reducing the tension of the string, which reduces the pressure on the bridge, which reduces the pressure on the front, the soundpost and the back of the instrument respectively.
A violin made to resonate best at a certain frequency would be prone to wolf tones. The best instruments react evenly across a wide spectrum of frequencies.
Instead of tuning down, you could try different strings that don’t require so much tension -- that way you could maintain 440 hz and still ease off the tension.
There are also things like the environment -- what is the effect of the room in which you are playing? And the people/instruments/recordings with whom you are playing -- how are they tuned? And the humidity -- is it the same in summer as in winter?
I hesitate to include things like the bow and the rosin, but they can not be automatically precluded.
What do you mean by “sounds best”? What do you mean by “violin quality”? It all sounds pedantic, I know, but as I said, it is difficult enough to isolate a single factor and then change it without affecting something else.

There is also, to make matters worse, the psychological aspect, in that once you get something like this into your head, it (the violin, not your head) actually begins to sound different. Does it sound the same when someone else plays it, for example.

Which is all a longwinded way of saying, “Well I don’t know the answer to your question.”

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I remember Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh speaking of an old fiddle he had that did not seem to have much life in it - until he tried tuning it down a full tone, when it came into its own. As Marvis says, concert pitch has varied over time and geographically. From the Wikipedia page on ‘Concert Pitch’: “an English pitchpipe from 1720 plays the A above middle C at 380 Hz” - that falls somewhere between modern-day F# and G. So it is not inconceivable that a violin maker might have tuned the bodies of his (or her - very unlikely before the 1960s, but you never know) instruments to respond at much lower pitches. There may be other factors that come into play though, besides the inherent frequency response of th body - the amount of tension on the instrument will also affect its acoustic behaviour.

So, I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of better or worse quality, it’s just the individual quirks of the maker - and the instrument.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I have my fiddle tuned to 20 Hz. Keeps the elephants happy.

If it only sounds “good” at 430 Hz, and you’re playing with people with fixed instruments tuned at 440 Hz, or learning off recordings where it’s *close* to 440 Hz (see other recent discussion…) you may have a problem.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

If you use a tuner to tune your fiddle, would you not have an issue with “beats” when double-stopping? I’m thinking of a third on the tonic note, for example, which requires the third to be markedly flattened in order to get a sweet chord. Most cheapie tuners are set to give you equal temperament fine-tuning, bad for chord-playing. Just wondered whether it might not be better to tune one string accurately to A440 then tune the others to it by ear. However, don’t listen to me, who knoweth not one end of a fiddle from the other. I tune my harmonicas, which I use for single-note melody playing, to equal temperament at A442. It’s a compromise that allows for the fact that some notes (more than others) are slightly flattened by air pressure. It’s not impossible to micro-adjust pitch when you’re playing if you detect any sourness with the pitch of other instruments.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Steve - Some tuners, I think, have a special setting for fiddle, which gives untempered fifths. But I agree that taking a single reference note ought to be enough.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

That Matt Malloy thread had me thinking about this, too. Before electronic tuners, I rarely played at A 440. I’ve heard alot of guys make the case for A430 (a.k.a. A432). It’s a good case. The only problem is that the A440 nazis got their government cronies to work the piano tuners unions into tuning all those blasted pianos to A440 so that now everybody thinks that I’m playing flat! They got to the electronic tuner gizmo manufacturers and twisted their arms with licensing agreements until they got all the electronic tuners set to A440, too. It was only a matter of time until they were indoctrinating our young people with all this A440 nonsense so that now the young folks take A440 to be gospel. “You’re flat, Uncle Nate” is all I hear anymore, and now the government is buying up all the ammo! I’m telling you no good is going to come of this A440 stuff, you wait and see

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

“…would you not have an issue with ”beats“ when double-stopping…” one of the joys of the fiddle is that there are no frets, or other boundaries to a note except for the open strings. Double stopping involves micro-adjusting the angle of your finger (or just wincing, as the case may be) to get the two notes in tune with each other.
When I played the guitar regularly, in the distant past, I used to re-tune depending on what key I was in. I couldn’t bear to play in, say, D, if I had my guitar tuned to play in C. Maybe it was my ingrained acclimatisation to the drones on the pipes that was to blame; but the one thing I never did was tune each string individually with an electronic tuner.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Thank you, gam, for the part about low tension. Now I don’t have to write all that up! 😀 Many times, I will tune my instrument down a couple Hz just so decrease the tension a bit. It seems to open up the sound a bit and make it more full and robust. However, it still sounds very fine at Concert pitch.

Steve - You’re absolutely right about just tuning one note, and tuning the rest by ear. Coming from a classical background, it’s the best way to go, unless you have a terrible ear. If, for some reason, I have to tune all the notes to a tuner, I ALWAYS have to go back and fine tune it. But then, if I’m playing solo, for example in a lesson, I tend to change my “reference” note as I go, and then proceed to change all the others again.

Nate - All kidding aside, from my experience, concert pitch changes! It’s *supposed* to be A-440, but around here, it’s more of an A-441-442. In my orchestra, we play 442, on account of the oboe player, but in our session, we play about 441. A couple times, at home, I’ve tried tuning down to A-440, but it was just flat enough that it drove me nuts, and made me tune back up. I’d say I normally play at about A-441. My piano is even tuned to right about there. 🙂

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I used to work at a recording studio that did advertising jingles, and we would bump the pitch up to A442-443 to “brighten” up the spot. It’s practically imperceptable to the listener, but psycologically it gives the spot more perceived energy.

So there’s lots of reasons to move the pitch around. In my lifetime, I’ve noticed the effect of the electronic tuners on us as musicians. 30 years ago we tuned to each other. There were certain guys who everybody knew had a great sense of pitch, and you would tune to them if they were there. If not, then just tune to whoever and get on with it.

It was even considered an essential musical skill to be able to tune up quickly and well on the spot with no gizmos

I never thought I’d be telling stories about the old days when musicians tuned up with their ears, but there you go

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

“442, on account of the oboe player” - the oboe isn’t fixed, surely? Or does the oboe player have a hatred for 440 and you all have to play along?

🙂

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Does every fiddle player who uses a tuner realise that a tuner with a fiddle setting might give better results? I’ve encountered mostly knitted eyebrows and shrugs whenever I’ve raised the matter of temperament and fine-tuning!

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I don’t understand the oboe player stuff mentioned here, but I do know that my harmonicas need to be at A442 if the rest have tuned toA440. If they tune up to me, it makes me sound dull (even duller, OK, before you wade in…) to my ear. I’m a delicate little thing when it comes to these matters!

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

“- the oboe isn’t fixed, surely? ” - no, but the oboist is close to 15 stone and a former heavyweight boxing champ, so they just tune to him

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I have visions of an orchestra of ex-cons now…

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I’ve got a gizmo that I use to tune. It’s called a tuning fork, and I whack it on my knee and it plays an A. 440, of course, because of the government. (Brilliant satire, “Uncle Nate”… I hope…) Then I make sure my D and E strings are an unopened whisky bottle away, and the G another perfect fifth away from that. Simple. Better resonances and the music sounds more authentic in meantone to me.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

no, I’m not as crazy as all that, but if you want anti government conspiracy ranting, us natives of Appalachia are a good source. It was us that got everybody stirred up in our revolution, and then when that was over we started the Whiskey Rebellion just for something to do

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

“one of the joys of the fiddle is that there are no frets, or other boundaries to a note except for the open strings. Double stopping involves micro-adjusting the angle of your finger (or just wincing, as the case may be) to get the two notes in tune with each other.”

I’m glad to hear that from someone else. I was going to say it myself, but being only a part-time and badly self-taught (😉) fiddler, I thought I might be setting a bad example by revealing that I have not put in the hours to finely hone my muscle memory to the point where I can hit the interval bang in tune every time.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Classical violinists and other soloists will sometimes tune to 442 or so, with the rest of the orchestra calibrated to 44o when playing concertos, just to get the featured soloists’ instrument to stand out slightly.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

0 Hz (love hurts).

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

do any of you players of unbounded instruments notice that you tend to make the half step between the leading tone and the octave smaller than the half step between the 3rd and 4th of a major key? I remember seeing in a museum once a harpsichord with split black keys because they tuned G# and Ab to different actual pitches.

I’m telling you, this tuning and temperment stuff can having you running screaming into the night!

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

0 Hz (love hurts).

I hear that’s what most air guitarists use.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

@ tdrury You’re lucky to have a knee that plays 440 hz.
But joking aside, I often use an A tuning fork, just touch it to the bridge, to make sure my violin is not going too far out, or after re-stringing or any bridge-shifting etc. Other than that, I tune to whatever I’m listening to/playing with. I find electronic tuners more of a hindrance than a help, except for specific jobs like making instruments or… well, that’s about it, really. Even tuning a harp or hammered dulcimer needs finishing by ear.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I use an electronic tuner for tuning free reeds and for setting intonation on fretted instruments - they’re not things you can easily tweak in the moment. But, for anything else, close is close enough - if my ear says its in tune, that’s good enough for me. Besides, all electronic tuners have a margin of error and, on the cheaper ones most often seen in sessions, I’m not sure that that margin is really any narrower than it is for a reasonably musical ear like my own - just more consistent, maybe.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Thank you, Guys, for all your posts here. It’s great to read so many opinions.

I said to my Wife “ I will have to buy a Tuning Fork ! ” She said “ For dinner ? You are making enough noise in this house ! ”

I have been very busy studying the sound with different possibilities by changing Strings and fine tuned at different Hz. I snapped many Strings and my Wife said “ How many eggs could you have bought ? ” So ………

I have paid all possible attention to the Sound Post, the Bridge etc. It still appears to me that at about 430 Hz or 432 Hz, the sound is sweeter. I play alone. At 440 Hz, I mainly had to dig and strive with the G String. At about 430 Hz, the G String responds nicely. I finally use Dominant Strings actually.

One other thing : There are times when my Violin appears a bit lazy though I try my best all the time. It plays nicely when the Relative Humidity is about 80% and the Temperature about 27 Centigrade. Is this a fact or a personal stupid feeling ?

Thanks again for your further comments and experience shared with all of us.

Cheers from Mauritius.
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

27 Centigrade and 80% humidity? It plays nicely because it responds well to all that sweat dripping on to it! (at least, that’s what any Cornish fiddler would think, though such conditions occur only once in a blue moon!)

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

My piano, made in The Netherlands, is tuned to C=256Hz, which is the C you get when tuning to A432, a quarter of a tone flat on A440. It is a very noticeable pitch change and precludes me from playing violin/piano duets with that piano unless I tune the violin down 1/4 tone, which I’m not prepared to do because it will take an appreciable time to settle to that lower pitch (strings seem to have a “memory” of the tension they’re usually tuned to, and try to return to it), and it will be equally inconvenient when returning to A440. Anyway, it is more realistic for me to keep my violins tuned to the A440 which is the regular tuning of my orchestras and sessions.

I’ve taken a quick look at some of the websites devoted to A432 and the “magical” properties of the number 432. Mention of the Pyramids and Stonehenge in this context rang alarm bells and suggested to me that the persons who run these websites should try to get out more. One thing that occurred to me is that they have overlooked, or conveniently ignored, the fact that the length of the “second” is artifically defined and is not a fundamental constant of the Universe. This strikes at the root of their arguments.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

How interesting.

Cajun fiddlers tune their fiddlers roughly a whole step down from conventional, so FCGD, which would be roughly A=392Hz. Some baroque instruments are manufactured at A=415Hz, which is a semitone down from A=440. There are C sets ( and B sets, and Bb sets) of uilleann pipes and people tune their fiddles down to that. So there’s plenty of precedent for tuning your fiddle down, because you like the sound or otherwise

Old-Time fiddlers in the USA, and Quebecois fiddlers, and some of an older generation of Donegal fiddlers, would tune their fiddles AEAE or GDGD or AEAC or ADAD or DDAD. These are amazing sounds but not great for changing keys in a medley, except as a stunt. I’ve tried F#DAE, which is really fun for tunes in D and F#m.

My deal: Playing with other people, you have to tune at a pitch totally compatible with them. So sure, tune down to A=415, if you’re at a standard session, as long as you want to play in everyone else’s Eb, if it makes you happy and everyone else is only disturbed by looking at your left hand, not by the sound. Otherwise tune to whatever they’re at. That means, if the accordion is stuck at A=433, it’s better to go there than to the tuning fork. And when you’re playing by yourself, tune the instrument anywhere that sounds good and see what happens. It won’t necessarily sound irish but the funky sonority can be great fun to play with.

As for your instrument: different fiddles sound different, and that’s ok. Try different strings though - light/medium/heavy tension, steel/gut/nylon core, and see if that changes the sound a way you like.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Is this a fact or a personal stupid feeling ? Nothing stupid about it -- if it sounds right it *is* right, whether it is a fact of a feeling. You hear with your brain, not laboratory instruments. Try Dominant Light, as ewallace suggests above -- or buy some eggs.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Heck, I would get new strings AND eggs. New strings are grand, and nothing beats a good fry the morning after the night before!

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Personally when I tune by ear for a while, then the whole kit falls down a couple of Hz, because its natural (I think) to back away from a shrill sound. The issue comes along when I am presented with fretted instruments, and plectrums where the electronic tuner sometimes (often) is their frame of reference, and then I have to match them just to not antagonize myself and others with a 2-3 Hz variance, so then its easy to just use the electronic thingy fix things fast and get on with it. Not to mention if you have a loud concertina in session.. then fiddler you have got to match that one, while the banjo and guitar are over there quite possibly ignoring the 2-3 Hz variance, and there you have a the mixed bag that is the open session.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Thanks again Guys. It’s great to read your opinions.

Thanks ewalace and gam. I am now using Dominant Medium tension. I will try the Light tension soon. Hope I won’t snap the strings.

One Question : When using the Heavy, Medium, Light tension respectively, how do you fine tune your Violin in each case as regards the Hz ?

RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND TEMPERATURE : Steve Shaw, the condition on a Tropical Island varies a lot, probably due to the sea breezes. The relative Humidity is high and the temperature changes more frequently.

Again, thank you, Guys and to Sandy Bottoms who just posted a comment. Keep posting whenever there is any new ideas, as it is very interesting to have that common love for the Violins ! I am upgrading from my last Gliga gems 1 to Gliga Gama 1.

How lovely instrument is a Violin ! I wish that the Secret of Stradivari remains a Mystery so that his Violin does not lose its Soul since there remain not many of these in the World !

Cheers from Mauritius,
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

“When using the Heavy, Medium, Light tension respectively, how do you fine tune your Violin in each case as regards the Hz ?”
The choice of strings depends on the tension you desire for your particular instrument, and your personal tastes. The set-up of the instrument shouldn’t need to change, unless the strings are much thinner or thicker than before. Even so, there is nothing unusual in trying out different types of strings without changing the set-up. Try it first, and then see what happens.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Learn to tune by ear, Tuners that are tuned for equal temperament are marginally out even when tuning in fifths.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN4BP7PLIQg

“Violin technique lesson. Covers demonstration of how to tune your violin. Covers examples using a tuner, the tuning pegs, a tuning fork, and the perfect fifths.”

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I was only kidding, Judex. Could be something to do with the fact that we in the UK are freezing our thingies off in the worst March for decades. I’m thinking of using the missus’s retirement money to seek out permanent 27 Celsius!

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

This is fascinating. There are so many variables, I feel like my fiddle sounds a little different every day. Though maybe it is my playing or my ears, who knows.

I’ve noticed that changing to different strings makes my fiddle into a completely different instrument, so I’d be interested to know how switching from medium to light tension changes things. Or maybe even try a different brand at medium tension? E.g. helicores (note, they’re harsh at first and take a couple of hours of hard playing to break in) or something else maybe?

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Thanks again, Guys, and thanks to Na eisc for this url : https://thesession.org/discussions/170/#comment2302

Very interesting posts about the Strings.

This morning, I have tried to tune at 420 Hz. Still not bad, ewallace ! Will try 415 Hz. Is this the lowest I can go before the Bridge falls out ?

Fine tuning much below 440 Hz appear to start better ringing tones. What is your opinion or am I just thinking/feeling it is so ? !!!!

Great to see so many Violin Lovers !

Cheers to you all !
Judex

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Just get on with a good teacher and start playing. Then change the teacher for another. Each person you play with has something to offer. Its a life learning thing. Go to as many sessions as you can and listen. Play with as many people as you can. I think one of our best fiddlers tunes up a bit. He certainly winds mine up a bit when he gets hands on it. I also found that when I was learning to tune up and that included working in a violin rep workshop, eventually I would get the tone, and then find that I was flat by half a tone. Influenced by piano lessons years before. I use a tuning fork or other instruments at the session. Sing the notes and have fun. Make sure your fiddle is set up correctly. Find a good classical player and go to their luthier. The set ups are the same. Good strings, good rosin and a good bow will give you a good sound. For fiddling a brighter string is used, not necessarily a cheap string. Do not wait years to get your bow rehaired either. Who cares about the Hz, be in tune with the other players. I did experience a mandolin player that commented on my tuning, and I took that up with the teacher at a Grammar school, multi instrumentalist, and another guru was there too. They pointed out that fretted instruments will also vary against a well tuned violin, because of the frets. Good luck.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Thanks, Jan Murray.

Being on a small tropical island, I cannot get access to so many possibilities. Even the number of String types are limited. I order from the USA, a bit expensive when the postage is added to,

I am doing lots of explorations and getting tips from the net, too. Very interesting discussions on this site and advice from you all !

We keep in touch.

Cheers from Mauritius,
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Judex, I tune my various fiddles up and down all the time, to match recordings or just because I like the sound of a flat-tuned fiddle when I’m playing at home, but I never snap strings, except for the occasional old E-string when I tune extra high.

If you are really snapping a lot of strings during your experiments, I’d suggest your bridge or nut may need attention.

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Thank you, Marvis.

Yes, I do have a problem of snapping Strings. I think it is mainly due to my engineering profession where I tighten mechanical components on machines. My Fingers must be too strong lol !!!

As a Learner Violinist without a Teacher, I have tried to harvest Tips from everywhere possible : 440 Hz was always mentioned ! I feel really happy with the sound at 430 - 432 hz. I have even the impression that play ability improves, too. I may have to adjust a little when the weather changes a little bit in Mauritius due to the Breezes. Sometimes I have the feeling that i am creating all these weather changes in my mind !

You must be right when you mentioned that you tune your Fiddles to match recordings. Quite true ! I am learning it from experience by trial and error and snapping Strings !

Again, thank you for your post and Cheers !

Take care.
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi Mates,

Good evening.

Many say that Violins are different from one another which is quite true. My latest Violin costs Us 465.00 which is good enough for a Learner like me, I think.

It may be I found a way to tune my Violin satisfactorily :

I use my Pinkie, tapping on each String respectively, and hearing no noticeable sound distortion and no extra effort to control my Pinkie. Play ability also looks easier. I can do that at 428 Hz. Please let me know your opinion in case you have tried it before. Thank you.

Cheers,
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

You might need to clarify this tuning method of yours?

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi SmashTheWindows !

I use an Electronic Tuner.

From 440 Hz, I tried less 2 Hz repeatedly. Example 440 Hz, 438 Hz, 436 Hz till 428 Hz.

At 428 Hz, I found that I did not have to dig too much into the strings, the Strings played wide (amplitude ), my Pinkie taped each String easily and get the satisfactory sound.

If I tune at 440 Hz, my Pinkie needs do a lot of effort. At 428 Hz, no problem, it’s great ! It appears, it is a question of reducing the tension of each string. Still at 428 Hz, the Tuner reads green screen each G, D, A, E. It seems ok to play in solo.

Hope I managed to explain well. What is your opinion ?

Cheers from Mauritius,
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi Judex,

What you say about your pinkie makes me wonder if the E string is set too high at the bridge. The standard distance measured at the bridge end of the fingerboard is 3.5 mm for the E string, 5.5 mm for the G string.

Diagram here: http://www.ambercraftviolins.com/routine.html

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

If you have difficulty measuring the gap between the string and the fingerboard, or any similar gap, a trick I learned is to see how many sheets of paper will fill the gap, and then measure the height of the sheets of paper:

__________________
-----------------------------------P
G ---------------------------------A
A ---------------------------------P
P ---------------------------------E
-----------------------------------R
__________________

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Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi Marvis,

I just used my electronic vernier. It is very good as I use it in my engineering work

The top of the E String to the top of the Fingerboard is 5.63 mm.

The top of the G String to the top of the Fingerboard is 7.95 mm.

The Bridge is the Aubert brand. Dominant Medium Strings. My Violin is the Romanian Gliga Gems 1 (US$ 465.00 excluding USPS charges).

My Question is : " Are the Strings on an Irish Fiddle lower because of the Irish Folk Tunes that use much of the Double Stops ? Just a guess !

Thanks to you now I understand why at 440 Hz, I have to strive a lot. At 426 Hz or 428 Hz, the tensions on the Strings are not that high, and I play much better. Each String goes wide (amplitude) and the Ringing Tone is also much better.

If I am to reach the E String 3.5 mm and the G String 5.5 mm, I should buy a new Bridge that is not too high, I think. Please recommend me a brand name.

Marvis, thanks again and Cheers from Mauritius !
Judex.

I just ordered a new Violin, the Gliga Gama 1, fitted with a new Bridge that mute the sound to a great extent. I will compare this new Bridge and the original Bridge supplied with the Gama 1. Is it possible to add photos on this page ?

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Judex-you cannot just buy a new bridge. It has to be cut to fit the contours of your fiddle,something which is best left to an experienced pro. I understand that this could be a problem for you since you say there is a shortage of violin techs on Mauritius. Since you are apparently handy you could try it yourself,but you might want to buy several bridge blanks just in case. (this could get expensive). You need to cut the feet so that they exactly match the contours of your fiddle. Hold the bridge blank in place on the fiddle and with a soft pencil scribe lines on the feet by running the pencil over the body behind the bridge so that the marks match the contours of the instrument. Then cut down to the marks with a woodworker’s knife. To check the cut,put a piece of carbon paper face up on the fiddle where the bridge goes and rubbing the feet of the new bridge on the carbon paper. Carbon on the feet will indicate high spots which need to be cut down. You can then cut the top to the desired height with a belt sander,making sure you preserve the original curvature at the top. If you examine your original bridge you will see how to shape the top. I really don’t recommend doing this yourself unless you have no other options.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi Judex,

The measurements I gave you are not specifically for Irish fiddle, they are the general standard for the violin.

In my view there’s no reason to lower the strings below this standard for double stopping, because the bow only needs to contact two strings. Some Irish fiddlers do use a very flat bridge, compared to the standard, but I’m not convinced there is any need for this.

If you do engineering work you will almost certainly have the skill to make your own bridges from blanks, which is fun if you like that sort of thing.

Why will your new violin’s bridge mute the sound, and why do you want it to?

Posted .

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi Fool,

I am really pretty crap at fine woodwork, but I have made several bridges, I don’t think it is too challenging, and I don’t think there is much risk of damage, as there is with making and fitting a new soundpost for example. I cut the top curve with a coping saw and then a knife, rather than using a sander. You can find templates for the curve on the internet, and trace them.

Posted .

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Aubert make a violin bridge with adjustable feet. Don’t expect the best sound in the world from it, but it is intended for emergencies (e.g. your main bridge breaks) or for situations where you can’t get to an expert to fit one for you. Here is another useful discussion thread about bridges,
http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=6487

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Marvis-you are absolutely right, there is no danger of damaging the fiddle by cutting your own bridge ,only to your pride and pocketbook. I would imagine that an engineer who is handy could do it without much of a problem,although I have known a few electrical engineers who couldn’t carve a peg out of a dowel. I am no expert myself thogh I did spend a few years working in a repair shop affiliated with a school rental company that rented 15,000 violins a year so I saw my share of bridge blanks. All hack work,though…

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

For REAL MEN.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

David Burgess, who is illustrating somewhat unusual techniques on the last three videos (don’t try them out on your Strads at home, children), happens to be among the best luthiers and violin experts in the world, and with a fine sense of humor!

One thing you most definitely do not want to happen is for the sound post to fall over when all the string pressure is taken off the bridge. With a newish, properly set up fiddle this shouldn’t happen, but there’s no sense in taking chances unless you’re an expert sound post setter (which very few are outside the professional luthier world). So what I do when I change the tail piece is: before letting the strings down I wrap a thick cloth tightly round the waist of the instrument between the bridge and fingerboard, holding it securely in place with an adjustable belt. This should apply sufficient pressure to the top plate of the violin to ensure the sound post doesn’t move. When doing this, don’t overdo the tightening; if you hear little creaks of protest coming from the fiddle then you’re in a danger zone.

Then mark the position of the bridge with little pieces of sticky paper so that you know exactly where the bridge should be replaced. Let the strings down gently and take the bridge away, making sure you know which is the front and the back. Do what you have to, like installing a new tailpiece, and when doing so keep the violin still and flat, so as to discourage the sound post from taking a stroll. I do this by keeping the violin in its case, where it is firmly held.

Now is the time to rub some 3B pencil lead into the grooves in the nut and bridge to lubricate them for the strings. Put the bridge (or a new one) back in place, routing the strings through the grooves in the nut and bridge, and gradually bring them up to tension, stopping every now and then to straighten the bridge which is being pulled out of perpendicular by the strings. The back face of the bridge, towards the tailpiece, should be perpendicular to the top plate of the violin; the other face is always slightly cut away so that it isn’t perpendicular. Continue this process until the strings are about a semitone below the target pitch, usually A440, and check by looking down the fingerboard that the bridge is evenly spaced between the f-hole notches, and also by looking vertically down on the bridge that it is exactly at right angles to the axis of the violin.

Time now to remove that thick cloth and go and have a 15 minute coffee break while the strings and tail gut settle. Complete the tuning by slowly bringing the strings up to pitch and _never_ above. This is particularly important for the E, or a metal core A; if you tune it up too fast that is when a metal string is likely to snap. With a metal string I always complete the last semitone or quarter tone by the fine tuner on the tailpiece.

Btw, I am assuming that the pegs are in good condition and do not stick, because moving a sticking peg can impose a sudden and perhaps terminal increase in tension on the string, as can friction in non-lubricated nut and bridge grooves.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Johnny Jay,

Thank you for your post 3 days ago. Sorry for being late to reply.

Thank you. I will order the Book you mentioned because I have learned now to love the Irish music. I have the impression, there is a small Island near Mauritius, “ Rodrigues” where I heard some Irish music. Perhaps some Irish could have come to this part of the Indian Ocean.

As regards the word “ Song ”, in this part of the world we often mention “ Song ” when we play on the violin or Guitar. As a matter of fact, we mean “Music of Tune ” of the Song. Crazy !

Again Thanks for your post and advice.

Cheers and nice weekend.
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

SmashTheWindows,

Thanks for the Videos ! There are still some crazy People around ! lol.

Cheers !
Enjoy the weekend.
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi Marvis,

I will ask Richard Bodinar about the Strings’ Height. I have the same Gliga Gems 1 as in his Video at :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5Q_ionu92U


Listen to the G String. It is very beautiful indeed, so full !

Yes, I want to mute the sound a little in my next Violin, the Gliga Gama 1 !

The reason is that I will have to go on a Schedule to practice as I am still a Learner without a Teacher.

1. bright sounds during the day.

2. Somewhat muted sound at night.

3. Muted sound with a Rubber Mute at 2:00 in the morning.

I make so much noise that my Wife is disturbed when she watches her TV Series. A few weeks ago she asked me to play “ Divorce in the Pipeline ” !

Marvis, enjoy your weekend. Keep bowing !
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Trevor Jennings,

Thanks for your post, too. Good advice !

Violins make all of us so passionate ! Wonder what the Ladies think !!!!

Thanks also to all the other Friends who posted on this page.

To All : Enjoy your weekend.
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi Marvis and all Friends at this Discussion !

I checked a few European Violin, I found the G and E Strings much higher than what you mentioned.

Yesterday, I received my Gliga Gama 1 (US$ 1,100.=), the G and E Strings are almost same heights as you mentioned. Good ! There must be a technical reason.

I wonder if in the Violins I checked, the Luthiers forgot to trim the Bridges or is it a technical factor for certain type of Violins below the US$ 500.= price range !

My new Gama 1 is muted a little bit, and the sound is very nice, I would say romantic. I have tune it at 415 Hz for some days before trying the higher Hz till 440 Hz. I believe it will be at its best somewhere between 426 to 435 Hz. Will see later.

It will be nice to hear from you all again.

Cheers from Mauritius,
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

“I believe it will be at its best somewhere between 426 to 435 Hz.” - could this simply be due to personal preference? Not that there is anything wrong with that, after all, YOU have to be happy with the sound.

But I’d be interested to know why Gliga were making violins that weren’t very good at the more common 440Hz (especially aimed at beginners and up).

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Tom, you must be right !

After many months, I now tried my Gliga Gama 1 at 440 Hz and will have to go below 435 Hz. Yesterday, I saw the Sound Post at 14 mm away from the foot of the bridge ! Needs re-adjustment.

At 440, the weight of the bow vibrates all the open strings except the G string. When playing, I have to dig in the G string too much and cannot control the sounds.

On the other hand, my Gliga Gem 1 is ok as the weight of the bow vibrates all the 4 strings respectively. So, playing is ok.

I talked with some professional Violinists, and they advised me to fine tune at 440 or even at 441 / 442 Hz because the sound/intonation etc seem better at 440 Hz.

Does anybody have experience with the Gama 1 ? What is your opinion.

Cheers !

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Judex -- It might pay you to quickly check that your bridge is in the right place -- it wants to be 33cm from nut to bridge top. An easy way to check your soundpost position is to get a piece of card something like book-mark size and make a cut halfway, so that you have two ‘legs’. you can then feed one of the legs through the f-hole, and easily locate the distance relative to the bridge and the f-hole by referring to the other leg.
Before thinking about moving the sound-post -- which should be in the right place given that you’ve just got the fiddle -- try moving the bridge relative to the post. Although the bridge will not then be in the ‘correct’ place, it will give you a better idea of the effect moving the soundpost would have, and is easier to manipulate. Don’t forget lateral movement as well, which can also make a big difference.

Posted by .

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi gam,

Thank you for your post and advice.

From the Nut to the Bridge top 33 cm ok. The Bridge is between the 2 notches of the f-holes. By using the card as you suggested, the Sound Post to the foot of Bridge is 8.4 mm. I learned it should be 2 - 3 mm.

Actually, the sound post at 8.4 mm, I feel I have to dig too much into the G string. The D string appears not bad. A little digging in the A string also. The E string also appears not bad. In fact, the weight of the bow itself cannot vibrate the 4 open strings beautifully. I am wondering if the violin was made as such and on purpose, needing a lot of digging into the strings !!!!

I also noticed from the f-hole that the Bass Bar appears a bit high, but cannot figure the thickness !

I ordered a Sound Post Setter and now a bit scared that I may damage the top and the back of the violin (US$ 1,100.00) ! I cannot find a Luthier on the island !

Thanks again for your advice and cheers !

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Your soundpost setter is for fitting the post and not much use for moving it towards or away from the bridge due to the lack of weight. I use a flat file wrapped in insulation tape -- it’s thin enough to fit through the f-holes and has enough mass to give the post a decent tap without a lot of movement. I also have a ‘hammer’ that I made, which is just a flat lead weight on the end of a brass rod.
Before thinking of moving the soundpost, though, carefully move the bridge towards the post as I suggested earlier. It’s easier, and easily returned to its original position if it doesn’t have the desired effect. You’re only talking about max 5 - 6 millimetres after all -- not a huge distance. If you’re happy with the result, then move the bridge back, and then shift the post by the same amount.
You can make a pencil mark or similar at the foot of the post for future reference -- it can be hard to tell whether the post has moved or not when you tap it -- but you should hear a little ‘click’ if it moves.
If you have difficulty moving the post, try loosening the strings to ease the pressure. Watch out that the post doesn’t shift towards the centre of the fiddle, and don’t panic if it falls out. That’s what the setter is for, and replacing it will only take a million or so attempts. 🙂

Posted by .

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Setting a soundpost … as a luthier once remarked to me, it is the one thing that can reduce a grown man to tears of frustration.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Thank you gam and Trevor.

At 440 Hz, I have to dig a lot into the G string and less into the other strings. I cannot control the sound when digging that much ! I wonder if I should fine tune at much less than 440 Hz. When I received the Gama 1, it was at 420 Hz !!!!

I understand that toughing the sound post could dive me into tears of frustration as Trevor just pointed out. I fear also of damaging the top and the back and making my violin junk.

I think that I have no other option than to try to re-set the sound post as gam just suggested. I am trying hard to find a luthier around, but there is none. Finally, I think that I must try to fit it instead of being frustrated with a violin that does not play well.

Thanks again, my Friends for your moral support.

Cheers,
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi !

I received my 2 Sound post setters a couple of days ago from the USA. I chose the VSP-PRO2 to move the sound post from 8 mm to 3 mm from the foot of the bridge, It took me 2 attempts to do it right. This sound post setter has got a clamp that made it easy to prevent the sound post from falling.

Now the weight of the bow itself can vibrate all the strings, particularly the G string with which I was having problem. The sound is much, much improved at 440 Hz.

I took a lot of care not to scratch my violin since the sound post setter is in metal. Care highly recommended.

Cheers !
Judex.

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

Hi everybody. After extended researches I started a project in London called The Geminiani Project (www.geminianiproject.com), with the intent of restore the original frequency, also called the verdian A, at 432 hz. Scientific experiments demonstrated that everything is related to this frequency, and not to higher modern frequencies. I’m sure, therefore, that the great luthiers of the past didn’t made their calculations about the shape and the resonance at 440 0r 444. I refuse the 440, as a result of experiments of the germans in the late 30’s: I suggest you, then, that not only you’re right, but to keep playing at 432 hz and enjoying the original frequency ! Cheers

Re: At How many Hz do you tune your Violin ?

I can’t see this catching on with Box players. The great luthiers of the present do however tap tune their top plates to the modern tunings, so what works for a Guarneri or a Stradivarius wont necesesarily work with a modern instrument. Many players actually tune up a half tone to get a brighter sound.