Pegs: concave or convex?

September 2, 2018, 4:37 PM · I'm interested to see what shaped pegs you guys use/prefer. I'm not interested in geared pegs atm (though maybe in the future) so please don't suggest those. I have used concave pegs my whole life, and yesterday I tried a violin with convex. Felt so much more comfortable to tune! Or was that just the fitting of the peg hole...?

Replies (19)

September 2, 2018, 5:09 PM · This is the first I have ever heard of convex violin pegs, and I have certainly never seen any.
September 2, 2018, 6:11 PM · Something like this:

compared to this:

I guess the convex pegs are only very slightly convex compared to the concave pegs which are very clearly concave. Maybe I should also include flat pegs in the discussion.

Edited: September 2, 2018, 8:08 PM · I have slightly convex pegs made of boxwood which were fitted by the luthier on my favourite violin, and concave ebony pegs on my two other violins. I think the convex pegs were made in England. You can see them in the photo. To tell the truth, I thought it was just a minor cosmetic thing & never noticed any difference in ease of tuning.
Edited: September 2, 2018, 9:46 PM · The famous Hill-style peg is convex, is it not? It's what I have at the moment (alas, the concave pegs in my avatar were changed out), and they're OK, but concave is better I think, because you can concentrate your pressure on the outside of the peg (better leverage).
September 2, 2018, 9:47 PM · I'm all into geared pegs this past decade. The Pegheds and Knillings are slightly concave, the Wittners, slightly convex (if I recall correctly). With pegs that easy to use it makes no difference.
September 2, 2018, 10:54 PM · Yes, the Wittners are slightly convex. I've found I like the feel of them.
September 3, 2018, 2:25 AM · I never noticed before but I find 2 out of 3 violins hanging in my lair have concave pegs, the other ("sold by William E.Hill & Sons" says the label) probably the original convex pegs from about 1900. I tend to prefer the former for grip when tuning, but what about the sound? That's about the only part of a violin that I haven't seen fervently discussed here.
September 3, 2018, 5:04 AM · All my pegs are conical ;)
September 3, 2018, 5:20 AM · Ha Bo!

and all of my pegs are comical.

Happy Labor Day to all

September 3, 2018, 6:35 AM · I feel like convex gives me a bigger area to hold on to. With concave, my fingers sometimes go into a really squishy awkward position...
September 3, 2018, 6:45 AM · I have callouses on the side of my index where I'd push on the D and G pegs. They were convex, but I don't think that has anything to do with how awful they were.
September 3, 2018, 8:16 AM ·

Beautiful pegs (note that I do not use them, but if I had another violin in need of pegs, I would consider these
, as they appear to be excellent.)

Both types are popular with many, so I am sure *all* of you have seen violins with either type installed.

If they are well-fitted, the difference comes down to player preference and aesthetics. Maybe someone doesn't like their "feel".

Selling/buying fittings to "improve the sound" is as convincing to me as purchasing "audiophile cables" to improve a sound system (well, there might be *some* tonal change with the former.) Perhaps you can have a conversation about the tailpiece, but it's hard to believe there's any peg material or shape that will shape your instrument's true voice. Lots of snake oil (sellers) and wishful thinking (buyers).

(I am sure there *are* differences, though not that they may be worth the hassle. But if by having great new fittings set up you are inspired to work harder on your art, and the pegs are easier to turn and remain in place, then yes, buy and use new fittings, be they convex, concave, rosewood, ebony, etc.)

September 3, 2018, 8:24 AM · Did you ever see a blind test for audiophile cables vs standard cables?
Edited: September 3, 2018, 10:17 AM · Mr. Pontoppidan,

No, because I do not have the kind of money required, and don't go to any audiophile meets. I do have some very good headphones, but cannot afford anything that is in the thousands (I should spend on rehairs and strings for my violin instead.) I have read both good and bad things about the more pricey cables, as well as remembering a person I knew getting "converted" to believe there was an audible difference.

I do not begrudge the rich buying audiophile gear, I just know that as a musician, even the "budget" headphones I have (the well-off call them "mid-fi") more than meet my needs. There is affordable audiophile equipment out there (depending on who you ask, of course), but when it comes to cables rather than amification or speakers/headphones, it does sound extremely fishy, even in its advertising. So even if a few cables were "worth it", there seem to be an amount of "snake-oilery" that I am not comfy with in that business.

If you like cables and they make a difference for you, apologies for having offended you above. Some people think it's "crazy" to use gut strings on our instruments nowadays, and I still do, believing it makes a difference (and would argue a much bigger one, but you know what you hear and enjoy.) Just ignore my lack of faith in salesmen and buy/use whatever you like (indeed I even doubt many of our favorite string brands new product claims just as well-ever-heard the "scientific" term "exuberant lustre"?)

September 4, 2018, 4:36 AM · Adalberto - you misunderstood me. I would never buy "audiophile" cables. And I think there are no blind tests - for a very good reason. The audiophile industry don't want to publish that you might as well use a standard extension cord for your speakers. Even if there was a small improvement it would probably be negligible compared to the effect of the non-optimal placement of the speakers in my living room or the noise coming through from the fridge. I put my money into the speakers where I could hear a clear difference in the show room. And I have a set of good headphones as well that I picked out in a comparison in the shop.

And I am totally with you on the superior sound I get from gut strings. This is a difference I and others can clearly hear. We may have different opinions on how a violin should sound, but I have not heard anyone say that my violin sounds bad with gut strings....

Getting back to the topic: My main violin has heart shaped pegs and the peg heads are slightly convex, but almost flat. My viola has concave peg heads. As long as they function well I am satisfied. I actually never really thought about the difference in shape.

September 4, 2018, 5:17 AM · Yes, believe it or not there have been blinds tests of audiophile cables. They were done by Stereo Review probably 30 years ago. Google will find it for you.

I didn't know convex peg heads (rather than convex pegs) were a real thing, but I'm glad to know, because like Andy Victor, I've got Wittner Finetune pegs (on my viola) and the heads of those pegs are convex. The reason Wittner Finetune pegs have to have convex heads is because the gears are inside the head, whereas the gears for PegHeds and Knillings are inside the peg shaft.

It's okay if you want to keep wrestling with your friction pegs for now. You'll eventually come around. :)

September 4, 2018, 5:25 AM · Well mentained friction pegs require no wrestling. I apply a little of the brown lipstick from Hill when I change strings and have no problems with stuck or slipping pegs. My violin is 23 years old, still has the original pegs and never had them refitted.
September 4, 2018, 8:41 AM · Never had any problem with friction pegs. Easy quick tuning and easy to fix when they occasionally do stick or slip. Wrestling with them is a very strange notion.
September 4, 2018, 9:33 AM · We aren't supposed to be talking about geared pegs vs conventional but I think there's a distinction to be made between such devices whose only advantage is convenience and others like the chin rest which permit the playing of more complex music. I'm more than happy to forego the convenience.

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