Placement of tuning pegs and positioning of string holes?
I assume the lengths of the pegs should follow the varying width of the peg box with shortest peg in the top position since it's the narrowest point and so on with the longest peg in the bottom position closest to the nut.
The pegs don't go all the way into the far side holes - pics of better instruments show the ends of the pegs at least flush with the outside of the pegbox so I got a reamer to move them in a bit and get maximum grip on the pegs. However, before I start using the reamer, is there a standard pattern of how the string holes should be positioned/aligned that I should be aiming for?
I guess I never thought about it that much, but on all of my violins (before I had gear pegs installed in all of them, that is), each peg had a hole that was more or less in the middle of the peg box. The only thing that probably won't work well is if the hole is close to the side of the pegbox where the string needs to lie over the nut. Be careful with the reamer. I've always thought it should be an easy-to-use tool, but good luthiers have warned me that it's more of an easy-to-ruin-your-violin kind of tool.
The pegs don't have to go all the way through the far peg hole. All they have to do is work well, and that can be true even though they fall short of the far peg hole wall. Makers often leave them a bit shy of that far wall so they can "wear in" without extending beyond the pegbox. Enlarging the peg holes for no good reason is like burning through your inheritance. It's wise to leave that material for a later day, when it really might be necessary to shave it to correct for wear. It ain't broke, so don't fix it.
If you have to start a question with “Before I start using a reamer”...it’s probably a good idea you shouldn’t.......
If you think about it you will realize:
Its also quite possible that your reamer doesn't have the same taper as the holes, which would ruin the fit completely, and require fitting new pegs. Thats why finding a competent luthier is your best bet, its not an expensive repair, and the potential for you to screw up is great.
I recommend doing a trial run on a similar sized scrap of wood first. Keep in mind, removing even a tiny amount of material from a tapered hole can have a dramatic effect. Tapers are funny that way.
The way you check the reamer is position it in the hole fairly loosely(a snug fit) and then see if there's any play when you bend it back and forth, If there's any play, the reamer is not the right fit for the hole.
For minor adjustments like this don't turn the reamer forward with the cutting edge, but turn it backwards so it acts like a scraper, much easier for fine adjustments.
in the middle
OMG, Lyndon and I agreed on something. :)
Doesn't admitting that draw questions to your reputation??
Well, anyone can get struck by lightning. I do wonder if the switch from 1/20 to 1/30 reamer is the reason why contemporary violins aren't as good as Italian antiques. After all the pegs are critical to the sound of the instrument.
Well they do sound better than mechanical pegs!!
Haha that's totally rubbish and you know it.
Actually there's no doubt that a simple wooden peg offers less chance for vibration than a mechanical peg, how much of a difference that makes is debatable
Make sure the pegs are tap tuned to the string they are adjusting for maximum resonance ;-)
I have considered having the mechanical tuning pegs installed and have previously asked Paul Deck some questions as he has tried all of the brands out there and used them for some time. But, even though the pegs are above the nut I think they might have a minor detrimental effect to the sound which is why I have not bought them.
In my experience the "mechanical tuning pegs," whether Pegheds, Knilling, or Wittner, have no detrimental effect on anything. I've installed them in a dozen instruments.
Maybe mechanical pegs will be a must have at some time in the near future. I thought recently that Mr. Burgess has said he has installed some in his instruments per buyers request.
Slightly too much pressure and the reamer will take a lot out quickly. And, if held even slightly off center it will oval the hole. So be real careful if you choose to do it yourself. I would suggest if the pegs are gripping well, leave it alone.
I know that I've said, in these pages, that if I ever commissioned a violin from David Burgess that I'd ask for it with gear pegs. Actually, though, he should probably try to talk me out of it, because if I didn't end up buying it then he'd have to change them. And everyone knows that when you change the pegs the sound of the violin becomes totally different.
The only way that the pegs can affect the tone is by their mass; same for the scroll. Are geared pegs heavier than wooden ones?
Generally, yes, but some violins sound better with heavier pegs than with lighter pegs.
I know a folk violinist who with advancing years got fed up with the difficult accessibility of the A-peg when changing strings so he swapped he E-string onto the A-peg and the A-string onto the E-peg. Problem solved.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.