Planetary Pegs

August 14, 2016, 2:29 PM · I finally took the plunge. I have looked in to planetary pegs for years. Finally a good friend with a fine violin had planetary pegs installed and he couldn't stop talking about them. So I took my violin to Peter Shaw at Amati Violin Shop in Houston Texas and asked him to install the same kind of pegs (Wittner) he had installed for my friend. I asked him to put new strings on while he was at it. For those who have never heard of planetary pegs these are pegs that have a gear assembly in the shaft. They look like ordinary wooden pegs but they are far more sophisticated.


Eureka!

I have never had an easier time tuning a musical instrument. I tune to an app and I can move right to the green light without overshooting.. The new strings do their normal stretch thing but it just takes a few minuted to tune all the strings. I didn't have Peter take off the fine tuner but I could have. It isn't necessary.

No more sticking pegs. No more back and forth pitch finding while the peg refused to stop exactly where you knew it would be in tune.

I recommend these to all. Take the pain out of tuning your axe.

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Replies

August 15, 2016 at 02:35 PM · Congratulations Corwin. I have gear pegs on all my instruments. Once your new strings have stopped stretching your tuning time will likely be in the vicinity of 15 seconds. The Wittner gear ratio is high enough that, yes, you can tune your E string with just the peg. I do not have ANY fine tuners on my viola, which has Wittner FineTune pegs.

My understanding, though, is that Wittner FineTune pegs, strictly speaking, do not use a "planetary" mechanism. I don't really know what that means, but that's what I've heard. The reason the Wittner peg "head" is a little chubbier than a standard violin peg is because that's where the gears live, in comparison to Knilling Perfection Pegs and PegHeds, which have their gears in the shaft of the peg.

But the really big question is whether your gear pegs have wrecked your violin's tone ...

August 15, 2016 at 10:03 PM · Almost two years using Wittner pegs, I do not have any fine tuner in my violin, too. Very recommended, really. We can't be using archaic technology in the XXI century.

August 16, 2016 at 03:09 AM · I have Planetary pegs on my viola, and I couldn't tune it without them. I don't use the fine tuners any more. Now I'm saving to get Planetary pegs for my violin. I, too, recommend them highly.

August 16, 2016 at 03:15 AM · How would gear pegs wreck the tone? I don't hear a difference. In fact because the tuning is so easy to get dead on, I think that the tone is better.

August 16, 2016 at 01:38 PM · Corwin, yes, I see things your way. I didn't notice a change in the tone of any of my instruments, and I have three with gear pegs now. If you search back through the various discussion threads on gear pegs you will see, invariably, that there are those who insist it is possible for it to change you violin's tone. (And I have never seen a claim that it changes your tone for the better, although your argument about playing in better tune makes sense to me.)

Pauline -- which brand of gear pegs do you have?

August 20, 2016 at 12:35 AM · Do they have these pegs in a rosewood finish? My violin came with rosewood rather than ebony trim (pegs, chin rest, tailpiece) and I rather like the look on that instrument.

My viola has ebony trim and fine tuners, though, so I could get these and lose the fine tuners and it would all match.

August 20, 2016 at 12:39 AM · The only downside is having to change strings . It takes a couple light years with planetary pegs.

August 20, 2016 at 06:46 AM · What ugly anachronistic mechanical devices! Why change from a system that has worked perfectly for hundreds of years. What a shame you put them onto your violin. Could you not have had a set of traditional friction pegs fitted correctly?

Cheers Carlo

August 20, 2016 at 12:37 PM · A light year is a measure of distance, not time.

I installed planetary pegs on all my instruments, violins, cellos, and viola about a decade ago, Best move I ever made - after learning to play! Tuning/turning-up a complete set of new strings with these might take an extra minute in total, Wittners perhaps twice as much longer.

August 20, 2016 at 03:27 PM · I have used Wittner FineTune pegs for three years. I use them in my violin, viola and cello. These are the best things to happen to string peg instruments since "sliced bread". Especially for cellos. Every cellist fights with their pegs and it takes two hand to tune a cello. I also install Wittner FineTune pegs for my students.

Victor Quintana

August 20, 2016 at 03:30 PM · I have used Wittner FineTune pegs for three years. I use them in my violin, viola and cello. These are the best things to happen to string peg instruments since "sliced bread". Especially for cellos. Every cellist fights with their pegs and it takes two hand to tune a cello. I also install Wittner FineTune pegs for my students.

Victor Quintana

August 20, 2016 at 09:05 PM · I guess mechanical monstrosities have their place on kids' instruments. They need trainer wheels when learning to cycle. Necessary for them, till they grow out of them.

I find it strange that well bodied adults put them on their violins. There is no need, if correctly fitted traditional pegs are used, unless there is a disability such as arthritis or RSI.

Cheers Carlo

August 21, 2016 at 03:29 AM · Carlo, I made the switch because a virtuoso friend put them on his Landolphi and swears by them. He is all about playing in tune not about tuning. I have tested his ear and I would say that he is in the top 0.1percentile for pitch acuity. Paganini, Bazzinni, Ernst and Sauret are his bread and butter. It it works for him who am I to call him childish and in need of training wheels?

August 21, 2016 at 10:26 AM · So these "mechanical monstrosities" are for children, and people with arthritis or other debilitating afflictions; I will wholeheartedly agree. Technological improvements or not, it's one thing to express an opinion on such, as we're all entitled to do; but it's something else entirely to be condescending towards those "well bodied adults" who see a broader scope of practical applications.

We'd better gather up all those fine tuners, electronic metronomes and synthetic-cored strings and save them for those with limited abilities, because they've yet to be proven by "hundreds of years" of use.

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