fine tuners on the other strings?

June 26, 2006 at 05:02 AM · Does anyone know what fine tuners on the other three strings do to a violin sound? I ask because if I ever get my left side worked out and get playing again, well, I would like to put as little stress on my left hand as possible. And we all know that even the best pegs can get tough at times. But I do not want to do this to a fine violin if it will change its sound. My friend talked to many makers, and only one thought it would mute the sound a bit. The others thought it would do little. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Replies (17)

June 26, 2006 at 12:25 PM · Just get a set and try them out. Fine tuners cost very little, especially if you buy them from a wholesaler (like international luthier supply, etc).

There are "short" and "long" adjusters, and some people fee thaht on some tailpieces, the longs make the tailpiece side of the strings too short, which will change the sound in some way. The "short" or "Hill" (same thing) have a little prong that is directly above the hole in the tailpiece, and so the prportions don't change any.

June 26, 2006 at 12:39 PM · You can get rather nice tail pieces with built in fine tuners from Bois de Harmonie in France. They are quite low weight compared to mounting them on an existing tailpiece.

June 26, 2006 at 03:18 PM · You might also try mechanical pegs. They essentially have fine-tuners built into them already. However, they're typically installed into the pegbox, so I'd consult my luthier before doing such a thing to a really good instrument and get his/her recommendation.

Some of them look a little funny, but they might just save your hands.

June 26, 2006 at 04:56 PM · bill_ said:

The "short" or "Hill" (same thing) have a little prong that is directly above the hole in the tailpiece, and so the prportions don't change any.


I'm guessing the Hill-style fine tuner is intended mainly for the E string. You can purchase E strings with ball or loop ends -- I've not seen a "loop-end" option for G, D or A strings. Though I suppose you could try to remove the balls from those strings, making them loop-ended, there's the possiblity of damaging the string.

June 26, 2006 at 05:13 PM · A good option would be to have a Wittner tailpiece with built-in fine tuners installed on your violin. They are light weight and well made. The tuning screws fit well and aren't as prone to rattling like traditional fine tuners. The bottom of the tuners are also curved away from the instrument. In our shop we find it to be a good solution for those who want 4 fine tuners.

If you add fine tuners to your current tailpiece you will change the afterlength of the strings and will add a considerable amount of weight to your tailpiece. That may mute the sound of your instrument. Also you will have to be careful not to let the bottom of the fine tuners come into contact with the top of the violin as it could cause damage.

The Bois de Harmonie tailpiece is a good option as well but is considerably more expensive than the Wittner.

June 27, 2006 at 02:55 AM · Sorry, I hit the Submit button again.....

June 27, 2006 at 12:58 AM · I have used "Perfection" mechanical tuners from Knilling, retailing for $179 but can be bought on the internet for under $60. I am a stringed instrument repairman and have built a few guitars, violins, etc so I was able to install them myself. If you decide to look at them, let me know and I can lead you through installation if you are fairly handy with hand tools and will buy a peg reamer.

They are great looking too, no-one will know they are not ebony pegs, except that they work sooooo smoothly. They are planetary geared pegs that I highly recommend. Though I have a set in my tool box, I may not install them on my new violin until I stop taking lessons from the man who also sold me the violin; he is a strict traditionalist and I am doing ok with ordinary pegs at this time. Look at Music 123 from Google.

Steve, Good Luck!

June 27, 2006 at 05:17 AM · has anyone worked with the Bois de Harmonie tailpiece, which has built in tunners. The word I am getting is that they add little weight and do not shorten the string, so there is very little change in sound, if any. Can anyone confrim that from persobal experience?

June 27, 2006 at 08:21 PM · I recommend geared pegs--you won't need any fine tuners at all. Geared pegs look so much like wooden pegs that I have to yell, "GEARED PEGS, GEARED PEGS, GEARED PEGS!" when a coach suddenly grabs my viola and starts twisting the peg--otherwise the coach could snap a string from turning the peg too much. This website has a great archived discussion regarding geared pegs.

June 28, 2006 at 03:50 AM · I believe that fine tuners work most effectively with metal strings - which you probably don't want to use. Here's another option, which has saved me a lot of wear and tear over the years. It's something called a "peg winder". It was designed for guitars, but fits over most violin pegs. It costs just a couple of dollars and should be stocked by any music store that sells guitars. It's a kind of a ratchet that you put over the peg (temporarily) and gives you a lot more leverage for tight pegs, or pegs that are not a good angle. There are some pegs that are a little too thick for this to fit. A delux model for a few dollares more will do the trick. At first I would recomend that you use this with the violin down and in front of you. Then once you get comfortable with it, you can use it in the 'tuning-while-playing' position.

June 28, 2006 at 04:48 AM · Have you been able to get the violin in tune with this device? I know what you are talking about, they are used when you put on strings on a guitar. But do they allow you to be precise enough to tune a violin?

June 28, 2006 at 12:35 PM · I know what you mean, Jon. Generally yes, I can get the string precisely in tune with the peg winder. Of course, for a fine feel, there's nothing like the direct fingertips on on the peg. Using the peg winder is a little likw wearing work gloves. What you can also do is loosen the peg with the peg winder, and then do the rest 'au natural'. But if the peg isn't too stuck - in which case it needs some peg wax, or other adjustment - with some practice it is quite comfortable to use the winder.

July 12, 2006 at 03:53 AM · perfection pegs work well with any kind of string. but do it yourself is not a good idea.

July 13, 2006 at 06:44 PM · I'd also like to know, regarding this subject, if fine tuners on an instrument are ever perceived as a stigma? Such as, a "student" violin versus a "real" violin. (I'm looking to upgrade from my student violin in a few months, and I've seen a few pricier ones with fine-tuners. It has given me mixed feelings.)

Thanks, and hope I didn't hijack the thread!

July 14, 2006 at 01:40 AM · Greetings,

not really. Oistrakh used two fine tuners and a metal a string by `Prim` which you can still; buy from Shar. Given that many stduents and palyers of that time were Oistrakh wannabes (as opposed to Heifetz...) and the state control mentality of standardization, this set up became regarded as @normal@ in the so called soviet school of that time. more recemntly a top orchesral player here in Japan recommended that an orchestra use a fine tuner on the a for convenience. Ia sked her if she got the idea from Oistrah and she responed in the affimative. But she seemed unaware of the nee dfor a different string. That is, as far as I am concerned, a fine tuner will not work well on gut or most synthetic strings.

There is no issue of what other people think. Anyone who has a negative opinion like you mention can drop dead as far as I am cocnerned. One can be helpful or a pratt but not both. Although I do seem to wander a bit....

Incidentally, the importance of not screwing away at pegs with your hand in an unnatural position for years was brought home to me when I strained my thumb and actually had to ask someone else to tune the violin before a concert. I found myslef really asking why we we don`t discuss this issue more.I suspect it is a major contributing actor to musciians injuries.



July 14, 2006 at 04:07 AM · Thanks, Buri!

July 14, 2006 at 12:42 PM · Changes tailpiece mass and string afterlength. Effects can be noticed. Generally not good. I suggest going to Perfection Pegs instead. Fitting more and more of these. Making them stock on some instruments.

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