They all sound the same. A professional violinist will spend several hours tuning every instrument to make sure it will be in tune for the performance in front of the audience. Some of the techniques and sounds used are not common to violins, but are common to piano, guitar and keyboard players. Here are a few of the common techniques used by professional violinists:
Taper the string with a tapering action (taps), a finger tap, tapping, or any combination of the two tapping techniques.
Tune the string with finger action (tap, finger tap).
Slightly tap a string at around the 12th fret instead of touching the 14th fret, making it sharper (stiffening) and allowing the instrument to vibrate a bit at the neck. Most violins use a soft tuning of 7.5 Hz for the entire range of strings.
If the string is tuned to 11.8 Hz, use a soft tap/finger action when tapping the 12th fret.
When a string is tapped at 10.5 Hz, turn it on its side to allow it to vibrate more easily at the neck.
If the string is tuned to 11.8 Hz, use a finger action with two small taps on the side of the 12th fret.
The string should “pinch” the tip on the 12th fret slightly when hitting the 12th fret for the purpose of resonance. The reason this is done is that the strings of a violin resonate differently than the wood, especially when the string is tuned to 12.3 Hz. The instrument’s string length (the distance between the tip of the finger and the string) is also higher than the wood’s length, so when hit at an angle or a low-inertia string, the impact of the guitar is higher than a small tapping of the 12th fret.
When picking or strumming by tapping the 12th fret, your fingers are actually touching the fretboard. Because the fingers are touching the fretboard, they are in contact with the wood and the edge of the fretboard is touching the underside of the 12th fret (the 12th fret being the very bottom of the instrument, on the upper or “low” side on the instrument. The 12th fret is also very similar to the 12th string when pitched in relation to the other strings of the instrument. This is important when you are strumming or picking on these small-diameter strings.
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