Instruments: I was wondering if anybody has had any experience with these pegs and what your thoughts are on them.
From Michael Robbins
Posted March 6, 2007 at 05:23 AM
I have been an avid reader of violinst.com for some time and have learned so much from each and every one of you.
Here is my question/problem:
I am an older student and am having issues with my wrist, i.e., arthritis, carpal tunnel. There are times when it is an effort for me to tune my violin because of the way the top of the peg is turned. I discussed this with my teacher and she suggested I try “Perfection Pegs.”
I was wondering if anybody has had any experience with these pegs and what your thoughts are on them.
Further information on these pegs can be found at www.knilling.com
I just sent a set of perfection pegs to china to have them installed on my new violin. ( Being made by Bai Li Xing). I probably won't have it until April. I'll let you know how they work when it arrives.
I've got them on both my violins and I absolutely love them. No fine tuners, even on the E, and tuning is very smooth, easy and accurate, with no slipping. They also eliminate wear and tear on the peg box, and should eliminate peg maintenance. The elimination of fine tuners also eliminates the danger of scratching the top, not to mention it looks great!
Installation is very easy, as long as you read the instructions and take note that there are "left" and "right" pegs.
From Gary Mak
Posted on March 6, 2007 at 03:50 PM
how do you buy it from knillings? they don't have any links for that.
I am pretty sure you can only buy knilling violins from a knilling dealer. Many music stores carry these.
I have a few students with the student model knilling with perfection pegs. They are very easy to tune and the knillings with these pegs sound better than most of the other knillings.
As far as the pegs go, if you need them (ie. carpel tunnel etc.) use them. If you don't need them, I wouldn't really spend the money on the install.
Just my thoughts...
I think we may get a set of these for my daughter's violin. If they are what I think they are... my husband says they are good for beginner peg users because when you turn them they won't slip. I hear they have great reviews.
I don`t know why this sissue isn`t raised more often! It often seems ot me taht a major caus eof injury to violinists is the contortiosn and twisting that we do to get theviolin in tune x number of times a day.
Raphael Klayman mentioned a good altenraive recently- get a guitart peg turning tool and slip it ove rthe end.
About a year ago I tried ot use a shoudler rest for a couple of gigs and really fouled up my thumb and wrist as a result (just not mad eot us eone). I ha dto sit with this tiny litlt eJapanese lady in orchestra and she tuned my violin for me. Now that`s embarassing!
There are two sources. They are made under license by Knilling, but these and fancier ones with improved gearing, lifetime guarantee and stylish wood heads are available directly from the inventor at:
These are nice enough that I may install them in some of my own violins.
Oh the lifetime guarantee is for the inventors lifetime, not yours. He seems to be in good health though. :-)
one of my students has these, and they're amazing, it makes it much easier for her to tune. I wish all my students had these, but that can't happen unless they get cheaper!
From Edie Ross
Posted on March 11, 2007 at 07:05 AM
Here is a web site that sells these violin perfection planetary pegs at a very reasonable price $74.25. http://www.music123.com/Perfection-Planetary-Violin-Pegs-i151973.music
hmmmm, and could I install them myself or would that not be wise?
I feel very attached to the traditional friction pegs myself, I actually enjoy the act of tuning my violin, although I'm not entirely sure why! It's just relaxing in some way!
But, I honestly think these pegs are the future, or as someone else put it on this website a "no-brainer advance in violin family technology"
The biggest advantage to the new pegs is they will not slip due to temperature or humidity changes, am I right?
Well, that's enough for me to sign up!
Except, is the installment of these pegs reversible, does anyone know?
Yes, installation is reversible. The worst thing that might happen is that the new pegs would be a little larger. Once you have the pegs, I doubt you'd ever want to go back. You might want to put prettier heads on them at some time....
It's true they don't slip with weather changes, but I think the ease, speed, and sensitivity in tuning is important, too. I can tune very accurately and quickly with them.
Other things to consider is that they pretty well put an end to pegbox wear and peg maintenance. They also eliminate damage to the top from fine tuners, and I really like the look of a violin without fine tuners.
my luthier grimaced when he read he had to secure the pegs with a drop of superglue and thought about not to instal them for a few minutes. I have them about 2 years now on one of my semiacoustics and I'm still very satisfied. I bought them via internet directly at pegheds / Charles Herin, the developer. On my trad. acoustic german master instrument I still prefer the trad. friction pegs - pure convention & they fit and move perfectly - never change a winning team.
I am also an older student. I bought a violin with Perfection Pegs installed and I love them!
Hi! I've had my perfection pegs for a long time, and I LOVE them! Especially, because I have to change A's at least twice a week (I'm playing with an early music group that uses A415...then for all other "normal" aka modern situations, I use the standard A440). So, these pegs make it really easy to change back and forth accurately! No problems whatsoever...
You can read about my adventures here. :)
I've been exposed to these new pegs only once - a few weeks ago when a new cello student arrived with a cello fitted with them (and, of course, no fine tuners). It was a surprise to me to feel the different turning ratio that you get with these pegs - but other than that I thing they should pass a law making them mandatory for all young players instruments (almost mandatory - OK).
There is no question these would help adjust tuning during concerts, and we a wonderful help to aging players who have hints of arthritis in fingers, hands, and wrists. Downside? - it would really cut into the business of Bois d'Harmonie's wonderful integral-tuner wooden tailpieces.
By comparison, tuning with my old-fashioned pegs is like shaving with a century-old straight razor - yes, I've done that too.
From Dan Morgan
Posted on April 8, 2007 at 05:13 PM
Hi all, I am new to this forum. I am seriously considering the Perfection Pegs for my daughter's violin. As a 11 yo she has difficulty adjusting her friction pegs smoothly. I dropped by a couple of violin shops here in Houston and they seemed fairly ambivalent about the whole idea. I have scoured the web and have found only positive reviews of these geared pegs. So the questions that arise are how come not every violinist uses Perfection Pegs? By all accounts they make the violin much easier to tune, they hold their tune better, and remain relatively unaffected by weather changes. In addition, after the intial installation, there is no wear on the peg hole.
The most common review is that the Perfection Pegs are great for students and violinists with arthritis, but how come not ALL violinists? What is their objection? I have gotten the impression that for the most part violinists are very traditional. You wouldn't catch a classical violinist playing a blue lacquered violin. Is this traditionalism the reason violinists are reluctant to embrace Perfection Pegs? Is the attitude that they have been using friction pegs for so long they are used to them and see no reason to change, despite all evidence that the Perfection pegs make tuning easier, more accurate and more stable? I would love to hear some opinions from the "friction" school of thought!
From Jason Smith
Posted on December 14, 2007 at 07:00 PM
So i've had these pegs for around 2 years now, and when I first got them, they were lovely. Tuning was awesome and my instructor loved them as well.
Earlier this year I thought they were slipping and low and behold when I went to practice the other day, I saw one of them slip while I was tuning!!!!! Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this. I've heard that they are nasty to install just wondering if they wear out after a while or mine were defective or install wrong or something..
Thanks in advance.
I have PegHeds on mine, I haven't had any trouble at all. I still use a fine tuner on my E. I love them.
From Ray Randall
Posted on December 14, 2007 at 07:41 PM
Do they affect the sound at all?
From JOhn kim
Posted on December 14, 2007 at 11:03 PM
I use the perfection pegs, and they're GREAT!!! When you install new strings, they slip gradually and I never EVER had a string become loose suddenly. They're really easy to use. If i ever get a new violin, I would need to ask a luthier to change the pegs to the perfection pegs. Me gustan!!!
I too had PegHeds installed on my violin. Absolutely wonderful! I use gamut pure gut medium+ GDA&E, have no need of fine tuners. The medium+ G is a VERY large diameter string and did not fit through the 1/16" hole in the peg; however, with a bit of judicious sanding of the top inch of the string...no problems. I've noticed no effect on the tone, but tuning is much more precise and much easier.
I recently installed a set of pegheds for a customer who struggled for years, and she is delighted. The pegheds have real wood heads, but cost a fair bit more. I don't know if there are other differences in the function. My only concern would be how difficult they may be to remove, if that were ever desired.
after 2 years of loyal service my D and G pegs are getting loose. The perfection pegs look interesting but i read some comments about how they worked initially but started to slip.
If you have them installed on your violin, are you satisfied? Do they really work in the long run?
From J Brunson
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Wonderful things they are.... Eight years and no trouble.
I have the wittner pegs on my better violin and the planetary pegs on my cheap but decent Yita. the wittners were because my luthier was reluctant to install the planetary pegs becasue of their radial grip, the wittners have a longitudinal grip wich he feels is less damaging to the peg hole. both work very well and I have no fine tuners on either, the strings (variously jargar steel set, eudoxa set, thomastic vision set and passione set) have all stayed incredibly well in tune through summer to winter season change (not so much a temperature thing 5 to 40 C, more a humidity impact that usually leaves at leaset one string unsprung between playings even if kept in the case).
Personally I prefer the mechanism of the planetary peg, it has a different ratio and you can feel it, the wittners have a certain mild clunk, but having said that, I can always tune exactly at that nano level when it just needs the extra tiniest turn.
They are both plastic peg heads disguised as ebony, and this is the one thing I don't like. when I get my latest acquisition restored I have to think carefully about what to do - its a 19th C ladies instrument with lion head scroll, and I might have to extend myself to the bois de harmonie if I can't get planetary pegs with timber peg head.
I recommend them.
From Jim Dorans
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 11:02 PM
I have had Perfection pegs on my 5-string violin for 3 years now. They are ... perfect :)
From Eric Meyer
Posted on November 22, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Chuck Herin invented the mechanism for perfection pegs and still hand makes them - with ebony buttons. They are called Pegheds
I don't trust them. I've seen a few that went slippy, making the violin impossible to tune.
Michael, when you a say a few, was that a few pegs on one instrument, or a few instruments. Was there anything consistent - brand, length of time being used, any possibility of incorrect installation do you think?
Eric, I get so confused with the planetary perfection and pegheads - I read somewhere that one was brought out by the other, and when I came to order, I ordered 2 sets, both by different names, but identical. Packaged in plastic bags with a sticker. When I ordered the wittners on my luthier's advice they were boxed, I still have one set as I was unsure what diameter to get.
From Tony Boone
Posted on November 22, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Deleted. Too long winded.
From bill platt
Posted on November 22, 2011 at 11:12 PM
If you are using gut or wound gut or perlon core, I just don't see any particular advantage to these cool engineered geared pegs. I just don't find friction pegs that difficult. I suppose you need them in good order, and need to learn how to use them. I suppose the geared ones are "easier" as there isn't anything to learn.
If you use a steel string, are these pegheads/perfection geared enough to do fine tuning as well as a string adjuster? I suppose they must? Wouldn't that make them rather tedious if used with gut or perlon? (I have yet to ever handle a fiddle with these mounted).
If I have trouble with normal pegs slipping I just bang a small nail into the peg and peg box to hold it. Works fine every time.
I have installed Pegheds and/or Knilling Planetary Perfection Pegs in 5 violins, 3 cellos, 1 viola, and 1 5-string violin/viola. I've been using them for 4 or 5 years. I am completely happy with the results - steel strings or composite-core (I no longer use gut core strings).
The Pegheds come with wooden heads on teh same mechanism that Herin licensed to Knilling. He can use any wooden pegheads you want - or provide to him. He also can anodize the aluminum peg shafts to simulate non-ebony wood to match the wooden heads.
From Tony Boone
Posted on November 23, 2011 at 06:44 AM
@Bill: Once a new set of string have stretched and stay in relative tune I use super glue on each peg to keep them from slipping. If they need to be re-tuned I carry an Exacto knife with me to cut through the super glue, make the adjustment, and then re-glue them with another liberal dose of super glue.
I may try Gorilla glue when I use up my current supply of super glue as Gorilla glue comes in a nice brown that would match my violin's varnish better.
If I get too much build up I just take some medium grit sand paper and sand off the excess and follow up with some 0000 steel wool. Once they are re-glued after this process I take some Turtle wax and polish the area well. No need to buy any special violin polish when car wax works just as well. Two birds, one stone so to speak.
Your mileage may vary.
@ Tony : )
From Lyle Reedy
Posted on November 25, 2011 at 12:46 AM
"I've seen a few that went slippy, making the violin impossible to tune."
I assume you are aware that the turning friction is changed by moving the heads in or out? Normally, if they start slipping you just push the heads in as you turn until they hold. I haven't yet seen any that have failed to do that, but I suppose it's possible.
From Tony Boone
Posted on November 25, 2011 at 01:35 AM
I'm sure some of you will get a kick out of this advertisement. If they're good enough for a Strad... :-))
(Click image for readable, full size pdf version of ad.)
Ewwwwww...that's disturbing. A luthier told me that they can inhibit the vibration of the instrument to an extent. Certainly a Stradivarius should have properly set pegs and not need these contraptions.
From Jo Parker
Posted on November 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM
I'm sorry but I am not going to 'buy' this thing that they will 'inhibit' the vibration of the instrument, or if they do, that it will affect anything that a 'mortal' will be able to see or hear in any way!
At the end of the day you can have the best luthier fitting the best quality pegs on your strad, they will not work in the same way as geared pegs(ie wittner or peg-heads)as they work in a different way, I am not saying which one are best, a person will have his/her preference, up to the 'strad owner' to decide what they want to do with it.
From Tony Boone
Posted on November 26, 2011 at 12:02 AM
I bet Ms. Pitcairn is glad Merv Griffin is no longer able to molest her Strad as seen in this image. Seriously, who in their right mind does something like that?
(This image is just begging for an appropriate caption.)
And that's probably the worst way to hold a bow. It invites disaster.
Especially on the G string ...
"I am not going to 'buy' this thing that they will 'inhibit' the vibration of the instrument"
It's the same reason that people prefer a wooden tailpiece to a metal one, or the fact that most players choose not to have fine-tuners on the lower three strings. It's true that the pegs will have less of an effect on the tone but the idea of minimizing the amount of metal parts on the violin produces results that most people can hear in a comparison.
If it is true, as the ad says ( www.elizabethpitcairn.com/pdf/wittner.pdf ) that Elizabeth Pitcairn has installed Wittner pegs in her 1720 "Red Mendelssohn" Stradivarius and her other two violins, then what do the rest of us have to worry about?
I have not used the Wittner pegs; all my experience has been with Pegheds and Knilling Perfection Planetary Pegs and they sure make a difference for arthritic violinists - and even more significant difference for cellists.
Also, the way the Bois D'Harmonie tailpieces with 4 fine tuners are designed their weight is comparable to that of "bare-naked" wooden tailpieces. But you pretty much don't need them if you have chosen geared pegs.
From Jo Parker
Posted on November 27, 2011 at 07:37 AM
Michael, surely the tailpiece will have a lot more of an effect than the pegs, so will the fine tuners as those parts are a lot more 'moveable' (ie prone to move/vibrate), but the pegs sit quite firmly in the peg-box...there is quite a lot of difference between the three thing
The tailpiece is 'suspended' between the bridge and the end button, quite a difference I think. But I am not going to get 'bogged down' into all this 'physics' talk though to me it wouldn't be necessary, seems rather obvious to me the difference between the two.
As I said: "It's true that the pegs will have less of an effect on the tone". I meant less of an effect than the fine tuners or the tailpiece. I am aware of the physics of it. However what difference it has will vary from instrument to instrument. On some violins it may have almost no noticeable effect, but on others the difference may be audible.
My order of Pegheds from Mr. Herin came in the mail this afternoon and I literally just finished installing them. I previously used a single Hill-type fine tuner with a ball-ended E string (mostly because my loops would be cut no matter how much I filed away at the hook) with very cleanly and smoothly-turning ebony friction pegs. Removing them and adding in the Pegheds definitely opened up tone and projection for my violin. The sound is just more open and round and full from my ear and my musically-inclined sister's ear.
Tuning is great, too. I haven't actually used my electronic tuner for anything but giving me a 440hz A, but I decided to use it today to check my string pitches. I found that with a steady hand and a clean up bow, I was able to get down to the closest cent, as far as my tuner's accuracy goes.
Not only is functionality perfect, but so are aesthetics. I requested for heart-style ebony heads to be fitted to my custom Pegheds, and he was able to seamlessly integrate them into the Peghed form without error. The only way you would be able to tell that my pegs were Pegheds is if you took a flashlight and a magnifying glass to the inside of my pegbox to observe the slight jump from the rotating section and the tail of the peg.
I sent Mr. Herin custom pegbox measurements and diameters so that I would not have to modify my peg holes or cut the actual Pegheds in any way. He can provide the .pdf of a specific order form for these cases upon email request. I did not have to make any modifications whatsoever, and the Pegheds fit perfect and tight without the superglue, so unless they somehow come undone by themselves, I will be leaving them as is.
Mr. Herin really is a great guy. He responded to each nagging question and request I had without complaint, and in my opinion, he is a sheer genius. These Pegheds really are something amazing, and I encourage anyone interested in purchasing geared violin pegs to go straight to him.
No matter what type of pegging is involved, for me an essential item in my violin case is a pair of tweezers to help tease an A-string (which probably has a black end) into the nearly inaccessible hole in a black peg in the darkest and tightest part of the peg box, and then to pull the end through. My thick fingers (from a lifetime of cello playing) don't help, either.
Why does the peg box have this particular design? Is there a good reason why the back of the peg box could not have a small aperture to assist in the installation of the A-string?
Incidentally, a friend of mine, a folk fiddler and retired engineer, also with thick fingers, solved this problem for himself by swapping his E-string to the A-peg, and the A-string to the E-peg, on the pragmatic grounds that renewing the steel E was a rare event, but he'd be renewing his Dominant A every couple of months. With all due respect to my friend, I wouldn't go down that route!
On-the-nose magnifying glasses (like watch-makers use) might be useful as well, I suppose (I'm long-sighted). But I'll not be carrying all that gear around in my fiddle case!
From Tony Boone
Posted on November 28, 2011 at 03:51 AM
I need some clarification please.
If one has the machined pegs of his choice, is it necessary to have a fine tuner on the E string? I've read where someone suggested that even with machined pegs that a fine tuner on the E string will help to provide a balance or otherwise assist in bringing out the G and D string notes.
I am paraphrasing as I can't locate the exact quote, but am wondering if I really need any fine tuner on the tailpiece, and might it be an advantage not having one at all in such a circumstance?
From J Brunson
Posted on November 28, 2011 at 04:20 AM
No need for fine tuners, if the perfection pegs slip, press them into the pegbox just like the old style ones...
I agree with J. So far, my E Peghed has been more than accurate enough for me to get that fifth between my A and E strings just where I want it. Regarding balance of the tailpiece, I can understand what you are saying, but from recent experience, I would have to say that a direct connection of the E string to the saddle is more beneficial to the violin than the utilization of a fine tuner to "twist" the tailpiece into a more level angle.
Then again, I am no luthier or physicist. If I were to take a wild guess to why removing my Hill-type fine tuner improved my violin's tone, I would have to say that the actual contact between the E string and the saddle allowed the tailpiece to resonate more freely as the E string vibrated, either directly or sympathetically from other notes played on other strings. The absence of a metal fine tuner also probably played a role in allowing more free vibration.
But remember, this is just a wild guess. I'm sure one of the more experienced players and luthiers here can affirm or correct me.
If anyone wants to read up the engineering details of the Wittner peg, an easily accessible source is Wittner's US Patent Application US 2009/0114075. It can be read and downloaded from here
I just talked to Chuck Herin with Pegheds. Despite playing phone tag with him for the last few days, he continued to try and call me back. Really nice guy, and friendly. One short conversation later, he sent me an order form, easily filled in with the correct numbers. He said as soon as he gets them trimmed to the proper size he'll put them in the mail. So exciting! I haven't even got to hear what my violin sounds like yet, as i got it on ebay without any of the parts on it. My luthier tells me it is ready, save for the pegs.
From Jo Parker
Posted on April 26, 2012 at 05:57 AM
I have Chuck's pegheds installed on my violin, am really happy with them :)
I chose these ones
From Jo Parker
Posted on April 26, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Trying to repost my photo as it didn't work and I could not edit the post...
I installed Knilling Perfection pegs on my own fiddle recently, and I'm officially a convert for life; I will be installing geared pegs on every fiddle I own from here on out, no question about it. I know that Pegheds can be built with different wooden heads and shaft colors, but I wish more manufacturers would consider this option as well. I like the look of ebony fittings, but I much prefer rosewood or mountain mahogany.
In response to an inquiry about Knilling Perfection Pegs with rosewood heads:
I found out from my supplier that the rosewood peg heads are not yet available. The manufacturer wants to get the finish just right and they are expecting them sometime in June. Maybe shoot me an email in July and I'll let you know then and get a set out to you.
I was able to get the Rosewood Perfection Pegs from www.elderly.com and love them! Never used any other pegs as the violins I have I just made. I can understand why they make for ease of tuning with the no slip, no wear and no need for fine tuners. My instructor seems to like them but had never heard of them in his many years of playing professionally. The sound is not affected either since he thinks my violin sounds as good or better than any master luthiers new violin.
I am a new cello player in England with a nearly new stentor conservetoire cello with perfection pegs that came with it. I had a tuning issue which my Luthier sorted by putting the strings on correctly and it was fine for 1 month. Now the D string loses tune within 5 minutes of playing (the others are perfect still). I noticed when I retuned it with the peg that once i have pushed it in it seems to slowly turn.(the turning part, not the actual peg in the peg box which appears to be staying ok. I don't know how old the pegs are but the cello came to me 'sparkling' i do not think it has been used much at all. Any ideas?
Push in as you turn back and forth until it turns hard enough to hold, then bring it up to pitch. Works every time for me.