How to Tighten Your Loose Violin Strings

For a lot of people who just started to learn the violin , string issues make playing and practicing a frustrating endeavor. However, being able to tune your instrument would be a very necessary skill to pick up as you advance your violin playing skill. You need to be able to keep your violin in top condition. If you constantly play with loose strings, it can lead to discontent, and can affect your perception of music and tunes, which ultimately affect your playing skills.

Loose violin strings can be caused by a number of reasons. You can tighten loose strings using your pegs every time when the issue occurs, but if you experience this problem constantly, like having to tighten loose strings repeatedly during one practice, we suggest that you spend some time figuring out why your violin strings are loose, so that you can prevent this issue from occurring over and over again. Besides, repetitive loose strings may point to another problem area that needs to be repaired. In that case, you should have the issue examined early to avoid more extensive maintenance in the future.

Reasons for Loose Violin Strings

There are different factors that will cause your violin strings to lose their grip, and each circumstance will tell you about different ways to tighten them.

Pegs Slip: Sometimes pegs can’t keep your string in place because the peg itself has worn down and won’t grip properly in the hole. Than, the string will loosen and go out of tune. You can solve this problem simply by removing the peg and very gently using super fine grit sandpaper to rough up the surface. One gentle swipe will be good. Make sure that you don’t over-sand the peg, which can change the size of the hole and make things even worse. Peg dope also works if you use it right. It both lubricates the peg shaft so it turns easily in the pegbox and provides friction to keep the pegs from slipping.

Pegs will also slip if you fail to gently apply pressure when you’re tuning your violin. You need to keep practicing turn and pushing to secure it.

Bridge Shifts: If you tighten the violin strings improperly, it can alter the vertical position of your bridge. When looking at it from the side, the back of the bridge (the side facing the tailpiece) should form a 90 degree angle with the top plate of the violin. If it is leaning toward the peg box, that improper position will make it easier for your strings to loosen. Make sure that you lubricate the notches in your bridge using a graphite pencil.

Improper Winding: If your string isn’t wound properly on the peg, they will become loose more often. You can tighten violin strings G and D by turning counterclockwise and the A and E string with a clockwise motion. Also, you should wind the first loop on the peg towards the pointy end of the peg, then gradually wind each successive loop toward the edge of the peg box (outward). This locks the string in place to keep it from slipping.

Changes in Humidity or Temperature: The amount of water that can be absorbed or lost by your violin can make a big difference in the sound quality. Because your violin is created from organic materials, significant changes in the humidity levels or temperature will cause the pieces to expand or contract. If you’ve moved it to a very dry atmosphere, expect to tighten violin strings before playing. That’s also why we suggest you keep the violin in its case when not playing it. There are affordable case humidifiers that can you can buy to alleviate the problem.

Tips to Successfully Tighten Violin Strings

Make sure that as you turn the peg that the string evenly coils around the peg. If it crisscrosses itself, it will be likely to loosen and you’ll need to tighten it again. Use a peg lubricant to ensure that the peg turns freely, but still maintains the right amount of friction. A single lipstick size tube costs around $15, but will last for quite a few years. Remember, to tighten violin strings, you need to turn G and D counterclockwise and the A and E string clockwise.

If you realize that the problem stems from improper winding, old pegs that need reshaped or refitted, or peg holes that need to be fixed, take your violin to a repair shop. Thought it’s highly unlikely to happen for a violin of good condition, we suggest that if it happens, a professional will be a better option to make the mechanical adjustments.