Learn the Parts of the Violin

Get More Familiar With the Nut, Bridge, and Pegbox

Girl (10-11) playing violin, looking out of window
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Just like you need to know what the pedals do on a car before you drive it, the same can be said for the individual parts of a violin. You need to know what the fingerboard is for. You should know that there are four strings, and it would help to know what to do with the pegbox.

The main parts of the violin are easy to recognize and remember because they are named just like parts of a human body. A violin has a neck (where the strings run along), a belly (the front of the violin), a back, and ribs (the sides of the violin).

The other parts of the violin might be harder to recognize. You may have seen the parts before, but you might not know the names. Here is the breakdown:

Scroll

The scroll is located at the top of the violin, above the pegbox. It is a decorative part that is usually hand carved into a curved design.

Pegbox and Tuning Pegs

The pegbox is where the tuning pegs are inserted. This is where the strings are attached at the top. The end of the string is inserted into a hole in the peg, which is then wound in order to tighten the string. The pegs are adjusted to tune the violin.

Nut

Under the pegbox is the nut, which has four grooves for each of the strings. Each string sits in one of the grooves to keep the strings evenly spaced. The nut supports the strings so that they are at a good height from the fingerboard.

Strings

A violin has four strings that are tuned a fifth apart to the following notes: G-D-A-E, from lowest to highest.

Strings can be made from different materials, such as aluminum, steel, and gold, as well as animal intestines.

Fingerboard

The fingerboard is a strip of wood glued onto the neck of the violin underneath the strings. When a violinist plays, the player presses down the strings on the fingerboard, thus changing the pitch.

Sounding Post

Located under the bridge, the sounding post supports the pressure inside the violin. The bridge and sounding post are directly related; When the violin vibrates, the bridge, body, and sounding post vibrates as well.

F Holes

The F holes are located in the middle of the violin. It is called an "F hole" because the hole is shaped like a cursive "f." After the vibration from the string reverberates within the body of the violin, the sound waves are directed out of the body through the F holes. Altering the F hole, such as its length, can affect the sound of the violin.

Bridge

The bridge supports the strings at the lower end of the violin. The position of the bridge is essential as it directly relates to the quality of sound produced by the violin. The bridge is held in place by the strings' tension. When the string vibrates, the bridge also vibrates. The bridge of the violin comes in varying angles of curvature. A smaller angle makes it easier to play two or three strings at the same time. More curved bridges make it easier to hit the right notes without scraping across a wrong string. The bridge also has ridges on it that help to space the strings out evenly. 

Chin Rest

While playing, the violinist can use his chin to hold the violin in place.

Both hands can be freed up—one hand to move up and down the fingerboard and the other to use a bow.

Tailpiece

The tailpiece holds the strings at the bottom of the violin, close to the player's chin, and is attached to the violin with the endpin, a small button on the bottom of the violin.