How to Tune Your Cello

This article will teach you how to tune your cello so that you can get back to practicing.

The cello is tuned in fifths starting with the lowest string C, then G, D, and finally the A string.

The Cello Has 4 Strings

  • C
  • G
  • D
  • A

As a beginner, tuning your cello can be quite challenging. Thankfully, these days we have electronic tuners and access to technology that makes tuning much easier. Below is a quick video that plays each string of the cello for you to tune to.

Using the Tuning Pegs

The most intimidating thing about an extremely out of tune cello is having to use the tuning pegs. But don’t worry, it is easier than you think. You simply have to apply a little inward pressure when you turn the peg to make sure it stays wedged in the peg box, otherwise the peg won’t hold. The goal with the tuning pegs is to get the string close to the correct pitch, and then use the fine tuners to dial in the perfect pitch.

Fine tuners

Once you have the pitch close enough and you are having trouble getting it exact with the peg, you can switch to using the fine tuner. This allows you to more accurately raise or lower the pitch of the string so that it is at the exact pitch required.

Tuning Your Cello with Harmonics

You can also use a piano, tuning fork, or metronome to produce a 440hz A.  Once you get your A string to the right pitch, you can match the harmonic A notes on the A string and on the D string. The pitches should match, and you should not hear any waves when playing them together.

Easiest Method – Electronic Tuner

It is well worth the small investment to purchase an electronic tuner to use to tune your cello. They work great, you just play the string you are trying to tune and it tells you how far above or below the note your string is. You can use the peg or fine tuners to get the pitch just right, and you don’t have to worry about matching the pitch using your ear.