The fiddler who fiddles with this blog

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Selinsgrove, PA, United States
Beverley Conrad is a writer and musician who has played the fiddle for most of her life and she's no spring chicken. She performs regularly in her home state and beyond and teaches others how to play. She lives in the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania. She also likes to cook. For more about Beverley and the fiddle visit her website at

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"But it was tuned when I got it!"

           It sometimes happens that you can meticulously tune your fiddle – even hook it up to one of those digital gadgets to make sure that A is at 440 and D, G, and E are exactly where they should be.  Then you go to play a tune and every time you hit an open string – bam! – it sounds off pitch.  So you tune it again.  Same thing.
Check the bridge.  Get a measuring tool and check the exact length of the string from where it touches the nut to where it crosses the bridge.  It should be exactly the same length on both the G and the E side.  If not, although all the fingered notes may sound good, the open strings will sound off pitch as you play a song.  It’s all relative.  In the course of tuning our fiddles the bridge sometimes has a tendency to lean toward the fingerboard after time, especially if you’ve recently added new strings.  So you straighten it up and over the course oft time it can move a bit.  This throws the angle off and that’s makes for “in tune” but off pitch open strings.

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