Changing Strings Tips:
- When replacing all of the strings, violists generally replace one string at a time. Do not remove all of the strings on a viola at the same time, or the soundpost and/or fingerboard could collapse.
- Although the order you replace strings isn't critical, many violists start with the C string, and work their way up to the A string.
- If the string you’re installing has a fine tuner, insert the ball or loop end of the string over the tuner cartridge in the tailpiece, and pull the string toward the bridge.
- If the string does not have a fine tuner, insert the ball or knotted end of the string through the tailpiece string hole, tug firmly to make sure the knot or ball is securely in the slot, and pull the string toward the bridge. You may need to hold the ball or knot in place with your finger while increasing the tension of the string as you turn the peg.
- Slightly pull out the peg the string will go in until the peg hole is just inside of the pegbox. Thread the end of the string through the peg hole (let the string slightly protrude), and evenly begin winding it.
- Push the peg in as you're turning the string to keep the peg from slipping.
- When replacing all of the strings, violists often tune all of the strings to an approximate correct pitch, then do the fine tuning to get each pitch precisely in tune.
- Be aware that when you put on all new strings, it will take more adjusting than usual to tune the viola.
- If your pegs are slipping or are too tight to securely adjust the strings, you may want to purchase peg compound (also called “peg dope”), an inexpensive commercial product.
- If you don’t have peg compound and need a temporary quick fix for slipping or tight pegs, you may want to try tips some viola teachers use: for sticking pegs, pull the peg partially out, and rub pencil graphite on the sticking part of the peg. For loose pegs, pull the peg partially out, and rub birthday candle wax on the peg to help it stick (some teachers recommend chalk to help pegs stick, but it's abrasive).
- Many violists find it helpful to have extra set of viola strings on hand in case a string breaks. For a sampling of various types of strings, visit our Music Store - Viola Strings page.
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