Do pegs drops work?

April 11, 2005 at 01:23 AM · Tuning my daughter's violin can be frustrating because the pegs slip just as you get the strings up to tune. It's especially bad when she retunes so much that the bridge gets tilted way over (she's learned to notice that and get help). We end up twisting and pushing the pegs into the pegbox - it's aggravating (as a guitarist I'd love to see machine heads on violins - seems much easier but I'm sure there's a good reason for staying with pegs).

We keep the instrument humidified and have tried chalk, but it only helps a little.

Have any of you tried the peg drops? Do they work? I'm a little nervous about trying them in case they make problem worse and then I don't know what would be done to fix the pegs.

Replies (11)

April 11, 2005 at 01:24 AM · One of my favorite luthiers swears by dry Ivory soap as lubricant, and baby powder as adhesive. It works pretty well, go figure!

April 11, 2005 at 02:53 AM · Perfection/Pegheds are the cure to all your ills.

April 11, 2005 at 06:41 AM · I am second to Laurie. Use a very tiny layer of dried soap and put on a generous amount of powder (I use school chalk for it).

April 11, 2005 at 09:18 AM · Hi Katarina,

make sure that there's no grave mechanical problem - peg soap/drops, chalk etc. will only help if the peg/pegbox ensemble is working. When you press in the peg, make sure that you give counterpressure from the other side of the pegbox so as not to break or loosen the neck of the violin.

Some reasons why pegs might not work at all:

  • Pegs made from inferior wood (i.e. not ebony, rosewood or boxwood) might have a groove worn in and will no longer fit
  • Pegs might have been used with all metal strings for years. That can cause both peg and the hole in the pegbox to change from a circle-shape to an ellipse. If you take of the string and turn the peg in its hole, it will not turn evenly but will appear to move backward and forward.
  • Pegs that won't stick can also be caused by a crack in the pegbox - from using too much pressure in trying to press the peg in
Management Summary ;-) : Go see a luthier.

Bye, Juergen

April 11, 2005 at 06:01 PM · You are so correct, Sam!

April 11, 2005 at 06:11 PM · Hill peg compound works well for me. Tip: apply way too much. For 24 hrs. your pegs will slip, but after that they will work like a charm.


April 12, 2005 at 04:30 PM · I use regular old rosin. It works very well for me.

April 12, 2005 at 04:36 PM · I have never tried peg drops, nor seen them. I use peg dope. It looks like brown lipstick. You just rub it on, and voila. It works very well, and, unlike rosin, won't damage your pegs...

April 13, 2005 at 01:29 PM · Thanks all (the original message was from me not Katarina - I used our home computer and didn't notice that she was logged in).

I'm sure we have some baby powder around the house somewhere from years ago so I'll try that first and if they still slip we'll give peg dope/drops a shot. (I like the sound of the peg dope better - doesn't sound like it would soak into the wood like I assume drops would.)

April 13, 2005 at 01:41 PM · It sounds like it would get the pegs stoned.

April 22, 2005 at 08:50 PM · In case anyone else reads this I found some advice against peg drops (so the peg compound is probably a better choice).

Normal tuning can cause pegs and peg holes to go out of round, this causes slipping and must be fixed by a repairmen. Pegs can dry out causing, sticking, and can usually be corrected using "LAVA" soap. It is strongly recommended that "Peg Drops" or chalk not be used as they can freeze a peg in place and cause permanent damage to the peg box when the inexperienced person attempts to free it.

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