Dreadful Weather

June 8, 2005 at 04:33 PM · My pegs can hardly move anymore! I have a pretty good quality instrument that I can hardly tune now. The pegs that can turn cruch as they are being turned.

How can I fix this?

Replies (19)

June 8, 2005 at 04:52 PM · Remove the pegs and rub the surfaces that contact the pegbow with lava soap. That should help.

June 8, 2005 at 06:12 PM · A better idea would be to get some regular peg compound. It is specially formulated to fix sticky pegs. Don't get the liquid. Use the stuff that is like a little brown crayon.

I would worry that the pumice in the lava soap might prematurely wear the peg holes.

June 8, 2005 at 07:14 PM · Thanks a bunch. Would regular candle wax mess up my instrument? (My mother's great idea that I won't let her try)

June 8, 2005 at 08:46 PM · Hey,

You could also use some peg dope. You should also try a dehumidifier. I have one and it helps a lot.


June 8, 2005 at 08:58 PM · PEGHEDS = problem solved.

June 8, 2005 at 09:59 PM · Regular candle wax might cause the pegs to not slip at all. Many have tried the Lava Soap trick and have been successful. The pumice crushes under the pressure and does not seem to cause any problems. Also I have heard regular bar soap and talcum powder mix can alleviate the problem you have.

June 9, 2005 at 08:46 AM · Blackboard chalk can be used to tighten pegs in place of the above suggestions.

To loosen pegs, rub pencil graphite instead.

June 9, 2005 at 10:11 AM · Try removing the pegs and lightly massage your scalp.It used to work with my fishing rods!

June 9, 2005 at 10:58 AM · Are you serious Dougie?

I will try some of these techiques. Why does pecil work?

June 9, 2005 at 12:49 PM · Graphite is a lubricant. Never woulda guessed, would you? :)

Pumice is just fine for the peg holes. What I was taught was to take some pumice, powder it onto a piece of felt moistened with mineral oil, and rub the oil and pumice onto the pegs. The oil lubricates and the pumice sticks, giving a decent balance of slippy and sticky. My pegs tend to work pretty well and my violin tends to stay nicely in tune, so I guess it's effective.

August 8, 2005 at 08:30 AM · I live in Shanghai, and yesterday the hygrometer in my case read over 100% humidity. My pegs are stuck solid. Annual occurrence. I dehumidify the room with the AC unit, which allows the pegs to be turned. In winter, the pegs are fine. the luthier says to grin and bear it, and do not risk damaging the peg box.. meanwhile, I can't tune..

The question I have is this: if I go ahead and rub graphite all over me pegs, then what will happen in winter when I do not need the graphite? Will me pegs be too slippery? If so, how then to correct? Remove with a pencil eraser? cheers.

August 8, 2005 at 03:03 PM · Over 100% humidity! Wow... here, excessive humidity is 55-60% (as it was yesterday).......

August 8, 2005 at 03:29 PM · Another part of the solution is to clean the peg when you take it out, especially if you've lubricated it before. The best way is with denatured alcohol on a small rag or paper towel. Clean the entire surface of the peg thoroughly and let the alcohol dry before you add your desired lubricant to the peg. Peg dope is best, Lava soap also works -- graphite can sometimes pit the peg holes and/or the peg if it's not ebony.

If you lubricate the pegs during the summer, and they start slipping in the winter, cleaning them will probably help. However, no matter what time of year, you should put a small amount of lubricant on the peg after cleaning it, because turning the peg "dry" can damage the pegbox.

August 8, 2005 at 09:24 PM · I wonder if pegs made out of carbon fiber would work. The bows work great, piano parts are being made with it as well. There is even a company that makes carbon fiber instruments.

You can get powdered graphite at the hardware store to use on pegs, string contact points. The humidity in Pa has been oppressive as well,

however it has subsided.

Grus Gott, Jonathan

August 8, 2005 at 09:56 PM · Hi,

Reading this thread, a word of caution... PLEASE DO NOT DO/ADD ANYTHING TO THE VIOLIN (which could harm it in the long run). Wood does expand/contract due to humidity. My simple suggestion and the safest one is to tune down the violin to loosen the pegs and tune it back up again. The peg will then adapt to the hole in the scroll and will avoid adding things that you really don't want to be adding to your violin.

As for graphite, it is recommended by the Pirastro company for the grooves of the bridge and nut to make the metal winding of their strings glide easier and to prevent fraying (which is a problem with their strings, especially at the bridge). However, it does not work for wood against wood and I would caution against it.


August 9, 2005 at 12:18 AM · I changed to Perfection pegs and they are wonderful. No worries of cracking the pegbox either.

August 9, 2005 at 09:07 AM · Hi Christian:

I have read many of your replies to the many discussions. Thanks for your input.

My pegs were stuck solid, and could not be tuned down as you mention. I had to buy a dehumidifier, and place the unit and violin in a closet over night, to get the wood to shrink to the point where I loosen the pegs.

Well, I went ahead anyway and rubbed some pencil graphite onto the ebony pegs. This does work, as the pegs can actually be turned now. By using small incremental amounts of pencil graphite, I could actually graduate the level of grip. So now the pegs turn, but still have grip. Should they be too loose in winter, I hope to rub off the graphite with a pencil eraser. We will see how this method works.

The humidity here is so high at times, that the buildings are lost in a fog. Can't see for more than 3 blocks. Dreadful. I expect my violin may crack soemday soon from the internal stress.

I would try the planetary pegs if I could afford them and get them.

Thanks to everyone for their advice and cautions.

August 10, 2005 at 01:04 AM · Hi Ron,

Thanks for the kind words. Maybe it works. With my violin I am careful. In any event, weather is murder here, with incredibly high heat and humidity in the summers and dreadfully cold and dry winters. Creates havocs for the instruments. I guess I just play it safe, but your ideas are interesting.


October 10, 2007 at 04:14 AM · I have to say, the homemade peg dope (bar soap with talcum powder after) is the best. I actually removed my fine tuners.

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