Peg problem

May 4, 2016 at 01:03 PM · I am currently having trouble with a stubborn peg. Since the weather changed, it started slipping so much that i had to jam it in the violin head.

I had to push it quite far so it wouldnt wobble. I was not comfortable with it being pushed so far, so i took for my luthier to take a look. He drilled a new hole in the peg (for the string) and said it was OK. I am not sure it is really OK. should I take it to another luthier? I think it doesnt look right.

Here is how it looks like (G string). It doesnt affect the playing, but i am not sure I won't damage the pegbox by pushing the peg so far.

Replies (25)

May 4, 2016 at 05:05 PM · There's always the old trick - jam the windings of the string against the peg wall, but not overly so, maybe a turn or so.

Not sure about the new peg hole but it look awful.

May 4, 2016 at 05:37 PM · Thanks for the answer Casey!

Unfortunately the peg doesnt stay in place even with this trick. I really had to jam it :(

I am considering changing the luthier after all

May 4, 2016 at 07:22 PM · Disclaimer: I know nothing about carving an instrument.

Aside from the peg looking different then normal, I don't see a reason why it is not functioning the way its supposed to, and thus I must think that there is really nothing wrong with the peg.

If you don't like it looking weird, buy a new set of pegs ?

May 4, 2016 at 08:54 PM · If you get a new set of pegs, get PegHeds or Wittner Finetune Pegs. All your troubles will be over, forever.

May 4, 2016 at 08:56 PM · That peg is done, the wood has compressed way too much. also, I'd avoid any sort of "jamming" against the pegbox wall to keep it there, the stress could cause it to crack...pegs are replaceable, scrolls/pegboxes less so!

Pegs do wear out over time, and should be replaced when necessary. Sometimes, that comes with bushing of the peg holes (adding new wood and drilling new peg holes) if it has worn too much Your cost will depend on the amount of labor involved.

May 4, 2016 at 10:11 PM · That is the D peg, not G, and it appears that possibly the D and A may have been switched as part of the problem. I agree that your luthier was not too helpful. It is possible to split the peg box by pushing in too hard, but that usually happens with the A peg.

May 4, 2016 at 11:47 PM · I would suspect cracks in the pegbox on the D peg, why would one peg wear that much more than the other three, without a crack????

May 4, 2016 at 11:56 PM · I second the suggestion of getting PegHeds or Wittner Finetune Pegs or Knilling Perfection Planetary Pegs, but like it's been suggested, you likely will want a luthier to make sure the pegbox is in good order... and also it's easier to get those new pegs installed by someone (a luthier hopefully) who's done it before. :)

May 4, 2016 at 11:59 PM · Assuming the D string is the reworked peg, were they all even before the luthier started working on it? If so, he took out an awful lot of wood from the peg hole. If it still doesn't hold, I'd suspect that the peg isn't round, or is tapered incorrectly, or both. Not all the evidence is in, but it isn't looking too good at the moment for that luthier.

The cheapest solution would be to get the peg fit correctly, which requires removing more wood (probably from the peg), and further making the pegs uneven. Next: see if a matching peg can be found and cut to fit. A set of mechanical pegs (Wittner or PegHeds) is going to cost, but will make this problem go away.

May 5, 2016 at 12:18 AM · The luthier didn't drill out the pegbox, he drilled a new hole in the peg for the string to go through because the old hole was ending up inside the pegbox walls and stopping the peg from being pushed in far enough, pretty standard repair, I do it all the time on old pegs to save them from being replaced.

May 5, 2016 at 12:27 AM · The peg could be a perfect fit and still slip if it doesn't have enough chalk on it to make it grip.

May 5, 2016 at 12:30 AM · Or you can do what I do and use Jewelers rouge instead of chalk to make the peg grip, Hill compound to make it turn smoothly, not enough grip, peg slipping; add more rouge. Too much grip, too hard to turn; add more Hill compound (or soap)

May 6, 2016 at 08:35 PM · Parts and labor for a set of Wittner Fine-Tune Pegs is around $200. So if your whole violin is not worth at least $1000, I can't see doing it. On the other hand, it sure is nice to be able to tune my violin in 15 seconds, every time.

May 6, 2016 at 08:48 PM · Seems like you've never had the luxury of working with a luthier that can make conventional pegs work perfectly.

June 3, 2016 at 10:25 AM · Why would one choose to put geared pegs on a violin? Correctly fitted traditional pegs are a breeze to use. Easy to change strings, very fast to tune, and don't slip. The technology has worked perfectly for hundreds of years.

Why fix what ain't broke?

Cheers Carlo

June 3, 2016 at 10:30 AM · Have to be in complete agreement with that statement, I wonder how many people would still pay all that money to install geared pegs if they had properly fitting professionally fit wooden pegs to start with.

June 3, 2016 at 01:57 PM · If properly maintained with the right peg compound, and if the weather doesn't change drastically, well-fit standard pegs made of good wood cause no trouble.

No matter how good your wooden pegs are, if the humidity drops drastically, they will pop loose.

It comes to a choice of whether you want the expense, weight, and dirty looks from "proper" violin players if you go mechanical, vs. not having to deal with the finicky wooden pegs.

June 3, 2016 at 04:11 PM · Funny, when the humidity drops dramatically at my house, which is only a few miles from yours, Don, only about 10% or 20% of the pegs pop, never all four, and since it only happens once or twice a year, like when the heater comes on, I hardly consider it a major hardship that would justify fitting mechanical monstrosities.

June 3, 2016 at 05:56 PM · In my opinion, mechanical pegs are a cheap solution to a "problem" for which there is already a tried and tested system that works perfectly. I personally don't have slipping pegs on violins that are tuned many times a day. Ocassionally I will find one of mine, that is taking a vacation, with a slipped peg. Five seconds at the most to tune it!

I am not against progress, and technology does have its place in violin playing. I use modern strings, have a metronome app, and occasionally read music from an iPad. However for me; no SR, plastic cases, plastic tailpieces (except for students), plastic or CF bows, and no geared pegs.

Cheers Carlo

June 3, 2016 at 06:40 PM · Something that I don't think has been mentioned in this discussion is the number of windings on a peg. On looking at the OP's imgur photo I can count on the G peg 8 windings (including the one leaving the peg). No wonder the final winding is squeezed against the peg box! If there is a large number of windings there is more string on the peg to stretch when installed, hence it takes longer for a new string to settle - and incidentally more string to stretch or contract with variations in temperature and humidity.

I aim to have no more than 4 windings on a peg, which means that the string never touches the inside of the peg box and (with gut strings in my case) settles on the peg and finishes its stretching within a couple of hours when new. I adjust the number of winding when setting up a new string by pulling out a length of loose string from the hole in the peg - how much is easily learned by experiment.

June 3, 2016 at 07:10 PM · I never shorten my strings, I aim to have the hole in the centre of the pegbox area, then I do two complete windings going away from the peg head, then I sharply angle the string over those two windings and try to wind them against the pegbox wall, as it is the peg always pushes in a bit so the string doesn't end up to tight against the pegbox wall, if the windings don't go up against the pegbox wall, especially on the A peg, I don't worry about it. In my opinion 8 windings is not too much unless there is too much pressure against the pegbox wall. Pressure against the pegbox wall is supposed to make the peg less likely to slip, not more.

His problem to me sounds like a simple one of not the correct formula of peg compound to prevent slipping, ( that or the peg taper is not a proper fit) using just Hill compound usually makes the pegs too slippery, likely to fail. I use a little rouge in addition to Hill compound to make the pegs grip more or you can use chalk (the traditional method for slipping pegs)

June 4, 2016 at 02:55 AM · Not sure why so little love for the geared pegs! :)

There have been several peg threads lately, and most have dealt with issues of repair and maintenance. Setting that aside, the geared pegs are fun, convenient and accurate. I certainly understand objecting to them aesthetically if the look is not for you... but there are advantages, even for those who know how to properly use and maintain traditional pegs.

May lightning strike me, or may my mechanical pegs fail in the middle of a big concert!

June 4, 2016 at 03:11 AM · Do you use geared pegs on the instrument you play in the LA Philharmonic??

I don't have a lot of connection to the Lyndon Taylor that plays principal second violin in your Philharmonic, but I am best friends with his sister who plays viola and violin, who used to play with Lyndon in their family string quartet. In fact she is my main source of professional demo players to test and try out my instruments, as I am not a player, she teaches two days a week in my hometown, so we see each other often; a wonderful person.

June 4, 2016 at 04:09 AM · Haha! Great connection, especially considering the name!

I do use the Wittner pegs on that instrument. That was the recommendation of Robert Cauer, upon seeing the sorry state of the pegbox... so many repairs over 300 years.

I'm actually at a concert now, I'll say hi to the other Lyndon!

June 4, 2016 at 04:29 AM · Lyndon's recommendation was actually the reason for my latest "Sale" make that trade. I had a good quality 100 year old trade violin that just happened to sound exceptional, so I traded it for a 200 year old genuine Hopf violin with many cracks(not a knock off like you usually see) and A JTL French factory violin with a label, two violins for the trade of one, though admittedly the one I traded was perhaps better sound than either of the two I got.

So everyone is happy. I was more than happy to get a genuine 200 year old violin, I have few in my collection that old.

Oh and of course send my best wishes to Lyndon, and thanks for his help.

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