Violin Fine Tuners (a comprehensive catalogue)

Edited: May 14, 2018, 8:05 AM · I was reading a thread here from 2009 and tearing my hair out because half the links are dead, and the discussion kind of bounces back and forth without standardized names for these things (often using a manufacturer name, when in fact that manufacturer has models for various types of string adjuster). Here's what I came away with... and if you know of others designs, please post the information either with a description or a current pic link. Let's not talk about pro's and con's unless it is tied directly to the design as a way that you could identify what you are hearing / looking at...


GENERAL DESIGN TYPES:
1) English type (a/k/a Hill Model 1, a/k/a Stradpet)


2) Stable type (a/k/a Wittner, a/k/a ULSA)

3) Post-Type (a/k/a "American type", aka "Axe type")
DESC: Single metal post "pivots" in a metal slot. Two-prong (ball-end) receiver.

4) "Compact" or "Midget"
Similar to the English type, but with different geometry of the lever as well as position of the string receiver above or inside the tail piece holes. This design is "compact" compared to post or stable types.

5) Titanium Spring (a/k/a Mberg, a/k/a Pedi)
Description: single integrated lever of titanium pivoting on a "leaf spring" -like support, and driven by simple threaded post.
 

6) Carbon Fibre ("Bogaro and Clemente")
DESC: A carbon fibre cam that travles on the tailpiece groove directly


7) Gotoh design (horizontally clamped)
DESC: adjustment knob sits between bridge and tail piece.

7)Suzuki style / string mounted fine tuner
DESC: bends string by applying torque to string itself

OTHER MANUFACTURE VARIANTS ON ABOVE DESIGNS

Gotz makes an "English type" fine tuner similar to the Hill Model 1 that changes the string position so it will rest on the saddle of the tailpiece:

Wittner also manufactures the "English type", the Post-type, and the "Midget/Compact ball end" style.


The "English type" and ULSA styles are commonly marketed with various adornments to the screw post head / knob, (significantly impacting the price).
 

INTEGRATED INTO TAILPIECE (4 fine tuners):

1) Description: four cams set into tailpiece are driven by threaded posts. String after length is not affected by tuning.

Hill and Wittner, as well as Pusch, make these types of tail-pieces.

2) Variants

Bois d'Harmonie makes a range of tailpieces with integrated tuners with removable composite cams so they can be strung conventionally if desired. One specific model has the adjuster hole / fine tuner only on the e string:

By changing the shape of the tailpiece to an "angle" or a "harp", specific constant after lengths can be obtained for each string. e.g., Frirsz for Cello {NEED SPECIFIC EXAMPLE FOR VIOLIN}

Replies (15)

May 13, 2018, 11:04 PM · There is the Götz model. Similar to the Hill, but keeps the string in contact with the saddle.
May 14, 2018, 1:55 AM · Great post Gene. It is interesting to see all of the didderent types of fine tuners available in one place. I am a long time Hill user as the lever type makes me cringe.
May 14, 2018, 2:40 AM · In addition to Wittner and Hill there is the Pusch tailpiece with built-in fine tuners.
Edited: May 14, 2018, 10:06 AM · Thank you, Gene, you have done a fine service.

In my opinion Bois d'Harmonie (French) makes the "best" conventionally-shaped wooden tailpieces with built-in fine tuners. The fine tuners themselves are made of a composite so they are very light in weight and they can be removed if one wants to install some strings in the conventional way. They are available in "French" and "Hill" shapes made from ebony, rosewood, boxwood or pernambuco. They are all expensive with the pernambuco ones most dear. I have found that if you use these tailpieces it is advisable to have one spare tuner in your case.

The Pusch, which are much less expensive, are also made of beautiful woods however their tuning mechanism is less linear and less reliable and string loading is way more awkward.

May 14, 2018, 8:09 AM · Thank you everyone for the information... I've added models up to this point to the original post.
Edited: May 14, 2018, 4:02 PM · Thank you Gene for this detailed catalogue you set up.
May I contribute some links to variations of the already mentioned models.
A collection of hill style fine tuners made from titanium or titanium alloy as well as vast varieties of tailpieces with integrated fine tuners can be seen on the web pages of the following manufacturers. Several of them are not yet listed in the comprehensive catalogue above:

- the fine crafted hill model made by ulsa:
https://www.ulsamusic.com/english-version/our-products/string-adjuster/ (look at the bottom of this webpage)

- a plethora of tailpieces made from hardwood with integrated tuners made of titanium or aluminium:
https://www.ulsamusic.com/english-version/our-products/tailpiece/

- another titanium hill style fine tuner, similar in function to the goetz model:
http://www.ottomusica.com/?page_id=213

- the stradpet family of titanium alloy fine tuners:
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/group/STRADPET-Titanium-Fine-Tuner/1703074_260762126.html?spm=2114.12010108.0.0.204c15c2RbOZ6Y

- here you find all of the wittner fine tuners, the wittner's hill models are still not listed above:
http://www.wittner-gmbh.de/stest/saitenfeinstimmer_e.html

May 15, 2018, 4:37 AM · The Hill style tuners are intrinsically harder to turn and I think that's why they've got a big screw-head on them, which I do not like. I tried one on my E string and it was so hard to turn I had to change it out again. Even though I have gear pegs I still like the fine tuner on my E string.
Edited: May 16, 2018, 9:40 AM · If your "Hill type" or any other fine tuners are hard to turn, try lubricating the screw with powdered graphite. I use Hill type tuners, and they turn almost effortlessly - since I used graphite.

Here's a link to Gotoh's explanation for their new tuners. I have to give them credit. Some really "outside the box" thinking went into those.
http://g-gotoh.com/international/va01-introduction

Edited: May 15, 2018, 2:25 PM · @Paul Deck:
The arithmetical ratio of the length of the two lever arms of a hill style model ist about 1. For a stable type or post type model this arithmetical ratio is between 1/2 and 1/3. So the force that acts upon the screw of a stable or post type adjuster is only 1/3 to 1/2 of the force acting on the screw of a hill style model. The manufactures of the hill style models took notice of that during the last decades and improved this type of tuners by decreasing the thread pitch step by step.
As Mark Bouquet mentioned lubricating the thread of the screw makes fine tuning with any tuner model a lot easier. Btw. if you buy a new ulsa tuner you get it already fully lubricated.

@Mark Bouquet:
Here you can see a picture of a mounted gotoh fine tuner:
https://g-gotoh.com/international/product-category/violin-adjuster
The mechanics of that sweet little thing consists of the lever driven by the screw you can see in the foreground. The other end of this lever acts on a prong on the edge of a rotatable small disk. On top of the disk is an eyelet for mounting the end of a string. Technically this small disk represents an L-shaped lever mounted rotatable at it's salient point. This construction improves the gear ratio of the forces. Another advantage is that it doesn't shorten the afterlength of the string. But taking into account the amount of used material I would guess that this fine tuner compared to the other types of adjusters is not a light-weight.

May 26, 2018, 3:00 PM · I have never seen a Gotoh style in service. In fact I never knew such a contraption existed until I started this thread. I suppose if you are comparing one of those made with a light weight material to a steel "axe-type" adorned with extra rubber to protect the top, the weights could be relatively close.
May 26, 2018, 3:10 PM · Awesome post! It should be pinned or something so it's easy to find!
May 28, 2018, 7:54 AM · I discovered another type of fine tuner that seems to be a English / Hill type on the end of a metal bar that would basically shorten the string afterlength of the e. Here is a picture.

Anyone know more about this design or it's provenance?

May 28, 2018, 6:24 PM · Can someone PLEASE help me find a fine tuner for the A that isn't one of those super-bulky ones like #5?

May 28, 2018, 6:24 PM · Can someone PLEASE help me find a fine tuner for the A that isn't one of those super-bulky ones like #5?

Edited: May 28, 2018, 9:20 PM · @ Gene D
That fine tuner on the photo looks like as if it was manufactured to specification as a solution to a certain problem. At most it's a part out of a short run a craftsman has made for a special purpose. The photo has been made with very strong light coming out of only one direction. That makes the contrast in the photo very hard, so I'm not quite sure about what part belongs to the tuner and what is a shadow of it. But on the side of the metal bar you see several changes in colour. These look like marks left by tools used to cut the bar from a full piece of metal. When the tuner is mounted in a tailpiece you can hardly see these marks, so they are no disadvantage. But an industrial manufactured device would be finished more meticulously. That's why I guess that device is handmade.

In your forelast post you wrote:
"...comparing... to a steel "axe-type" adorned with extra rubber to protect the top...".

I guess what you mean is a stable type fine tuner with a piece of rubber glued to the lower arm of the lever which opposes the top plate of the instrument. Up to now I never saw such a monstrosity. If one wants to prevent a contact between the lever arm of a stable type tuner and the top plate, take a file and shorten the adjusting screw of the fine tuner so that the arm of the lever never can touch the top plate even when the adjusting screw is turned in to the end stop. After the screw is shortened to an appropriate length don't forget to file a pinnacle to that end of the screw which is in contact with the lever arm of the tuner. This procedure additionally reduces the mass of the tuner ;)

@Alex A
Just read the whole thread. You surely will find something appropriate for yourself.

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