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My violin will not stay in tune. Help!


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I am so completely frustrated with this instrument. It refuses to stay in tune. It's a wonderful quality instrument, but I think it may be the bridge. The strings are new, but it has NEVER taken two weeks to break them in. Last time it took less than two days. The A string also vibrates terribly. Is it the bridge? Do I need a new one? Or could it be the soundpost? Pegs? Please help me with suggestions. This is driving me insane

Thank you, thank you!

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A number things to check:

(Please forgive if you already know about these)

Environment:

What's the weather (environment) been like -- humidity, temperature, etc. where the violin has been sitting?

Has it been exposed to any temperature extremes just before playing?

Strings:

- Strings used? (Brand and type) Are they the same as the previous type?

- Strings were installed one at a time so that the sound post would not possibly fall or move?

- Strings were put on correctly (ie. G D A E)? Sorry for asking, but have seen a mixup in the "heat of battle".

- Did the actual string in the package correspond to what was written on the envelope. This happen to me once were string did not match envelope but saw it before installing.

- Did you lubricate the bridge and nut groves with a pencil (no 2)?

- Have the strings "dug" to far into the bridge groves?

- Is your bridge standing correctly or is it leaning too far one way or the other. If you corrected it, retuning is generally a must.

"Hardware...":

- Do pegs fit and hold or are they slipping?

- Is there proper clearance between the nut, strings and fingerboard.

- Bridge has no cracks and/or feet resting on the top correcly?

- Are you using fine tuners? If so, are the screws on the tailpiece tight.

- Is the tailpiece gut ok (not loose or slipping)?

- New chin or shoulder rest?

- If using a over the tailpiece type chinrest is the chinrest not binding or pressing the tailpiece?

- Neck securely on violin?

- Fingerboard securely on Neck (and with no string ruts)?

- No violin cracks or separated seams (may hear wolf tones)?

Playing:

- Any change in your bowing technique (new bow, bow rehair)?

- Is it all the stings or just one - maybe a bad ("false") new string.

- Are the open strings generally in tune but your stopped notes not? (Possibly human rather than violin - like my problem )

There are a number of possiblities and probably a few I've missed. You may want to also post this to the "pegboard".

If it continues, best to talk to your teacher and/or luthier.

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Environment - has not changed. No changing of position, and no extremes.

Strings - same brand as last time. Put on one at a time...no movement of soundpost. String are in right place, and bridge is straight. However, I believe the grooves may be too low in the bridge. What affects does the strings to far in the bridge create?

Hardware - no cracks, everything is tight, no separation of any parts, chin rest is tight and not over the tailpiece. I've been wondering about the pegs lately, however. They're tight, but they are pressing farther out the other end than they used to. What affect does this cause?

Playing - nothing new, and the open strings change...I almost wish it was me. No false strings.

I will post in the pegbox too, but I believe more people visit here, so I had to give the Fingerboard a chance. I don't have a teacher, and the nearest reputable luthier is over an hour away. That is why I come to you!

Thank you for your suggestions, and the ones that may come.

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"However, I believe the grooves may be too low in the bridge. What affects does the strings to far in the bridge create?" color>

Here are a few issues that I know of when the string has cut a tight grove into the bridge. I recall someone here saying a rule of thumb is a grove no greater than a third the string diameter below top of the bridge.

First, the string may not move over the bridge easily (if at all) when you turn the beg/tuner such that the bridge can bind on the string. Though that string is in tune the other strings may be out of tune because of the binding (new position) of the bridge. Now you tune the other stings (or possibly play a while) and the original string releases it's tension on the bridge and it is now out of tune and may cause the other strings to go out of tune as well. So it may become a never-ending tuning battle.

This happen to me (A string) once and I was able to carefully trim the deepened U shape into a V shape with an x-acto knife after taking off the string and thus releasing any bind. Since it had not cut too deeply into the bridge it worked out well with a liberal dose of pencil lead (graphite). Not sure if the luthiers here would condone my fix but it worked out well for me at the time.

Secondly, if the stress point is continually placed on the bridge or string, one or the other may decide it has had "enough" and break. Broken strings at this contact point would be a clue.

One caveat. Check all your strings for peg tightness before tuning. I once had the G-string peg let go because of a change of weather or maybe case movement. I started tuning the A-string...whoa...what happened? Then the D-string...what's going on! It wasn't until I checked the G-string and found the peg loose that the explanation revealed itself. If I had just tightened the G-string (peg) the other stings would have probably been somewhat in tune. If the G-string had not been so out of tune, I might have be playing "whose in tune" for quite some time. A lesson learned.

They're tight, but they are pressing farther out the other end than they used to. What affect does this cause? color>

It could be that the peg holes have widened due the pressure of pushing in the pegs to keep them tight. Not sure if it has any effect on tuning (other than coming loose or hard to adjust) but if the pressure is continuely placed on the peg box (ie. pushing the pegs in deeper and deeper), the holes could stop expanding and pegs cause enough fatigue to crack the the pegbox. Have not seen it but have been told it is a possiblity. Maybe some of the Luthiers here could elaborate for you.

Lastly, that trip to the Luthier's may take some time and expense but it may head off any major problem(s), or at the very least, give you some peace of mind.

Hope you find the problem soon.

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My gut strings need tuning every 15 minutes. what I do to minimize the problem is:

-Taking my violin out the box 15 minutes before playing

-Do some finger-warmup's without worries about intonation etc. I use this to get the string to adjust to the temparature of my fingers: 5 to 10 minutes is ok.

-retune (if needed!!!)

When I take the violin out of the box its always out of tune.

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