There are a couple of methods of tuning a violin. You can use a tuner that is attached to the E string only or you can have four fine tuners for the E, G, D and A strings on the tailpiece. When using the E string tuner only, your violin will have some type of synthetic strings such as gut or perlon. On the other hand, if your violin has metal core stings, you will want to use the four fine tuners and your pegs for tuning. Otherwise, it will be extremely difficult to tune all strings with just an E-string tuner.
Synthetic core strings are easier to tune with just the one tuner because as you turn the peg, the string core stretches and the pitch moves slowly. It makes it easier to get to the pitch center than with metal strings without the fine tuners on each string. But when you do use fine tuners on every metal string, tuning your violin can be done quickly. You simply play the A note on the tuner and then strike the A string on your violin until it matches the A note sound on the tuner. Once the A string it tuned, you simply tune the E and D strings to the A string and the G string to the D string.
When tuning a professional cello price you can pluck the violin strings, also known as the pizzicato method of playing the violin. But for fine tuning of the strings, many violinists will use their bow. Using a bow, however, to tune metal strings will be very difficult unless you have fine tuners on all four strings.
Another simple method of tuning your violin is with a pitch pipe. Pitch pipes are rather inexpensive and easy to use. To use a pitch pipe, all you do is blow into the pipe to hear each of the four notes. You simply strike the note on your violin to match the sound from the pipe. You will probably need to go back and forth between the two to get the note to sound just right. Another alternative is using an electronic tuner. They are a little more expensive than a pitch pipe, but perhaps offer a little bit more preciseness when tuning. Some have analog readouts with needles while others have LCD screens. You simply choose which note you want to tune to on the tuner, play the string and the tuner read out will tell you exactly when it is tuned properly.
Whether you use a tuning fork, pitch pipe, fine tuners or an electronic tuner to tune your violin, just make sure you do tune your violin before every practice or performance session. After tuning your violin several times it will become much easier and will only take a few minutes. It can make the difference between sounding just okay or completely brilliant.