The parts of a fiddle

The parts of a fiddle

If you need to ask someone to fix your fiddle, or want to ask about how to look after it, it can be useful to know what the different parts are called. Here’s a quick guide:

A fiddle, showing the main parts labelled
©Ros Gasson

Working down from the top of the diagram:

The scroll

This is the decorative tip of the neck of the fiddle. Scrolls are generally carved in a spiral shape, but occasionally fiddles have carved heads at the scroll end.

The pegbox

The pegbox is the hollowed out area below the scroll. Each side of the pegbox has 2 holes where the pegs fit.

The pegs

Fiddle scroll and neck, showing the strings wound round the pegs
Photo ©Ros Gasson

There are 4 pegs on a fiddle. The shaft of the peg has a slight taper on it, so that the further the peg is pushed into the hole the tighter the fit. Each peg has a small hole through the shaft, where the end of the fiddle string is threaded through to hold the string in place. The pegs are used to tune the strings.

The nut

The nut is the raised area at the end of the fingerboard, which holds the strings just clear of the fingerboard where they pass out from the pegbox. There are 4 small notches in the nut, which hold the strings in place.

The neck

The neck of the fiddle stretches the fiddle strings out to the correct length. The fingerboard is glued on to the neck, providing a hard-wearing surface for stopping the strings when playing.

The body

The body of the fiddle acts as a soundbox, amplifying the sound created by the vibration of the strings.

The strings

A fiddle, showing the bridge and strings
Photo ©Ros Gasson

If you look down the body of the fiddle when you’re ready to play it, this is how it appears. There are 4 strings. These are generally tuned to G (the lowest note, and the thickest string), on the left hand side, then D, then A, and then E (the highest note, and the thinnest string), on the right.

The fingerboard

The fingerboard is a short length of hard wood that is glued in place on the neck of the fiddle. It is generally made from ebony.

The f holes

The f hole is a sound hole which helps the sound of the fiddle project more effectively from the instrument.

The bridge

The bridge holds the end of the strings clear of the fingerboard. There are 4 small notches in the bridge, which hold the strings in place.

The fine adjusters

Fine adjusters, used for tuning a fiddle
Photo ©Ros Gasson

If your fiddle has fine adjusters, they are used to accurately tune the string to the correct pitch.

The tailpiece

The tailpiece connects the strings to the base of the fiddle.

The chinrest

The chinrest is separate to the fiddle, and is kept in place by an ingenious screwing mechanism. Chinrests come in a variety of design, and may sit to the side of the tailpiece, or directly over the top of it.