Tailgut shootout and Pegheds followup
In prior posts, I discussed some changes I was trying as an amateur string technician (far from calling myself a luthier.)
My final results after I got the soundpost set in a very good place using Gary Rickman’s novel techniques:
I am thrilled with how much better my backup instrument, a 1964 EH Roth student level viola, sounds and plays with the new Pegheds pegs (replacing heavy Caspari), simple ebony harp tailpiece( without tuners now that I have Pegheds), & Stradpet kevlar/titanium tailgut (darker than Bois du Harmonie kevlar.)
I had tried various tailpieces with fine tuners because I often use this instrument outdoors or in places with poor or no air conditioning. I had noticed a negative difference in resonance with all of them when compared to any tailpiece without tuners. Additionally, harp tailpieces allowed me to play in higher positions on low strings with much less of a choked nasal quality.
The Caspari pegs were very heavy and having read Traeger’s theories on resonance, I wanted a lighter alternative. I would have to remove much more wood from the cylindrical holes to bush properly, weakening the pegbox. Chuck at Pegheds was able to fit the existing cylindrical holes perfectly without further compromising the pegbox and with the benefit of fine tuning. They work very well and are solid.
I also compared nylon, steel, titanium, Stradpet, and kevlar. I had settled on Kevlar for resonance and playability several years ago, but found it a little shrill at times. The new Stradpet has a richer fundamental while retaining a fairly rich overtone series along with comparable playability.
Many little changes can add up to a much improved instrument that eases your ability to play musically.
Chuck Herin is an exceptional craftsman. You were right to have him to the work in your special circumstance.
Thanks for this. It's always helpful to hear from people willing to try new materials. I'm going to try the titanium tailgut and maybe the titanium button. In theory anything that makes the fiddle a little quicker to respond can make a difference playing passagework.
No question at all about Chuck Herrin as an inventor, craftsman and super-hero person!!!
How many violins have you ruined???
NONE! All good!
I would consider them ruined!!
That suggest to me, Lyndon, that you may be a violin appraiser, a violin restorer, and a violin dealer .... but not a violin player. Many of us who tune our violins every day and want to do so without straining our hands and wrists value this advance in technology. Of course there are those who still prefer friction pegs, and whose friction pegs work very well. And that's their prerogative. But it is also my prerogative and Andrew's prerogative to use gear pegs. Why? Because these are
I found this on line by googling "Mendelssohn Red Violin Wittner" because I knew what it should yield (since the owner of the violin has advertised for Wittner). And what is in quotes below is part of what came up - exactly!
There will always be people willing to vandalize violins!!
Violin "vandalism" has a long and honorable tradition. One such vandal was Louis Spohr, who "vandalized" his fiddle by attaching a chin rest. During the 19th century almost all already existing instruments were "vandalized" by changing the neck to get a longer and differently angled fingerboard, then inserted a taller bridge.
yes, I specialize in original baroque set up violins.
Installing geared pegs is hardly a vandalism compared to changing fingerboards, resetting necks, thinning front plates on many Strads.