This page will give you some help in learning to tune your fiddle, guitar or bass. Warning: Learning the mechanics of tuning is no big deal. The hard thing is learning to match the pitch you are hearing. Don’t get discouraged. You’ll get it in time. As you develop in your ability to tune, you will learn of other tuning methods which are more highly refined, but this page is a good place for beginners to start.

First, if you are just learning about how to tune, you will need an electronic tuner of some kind. You can buy one online or at a music store. Or you can download a free tuner on your smart phone. Be sure it can be used to tune YOUR instrument. Most tuners for string instruments can be used for guitar, bass, violin, mandolin, or ukulele. And maybe a few others. If you buy a tuner, it will come with instructions. If you download one you can ask a friend to show you, or just fool around with it till you get it.

Now for the mechanics of tuning:

When it’s time to tune your instrument, it will usually be flat (low) rather than sharp (high) – unless it has been dropped or bumped or if it is cold. NOTE: ALWAYS PLUCK THE STRING AND LISTEN TO IT AS YOU BRING IT UP TO THE DESIRED PITCH! If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll turn it too far and break a string.

Violin/fiddle: Violins get out of tune pretty easily. This is normal – nothing to worry about. First try to tune the violin with the fine tuners (clockwise to raise the pitch, counterclockwise to lower it). If the pitch of a string needs to be raised a lot, the fine tuner will probably not be enough. Loosen it till it’s just barely engaged, and take up the slack at the peg till you are close to the desired pitch. (Remember: listen while you’re turning the peg!) Then finish the job with the fine tuner. When working with the pegs, remember that they are tapered and must be forced gently into the peg head while turning or they’ll just pop loose.