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.
The fiddler who fiddles with this blog
- Beverley Conrad
- Selinsgrove, PA, United States
- Beverley Conrad is a writer, musician, and artist who lives in central Pennsylvania. She's played the fiddle most of her life and has published books and once went on a book tour with her dog. She's currently working on a series of one hundred works of art of a dead fly to see where it goes, how it progresses.
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.