A violin string can break if it is accidentally tuned too high, if it has been rubbing against a rough spot on the peg, nut or bridge, or if something sharp brushes against it. If you have the correct replacement string and a bit of courage, you can take care of this yourself. Here’s how:
First check to see where and why the old string broke. If it broke right at the peg, nut or bridge, you will need to take care of this problem before putting the new string on. Use very fine (400 or 600 grit) sand paper and a magnifying glass till you’re sure the place is smooth. Rub a pencil lead (actually, it’s graphite, not lead) in the groove of the nut or bridge. Then you’re ready to put on the new string.

Loosen the fine tuner completely. Attach the ball end of the string first (see note on Suzuki style toners below). Then pull the string up to the peg. Holding the fiddle between your knees with the scroll pointed up and away from yourself, place the end of the string through the hole in the peg. (Some pegs have two holes. Place the string through the one that is not going to rub up against the side of the peg box.) Begin turning the peg forward while keeping a bit of tension on the string with the other hand. You will need to keep the peg (which is tapered) pressed into the hole just enough to give some grip, but not so tight that it’s hard to turn.

For the D and G strings, allow the string to wrap first to the right of the hole. After it has gone all the way around the peg once, swing it back to the left so that it crosses over itself. This anchors the string firmly in place. Continue winding, spiraling the string slowly to the left.


Step 1

Step 2

Note: Most strings anchor right into the fine tuners.When the string is tight enough to produce a tone when plucked, begin bringing it up to the correct pitch. Reverse these directions (left = right) for the A and E strings.


Standard Fine Tuners


Built-in Fine Tuners

Small Suzuki style tuners are put on after the string is threaded through the tail piece, wound on the peg and is almost tight enough to produce a tone when plucked. Look carefully at the other tuners to see how it should be attached.

47Large (1)

Small, Suzuki Style Tuners

Bring the string almost up to pitch using the peg only. Play on it a bit (it’ll go flat) and bring it back up to pitch. After three or four repeats of this, you can begin using the fine tuner to bring it up to the correct pitch. It will tend to go flat quicker than the other strings for a while. The more the instrument is played, the sooner it will stabilize.
Changing strings sounds frightening and overwhelming to some people. That’s okay. If you are afraid to tackle this by yourself, or if you don’t have the needed replacement string, be sure to save the broken string and take it to the shop, as it may help the technician there determine if some remedial work is needed before the new string is put on.