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What Tailpiece and How Many Fine Tuners Should You Have on Your Violin or Viola?

Zlata Brouwer

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Published: November 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM [UTC]

You might be wondering why some violinists and violists have one fine tuner, others two and some even four. What is the difference? What should you choose? Which tailpiece should you pick?

I’ve just discovered shortly that the choice of fine tuners and tailpiece makes a big difference in the sound of your violin or viola. 

In this episode of Violin Lounge TV, I give you the complete guide to fine tuners and tailpieces.

First, for beginners, let’s go into what a fine tuner does... When you tune your violin or viola you can do this with the tuning pegs. When you just want to tune a bit, you can better use the fine tuners. There are different types of fine tuners, so yours can look a little different than the ones in the video.

For beginners I recommend to have four fine tuners, so a fine tuner for every string. Tuning your violin or viola can be difficult in the beginning. When you have four fine tuners you can easily tune every string very precisely.

When it’s so easy to have four fine tuners, why don’t all violin and viola players have all four?

On a wooden tailpiece you can put as many loose fine tuners on it as you prefer. These loose fine tuners are quite heavy. When you have four loose fine tuners on a wooden tailpiece, the whole thing becomes very heavy. The downside of this is that it mutes the tone of your violin or viola and can alternate the sound. This is why lots of violin and viola players just have one or two fine tuners.

These fine tuners are mostly placed on the E string and perhaps the A string. The E string is very tight and thin, therefore hard to tune with the pegs and it can easily snap when you turn it just a little too high. The G and D strings are easier to tune with the pegs only. The fine tuner is optionally placed on the A string.

When you want to have four fine tuners for easy tuning, but you also want to keep the beautiful sound of your violin or viola, consider a plastic tailpiece with integrated fine tuners. These type of tailpieces are light, so they won’t mute the sound of your violin or viola. It will even mute less than a wooden tailpiece with one fine tuner. A plastic tailpiece goes very well with most violins.

Click here to see what I recommend!

Personally I have a wooden tailpiece with two integrated fine tuners.

I choose for two fine tuners, because I really don’t need the fine tuners on the G and D strings.

I prefer a wooden tailpiece, because on my violin the sound is better (warmer) than with a plastic tailpiece.

I prefer integrated fine tuners above loose finetuners, because with integrated fine tuners the distance between the bridge and the tuner is larger. This distance should be 1/6 of the vibrating string length to reach an optimal sound. With loose fine tuners this distance is most of the times to short.

The choice for a tailpiece and fine tuners makes a big difference for the sound of your violin or viola. Experiment with it and find out what is best for you.

Would you like to know how to replace a tailpiece yourself? It’s not so difficult. Just watch this video I made (click here).

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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