How to change violin strings yourself

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How to change violin strings – start with good quality violin strings. 

How to change violin strings begins with choosing new strings. Thomastik Dominant 4/4 Size Violin Strings may be the single most popular string in use today by players from beginner to professional.  Dominants will give you great results for the money.  You can buy them online for about $35 – $40 a set.  Many people prefer a different E string:

Kaplan has a new non-whistling E that is exceptional and matches up perfectly with Dominants.
Lenzner Goldbrokat steel E is also pretty popular.  These can be purchased as part of a set.
(We don’t sell strings – some of the best deals are on eBay.)

Step by Step Instructions how to change violin strings

  1. Only replace one string at a time.  This will keep the bridge and soundpost in place.
  2. Start with the G string.  Loosen the peg until the string can be removed from the peg.  Once free, remove the ball from the tailpiece.
  3. Reverse the process – insert the ball of the new string into the tailpiece and pull it forward from underneath to assure the ball is securely seated and won’t pull free when tightened.
  4. Use a sharp carbon pencil to coat the nut and the bridge where the string contacts – this is for lubrication.
  5. Insert the string into the peg and wind the peg away from the tailpiece. (G & D tighten counter clockwise; A & E tighten clockwise).  Wind the peg and guide the string so the windings are neat and close together in a single layer.
  6. Using a tuner, carefully bring the string up to the correct note.  Be very careful not to overtighten – it’s easy to break a string.
  7. IMPORTANT: frequently check the bridge to assure that it is perpendicular to the top of the violin and not pulling toward the peg box.  To straighten the bridge, put the violin in your lap, place both hands on the strings and wrap your fingers under the strings on either side of the bridge.  Gently lift the strings and use your thumbs to push the bridge back into position.  (See photo below)
  8. Repeat this “remove and replace” process with the remaining strings – one string at a time and tune the strings as you go.  Some people find it easier to replace both the A & E at the same time by removing both strings and replacing the E string first.  Otherwise the A string makes it difficult to properly insert the E string into the peg.
  9. New strings will stretch for a couple of days.  Wait a few minutes or an hour and retune the violin and check the bridge.  Most new strings will sound harsh until they are broken in.  Play the violin for a while and check the tuning again.
  10. Be sure to wipe the rosin off your new strings and violin after each session.  A microfiber cloth is a good choice for this job on how to change violin strings.

change violin strings


How to adjust a violin bridge 

How often should I replace violin strings?

That depends on how much you play.  Most kids never replace their strings.  However, it is recommended that you replace strings at least once a year.  Professionals and students who play several hours a day will notice that the sound quality degrades over time and may replace their strings every month or so.

How do I fix slipping pegs?

  • Ideally, pegs are bare wood on bare wood.  This provides smooth turning and firm grip.  However, as pegs wear they may become loose.  One solution is to return to your luthier for correction.  This is generally the best solution.
  • There are several do-it-yourself products that can help (all available on Amazon):
  • Peg drops are designed to make pegs sticky without removing a peg.  The string is loosened and a small drop is placed in the joint between the peg and the pegbox.  The string is tightened again and the excess drop wiped off.  These drops need to cure several hours to be effective.  Peg drops will stop the slippage, but usually make the pegs sticky so it’s harder to stop exactly where you want.
  • Hill peg compound looks like lipstick.  The peg must be removed to apply.  This lubricant helps sticky pegs turn smoothly.  It won’t fix a loose peg, but helps a peg that is too sticky work more smoothly.
  • Hidersine Hiderpaste – a combination of the two ideas above in a single product.  Our experience is that this is closer to peg compound than peg drops – meaning it is better to make sticky pegs smooth rather than stop pegs from slipping.

How to change violin strings is a do-it-yourself  guide.

You may also be interested in Why Your Child Needs a Better VIolin