As shown in the picture above, most violins have four strings, all tuned a 5th apart. Similar instruments, including the cello, viola, and double bass, also have four strings.
But in some cases, violins can have three, five, or even seven strings. We'll get to that in a bit!
From the image of a violin above, you will see that each string also has a corresponding peg that will allow the instrumentalist to tune their instrument.
Basic violins have four strings that are pitched at G3, D4, A4, and E5. Do any of these pitches stand out to you? Violin strings are typically tuned by setting the A4 string, AKA the well-known pitch frequency 440 Hz.
For advanced players, you may come across a violin that has five strings. In this case, the fifth string would be 5th below the G3 at C3.
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In even rarer cases, you will find electric violins that have different string counts between 5 and 7. These violins can have a C and an F lower than the G3, which allows the player to tap into the lower cello's range.
Crazily enough, a 12-string electric violin was built by Dutch inventor Yuri Landman.
You could say that the sky is the limit when it comes to creating instruments, but most violin players will agree that anything over seven strings is a bit much to handle.
At the neck of the violin, you will see where each string is wrapped and attached to the tuning pegs that can be adjusted.
There you will want to adjust each string to the correct corresponding pitch with a tuning fork, piano, or similar pitch source that is reliable.
There is also the option to tune a violin with a fine tuner at the tailpiece (for those who have that installed). Many violins only have a fine tuner setting available for the E string.
Violin strings can be made from a variety of different things, one very old-school way being sheep intestine (AKA catgut).
The name catgut has confused some because you would think that it's reffing to actually cats, but it isn't. Other materials can include nylon and real or synthetic steel.
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It's recommended that violinists change their strings every 300 hours or so. To keep them well-maintained, they should be wiped down regularly.
Restringing isn't as hard as it would seem, and most violinists can easily do it on their own. The first key is to replace each string one at a time in order to avoid messing up the tension in the strings of the instrument.
To remove the strings, you can adjust the tuning peg until it's loose enough. That's the easy part! You will then thread each new string one by one, where it gets a bit tricky, and you'll likely want to follow pictures or a video if you're a beginner.
Forsyth has a pretty straightforward guide that I think is super helpful if you need the visual.
The viola, which is slightly larger than the violin, also has four strings. The cello is a larger instrument played upright, and it typically has four strings as well.
The double bass, also known as the upright bass or contrabass, is the largest instrument in the orchestral string family. Just like the others, it usually has 4 strings.
Harps can have a varying number of strings depending on their size and type. Concert pedal harps used in orchestras typically have 47 strings, but they can range from as few as 22 to as many as 47 or more.
Pianos have a much larger number of strings compared to the previously mentioned instruments. A standard modern piano has 88 keys, with each key corresponding to one or more strings.
Therefore, pianos have many strings, typically over 200, which produce different pitches when struck by the piano hammers.
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