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How to Replace Your Violin Strings?

Do you play an instrument that has strings? If so, then you will know that from time to time, they need to be changed. Sometimes because they will break, other times because they just get worn out, and the sound becomes dull.

With some instruments like the guitar or bass guitar, it is fairly obvious what the process is. With an instrument like a violin, it becomes a different thing. Learning how to replace your Violin strings is something every violinist should know how to do. And the good news is it’s a skill that’s relatively easy to learn.


How Often Should You Replace Violin Strings?

How Often Should You Replace Violin Strings

That is a question that has no definitive answer. It will depend entirely on the player and the level they are at. A starter or a casual player probably only needs to replace their strings about every six months.

For students who are more serious and practice more, that might come down to three months. And for the professionals, that will come down drastically as the perfection of the sound of their instrument is essential.

Why Do you Have to Change Them?

The obvious answer to that is loss of tonal quality. And that can start to disappear within a few weeks with heavy usage. But even those who might only play an hour or two a week will also suffer from that in time.

The natural liquids on your hands and fingers, be it sweat or natural oils, cause problems. They are one of the reasons violin strings degrade. Breakages then are not the only problem. It tends to dull the sound, and the violin loses its tone.

Given that this is going to be an ongoing and recurring activity, it makes sense to learn how to replace your violin strings.


Many people suggest learning from a professional stringer. All well and good if you can find one. But are they going to let you observe them knowing you only want the information, then you will do it yourself?

They may let you watch them do the work. But it is very unlikely that unless they are very short of work, they will take the time to watch you do it.

Having said that, you can still watch them once, maybe twice, and then just note what they did. By asking a few questions, you can ask why they do certain things. That basic knowledge on how to change violin strings can be complimented by what you can find online.

Making the Change

Making the Change

The first question I would ask is, are you changing one string or all of them? Whichever it is, the basics are the same. But if you are changing all of them, there are some simple rules to follow. If you are changing a single string, then some of this section won’t apply until you get to the actual changing process.

A full replacement

Before you start, detune all of the strings by a tone or two. This will relax them and not put any undue extra pressure on the bridge. You should never remove all of the strings as this could well cause serious problems with the bridge and the soundpost.

Many stringers prefer to work on the top and bottom strings first. Then replace the inner two. This again helps to reduce unwanted stresses on the instrument. Okay, so you are ready to go. There are seven basic steps for replacing your violin strings.

Step One

Let’s say, for example, that you remove the G or thickest string first. Then, remove the peg and apply some peg compound. This lubricates it and helps the peg to move smoothly when in use. You can tell how much compound is needed by turning the peg. If it feels a bit stiff, it may need some more.

Step Two

Clean the slots on both the bridge and the nut (at the top end) to remove any unwanted moisture, dust, or other materials that may have collected. Do this carefully so as not to damage the slots.

Step Three

Thread your string from the ball end first. Then carefully lay it over the bridge and the nut and thread through the hole in the peg. Only let about an inch of the string pass through the hole.

Step Four

Turn the peg away from you, and using the hand that is not turning, help to guide the string, so it does not bunch. Gently continue the wind until the string starts to tension.

Step Five

Don’t wind it to its full tension at this stage. About ¾ will be enough to hold it in position. That will allow it to be a similar tension to those strings you have already loosened.

Step Six

Repeat for all strings.

Step Seven

Once all the strings are replaced, bring all the strings up to the correct tension.

After Changing

After Changing

You will notice they sound slightly different. This is because all strings, on just about any instrument, need what they call “breaking in.” If you don’t break them in, it can take three or four days for the strings to sound like they should.

There is not space here to give a full description of the breaking-in process. You can find some excellent guides online to help you. It should only take you about four or five minutes per string, and it is something worth doing.

String Preservation

You will want to give your strings every opportunity to give you a good sound for as long as possible. There are two things you can do to help maintain your violin strings.

  • After each session, practice or playing, wipe down the strings. This removes any moisture that may degrade or corrode the string.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry your hands to remove any excess grease from your fingers before playing.

Does Violin String Choice Matter?

Some strings will last longer than others. Unless you are a professional player, you probably won’t be fitting gut strings. But synthetic strings are very good these days. They will last a long time, providing you care for them.

The real difference in the string choice is in the sound, not necessarily its longevity. Another consideration is that synthetic strings will hold their tune easier. Therefore after fitting, they will tend to stay at a constant pitch longer than other materials.

Purchasing Violin Strings

It is an excellent idea to purchase strings online. The quality these days by the top manufacturers is excellent, and they all come packaged and protected. Here are some examples of synthetic strings from renowned manufacturers.

The first set is the D’Addario Prelude Violin String, 4/4 Scale Medium Tension – Solid Steel Core. The Prelude is a budget string but produces a nice tone.

A little more expensive is this Thomastik Dominant 4/4 Violin String – Medium Gauge from Vienna. They are one of the top manufacturers of violin strings in the world. And should you need to apply Compound to the pegs, this Goetz ZW-96 The Original Violin Peg Compound is a high-quality and long-lasting option.

Looking for a Great Violin or Violin Accessories?

We can help you find what you need. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Violin Strings, the Best Cremona Violins, the Best Student Violins, the Best Violin Bows, the Best Violin Rosins, the Best Electric Violins, the Best Violin Cases, and the Best Electric Cellos you can buy in 2023.

You may also enjoy our Tips For Tuning Your ViolinHow Many Different Types of Violins Are ThereHow Are Violin Strings Made, How Are Violin Strings Made, and A Guide to Choosing the Right Violin Strings for more helpful information.

How to Replace Your Violin Strings – Final Thoughts

Learning to change your own strings is a skill and may take a little practice. It will also save you quite a bit of money over time. It is something that is worth the effort in the long run.

Until next time, let your music play.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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