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Cello Tuning Made Easy


Being able to tune your instrument is a necessary skill for any cello player. It may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many people there are who don't even know how to tune a cello properly. It's so important! 

Not only does it ensure that your cello is at the same, and therefore correct, pitch as other cellos, but it also helps train your ear to “hear” the proper notes. A cello that is just slightly out of tune, is still out of tune, and when played in concert with other instruments the difference is incredibly noticeable. The good news, however, is that tuning a cello is a relatively easy and straightforward adventure. 

About Cello Tuning

Each of the four strings – A, D, G, and C in ascending order – are tuned in perfect fifths. When you actually start tuning, begin with the lowest string – A – and work your way up each of the higher strings. Because tuning one string can affect the pitch of the other strings, you will need to double check each string or else you could get used to hearing any string out of tune.

Usually, you would start using the pegs to tune your cello, but you can also use the fine tuners to tweak until you reach the right pitch.


Should You Use a Tuner? 

If you are a beginner cellist, it can be incredibly beneficial to use a digital tuner to tune your cello. It lets you learn how to tune your cello while getting used to the approximate sound of the note. The main issue with using a digital tuner is that the interval spacing between the actual strings of your cello is a little wider than what you see on your tuner, meaning that each string could actually be slightly out of tune, despite the reading on your tuner. 

As your ear gets more adept at recognizing the sound of each note, you should gradually practice at trying to tune using your ear.

How to Tune Your Cello

cello tuning with mike block

  • Because it is located closest to your bow, start your tuning with the A string.
  • Make sure you bow steadily across the string.

Plucking is not enough because it doesn’t have the same force or weight that bowing has. If the string is greatly out of tune, turn the pegs, but if you only need to tweak, use your fine tuners. Keep bowing and adjusting until your tuner indicates that you are indeed playing an A consistently.

  • Repeat the above steps for each of the D, G, and C strings until you have tuned them all.

You’re almost done! Because tuning one string can affect the others, make a final quick check of each string to make sure your cello is tuned and sounding good.

It really only takes a few minutes and is super easy. Tune your cello each time you get ready to play, and you'll be making beautiful music consistently in no time. 

Learn cello online with Mike Block at ArtistWorks! Click below for more info and free sample lessons:

Learn more about online cello lessons at ArtistWorks

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