I'm just starting to play violin and I'm having trouble while tuning it. When i try to tune it to G3 D4 A4 E5 the strings get just too tight, if i try to tune it to G2 D3 A3 E4, they get just too loose, I can't play. What can be possibly wrong?

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    Why do you say "the strings get just too tight"? Are you breaking strings? – David Bowling May 29 '18 at 21:41
  • Well, i don't know how tight the strings are supposed to be, so, since they are expensive, I'm afraid to break them. I didn't break any. – InutiLuke May 29 '18 at 21:45
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    This is a common fear among beginning string players. When your cranking that tuning peg you often feel like the string is going to snap and whack you in the eyeball any second. It won’t. The strings will always be tighter than you expect, but if you tune them to correct pitches you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to use your microtuners to help make sure they’re really properly tuned. – jjmusicnotes May 30 '18 at 10:39
  • Ha ha violin strings expensive. You should look up the prices for cello or double bass strings! :-( – Carl Witthoft May 30 '18 at 12:48
  • You don't say if you play any other instruments but violin strings should be much tighter than guitar strings for example. You don't bends the strings sideways on the violin like you do on the guitar, and of course plucking violin strings is not the most common playing technique anyway. – user19146 May 31 '18 at 10:26

Your first example is correct. It might feel as though the strings are too tight but that's the way they are supposed to be. It is customary firstly to tune your A string (A above middle C). Then the others - probably E, then D and finally G.

  • If you are careful not to over tighten them, they should not break. – Jomiddnz May 29 '18 at 22:08
  • Good point in the comment: the standard advice for all stringed instruments is "tune from below" to avoid overtightening. – Carl Witthoft May 30 '18 at 12:49
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    I always celebrate when my students break their first string. Because after that they actually know how tight a string needs to get before it breaks. – xerotolerant May 30 '18 at 17:27

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that the tuning system of a violin does not rely on gears the way that a guitar does; both the tuning peg and the hole in which it is inserted taper, and not necessarily by the same amount, so the only thing holding the peg in place is friction. Part of learning how to play the violin is learning how use enough force to keep the peg from moving when you're done tuning, but not using so much force that the pegs become stuck or break. (Hint: go find a teacher! All students should take at least a couple lessons from a private instructor)

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    I thought that if the tapers (male and female) were not the same, the peg wouldn't stay as there is not enough friction. – Tim May 30 '18 at 6:47
  • @Tim - depends on how great the difference in taper is. The ideal when fitting pegs is that the taper be the same or (some say) fit a bit tighter at the thick end. But obviously you're going to have less friction if the peg is only holding in one hole in the pegbox, so you will have to jam it in tighter to prevent it from slipping, which is tiring, makes it harder to tune, and is likely to cause cracks or broken pegs. – Scott Wallace May 30 '18 at 9:49
  • This does not answer the question. – Carl Witthoft May 30 '18 at 12:48
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    @CarlWitthoft How does this not answer the question? I told the OP that they need to practice using the correct amount of force, and that they should seek the assistance of a teacher. – John Doe May 30 '18 at 15:57
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    @JohnDoe he asked which octave to tune to, not how tight the pegs should be. – Carl Witthoft May 30 '18 at 17:51

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