Good pegs at a humane price?

Edited: September 10, 2018, 6:39 PM · A little while back, I got some pegs from Fiddlershop. Probably the worst place to get hardware for a professional instrument, but it would be my first time fitting pegs, so I cheaped out a bit.
The head on my A peg just broke in two, and the replacement they sent me, atop being a different colour and shape, smells strongly of urine (it's the cheap wood—I've tried cleaning it and cutting it activates the fragrance).

The guys at Fiddlershop are nice, but I see there's no point buying cheap stuff from them.
By god, though, the pegs everywhere else are expensive as all hell! The lowest price I can find for any good stuff is aboot $130 for a set. Pretty steep for a dowel with a heart shape carved out of the top. And don't even get me started on that Otto Tempel guy!
Anyone know where I can find nice pegs that won't break the bank?

Replies (12)

Edited: September 10, 2018, 6:50 PM · i can buy 100 good pegs from China for $80 on ebay. German Hill style are around $25/set
September 10, 2018, 6:49 PM · I get stuff from internationalviolin.com
You can get pegs for about $1 each.
September 10, 2018, 7:58 PM · Fascinating...
September 10, 2018, 9:02 PM · Dov-Music has good pegs at decent prices.
September 10, 2018, 10:10 PM · Mr. Cotton,

$130 is cheap! Where did you find them at such a low price?

I purchased my Tempel rosewood fittings (including endpin) from Lemuel violins about 4-5 years ago, and it was definitely more than $130.00. But they are EXCELLENT, and were more than worth it. Still super happy about the investment, for both practical and aesthetics reasons-love looking at them everyday, and they are so easy to turn/are well-fitted.

I am wary of the indian/chinese fittings sold all over-I am sure many are good, but they are "too affordable to be true." I am wary about Dov-music for similar reasons... how can they be so affordable? (I am sure they are fine, so I mean no offense to their customers.)

If you do find other good options, please update the thread. It seems it's only the cheap stuff, or super high end and pricey, with no "mid-priced" options (to be fair, there ARE more expensive fittings out there than mine, so the Tempel were relatively affordable.)

I do use an affordable rosewood Teka chinrest, that can't possibly be high quality (got it for about $25.00 at a shop), but it has worked great for many years. Still, wish to get a "fancier" one in the future, but it's a similar situation-either they are super affordable, or over $250.00.

September 10, 2018, 11:46 PM · You try and make a professional looking heart on the end of a dowel and see how that turns out! Better yet, try and make 4 that match. Bet you can't. Most of us can't. There is a reason why most violin makers purchase pegs rather than make them. Then there is the tailpiece...

The Indian ebony pegs that i purchase by the gross have to be kept for a year or so to finish drying. After that, you have to go through and toss the crooked ones and the ones that have such poor grain that they will break.

Fine pegs are expensive. Every single set of Otto Tempel pegs that I have fit have been so easy to cut, mainly because of the choice of fine, well-seasoned raw materials. Eric Meyer's stuff is the same.

As for the urine odor, I won't tell you how we make the boxwood that pretty color, but you will find that with all fine boxwood fittings.

Fine fittings are expensive, and I hope that you never know the stress associated with putting a $400 peg in a shaver to turn it down. Pretty when they are done, but they don't really work any better than a well dried Indian ebony peg that cost a fraction of that and is well fit by someone who knows what they are doing.

September 11, 2018, 8:48 AM · Quality stuff comes at a price.
September 11, 2018, 9:13 AM · For years I've had a "beef" about buying my ebony fittings: Why is it so difficult (impossible?) to buy fine-quality PLAIN ebony pegs and end buttons?

The suppliers apparently assume that the only use for plain fittings is on student instruments. The only plain ebony ones offered are the cheapest ones. As soon as the price/quality rises the fittings are all decorated with pins, rings, heart-shaped heads, etc.

I am a fiddler, not a violinist, and I prefer the look of plain ebony. But I do my own fittings, and I'm really frustrated trying to find nice, easy-to-work, dark-black, fine grained pegs, where I don't have to buy ten to get four with heads the same size, let alone four that are consistently shaped!

I don't buy a lot of fittings, of course, but I'd be willing to pay a reasonable price for a set of really nice plain-shaped ebony ones. I shouldn't have to pay hundreds of dollars to have a plain set custom made!

(Rant over...)

Edited: September 11, 2018, 10:21 AM · StewMac.com

I’ve not bought any from them but they are a luthier supply house.

September 11, 2018, 9:51 AM · Highly skilled and trained crafts people that work with their hands are quickly fading. We need these people, whether we like it or not, to help us keep our instruments alive. At $32 per peg if it takes 30 minutes each, to make a proper peg, with an accurate taper, abiding by the grain, is that really asking too much? And don't forget about the material costs.
September 11, 2018, 11:38 AM · And don't forget to consider that within the materials cost is seasoning the wood for years until it is stable enough to make a stable peg. We, meaning professional luthiers, carry around large amounts of wood for years waiting for it to be seasoned enough to be used.

Stew-Mac is wonderful for fretted instrument stuff. Wretched for violin pegs.

September 11, 2018, 11:47 AM · I used dov-music based on a recommendation in a thread from Luis Manfio, who knows his stuff. There are other sources, and if you go totally hand-made like Meyer Fittings then you are paying for quality.

If you think about how much work goes into a peg, with a lot of it being wood selection for easy turning and stable operation, then it's worth it. Like everything associated with these little wooden boxes, it can get expensive.

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