i need immediate help&Guidance(peg holes)

August 21, 2016 at 11:22 AM · Hi everyone

A few months ago i bought an antique

Violin. Maded by Oreste Candi.from the

First day i had problem with it's pegs.

There isn't such a professional luthier where I'm living right now.the peg holes are very over sized.

Finally i found a professional luthier in another city.i took my violin to his workshop.and i also bought a set of large pegs (8.6mm at the beginning of the cone.but he didn't use them.he told me they are big and hard to tune.and changing of the seasons will over form them.instead he used some kind of wax.now there is a very fade halo circle aroun each hole.(sorry for bad eng.i don't know how to explain it).but even after doing that my

Problem still didn't solve.each time i want to

Change my strings; D&A are in the way of

E string's peg.(it gets better after using that wax).A string is sticked on the E peg.

I want to know is it a serious problem?

Does it effect the sound?

It bothers me sometimes during the tuning and sometimes completely releases the E string.

I want to ask:

if it's a really bad situation;

I know someone who is traveling to Italy tomorrow night.so if you guys respond to me faster

Whether i should give my instrument to him in order to takes it to Cremona or it's not necessary i would be appreciated.

Thank you/

Replies (35)

August 21, 2016 at 01:11 PM · I have no idea if Candi made the original peg holes too large, or if they workout over the years and the original pegs were replaced with larger (and perhaps even replaced again with even largeer) pegs. But those pegs are much too large. As you have noticed the large contract area of peg circumference creates a large friction force when you try to tune.

The typical way of solving the is problem is to "rebush" the peg holes. To do this the luthier glues a cylinder of maple into the current peg holes and then drills out a new conical shape so that more normal-diameter pegs can be inserted. It is not an inexpensive process (depending on the luthier's labor rates).

An alternative for you - since you have so much more peg strength than needed (with the large diameter E-peg) might be to reduce the diameter of the E-peg where the A and D strings touch it - being careful not to damage the regions of the peg needed for friction.

If it were mine, and it was a really good playing and fine sounding violin, I would get the holes rebushed and have planetary (geared) pegs installed so the holes would never wear larger again.

August 21, 2016 at 01:20 PM · I agree with Andrew. You need new peg holes. But then, unless the luthier is quite good and fits the maple plugs expertly, you will have a setup that is possibly not *quite* as robust as if there were normal-sized peg holes there to begin with, and if you start ever to have trouble turning your pegs again, then you'll be putting strain on the circular joints where the bushings were glued. The problem has been made worse by the application of wax which likely has soaked into the wood causing the halo that you see, and that will make it harder to glue in the bushings. I'm not sure how luthiers deal with that particular problem.

All of that is all the more reason to just go with gear pegs after you get your bushings. Wittner "FineTune" pegs or "PegHeds" or Knilling "Perfection Pegs" are the three main brands. They're all fine. Then you'll have the pegs of your dreams.

August 21, 2016 at 02:39 PM · Don't listen to the Peg heads, they'd put geared pegs on their mother if they thought it would stop her from talking back, you need a professional peg bushing.

August 21, 2016 at 03:37 PM · Unless you have a physical disability such as arthritis or RSI, please do not put mechanical monstrosities on your violin. Geared pegs are an anachronistic abomination. The violin was designed to have friction pegs which, when fitted correctly, are faster to use, more accurate and look attractive.

I suggest you have your peg holes bushed and have a set of high quality traditional pegs professionally installed. You, and your violin, deserve no better.

Cheers Carlo

August 21, 2016 at 04:20 PM · The violin was also designed to have gut strings, a gut tail adjuster, no fine-tuner on the E string, a shorter fingerboard, no chinrest, and have the neck attached to the body with nails. ;-)

August 21, 2016 at 04:20 PM · How likely is it that a real Oreste Candi would have been found in the condition described here? This violin might really not be worth any of the remedies described. Did your professional luthier confirm that it is what you believe it to be?

August 21, 2016 at 04:35 PM · David: So how do 'we' decide which improvements/modifications are 'okay' and which are not?

I don't know about all of the geared pegs, but the ones I'm familiar with are ugly and I can spot them on a violin right across the rehearsal hall.

So if, at the very least, they are unnecessary AND ugly...why bother?

August 21, 2016 at 04:45 PM · What do you think about the appearance of these?


August 21, 2016 at 04:58 PM · The fatter the peg the higher its effective "gearing" when tuning, and this can result in difficulty in making fine adjustments to the tuning which would be easier with a lower diameter peg. Hence the advice recommending peg bushing.

August 21, 2016 at 05:08 PM · David: I'd have to see them in real life. Those photos are awful, lol.

August 21, 2016 at 05:28 PM · Here we go again with a gear-pegs bashing thread.

To the OP -- when you consider all of the conflicting suggestions, consider also the reasoning behind them, and the civility with which they were rendered.

David Burgess is an internationally acclaimed luthier. He's won so many awards they won't let him compete any more. I'm an amateur violinist who owns three instruments with gear pegs.

If an authentic appearance is high on your priority list, the PegHeds brand is the best because they can fit an authentic wooden head onto the mechanical (steel) peg shaft (which contains the gears), very securely. That is the origin of the trademark "PegHeds." I have them on my best violin and you would have to look very closely, inside the peg box, to know that they are not friction pegs. The photos David linked are not great photos, but if you can't tell they're not real from those pictures, you're not going to be able to tell "from across the rehearsal room" either.

The ones that don't look quite right are the Wittner FineTune pegs which have a chubbier looking peg head because the gears are in the head of the peg, not the shaft. They are recognizable to a good eye from a distance. But they function perhaps best of all.

August 21, 2016 at 05:33 PM · Mr. Mohr, I agree on the photos being awful. Here's a slightly better one.


August 21, 2016 at 05:37 PM · I'll try to take some pictures of my three instruments' scrolls and peg boxes and post them here. Trouble is, I'm even a worse photographer than I am a violinist!!

August 21, 2016 at 06:11 PM · OP: From what you described, I would definitely get the peg holes re-bushed. I had this done on my 1883 instrument 4 years ago. With oversized holes, the distance between outer edges of holes for D-G and E-A becomes too small. This, in turn, compromises the structural integrity of the peg box. Using oversized pegs will only worsen the problem.

I’ve used only conventional pegs and never had a problem tuning with them -- no plans to switch to geared variety.

August 21, 2016 at 06:52 PM · @David. At a distance they look superficially ok, a bit like a bad face lift. Get close and you see in detail their grotesque nature.

Other than disability, in my opinion, only the incompetent need these.

Cheers Carlo

August 21, 2016 at 08:20 PM · To the OP, any major city in Italy should have excellent luthiers where you can have this work done. Doesn't have to be Cremona. The main thing will be how quickly you want it done, because it's not a one-hour job.

August 21, 2016 at 08:36 PM · "@David. At a distance they look superficially ok, a bit like a bad face lift. Get close and you see in detail their grotesque nature."


I don't know a lot about facelifts, despite having lived in Hollywood for about six years (while working in the Weisshaar shop). I'm much more experienced with pegs than facelifts, and I haven't yet noticed anything grotesque about the PegHeds.

August 21, 2016 at 09:46 PM · @Paul. I would not describe this a Geared Peg bashing thread. Just an attempt to balance the overegerness of those that wish others to use this unnecessary invention.

I have yet to hear a believable reason, other than disability or incompetence, as to why one would want these. I am sure if people had a quality set of friction pegs fitted correctly their problems, imagined or otherwise, would disappear.

Take a look at my avatar. 1610 Amati. Real rosewood pegs that turn as smoothly as silk, quick to use, and look beautiful. What is the purpose of changing a system that works perfectly? It makes no sense.

Cheers Carlo

August 21, 2016 at 09:51 PM · Believe it or not, I found a thread right in the neighborhood which wasn't turned into a geared pegs and shoulder rest discussion! (Should we go for it?)

August 22, 2016 at 01:34 AM · Carlo, you just can't help yourself, can you? Even when you're trying to be congenial, you resort to describing anyone who doesn't agree with you as incompetent, disabled, or over-eager ("eager" wasn't strong enough apparently), and hinting that their problems are possibly only "imagined."

When you describe gear pegs as "grotesque" or "monstrosities" or "an anachronistic abomination," I think that's a pretty good operational definition of bashing. (That's the sort of language that appears in Leviticus right before where it says that the guilty party should be stoned to death.)

Gear pegs have increased the enjoyment that I get from my instruments. They look just fine (the Wittners on my Chinese workshop viola are not very handsome, I'll admit), they work very well, and they were relatively inexpensive. Those are the only "good" reasons that I presently need for having them installed. Likewise you obviously enjoy having a rare antique violin made all the more rare by having original pegs that are not bushed and that turn smoothly. I doubt anyone would suggest changing such an instrument to gear pegs.

August 22, 2016 at 01:40 AM · I was charged $500 (about 15 years ago) to have my 1877 cello's peg holes rebshted and a set of "bottom of the line" ebony pegs fitted. However well the new friction pegs may or may not have worked, increasing arthritic wrist pain (and newly developing traditions with steel cello strings) led me to spend another $200 on a Bois d'Harmonie tailpiece with CF fine tuners, and a few years later I installed a set of Peghed "geared pegs."

Looking back the only things I did to this cello that were not necessary were first the rebushing and new pegs and second, the fancy integral-fine-tuner tailpiece. The Pegheds have been stable for 10 years.

August 22, 2016 at 02:53 AM · I have one instrument fitted with Planetary geared pegs to try and I really enjoy them.

But will I put them on other instruments? No. Traditional pegs and fine tuners work just as well.

A well known local luthier in San Francisco summed it up: no customer had ever returned back to the shop to take out the geared pegs after installing them.

August 22, 2016 at 03:39 AM · If this IS an Oreste Candi, shouldn't the condition of the instrument be considered before any work like rebushing is done? If it is in original condition, any work like that would affect the value.

August 22, 2016 at 03:57 AM · Professionally done rebushing does not devalue an instrument, in fact it is often a selling point on an older instrument, showing that the instrument has been played and used and has perhaps an element of age to it.

August 22, 2016 at 05:11 AM · Anyway rebushing is a fact of life for old violins. OP's instrument likely needs it regardless of the type of peg installed.

August 22, 2016 at 07:33 AM · Mark Bouquet:

Yes.the person who hold this instrument before me wasn't a player.he wasn't even a collectioner.

It was in a bad condition when i saw it.but it is not fake.the luthier who fixed it was a member of academia cremonensis and he confirm that it's an Oreste Candi Violin.

August 22, 2016 at 07:35 AM · Thank you so much everyone for your help.

August 22, 2016 at 10:09 AM · Carlo : try living in the tropics for as few years and you will soon see the benefits of geared pegs over friction pegs.

They are also good for tendonitis of the wrist and damaged knuckle joints of the left hand.

August 22, 2016 at 10:49 AM ·

August 22, 2016 at 10:54 AM · @Paul. Apologies for my rant. I myself am over-eager in my defence of tradition.

However, I at no point described people who disagree with me as disabled, but stated my belief that people with disabilities would have a genuine reason to use this product.

Similarly, I should have not used the word incompetent, perhaps inexperienced would have been better. The Peghed site has this to say on the subject, " PEGHEDS™ gear reduction prevents sudden and repeated wrenching of pegs by novices. Strings have longer lives in the hands of young students."

Cheers Carlo

August 22, 2016 at 01:59 PM · Apologies accepted. I got a little carried away too.

Well it's true, Gear Pegs do prevent the sudden and repeated wrenching. But I don't think very many young students get gear pegs, certainly not on fractional violins, and I don't think very many people wrench their pegs so hard that they snap their strings. So that sounds like a little bit of hype on the part of Chuck Herin. But he’s done hundreds of installs, so my guess is that he’s heard many tales of woe.

I agree that if one can get one’s friction pegs working properly, it’s wonderful. That might require just a touch of the reamer in the hands of a good luthier, and perhaps a new set of high quality pegs. But the thing is, not all violins were made by Amati or Burgess. What if less than top-quality maple was used for the scroll stock? And how do you know if you've got "high quality pegs?" And if the peg-box requires rebushing, then you're talking about fairly invasive and costly surgery. Besides, in some places it’s hard to get access to a good luthier. I have to drive an hour to reach the closest luthier, and it’s sheer luck that he’s quite skilled. Consider the OP, who has to find a way to get his violin to Italy – from Iran!!

So, those of us who have only experienced normal-priced violins might say, “I’ve had peg problems with every violin I’ve ever owned.” And with our limited knowledge we might ask ourselves, "Even if my luthier gets my pegs working well again, how long will it last, with my violin? Will I have to make the drive and pay for the same service in a few years’ time? A few months?”

My viola was a brand new Chinese workshop viola with jujube fittings. The pegs worked great -- for about a month. I felt truly blessed! But then I started to have issues with them slipping in the case overnight, and they became harder to turn. Did I wreck the pegs? Well, I don’t think so. So one clear advantage of gear pegs is that you’ve got just one less thing to deal with. One less worry in your life – trust me, it can make a difference in your overall sanity.

The other cruel irony is that you see all these older folks in community orchestras, and teenagers getting up to play something in a studio recital, and they’re wrestling hopelessly with their pegs. The obvious quick solution for a student-level violin is a tailpiece with fine-tuners built in. But unfortunately, when they asked for advice on violinist.com, the “purists” all pounded their fists on the table and and convinced them that fine-tuners would wreck their tone.

August 22, 2016 at 02:06 PM · This is just as heated as the always entertaining SR debates! :D

I will keep an open mind about geared pegs...and their appearance! I will even go as far to suggest that they might be a good idea on student instruments as a matter of course, since those are notoriously hard to tune - and I feel for teachers who have to tune up a whole room of kids at a time...

August 22, 2016 at 05:18 PM · Geared pegs are not that cheap and they should be professionally fitted so that is more expense ; it is not really economical to fit them to cheap student violins. This is a pity as beginners on cheap instruments would benefit the most from geared pegs.

I thought by now that some of the Chinese factories may have started fitting them to their violins but I do not think that will ever happen. I have asked about geared pegs whenever I am in China and not one violin shop or violinist had ever even heard of them. There is a long way to go before these become the norm...if ever !

August 22, 2016 at 05:31 PM · Brian, be careful what you ask for. The last think we need is violins showing up in the US markets that have some poorly-made Chinese knockoff gear pegs.

A set of Knilling Perfection Pegs is $60 on Amazon. Of course you don't order them that way because the luthier first measures your peg holes and then orders the correct size so that reaming will be either minimal or entirely unnecessary. Installation is close to a DIY level job. I had a set put in by a local luthier (Dan Foster, who still makes instruments but is now retired from repair work) for a grand total of about $120. That's what I pay for two violin lessons! Dan is obviously an accomplished luthier, but that was actually his very first (and only!) set of gear pegs and he said there was nothing to it. They work great.

August 22, 2016 at 07:18 PM · Geared pegs are an inexpensive solution to the problem of unworkable traditional pegs. Last time I had a full set of Hansell fittings put on a violin, with bushing, I had no change from $1500 USD. I realise that is not the cheapest way to do it, but the best in my opinion.

I think for student violins a wittner tailpiece with built in tuners is a good solution.

Cheers Carlo

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