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What kind of fittings (pegs and tailpiece) do you have on your main instrument?

The Weekend Vote

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Published: August 15, 2014 at 9:02 PM [UTC]

What kind of fittings do you have on your main instrument?

For those who aren’t sure what that means, the fittings are the tailpiece, pegs, chin rest and bridge — those parts of the violin that can be interchanged. For the purposes of this vote, we’re just going to talk about the pegs and tailpiece, which often come as a matching set, as the chin rest is very often customized to the player and thus not always part of a “set.”

Here is a description of various materials used for fittings, based on discussions from the past about the topic:

Boxwood: The softest, lightest and considered by some to be the most hypoallergenic. Comes in a range of shades.
Rosewood: Softer than ebony but harder than boxwood. Most workable for peg-turning
Ebony: Considered the strongest, hardest and most durable
Composite: Carbon fiber or another synthetic material
Something else: Maybe yours is a combination, or another kind of wood not mentioned.

What do you have? Please feel free to post comments about it. Post pictures, too, if you like! Sometimes people even have beautifully carved fittings, or fittings with gold or ivory (which might be trouble, these days!)

From Jim Hastings
Posted on August 15, 2014 at 10:00 PM
No main instrument, really -- I divide my time about equally each day among three fiddles to keep them well played in. Two -- 1869, 1883 -- previously had ebony fittings. About 8 1/2 years ago, when I needed work done on the 1869 instrument, I had the luthier replace the ebony tailpiece and pegs with rosewood.

About 2 years ago, the 1883 fiddle needed the end-piece button replaced. This part -- possibly original equipment, not sure -- had begun to split and could no longer safely hold the tailpiece in place. Once again, I had the luthier remove the ebony parts and substitute rosewood. The pegs on both these instruments look like the second from left in your photo -- about the same brown tone but not as shiny.

The 1921 fiddle already had rosewood when I acquired it about 9 years ago.

From Randy Walton
Posted on August 15, 2014 at 11:13 PM
I voted 'something else' because while my tailpiece is ebony, my pegs are plastic gear driven with the look of ebony.
From Steven Rochen
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 1:27 AM
My setup is: Mountain Mahogany, (circocarpus ledifolus) Hill style pegs and fittings.
From Paul Deck
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 2:07 AM
I'm with you, Randy. I've got PegHeds and a boxwood tailpiece. At least, I think it's boxwood. It's definitely not ebony or rosewood. I'd like it if PegHeds made a matching tail piece with just one tuner, built in, Wittner style, on just the E string. My daughter's violin has the Knilling Perfection pegs. They also work very nicely.
From Kevin Keating
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 2:25 AM
I have an ebony Hill style tailpiece and Flesch style chinrest. My pegs however are Knilling Planetary pegs (which I love and would never go back to friction pegs). I believe Knilling now makes their pegs with wooden knobs attached.
From Angga Putra
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 2:47 AM
I voted "Something Else" because I AM SURE my pegs ARE NOT boxwood or rosewood, because my luthier says so.
From Brian Kelly
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 4:16 AM
I Wittner have geared pegs on all my violins.
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 11:19 AM
Oh! I didn't read it carefully enough, so i voted something else, due to my chin rest that is ebony, when i really should have voted boxwood. :P
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 6:43 PM
We should all stop insisting on dark black ebony, the forests are suffering over it.
From Jo Parker
Posted on August 16, 2014 at 8:57 PM
I was talking to someone in the accessories business lately and he said that boxwood tends to be the best for chinrests as it resonates better due to its density (he said 'look at all the famous violinists and orchestra leaders etc most of them have boxwood), also as it has a 'tight grain' then the sweat does not get absorbed by it over time. That rosewood is the 'best wood' for pegs as its softer than ebony, coincidence my previous violins had ebony pegs, my current one has rosewood pegs and they are so much smoother to tune they are almost like geared pegs!
at present I have a boxwood chinrest and rosewood tailpiece and pegs.
apparently most 'boxwood' chinrests out there are not 'real' boxwood, as a rule only the more expensive ones are probably boxwood, boxwood takes years and years to grow to a certain size to be ready to use (ie to get a decent piece to do anything with it).
This same person told me that the best set up is: boxwood chinrest, ebony tailpiece and rosewood pegs.....
Posted on August 17, 2014 at 2:40 AM
From Craig Kuhlow
Posted on August 18, 2014 at 2:43 PM
I am using the original rosewood pegs with gold diamond shaped tips. the instrument is from Paris,1910. They still work very well. My chinrest is also rosewood (Guarneri style), and I use a Wittner tailpiece.

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