Instrument with geared pegs chronically doesn't stay in tune
I have a nearly 17" viola made in 2012(bought in 2013) that will not stay in tune. I remember it being a problem pretty soon after I purchased the viola, at least since 2014. The A is pretty good, but D,G,C will go several cents or more flat within 10 minutes regardless of climate conditions of the room.
Here is what I have done to try and solve the problem.
~ Had new friction pegs installed.
~ Perfection geared pegs installed. This has made it markedly better, but still not great.
~I got a plastic tailpiece with fine tuners installed. It's a tad small for the viola's body,but doesn't seem to be slipping or anything
- I re wrapped and trimmed the strings to make sure they weren't rubbing against the peg holes, which can cause problems with geared pegs.
~Ordered longer Dominant C,G, D strings, which helped the overall sound and pitch stability, but still a problem.
Does anybody have any other ideas? My luthier and I are seriously scratching our heads on this one. Do some instruments have structural instability that keep it from ever being in tune?
Thanks for any suggestions!
Try replacing the tail piece with one with no fine tuners, you don't need them with the perfection pegs, the tailgut might be slipping or the fine tuners.
I had a violin that started to go out of tune alot. Then the tail piece cord broke. Could your's have a problem.
I imagine your luthier would have noticed any glue/seam failure?
Thomas, did it stay in tune with the new tailgut?
I have experienced this kind of problem due to several different causes on several instruments. Those I remember were:
Yes it does.
I've not had any of my gear pegs slip and I have one set each of Knilling, PegHeds, and Wittner. Mechanically the Wittners are the best. PegHeds are very good mechanically but also look the best.
Paul, the viola gets wonky out of tune even in my own house. It usually happens within a few minutes, and each string goes flat to a sort of consistent level regardless off weather conditions.
If it's all your strings that are slipping it's not your pegs.
William - it was not at all really obvious that my instrument's de-tuning was due to the tailcord. I might have read about it as an on-line suggestion. I still don't know if the tailcord was really stretching or whether it occurred in the threads of the tailcord. I think that possibility occurred to me after I first visited Frank Passa, who had been the inventor and was patent holder of the Sacconi tailcord - the first one of that design. So - even after the patent expired it was the one to buy - not any cheaper off-brand, as I had done and we discussed the off brands.
I never got the paranoia that makes people think that gluing metal tapered threads into maple was necessary or even a good idea. I've installed several PH/Knillings on violins, violas, and celli and never had a problem apart from a couple of grindy gears. the whole idea of a tapered peg thread is so that it is pulled tighter as humidity changes. If it's slipping, it's probably because your glue-hardened wood fiber have stripped out and the threads can not get good purchase (bite,) something I have never experienced having not used glue-ever.
I had the same experience a couple of months ago. Geared pegs, and every time I would pick up the violin it was detuned. In that time I blamed the strings, as if they were stretching endlessly.