As a violinist, your strings can either make or mar your performance. A worn or broken string can change the tune of your violin and totally alter your performance.
Changing violin strings might seem like a daunting task, but with a little practice, you get to master the art easily. With time, you might even be able to change your strings under 10 minutes. Stringing a violin is quite simple, and that is what this piece is all about.
This article would take you through a step by step guide on how to restring your violin, give instructions on how often you should restring your violin and lastly, I would give you some tips that would help in the handling your violin.
Step By Step Guide on How to Restring a Violin
Here are short and simple steps on how to string a violin from scratch:
Get all items you need to restring your violin ready and within reach. This includes your strings, graphite, and any other item you might need to restring your violin
- Remove the old strings by loosening the pegs. It is much better to remove and replace a string before proceeding to the next one. This will make your work easier and less clumsy.
- Add a little graphite to the two contact point, which is the bridge and the neck. This is to ensure that the string does not get stuck in either place. (Serves as a form of lubrication). The graphite comes as a pencil, and you can get it in any music shop around you.
- After removing the old string, unwind the new one you are to replace it with and insert the ball end into the tailpiece. (Ensure that you don’t get your strings mixed up. Some strings come with color codes, I recommend you make use of such strings if you are a beginner). If your violin has a fine adjuster it’s pretty much the same idea – pop it into the slot, and the string tension will hold it in place.
- The peg has a hole drilled into it which you pass the other end of the string through. Carefully insert the other end of the string into this tiny hole in the peg.
- Recheck the ball end to ensure that it is still in place. I will advise that you check the ball end intermittently, so you don’t have to go through the stress of starting all over again if the ball ends pops off.
- Make sure you check the tailpiece end, at the bridge, to make sure the violin string is sitting in the right notch, and at the nut end of the string to make sure it is properly in place
- Tune your strings to ensure that they maintain the right pitch
- Repeat the procedure for each string till all the strings are replaced
Voilà! Your violin is set for your next performance
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How Often Should You Restring A Violin?
If you play 3 hours a day and perform in 2 concerts a week, you should change your strings every 3–4 months. Also, If you play 1 hour a day, you can change them every 6 months. If you play less than that, you can change them once a year. Generally, it is recommended to change your strings at least every 6 months (on an average).
Changing your violin strings depends on several factors such as the quality of the string, how often you use the string, the brand of the string and how much stress you exert on the string while playing.
Physical changes such as dirt and rust are quick pointers to the need to change your strings. You also notice that your strings have begun to unravel.
You would also know your string needs a change when the resonance of the string begins to fade. As you progress in your play, you would begin to “feel” as you play when your strings are overworked.
Expert Tips for Restringing a Violin
The following tips would prove helpful while changing your violin strings:
- As a rule, do not remove all your strings at once. Aside from the possibility of getting confused and getting your strings mixed up, removing all your strings at once can also cause the bridge and or the sound post to collapse. If you, however, need to remove all your strings at once (for a repair), then ensure that you insert a soft, clean cloth between the fingerboard and the sound post to prevent it from collapsing.
- Change your strings from G to E. This is a method commonly adopted by most violinist. It allows a simple, methodical process with more balanced tension across the bridge. This would also help you keep touch with your tuning.
- Ensure that you have the right type of strings before you start to put strings on your violin. This will save you the stress of fixing the wrong strings and then restring all over again.
- Keep your old strings. As long as they are not broken and entirely worn out, old strings may come in handy when you need a string urgently (like when your strings get broken right in the middle of a performance)
- Do not make the mistake of winding your violin strings the wrong around the peg. The string must always wrap over the peg away from the fingerboard.
- Lastly, ensure that you do not over tighten the strings. If you do, you might end up breaking them and have all your work go down the drain.
I hope you have learned how to restring your violin in short, easy steps. It may appear difficult when you start, but with practice, it gets much easier.
At Instrument School, we are really concerned about your growth. Comment below if you have any problem when restringing your violin.
Enjoy your play!