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Home  -->  How to Tune a Cello:

How to Tune a Cello:


How to Tune a Cello

Use this Free Cello Tuner tool to tune up your Cello. This is for the standard CGDA Cello tuning. Use your tuning pegs at the top of the Cello to get close to the correct tone, and then use the fine tuners on the tail piece to do the fine tuning.

NEED A CELLO TUNER? Click Here. Please visit our store for Cello tuners.

The image below shows the notes for each string and also shows where the fine tuners and pegs are located. For more experienced players, you will find that their cellos are not equipped with fine tuners on C, G or D strings; only A string is equipped with a fine tuner. This is because A string is the most fragile and requires the most care during tuning.

IMPORTANT: If your Cello is extremely out of tune or if you are replacing the strings on the cello, and tuning it the first time, you have to be careful. If this is the case then tune each string a little at a time and then go on to the next string. You want to keep the tension on each string fairly equal. The bridge is not glued or attached to the cello, it is held there by the tension of the strings. If the tension varies too much it might cause the bridge to collapse. Also while you are tuning pay attention to the bridge, it should always be perpendicular to your cello and be straight, not angled.

Please click on each note above to hear the correct sound of each string.

Tuning Procedure

1. Gradually tighten each string in the sequence of C-G-D-A. The reason for starting from C string is to prevent damaging the thinner A and D strings.

2. Tighten only 1-2 note higher on one string at a time. Then tighten the next. Do not tighten one string all the way to the desire pitch while leaving the other strings very loose. This will create unequal pressure on the bridge causing it to fall.

3. Since the tuning will cause enough movement of the strings and sway the bridge, you need to make sure the bridge continues to stay perpendicular to the cello surface while being tuned. Make sure the bridge is completely straight especially where it makes contact with the strings. If it has become tilted, carefully make it straight. The cello bridge is neither glued nor screwed onto the cello. It is the tension from the 4 strings that keeps the bridge in its place.

4. In order to keep the tuning pegs from slipping, you will need to apply inward pressure on the tuning pegs toward the cello head as you turn the tuning peg, but not using so much force that you may damage the peg hole. Tuning pegs are tapered hence the inward pressure will ensure that they stay in position once released.

5. If you have tuner, pluck the string and the tone will get registered on the tuner. If you have a chromatic tuner, it will tell you what note you are on and how much further you have to go. If you have a cello tuner, the tone will not register on the tuner until the tone is within the tuner's detection limit. This is usually 1 note below or above the desired pitch.

6. Once you are within 1-2 notes from the desired pitch, you can use the fine tuners to adjust each string.

7. If you cannot tighten a fine tuner any more, loose the fine tuner halfway first then bring the string closer to the pitch by using the tuning peg. Then use the fine tuner again for the adjustment. Depending on the design of the fine tuner, fine tuners that are tightened all the way are more likely to dent the cello top since the space between the cello top and the fine tuner is very small.

8. If you cannot loosen a fine tuner any more, tighten the fine tuner halfway first then loosen the string closer to the pitch by using the tuning peg. Then use the fine tuner again for the adjustment.

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